Yes I was surprised once I had the diagram and worked through it in my head, that no short circuit was possible. Is this not a true H bridge configuration, which does suffer from the short condition if all switches are connected?Really, with the circuit shown in posts 11 and 12, there is no chance of short circuiting the power source. If both buttons are pressed nothing will happen. because both sides of the motor will be tied to the same polarity. But it will be hard on the switch contacts because releasing either button will result in dynamic braking of the motor by momentarily running it as a generator feeding a short circuit. That will tend to stop the winch very rapidly, but it will also be hard on both the motor and the switches. So while it will work it is a compromise between simplicity and switch life. If the buttons are not snap-action switches it may work out that slowly releasing the button so that the motor can coast to a stop will be an option. You can connect a 12 volt incandescent bulb across the motor to see the effect, and if it even can be reduced by the partial button release trick.
Thanks for the detailed breakdown. Very good explanation. And I love the light bulb suggestion to demonstrate what you explained.
I wired this all up and I can do the slow release causing the motor to spin down. But its only like 20% success rate. At the end of the day this is version 1 and will only need to get me through a handful of days out on the water. Over the winter I'll work on a more appropriate solution using relays or transistors and arduino/Raspberry Pi control. Lots of plans for this project so I'm sure I'll be asking lots of questions. Thanks again.