So…? Ukraine? Or Chinese electric winch?

I am inclined to say a few words about the Russian invasion of Ukraine but, to be honest, I don’t have much to say. It is not a complex topic – Putin wants empire. Ukraine doesn’t want to be part of it. Bad vs good. Megalomaniac bullies against plucky homeland defenders. Classic human conflict. It’s so bloody weird, dysfunctional, evil and wrong that even the entire world sees it that way. Mind you, it is the Ukrainians actually fighting it but we all see it as they do.

We support them in the comment sections of YOU TUBE.

We are doing more, of course, but short of US cruise missiles, drones and Apache Attack helicopters it is a smidge too little. If ever there was a rock and a hard place for the American war machine, this is it. If they go in, they risk escalating the Ukrainian War to WW3. If the do not go in, they risk standing by while Russia does another Rwanda. Guys like me who have an opinion on everything kinda have to shut the hell up. The numbers are too big to opine lightly over.

And that is the one point that I was gonna try and make. War is different now. So is the reporting of it. It used to be intrepid reporters in the trenches with the soldiers. Then it became ’embedded’ reporters in the media tent of the armies. Then it resolved into the gaggle of reporters at the bar in the nearest American style hotel. And the cost of reporting went down until we all relied on AP and Reuters to deliver the story for larger distribution by way of affiliated news channels. Enter the Internet and trolls. We entered the era of ‘fake news’ not so much because it was ALL actually fake but rather because it was so packaged and edited and timed-to-the-max so as to make the most from advertising, it felt ‘not accurate’. The News sold out. The trolls stepped in.

And then along came Trump and he was easy and often perversely fun to cover and so an industry of trolls, pundits and beltway reporters was born. Talking heads opinionating and, basically, gossiping on air over every idiotic thing he and his cronies did made for good ratings, easy reporting and big profits. Happy days were here again.

But so was YOUTUBE. All of a sudden Joe Blow in Kokomo was instantly on the scene (probably of yet another black guy getting beaten and shot by the local police or something equally racist, sexist or stupid) with his phone and Joe Blow was televising that story on his own channel! Once again the news industry was facing a challenge – this time by the billions of amateurs with phones. Seemed like half were lying Russians. By the time the BIG MSM got the story through their piping system, JOE BLOW had 100,000 subscribers. ABC, NBC, even the NYT and WAPO were ‘old’ news – at least a few days late. The BIG news guys are only BIG in the BIG cities. Russian trolls seemed to fill the air of the ignorant masses.

And therein lies the point. The Ukrainian defense and the Russian attack is being reported by Joe Blowensky and his phone standing ‘live’ in front of his house showing tanks go by. This is a war being fought live and on the battle lines in front of the eyes of the world. This ‘news feed’ is filtered by Joe’s limitations but not edited so much. It feels more real. And the trolls are relatively quiet. (They are still putting up fake news using old news clips but their influence is diminished by the @REALJoeBlowensky.)

Putin didn’t expect that. He expected at the very least troll-fueled confusion. They say the first casualty of war is truth and he counted on that. That may no longer be the case. There must be close to 8 billion phones out there. Jus’ sayin’…..

PSI had a thought after posting this blog and I hate myself for thinking like this but I have to say it. NOT assisting Ukraine might (probably) be construed by the USA as the best of both worlds. The US does not like or trust Russia under Putin (Trump and friends, of course, being the exception). But they couldn’t invade or even put in sanctions…until now. They like this turn of events. Plus they got some fancy new boats. But, if they assist Ukraine directly with missiles and troops, they risk a major pan-world conflagration with WW3. So, what is the next best? Well, the next best is the same that Putin wanted for them – civil war. The Ukrainian population conquered will always be in revolt. Ukraine vanquished will become resident revolutionaries. Russia will be disabled from inner turmoil. A crippled but alive and angry Ukraine serves America’s interests. I do not like thinking that way but Putin thought that way and acted on it by installing Trump. Biden may just be thinking ‘turnabout is fair play’.

Speaking of which…..

I purchased an electric winch from China. Not, perhaps, my best decision. The winch looks good. It’s strong, well-built and has a few bells and whistles that I like (remote control, etc.) and it will be much more powerful than my gas-powered winch once I get it installed. Had the winch been made in Canada, it would have been twice as much money. Of course, neither Canada nor the US makes this winch anyway. But the instructions are in Chinese and are, to me, indecipherable. Not a clue. So, I contacted my Mandarin-speaking guy and said, “If you can’t write up the instructions in English, could you at least tell me your wiring diagram and what the colours of your wires mean?” (My guy writes adequate Chinglish.)

By way of illustration: there is no logical place to attach the 12 gauge (3 wire) cable that is needed to carry the 240v 20 amp power from the genset to the motor. No holes in cases, no terminals, nothing. The plugs they sent are Asian plugs attached to 20 gauge wires (not power wires) and they also need cutting off and ‘our’ plugs put on. None of that should be a challenge but it is. I am somewhat electrically challenged despite muddling through for 18 years. So, I wrote back and good ol’ CSales10 (nice guy) in China responded with a nice picture showing where all the wires go……sadly… was of a different winch. Mine (the one he sold to me) is another model. And so the saga of dealing with Chinese industrial staff will slog on for awhile.

