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Old 07-14-2017, 11:10 AM   #1
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Windlass Cuts Out?

Sorry for the lack of specifics on this i.e. brand model of windlass...when pulling anchor our up only windlass stops.. seemingly when it gets under some strained. We haven't gotten very competent yet with the whole process of anchoring and pulling up. We have a foot control and which works fine until it is pulling for a bit. Again, when it gets some strain from me not moving the boat forward enough it stops. Wait 15 seconds or so and it works again. Is this a built in safety feature and normal or the indication of something wrong with solenoid, etc?
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:35 AM   #2
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Wrong.

Not enough info though. On my Gb I had an Ideal windlass which I rewired with new cable, replaced the solenoid, adding a "down" solenoid and two new deck switches, then I rebuilt the motor with new brushes and dressed commutator; lubrication. Worked fine after that. Yours may have never been serviced.

Also, the windlass is intended for retrieving your anchor tackle, not for breaking the anchor loose, towing the boat or taking the strain of anchoring. Prepare to move the boat by other means and plan to use a chain snubber to anchor with.
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:45 AM   #3
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Wrong in that it is not a nice built in feature? Didn't really think so. I know that the foot switch is new but beyond that not sure. The newbie part is the communication between me and wifey and her learning when we need to come up closer. Would this be happening because of one thing more than another? Seems to me like a power issue, solenoid related?
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:22 PM   #4
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Sounds like you're overloading your windlass and perhaps, it has a thermal cutout to protect it when this happens. If so, once the unit cools, it would reconnect and allow operation again.

Don't try to move your boat or pull your anchor free with the windlass motor. Always retrieve your rode and anchor on a slack rode. Move your boat forward with the main engine(s) while you pull in the ground tackle. If the windlass slows from resistance in the pull, stop retrieving via the windlass and move forward/back as needed to increase the slack. Once you're directly over the anchor (vertical rode), usually a little fwd thrust pulling in the opposite direction of the anchor set should free the anchor, allowing for the final retrieve.

That's how I do it, anyway.
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:59 PM   #5
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It sounds like thermal cut out since it happens when heavily loading, and clears after to pause for a while. But it also sounds like it shouldn't be happening so easily.

If you have low operating voltage at the windless motor, it will draw more current, and heat up more, so I would investigate that. Start at the motor with a meter and see what the voltage is while hauling the anchor. It should be within 10% of the battery voltage, so say no less than 11V. If it's less, you need to figure out where the loss is occurring.

If there is a big drop, I'd check the battery next to see how much it is dropping under the load.

Other loss points are connections to fuses and relays, relays themselves, and under sized wiring.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:03 PM   #6
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Sounds like you're overloading your windlass and perhaps, it has a thermal cutout to protect it when this happens. If so, once the unit cools, it would reconnect and allow operation again.

Don't try to move your boat or pull your anchor free with the windlass motor. Always retrieve your rode and anchor on a slack rode. Move your boat forward with the main engine(s) while you pull in the ground tackle. If the windlass slows from resistance in the pull, stop retrieving via the windlass and move forward/back as needed to increase the slack. Once you're directly over the anchor (vertical rode), usually a little fwd thrust pulling in the opposite direction of the anchor set should free the anchor, allowing for the final retrieve.

That's how I do it, anyway.
That's the correct way and the way your instruction manual will tell you how to do it. Don't try move your boat by pulling on the rode with the windlass. It's not made for that and by doing that, you are abusing it.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the hints on checking the electrical end of it. I know the proper way to do it but our joint execution is lacking. We will get there with a little practice. My wife is new to anchoring and, of course, I do everything perfectly so, its her fault. No she is not a member in here so I am pretty safe.....
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Old 07-14-2017, 04:28 PM   #8
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"Is this a built in safety feature and normal or the indication of something wrong with solenoid, etc?"

Wrong in the sense that you asked in your first post.

Is the the question that you don't yet know how to coordinate the anchoring procedure with your wife or that you think there is an issue with the windlass? What exactly are you asking?
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Old 07-14-2017, 04:41 PM   #9
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Try running your genset for 30 minutes or so before hoisting anchor and also while hoisting. And by all means check your system over with a mult meter. How old are the hoisting batteries?
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:42 PM   #10
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Try running your genset for 30 minutes or so before hoisting anchor and also while hoisting. And by all means check your system over with a mult meter. How old are the hoisting batteries?
Lots of good advice here so far.

One surprise for me was to find the #2 wires sadly corroded just where they passed through the deck. Mine were 37 years in. How old are yours? Another thing to check.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:29 PM   #11
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"Is this a built in safety feature and normal or the indication of something wrong with solenoid, etc?"

Wrong in the sense that you asked in your first post.

Is the the question that you don't yet know how to coordinate the anchoring procedure with your wife or that you think there is an issue with the windlass? What exactly are you asking?
No question about the coordination with my wife while anchoring. We ain't very coordinated. Actually the coordination isn't too bad but the wife just has to get used to what the anchor chain looks like when it is ready to come up. As in hanging down... and not be so scared to death of running over the chain. I think she tries to pull it up to quickly, doesn't want me to put the boat anywhere near it. I can't drive the boat and be up there with her to show her. Just a learning curve is all and we have only anchored the boat twice.

