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Old 04-09-2019, 10:46 PM   #1
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Diagnosing Windlass Issue

Our Muir Horizontal with a new 1200 watt motor fitted about 4 years ago, stopped working. There is one footswitch, for UP, that`s my first suspicion, after checking all the cable connections are still connected. The breaker on switch panel is not "breaking"

Any reason I can`t put a screwdriver across the 2 poles on the switch to see if the windlass activates? Thus diagnosing the switch as defective if it activates.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:09 PM   #2
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That would work fine as long as it`s the "down" contacts and not the "up" I have had a number of those foot switches fail over the years, a few years ago I installed a wireless remote purchased of ebay and gave up foot switches (although our windlass can still be operated from both helms it`s hard to see with the tender on the bow) but the cheapie ebay remote control has worked so well over the last few years many of my mates have also installed them https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/12V-Elec...EAAOSws2RcNXSH
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:36 AM   #3
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Have you checked the studs on the motor?
Whoever installed ours back in the day didn't use 2 spanners and overstressed the stud which let go at a most inopportune time.
Easy fixed for $100 at an auto electrician after a long dinghy ride, fast ferry, etc etc 2 days later.

+100 for the remote above as well. (For a few dollars more there is a 2 remote deal)
When we replaced the deck up fwd we left the foot switches out all together.
Simple toggle switch up down in wheelhouse and remote from anywhere we like.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:49 AM   #4
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Have you checked the solenoid yet? Mine is mounted below the winch and is fairly easy to check.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:02 AM   #5
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So far I only checked the cable attachment at the switch. Should have and will check the cables under the windlass, which sits on a pedestal/storage hatch. Switch is about 2 years old, by sound and feel seems to open/close as I`d expect. I think we did a good sealing job last replacement, but we`ve had some extreme rain periods recently. Boat is an hour away, I`ll take a new switch with me,a good spare onboard if it is not required this time.
If the cabling is ok I can can let the chain out a little and momentarily join the 2 switch poles. I`ll know in an instant if it runs, at 1200 watts the motor is fast and strong, the ammeter never recovered fully from the shock first time we used it.
The remote sounds a good idea, not pricey either.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:42 AM   #6
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Yes let out a little chain and then bridge the switch
check for power at the motor and work back from there ie motor, solenoid, switch , breaker and finally battery
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:20 AM   #7
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The foot switch on our Muir has a little drain hole dead center on the bottom side under the deck. Someone reinstalled our up switch with the drain hole off center, so moisture corroded the contacts--the switch comes apart easily and is very well built, I cleaned it up sanded the contacts and reinstalled it with the drain hole right side down and it has not failed us after that. Muir winches are one of the best IMO.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:51 AM   #8
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I remember Muir Windlasses.......

If you are going to properly troubleshoot remove the chain from the windlass that way you don't make a mistake you can keep your fingers.

Fist check to make sure you have 12vDC coming into the relay. Then jump a large wire to the other side of the relay. Does windlass move? Yes? Then check the foot switches. Disconnect them and do a continuity (OHMS) check. Good? Sound like bad wire connection of a bad relay.

How old is the unit? Ask Crusty. Sometimes it is just easier to replace the unit because of age.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:14 AM   #9
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Boat is near an hour away so not been there yet. Windlass was rebuilt by Muir about 4 years ago, new more powerful motor so big it didn`t fit the casing, I had to make a wood plinth for underneath to accommodate it. Gearbox tested perfect. New equivalent is $3000+ so none too keen on replacing the whole unit. It`s usually the switch with these, but we`ll see.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:23 AM   #10
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Very useful tip, thanks
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post

Any reason I can`t put a screwdriver across the 2 poles on the switch to see if the windlass activates? Thus diagnosing the switch as defective if it activates.
A volt meter would probably be a better troubleshooting tool. I've used an insulated screwdriver to test a solenoid in the past. Hell, I used a screwdriver to lower an outdrive when I was stuck at an anchorage on Sunday afternoon with the drive-up and the Down Solenoid not working. (My wife was very disappointed we didn't get 'Marooned' for an extra night. (I had to remind her that we were out of beer)).
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