Dirt Devil it's a pretty subjective thing. It largely depends on the load, as in the percentage of maximum possible load the motor could pull, and you can only have an educated guess at that. As a very broad generalisation, after ten seconds of close to full load, give any winch at least a minute rest, but of course a lighter load you can go much longer.
Air cooled modified motors can be 100% duty cycle, but that is a fair bit of messing around for the man on the street, but I've done it to a couple of winch motors and it works brilliantly. You need a low pressure high volume pump, unlike a tyre compressor which is a low volume high pressure pump.
If you over do it, often there will be heat damage to the armature, and you won't really know as it will still work fine, until eventually a straw breaks the camel's back.
Use your gut instinct, if your winch is struggling, even if car is actually moving, then throw a snatch block into the equation, anything to lighten the load will help. Winches need to be looked after too!
As another very broad generalisation, if you can't put your hand on the winch motor, it's too hot and you're cooking it!
Thanks for that, I have always used the hand on the motor check but was talking to a bloke who just bought a new warn and he told me he was told at full load, single line pull it should be 4 minutes on and 6 minutes off.
as I have not heard that before I wanted to check.
Glance at your watch and count out 4 minutes. It's a very long time. I will absolutely guarantee that any standard normal non comp winch without air cooled motors will be LONG DEAD at anywhere near FULL load long before four minutes.
You seem like a sensible bloke, just go with your gut feeling bud she'll be all apples