My real question was on the windlass acting like it does, cutting out under strain. Should it cut out like it does thereby saving itself and proving it is smarter than us or is that a defect or indication that something is wrong with it besides us being its owner. Is cutoff protection something that is built in to some windlasses. I guess that's the question. But given that I haven't told anyone exactly WHICH windlass we have it's sort of a frustrating question. But you knew that.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:30 PM   #12
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Try running your genset for 30 minutes or so before hoisting anchor and also while hoisting. And by all means check your system over with a mult meter. How old are the hoisting batteries?
Still sorting out the electrical systems but I believe the windlass is running off the house batteries which are less than a year old and in good shape.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:36 PM   #13
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Lots of good advice here so far.

One surprise for me was to find the #2 wires sadly corroded just where they passed through the deck. Mine were 37 years in. How old are yours? Another thing to check.
Ours is only 30 years old so obviously that isn't the problem. On my list of things I will have to find time to do is a soup to nuts run down of the windlass. Will check all wiring. Right after the soup to nuts run down on my raw water cooling and soup to nuts on the batteries/generator/charger/combiner/inverter/ 5 different knobs with conflicting labels to turn them on or off.

Go over that "cruising is fun" thing again??!?!

Thanks for all the comments everyone and thanks for putting up with us newbs!
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:20 AM   #14
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I'd be worried of over-running the chain rode while powering forward and abusing the bow. I've always just hoisted the anchor and its all-chain rode. ... Sounds like a weak windlass for whatever reason.
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Old 07-15-2017, 06:06 AM   #15
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Thanks Mark. My concern is having a 200' of chain out and then having to manually winch it in link by link by link....!
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:46 AM   #16
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The windless uses a lot of cold cranking amps. My 6d house battery banks are not up to the task. The windless has to be connected to the starter battery with the engine running in order to operate properly.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:26 AM   #17
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When you are next using the windlass do a Vdrop test.
#1 - First, check the voltage at the windlass supply batteries before using the windlass.
#2 - Then check the voltage at the batteries while using the windlass.
#3 - Then attach the voltmeter to the contacts or buss or pads that the actual main motor leads attach to, likely in the chain locker, and monitor the voltage while using the windlass.

#1 is simply to check the batt voltage and that there is not a problem here even though the batts are relatively new.

#2 is to see how much drop the batteries show under the windlass load.

#3 is to see how much Vdrop [loss] is at the actual windlass connections.

If the difference between #1 & #2 is more than about 1.5 or 2.0 volts then maybe the batteries are not in as good shape as thought or the bank capacity is on the small side or the batteries are down from house use if the house set is used.

Ideally the difference between #2 & #3 will not be more than 10%. If it is then either the wire is undersized or some of the connections are poor. That could be either loose or dirty connections or poor crimps.

As already suggested if the wiring is not in good shape or undersized the motor cannot get the current it needs to do a good job and will be lazy and heat up.

I connected mine to the engine start batteries to maintain the voltage as the house does get used even though the house bank is larger. The engine is running and the alternator puts out about 50A at idle.

A last thought is to check the + wire from the batteries to the windlass connections looking for ANY sign of a circuit breaker. There are C.B. that are auto resettable. Upon too much current they will open stopping the load [windlass]. After a cool down they will reset allowing the load to continue untill the next cycle of heat up/cool down. This does describe what you are experiencing.

THese auto resettable units can often be quite small so check any connections. Ideally, if present, it will be near the main supply point at the batteries, should be.

If that is the case then a somewhat larger unit could be substituted. But do those Vdrop test because that needs to be taken care of , if present, as low voltage could eventually damage the windlass motor.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:44 AM   #18
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No question about the coordination with my wife while anchoring. We ain't very coordinated. Actually the coordination isn't too bad but the wife just has to get used to what the anchor chain looks like when it is ready to come up. As in hanging down... and not be so scared to death of running over the chain. I think she tries to pull it up to quickly, doesn't want me to put the boat anywhere near it. I can't drive the boat and be up there with her to show her. Just a learning curve is all and we have only anchored the boat twice.

I know you really want to know about the windlass. Yes, many will have a thermal cutout when they are overloaded. They are not designed to pull the boat to the anchor. Check all the electric connections, even to the point of disconnecting, cleaning and reattaching all terminals.

However, I would suggest that you and your wife swap places. Let her take the helm and have you at the bow. That way you can see exactly what is happening. Simple hand signals work to tell the person at the helm what to do. All that has to be done is steer the boat and put it in and out of gear to creep up on the anchor. We have a system where the person at the bow simply tells the person at the helm to put the engine in gear or back to neutral. There is no throttle involved at all and then the person at the bow is responsible for not overrunning the anchor chain.
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:03 AM   #19
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Agreed.

My wife operates the boat, I am at the bow operating the windlass.

My wife and I use hand signals to indicate when I want her to go forward, to reverse, to go port or starboard, or stop.
Sometime I have to wait as the rode is too far off the pull line and it simply causes trouble. Usually happens when the wind is swinging us about too much.

Once in a blue moon I have to walk back to the open window when the signals don't work but that is not often.

Point straight up with an attention catching circle is forward.
Point straight down """""""""""""""" is reverse
Point sideways is the direction I want her to turn.
Flat open hand waved level is take it out of gear.

Different folks will use different signals just as long as they are used and consistent.
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:11 AM   #20
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Point straight up with an attention catching circle is forward.
Point straight down """""""""""""""" is reverse
Point sideways is the direction I want her to turn.
Flat open hand waved level is take it out of gear.

Different folks will use different signals just as long as they are used and consistent.

Those are exactly the hand signals that we use. I likely stole the idea from you.

We have since added Bluetooth headsets so use those instead of the hand signals, unless of course I haven't charged them. Then we use the hand signals.
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