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Old 06-17-2008, 09:50 AM   #1
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Windlass problem...

I was crankin' the anchor in on Sunday and everything was fine and then...not so fine.* The windlass slowed down like it was binding or something.* So I went foward expecting to find something jammed but I didn't.* Next thing you would think is that it is not getting enough voltage but the way in which this suddenly occured and the fact that ALL things on this boat are powered by 2 group 31s and ALL things were working just fine(except windlass) would most likely rule out a battery problem.* I guess it could be a voltage(bad connection) problem but I really don't think so.* The DOWN operation works just fine although down is never really loaded.*

Whaday'all think?* Motor?
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:13 AM   #2
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RE: Windlass problem...

Might be an internal lube problem or something binding inside that isn't obvious visually. If you have an ammeter, and if you know what the ammeter read when the windlass was working normally, then it would tell you if it's started drawing a lot more current which could indicate a binding problem inside.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:29 PM   #3
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RE: Windlass problem...

Hiya,
* I think Marin is on the right track with the ammeter.* You can check the current when the windlass is going out and compare*it to the draw when you are retrieving.* Higher draw on the retrieve would possibly suggest an internal bind of some sort.* Even though you do NOT suspect a bad or coroded connection, that is probably the simplest thing to check initially just to eliminate* THAT possiblility then, you can get out the curse jar, your band-aids and your wrenches (oh ya,*AND a case of sudsy stuff) and wait for a nice day.* After all, it*isn't working too well now, so how*much worse *can you make *it?* Just a gut thing, but I would look at the brushes when you have her apart....
**
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:31 PM   #4
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RE: Windlass problem...

I'd also check voltage *** at the windlass*** ***under load***.

If the voltage is significantly lower than your battery voltage while under load, there's an electrical problem (significant == more than one or two volts). You'll have to trace down the whole path and see where it's happening. If you have a separate disconnect switch for the windlass power, it's suspect. Same if there's a high current fuse.

Depending on the windlass, there may be one or more solenoids that actually switch the high current DC power. These can start to give trouble over time, giving significant voltage drop between the power connection to the winch and the motor itself. If you can, measure voltage *** at the motor *** (and still under load) to look for a voltage difference across it/them.

Note that you'll always have higher current on the retreive than the release as it takes more power to pull the anchor up than down. The motor current draw increases as the load increases. In fact, if you don't have significantly higher current on the retreive, that could indicate brushes starting to go.

Post a message or drop a note if you get some results and aren't sure what they mean. (I probably won't know either, but who knows....)
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:49 PM   #5
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RE: Windlass problem...

Hiya,
* Good points Chris Foster...One possible way to eliminate differences in drop/retrieve would be to operate the windlass WITHOUT the chain being involved...IE:* disconnect the chain from the gypsey and operate in both directions.* Solenoids are an excellent suggestion, I forgot about those.
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:59 PM   #6
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RE: Windlass problem...

Alright, where would the solenoids be located? I have found the "relay box"(my term) as it was located very close to the windlass and in the anchor locker. As I was looking at this, Brent was walking down the dock with his bag of tricks and he checked the voltage at the relays. There was a significant drop initially but it would recover to around 10 volts even as the thing "binded". I honestly don't think this is a voltage problem but I may be wrong. I think this because of the immediate failure and not an insidious one over time or an intermitent one which would be a connection problem. I did unload the windlass and it ran and then I stepped on it with my rubber shoe sole to load it up and it binded. I did this in the down mode and it kept on cranking with plenty of power. After jacking with this, the down mode and the up mode started acting funny....more of a pulsating surging power and going even slower. I dunno if we were overheating it but I am about to go down to the boat now and check it out.


If it were a motor, can you replace just the motor? and if so, I did a very brief google search and didn't come up with much.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:52 PM   #7
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RE: Windlass problem...

The "relay" box you refer to is, I think, the same as the "solenoid" others have referred to. I don't know how your windlass is controlled, but if there are foot or hand switches for deploy and retrieve, they don't run the windlass motor current though these but just a very light current that acivates a solenoid in the"relay" box. Just like an ignition switch and starter solenoid.

The individual solenoids can go bad, their contacts can corrode, and so on.

My minimal knowledge of electricicals tells me that if the motor runs fine going in one direction but not in the other direction, the problem is probably not the motor itself. A failing foot switch solenoid, a bad connection on the relay box or on the windlass motor itself or on the battery end of the windlass power cables sound like likely culprits to me.

On our boat the control box, the box with the solenoids in it that control which direction the windlass motor turns, actually switches the ground side of the DC circuit, not the positive side.* I don't know if your setup is the same, but make sure you check all the ground connections as well as the positive connections.

-- Edited by Marin at 16:57, 2008-06-17
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:53 PM   #8
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RE: Windlass problem...

I'd think that reversing would require both + and - being switched - either the field or armature (but not both) need to have polarity reversed (I don't think these are permanent magnet motors - if so, then the armature needs to have power reversed and there won't be a field). Again - if you can get to the field and armature power feeds at the motor and check the voltage there, do so.

