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Old 05-07-2015, 08:25 AM   #1
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Parallel Breakers for Windlass???

Any dangers I am not seeing in doing this. The concept is to provide a way for someone who does not have access to the inside of the boat to turn on the windlass. Situation envisioned is that the boat is dragging and I am not aboard. Current breaker is inside the boat which is locked when neither of us are aboard. I prefer not to leave the windlass powered when I am at anchor so a good samaritan would have to handle the chain by hand.

The current breaker is at the helm and it would be easy to wire a parallel breaker in the bow locker three feet from the current breaker. Other than the possibility of forgetting to turn off the bow locker breaker I can't see any potential problems.

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:40 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. BP. Can't comment on the parallel breakers but how about an indicator light in the PH to notify you if the bow locker breaker is energized? If you're anything like me, it would have to be obvious and bright.
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:49 AM   #3
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The Willard has 2 parallel breakers in it's windlass and have been there since 1962 w/o a problem.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:31 AM   #4
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If your windlass requires a 90 amp breaker for example and you wire another 90 amp breaker in parallel, then it will take roughly 180 amps to trip one of them. Not a good idea.

But you could add a remote battery switch IN SERIES with the breaker and use it to routinely isolate your windlass.

But I think that your original concern is unfounded. Think about the circumstances where it would make sense for someone to board your boat and lift the anchor without access to the engine or helm. I can't think of one, at least not in an emergency/anchor dragging situation.

Maybe there would be a situation where someone would want to pay out more scope if the wind came up and you were dragging. But rare that you drag, someone notices it and more importantly someone climbs on your boat to try to do something about it.

I did that once in my hundreds of days of anchoring. But it was a rode chafe through situation (due to a sailboat keel wrap). The second anchor held long enough for the owner to return.

So, it would be better to have a second anchor ready to deploy.

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Old 05-07-2015, 10:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
If your windlass requires a 90 amp breaker for example and you wire another 90 amp breaker in parallel, then it will take roughly 180 amps to trip one of them. Not a good idea.


David
?????

A 90 amp breaker is going to trip when it feels 90+amps going through it. Take a look at your wiring schematic on a typical boat or your house. Lots of breakers in sequence from shore power to main panel through sub-panels to individual circuits and so on.

I do agree with your synopsis of what this could practically accomplish for the good samaritan in a real life situation if they can't start the boat. Add to that the weather conditions that are likely to cause drag in the first place. Having a second anchor rigged and ready to throw over, as we did, makes more sense.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:32 AM   #6
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How about just a switch interrupting the high amp lead at the windlass? No harm on leaving the helm breaker on then.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:33 AM   #7
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A 90 amp breaker is going to trip when it feels 90+amps going through it. Take a look at your wiring schematic on a typical boat or your house. Lots of breakers in sequence from shore power to main panel through sub-panels to individual circuits and so on.


Two 90 amp breakers in parallel will pass 90 amps each for a total of 180 amps. Breakers in your house and boat are not in parallel.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:53 AM   #8
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I think the OP is saying only one breaker will be in use at a time. The other will be open. N'est-ce Pas?
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:01 AM   #9
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I think the OP is saying only one breaker will be in use at a time. The other will be open. N'est-ce Pas?
Vous avez raison.

While anything can happen, the idea would be the the outside breaker would only be turned on in an emergency or an act of stupidity on my part. Thus only one breaker on at a time.
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:15 AM   #10
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How would a Good Samaritan, unfamiliar with your boat, know where to find the additional breaker, unless conspicuously labeled?
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:33 AM   #11
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Remind me....What was the problem with leaving the windlass breaker on?
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:08 PM   #12
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Bay Pelican has a full set of instructional signs for the good samaritan to follow starting at the windlass. Currently the signs indicated the windlass will not operate. I would just add a sign that says turn on the breaker and use the remote immediately below the breaker. The real benefit of being able to use the windlass is that there is a full size secondary anchor with 300 ft of rode on the anchor pulpit ready to be dropped.

This is overkill for most of us with boats in North American but in the eastern Caribbean the normal winds are 15 - 20 kts and boats drag on a daily basis. So far we have avoided that plague but we are a minority.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:11 PM   #13
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Remind me....What was the problem with leaving the windlass breaker on?
Won't say I am right but it is just my personal preference not to have the power at the windlass. In high winds (30+ kts) I frequently turn the power on just as a precaution when we leave the boat.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obthomas View Post
A 90 amp breaker is going to trip when it feels 90+amps going through it. Take a look at your wiring schematic on a typical boat or your house. Lots of breakers in sequence from shore power to main panel through sub-panels to individual circuits and so on.


Two 90 amp breakers in parallel will pass 90 amps each for a total of 180 amps. Breakers in your house and boat are not in parallel.
I apologize if there is some confusion on nomenclature here. If you are thinking of "parrallel" in the case of a circuit breaker set up as being the "output" and "input" sides of two breaker being joined together as so:

+
|
/\
cb cb
\ /
|
+

Then yes you are right. If one thinks of parallel circuits as where hot of one fixture is directly connected to hot or "+" of another (as larry describes his thought), as opposed to series connection of + in, - out to + in, then my statement is correct. Again, if I used the wrong interpretation of parallel in this configuration or confused anyone, I sincerely apologize.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:56 PM   #15
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I'd keep it simple and just leave the current breaker on while on the hook. One less thing for a "good samaritan" to have to do in the first place, and one less item to break/maintain. Who's going to go on board thinking "ok, where's the instructions" make it easy, keep it simple. Like I said, keep the breaker on while on the hook.

my $0.02
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:08 PM   #16
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Since this thread has gotten a little silly, let me relate my story (which has been told here before) about the need to turn off the windlass breaker.

5-6 years ago I anchored, set the hook and later went to bed. At some ungodly hour of the morning I was jolted out of bed by a horrible rattling noise outside and just above my berth. I pulled on a pair of shorts and went outside to see who/what was attacking me.

It had drizzled that night and I had left the handheld remote to the windlass control out on deck. It had gotten wet, shorted and energized the windlass. The chain pulled up about 5' until it jammed and tripped the breaker.

After that harrowing experience I always stowed the handheld in a locker and tripped the breaker after setting the anchor.

The other reason is to avoid mangling fingers and toes when working forward.

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Old 05-07-2015, 04:18 PM   #17
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The truth be known it is against code to use breakers as switches. I leave my breaker on all the time and keep the deck switches and helm switches in good repair. I don't think I would own a remote control that was not waterproof.
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:04 PM   #18
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The truth be known it is against code to use breakers as switches. I leave my breaker on all the time and keep the deck switches and helm switches in good repair. I don't think I would own a remote control that was not waterproof.
That is true for AC but is it also true for 12V DC? If it is, it is one of the most violated electrical rules in boating ;-).

The remote was supposed to be waterproof.

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Old 05-08-2015, 04:09 AM   #19
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How about just a switch interrupting the high amp lead at the windlass? No harm on leaving the helm breaker on then.
X2
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:07 AM   #20
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X2
At some point you have to go forward to unleash the anchor, so I would see the switch as a one two process.

An on, off indicator light could be installed if thought necessary.
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