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Old 07-27-2019, 05:45 AM   #1
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Remote windless operation

Iím thinking about the possibility of adding a helm mounted switch which would control the windless. Currently there are floor mounted buttons in the bow but think helm mounted control could at times be useful. I am thinking of installing a selonoid within each circuit of the existing switch circuit which would allow for relatively light wire running back to the helm. Has anyone does this??good /bad idea? Thanks cliff
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Old 07-27-2019, 05:52 AM   #2
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Most systems utilize solenoids (one for each direction) which allow more than one momentary switch to activate the windlass. Are you sure your system doesn't have them already?

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Old 07-27-2019, 06:05 AM   #3
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Having the switches at the helm is a good idea, essential in my opinion. My boat came made that way, so I can't provide experience of wiring it myself or how it was done exactly. I have looked at it enough to know that light gauge wires run from the toggle switches to solenoids, one for down and another for up. The switches are held in the center OFF position with momentary (hold in position) forward and aft for out and in. The solenoids are in a windlass control panel high on the wall of the chain locker where the chain would never bother it. Your system may already have something like that for your foot switches.

My helm switches are wired to be always hot. I see the logic for them being always hot, since deploying an anchor is considered an underway safety item, but some OFF capability for safety might be desired by some. A yard once told me that the anchor and all 250' of chain deployed while the boat was on the hard, suggesting the windlass ran while unattended, but I think there's more to the story. I keep a safety line on the chain in the slip (so did the PO) to prevent unplanned anchor deployment and have never had the windlass go rogue and operate without a finger or foot on a switch.

Good luck with your project!
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:27 AM   #4
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You can also install a remote control setup inexpensively....around $20 on ebay and some come with 2 fobs for redundancy.



That way you can run it from the helm stations or bow if you need to be forward and the foot switches are inop.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:04 AM   #5
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You can also install a remote control setup inexpensively....around $20 on ebay and some come with 2 fobs for redundancy.




That way you can run it from the helm stations or bow if you need to be forward and the foot switches are inop.
that's exactly what I did. the system does have a little Delay from the time you push the button till the time The Windlass moves. as long as you take that into consideration no problem.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:24 AM   #6
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Mine is pretty instantaneous....wonder what is different?
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:47 AM   #7
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Mine is pretty instantaneous....wonder what is different?
I dont know. but the unit I purchased was a cheap eBay item
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:38 PM   #8
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What a great site and great advice. Thanks everyone o think I now know what to do. Any name on the remote that seems to be instantaneous? Cliff
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:07 AM   #9
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Mine has a toggle switch at both the lower and flybridge helm stations. Works nicely. If you have regular switches it would be trivial to add the same sort of thing elsewhere. The tedious part is running the wire.

What kind of windlass do you have now? If there's already a controller/solenoid setup on the boat the vendor probably has spec sheets/instructions showing how to add controls at a station.

And as a side note, I just replaced the Maxwell buttons at the bow on ours. Fantastic improvement. Not more JAMMING a heel down onto the button trying to find the sweet spot to get it to operate... Hardest part of the job was cleaning off the old caulk.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:51 AM   #10
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What a great site and great advice. Thanks everyone o think I now know what to do. Any name on the remote that seems to be instantaneous? Cliff
I think the time delay may be attributed to the windlass solenoid or windlass more so than the remote's solenoid.


Many of the cheaper ones are for vehicle windlasses, but work fine.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:15 PM   #11
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My boat has remotes at the PH helm and FB helm, as well as the foot switches on the bow. We have never used the remotes. When deploying the anchor, it is necessary to be on the bow to first release the anchor, and when retrieving the anchor, it is necessary (or at least desirable) to be on the bow to confirm that the boat remains directly above the anchor, to wash the anchor chain, to remove seaweed and secure the anchor. From my perspective, the guy on the bow is in the best position to control the anchor. I cannot imagine when the remotes would be useful.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:40 PM   #12
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Foot switch failure, windlass maintenance, piling chain by yourself in the locker below decks, when on the dock pulling chain for marking....etc....


Never thought I would need it and probably still don't, but I now find the fob control very useful.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:59 PM   #13
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I have a 240v AC windlass motor. When I wired it, controls on deck or the wheel house use the same relays. One relay for on & off and the other for up & down. I also added a plugin foot pedal so I can place it where it's most comfortable to use, rather than fixed deck buttons.


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Old 08-01-2019, 05:04 PM   #14
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This is a simple upgrade-except for the cable running part ;-)

You will need a booted SPDT (ON)-OFF-(ON) momentary switch mounted at the helm. Run a positive wire from an appropriate source (panelboard, fuse block, etc.) to the line side (center tab) of the switch. Run a wire forward from the UP load side of the switch and the DOWN load side of the switch (two wires total) forward and connect them, probably with a terminal block in the chain locker, to the load side of each of the foot switches on the foredeck.

Easy, peasey...except for the wire routing part!! The expense of a fob and wireless technology may be worth it.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:28 PM   #15
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We have the foot operated switches on the bow. Also have an up/down switch at the flybridge helm. And we have a handheld remote that plugs into a socket on the bow. I have only used the foot switches since I have to be on the bow to release the anchor or lock it in when retrieving the anchor. I really never remember to bring the handheld remote to the bow.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:37 PM   #16
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Like mine, you may have foot switches that are actually connected to the solenoids under the deck with thin wires, just the same as the remote switch at the FB would be (as is mine). The foot switches are micro switches covered by a rubber boot. You would just have to run some more wires.
Have a look.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:51 PM   #17
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We replaced the ply deck on ours recently and got rid of the foot switches entirely as that's where the deck issues came from.

Now just use the 2 for $20 eBay wireless if going out front and if in the wheelhouse the up down switch there, which is nothing more than a very expensive toggle switch
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:08 PM   #18
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From my perspective, the guy on the bow is in the best position to control the anchor. I cannot imagine when the remotes would be useful.
I agree 100%. The guy on the bow can watch the chain as it goes out while the person at the helm is backing up. When the proper length of chain is out, the person on the bow can watch to make sure the anchor is digging in. Then the guy on the bow watches the chain as the helmsperson applies power to set the anchor. The guy on the bow hooks up the riding chain stopper. Tough to see all that from the helm clearly.

I don't have foot switches. Too hard to have the foot in the correct place while washing the rode from both sides of the bow when retrieving. My winch is operated with a wired remote; same one used for the davit winch. Remote in one hand hose nozzle in the other.

My wife and I have a big laugh when I see a woman on the bow controlling the windlass while the man is at the helm. The man usually will not relinquish the helm for any reason other than taking a leak. If the man is physically unable, I can understand that, but always after the anchor is set, the man comes out to the bow and stares at the rode in the water. And we really feel sorry for the woman when she has to wash the rode as it comes up, especially when they use a bucket. We saw that yesterday.

My wife is at the helm during anchoring operation and I communicate with her with headsets.

I apologize to anyone who's wife is better at anchoring than you.

I also apologize to anyone who's bossy wife thinks you don't anchor the way she wants. Or clean the rode properly. We saw that yesterday, too.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:12 PM   #19
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Agree, I do the windlass and my wife runs the boat.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:33 PM   #20
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I guess I could make anchoring harder for me...mine except for the emergency times is done easily from the helm or bow...but then I can see my bow and chain from the helm.


Another boating process where one size doesn't fit all.....solo anchorers may have their own special requirements.
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