Concur with Marin that the motor probably isn't at fault - it doesn't really "know" which direction it's running in. Slight possibility of brushes - they take a bit of a set based on the direction they're turning, and if they're on their last legs, they might do better in one direction that the other. Could explain why it did start pulsing power-wise in both directions.

If it's oil-lubricated, your next step might be to drain the oil and see how it looks. I'm wondering if you have a bearing starting to go -- if so, you'll probably find quite a bit of metal in the lube oil. Or you might find no lube oil at all...

Who is the manufacturer of the windlass? Do they have manuals on line???
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:12 PM   #9
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RE: Windlass problem...

Okay, my memory is wrong despite my having done all the wiring of our new windlass. The direction our Lofrans Tigres runs is controled by switching the positive side of the current, NOT the negative side as I stated before. There are three wires coming from the windlass motor--- two positive and one negative. The negative goes directly to the battery bus. The two positive wires go to posts on each end of the relay box. The positive feed from the battery connects (via circuit breakers, etc) to the center post of the relay box. So they are using a common ground at the motor, and the direction the motor turns depends on which "side" of the motor the positive current is fed to from the relay box. The solenoids in the relay box are activated by the two foot switches in the foredeck.
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:14 AM   #10
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RE: Windlass problem...

It is a Lewmar and it is a "permanent magnetic motor"....as per the manual. The manual does not have a troubleshooting section so does not help much. I guess I iwll have to take it out and take it apart....
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:37 AM   #11
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RE: Windlass problem...

First thing I would do is disassemble and clean all the electrical connections. Of course spray with Corrosion Block when putting back together. It doesn't take much corrosion to cause problems when putting a high load on a piece of equipment like that. This includes the battery connections.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #12
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RE: Windlass problem...

I took a quick look at the Lewmar website & found a couple of things.

All appear to switch both power terminals into the motor - the relay box basically reverses power to the two leads.

11 volts at the motor under load is what they consider minimum. So checking it there - across both ***motor*** terminals and not just at the relay box - is the important measurement.

Depending on whether it's a "pro series" or an "H series", the gearbox may or may not be serviceable. Neither run in an oil both. The "pro series" uses grease lubricated gears and bearings and is serviceable. The "H series" has an integral motor and worm drive gearbox that don't appear to be serviceable. (Pro series has a single gypsy while the H has gypsy on one side and drum on the other).
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:06 PM   #13
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RE: Windlass problem...

It is a Sprint series and considered "obsolete" on their website...

Thanks for all the replies...it does jog some things in my brain to get things going.* Keep 'em coming if ya got 'em.

-- Edited by Baker at 13:07, 2008-06-18
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:03 PM   #14
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RE: Windlass problem...

Boy, every time I shoot my mouth (keyboard?) off, I find I'm wrong. Oh, well.

The Sprint does seem to have gears in an oil bath, but no drain/fill plugs. So it looks like you need to remove the winch from the boat and pop the top off to drain & replace the oil. BTW- any sign of oil leakage below the windlass? There is an oil seal at the motor that could leak.

They do switch both wires into the motor with the relay box, so the previous note about checking voltage at the motor (or at least at the output of the relay box) under load still does apply.

And in reponse to one of your original questions, yes, it does look like you can replace the motor if that turns out to be the culprit. Might even be able to have a good motor shop overhaul your existing motor.
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:41 PM   #15
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RE: Windlass problem...

I assume you have seen that the manuals, exploded views, etc. for the Sprint 400 and 500 models are on the Lewmar website, albeit under "obsolete" models.* http://en.lewmar.com/support/index.a...649#windlasses*

The manual for the 400 is a little more detailed than the manual for the 500. It describes the gears as being lubricated with*PFG210 grease and that they should not need "regular attention."* Which I guess means they do not run in an oil bath, hence the lack of fill and level plugs.

It also says that the motor is replaceable and has instructions how to do it. Perhaps these instrructions apply to the other Sprint models as well as I imagine all them are similar in design and construction.


-- Edited by Marin at 18:44, 2008-06-18
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:35 PM   #16
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RE: Windlass problem...

It is a 600 model. And Mr. Foster claims it to be in an oil bath...although I have not verified it.
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:49 PM   #17
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RE: Windlass problem...

Dang... wrong again. I started looking at the 1000 series - plus the 1500 and 3000 - and they all show an oil seal at the motor shaft. So I ***assumed*** that would cover all of the models.

Please to ignore me. I'll shut up now...

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Old 06-18-2008, 11:46 PM   #18
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RE: Windlass problem...

FWIW here is the relevant page from the Sprint 600 manual. I notice it states to "re-grease as necessary."
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:10 AM   #19
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RE: Windlass problem...

Marin, I noticed you've now attained the lofty status of "guru"!
Does that mean you get paid now? Or just collect the offerings left at the shrine of knowledge?
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:12 AM   #20
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RE: Windlass problem...

I had a problem with my bow thruster recently I hadn't used it in a while and the Comutator ring got "gummed up" the mechanics term. I brought the motor to a repair shop and they fixed it for their minumum charge. If you look at an electric motor diagram you will see where it is, all they do is clean it up with sand paper.
The problem was isolated to the motor by determining 12V at the leads at the motor when the solenoides were activated.
Good luck
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