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Old 06-25-2019, 03:14 AM   #1
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115 Volt Windlass

Hi Have just purchased a CHB 40 Gen set is no go and am soon to pull and rebuild.Currently the windlass is powered by 12 volt but what looks like original cables are very small . tracing the cable to windlass (one black one white)appear to originate from the 110 part of the main switch board.
Typically the wiring over the years has been messed with.
My real question is do some windlass run on 115 volts.
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:41 AM   #2
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What type of windlass do you have?

I'm almost certain I've seen 120VAC windlasses from Ideal, which is a venerable, quality, and not uncommon (in older boats) name brand.

I think I've also heard reports of others for much bigger boats that may even be 3-phase AC.

I can also imagine someone wiring up something industrial (gulp).

So, I guess what I'm suggesting is that your boat /could/ /possibly/ have, or have had, or have in the future, a 120VAC windlass.

But, if it is running now, and you are measuring 12V at the windlass...it would seem to be a 12V windlass. Maybe it got traced back to the wrong breaker.

But, you are right....12V wiring normally needs to carry 10x as much current for the same work...so much thicker wiring is in order.
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:52 AM   #3
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Do the cables have power at the windlass end? I would put a meter on them and see if they do. If they are in fact 12 volt then you can do a rough measure of the distance to and from the electrical panel and see if they are up to the current draw, if you can identify the windlass and check itís power consumption. But first thing you need to find out is whether there is power on the wires or not and if so what voltage.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:42 AM   #4
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kiwi, so you have a 115V system with a boat in NZ? In any case, higher voltage motors are preferred for large loads. They are commonly had in 230v single phase and then 400V three phase, or in 120/240V in America. But for your boat of 40ft I can't see any great advantage.



Now if your 12V motor is burnt out, then sure, you can source a 115VAC motor and hook it up. Run through your inverter. Would be a fun project if nothing else.


But assuming it still works fine then just use it. But check those old cables. There may be internal corrosion (if not tinned) and the diameter sounds like it could be too small. Better to upsize one size large than required even.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:51 AM   #5
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120v windlass were very common in the 70’s. Most were replaced in the 80’s with 12v. 120v motors last a lot longer than 12v motors.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:03 AM   #6
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At the commercial shipyards I've been speaking with, you can choose any motor voltage/hydraulic that you wish. The windlasses, winches and captive reels are rather industrial and are sourced separately from the motor. I've been told by them that 12/24VDC motors are much more expensive than a "standard" 230v 50hz motor.

Same is probably true with American voltage motors I would assume. Has anyone purchased lately a 2000w DC motor, for example pricing?
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:04 AM   #7
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While shopping for a boat I looked at a couple of KK42s that had original equipment 110volt windlasses. So yes, they are out there.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:14 AM   #8
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For smaller boats, it is nice to be able to pull the anchor without having to depend on a generator.

Also, induction motors (most AC motors) can have pretty weak start up torque.

A 2000w DC motor is not rare. Most diesel starter motors are 2-6kW.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:57 AM   #9
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Iím not sure that adapting a starter motor to a windlass would be recommended because a windlass will run longer than the typical 30 second duty cycle. However I recall reading an article by Brent Swain about adapting a starter motor as an autopilot drive. That seems like it could work.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:15 PM   #10
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I run my winch on 240v ac. It was dc before my time. The ac motor is much cheaper than a 12v and can be repaired/rebuilt in any large city. Replacement motors are also online. I usually run the winch with an inverter.

Since upgrading to a larger inverter, I use a generator about 90% less.





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Old 06-25-2019, 01:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makobuilders View Post
I’m not sure that adapting a starter motor to a windlass would be recommended because a windlass will run longer than the typical 30 second duty cycle. However I recall reading an article by Brent Swain about adapting a starter motor as an autopilot drive. That seems like it could work.
And yet though the years, some, maybe many HAVE been starter motors as the parts numbers have been the same, just dropping the gear from the end of the shaft.


I was going to try one for my old windlass, but I lost access to the shop tools and to have adapters made by a machine shop becomes uneconomical in some cases.
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:04 PM   #12
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"120v windlass were very common in the 70’s."

On some boats the house system was 120v , 10 12v car batts made up the hiuse bank.

YES! one could be shocked , but light bulbs were easy .
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I run my winch on 240v ac. It was dc before my time. I usually run the winch with an inverter. Since upgrading to a larger inverter, I use a generator about 90% less.
How do you accommodate the locked rotor startup draw? Do you use a soft start capacitor, or perhaps the inverter is multiple times larger than the electric draw?
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:48 PM   #14
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And yet though the years, some, maybe many HAVE been starter motors as the parts numbers have been the same, just dropping the gear from the end of the shaft.

I was going to try one for my old windlass, but I lost access to the shop tools and to have adapters made by a machine shop becomes uneconomical in some cases.
Interesting. Might be worth trying in the future. Starter motors are a dime a dozen practically, especially from car wreckers.
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:51 PM   #15
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On some boats the house system was 120v , 10 12v car batts made up the hiuse bank.
There was another thread, either here or on CF, where this was discussed. I think it's a great idea for a larger boat. Everything VAC except for 12VDC bridge electronics.

On-grid inverters (with inputs of about 100VDC) run at about 98% efficiency.

One slight challenge is perhaps finding a way to charge the house bank from the engine alternator.
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:16 PM   #16
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Mine has a belt (3) driven Davidson alternator putting out 80 amps @ 128 volts
into a bank of 9 deep cycle 12 volt batteries.

Need (want) to find an inverter to change to AC.

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Old 06-25-2019, 07:49 PM   #17
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I will guess that the hi amp DC circuit breaker issue killed off 120v dc systems. Total guess, but i will also suppose these older systems were all fused, not breakered.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:11 PM   #18
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The main line off the battery bank is fused but the individual circuits are on breakers.
They are physically large, both the positive and negative for each circuit run through
the breaker.

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Old 06-25-2019, 09:30 PM   #19
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Yeah. DC breakers big and expensive. Cool system though.
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Old 06-26-2019, 03:21 AM   #20
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115 volt windlass

Thanks for all the help My windlass works but has no grunt it has 12 volt supply but I am almost certain it is meant to be 115v and has been changed when gen set went bad. Original cables are to small for 12V
Boat came from Japan ten years ago to New Zealand hence 115 gen set not 240 v single phase as used domestically in NZ
Thank for all your help Guys.
Ps there are no external marking or name plate on windlass but looks original to vessel.
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