As one of our locals put it, “Well, at least they are not shooting at us and dropping bombs!”

12 thoughts on “So…? Ukraine? Or Chinese electric winch?

  1. “Well, at least they are not shooting at us and dropping bombs!”…


    I may see if an electrical friend of mine can log on to your site and troubleshoot.
    He may want to contact you off line and discuss.


    • Thanks. The nub of it is: why is there a hole in the black box for a cable but no terminal for a cable inside? And why is the cable so light (20 gauge wire) that supposedly plugs into the genset? This is a 240v 20 amp motor. Everything I have ever read suggests that it takes 12 gauge wire. Please feel free to give him my email address if he has an answer. Hell, I have so few readers give him my email address even if he DOESN’T have an answer.


      • I forwarded him your blogsite and a bit of info.
        He might need to see some pics of the guts with the cover off.
        I’m thinking you would run a power cord in through the hole and then have to connect the wires from the cord to some screws for power.
        A green screw for a “ground” and two other screws for power.
        Nothing like that near that hole?
        That wiring diagram looks like the motor with three different controls
        One would be the remote ( possibly the top diagram).
        The other two would be the manual switch at the top and the power entering the box.
        Have you tried a Chinese / English translator on google
        Take a picture of the Chinese characters and than “copy/paste them into the translator.

        I have amazed foreign friends with my cursing abilities in multiple languages ( including Chinese) with the beloved translator.

        The translation might not be exact but it will give you a bit of an idea what the hell your looking at.


        • The Chinese do not use green, red, black and white for ground, power and neutral. Instead, the use thee wires, blue, orange and yellow with an orange stripe. Turns out the striped one is ground. That makes blue and orange power (no neutral) but the gauge of these wires is just 18 or 20. They want me to believe 240v 20 amp flows through those light wires?! I do not think so….but I may be wrong….
          I like the idea of the pics and the translation. I’ll try it.
          Your thought that the cable should go to terminal block screws is right-on for us/Canada and all that is holy but there is a hole for a cable but no place to terminate the wires, no screws, no block, no nuttin’…


          • Wow.
            I guess the thin gauge wire might be due to the fact its a winch, used outside, and only intermittently.
            As a friend says about electricity.
            “If you let the smoke out of the electrical box….it probably wont work after that!”
            I was busy at work today.
            I’ll pester my buddy with those extra pics you sent and the write up.

            Did you cut the chinese plug off yourself and you’re trying to figure out what two wires to connect.
            The ground wire can be connected to a solitary screw or bolt ( you could install?) anywhere on the inside of the electrical box. Maybe drill a small hole on the bottom of the box and install a small bolt and washer to wrap the ground wire around.
            Then you have to figure out what color they use for “hot” and “neutral”.
            I wouldnt worry about the wire gauge just yet.
            Just get it running first then you can change the power cord out to a manly canuck cord.


          • Yep. Cut ‘er off. Rationale, no receptacle anywhere near me to receive that configuration of prongs. One way or another, I was gonna have to wire in a new plug. From my Chinese guy, I learned that the ground is the yellow with orange stripe and that wire went to the top middle prong (but he is a salesman). It seems ground is wired in the plug. I am guessing it is the neutral wire that is AWOL and that, for 240v power, the other two are hot. Many 240v systems are wired in using three wires while most N. American systems use 4. This, being a 3-wire set-up, it seems the neutral is the one that is left out.


  2. Damn, I should have moved to Read Island 2 years ago, then I could have helped out. I stopped buying Chinese stuff years ago whenever I have a “local” alternative available (even if it costs me more). The quality is so much better, and at least the local suppliers are obliged to follwo CE regulations AND are obliged to supply a manual in every language of the EC. Be carefull with those thin wires….or the box indeed might be filled with smoke!


    • Yeah, that kind of supports my doubts about my decision to buy from China. The problem is that I wanted a winch that could pull 1000 pounds 100 feet in 1 minute up a 30 degree slope. I could not find one. DC winches are slow and overheat over a long distance. Our ‘consumer-level’ winches are puny things that have small spools, small motors and limited cable length. I had to start looking into the light industrial realm. And then the price became a major factor. Something ‘Merican or German or even Japanese was the price of a small car. Well, around $10K -ish. And, for a guy working the winch for about a week a year, that seemed excessive. Enter Dave at Crane Sales. Nice guy. Sincere. Helpful……but….he’s in sales and that means he knows even less than I do about the specs and such. If this doesn’t work out, I blame no one but myself. NOT even Dave. And I will be able to use it for something, I am sure. Or, rather, I hope.


    • Thanks, Gerry. ‘Partially’, tho, is a bit of a misnomer. Writing is addictive and, once in, it is hard to get back out. I am currently back in, fully immersed. I am gonna try to write three kinds of blogs. Those topics that are pure OTG, odd, different, rural and DIY; and those which are raven, dog and Sally centric; and then, of course, there will be the raving rants of a demented senior almost alone in the forest shrieking over government, economics, the world at large and politics. In a perfect Dave-blog, the ratio will be 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. But Dave has never done anything perfectly. I strive for adequate, satisfactory, passable and acceptable.


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