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Old 11-17-2019, 03:03 PM   #1
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Windlass Control Update - Sharing a Success

I have a 1983 vintage Galley Maid windlass. One of the two reversing solenoids failed such that I had a choice of using the windlass to lower or raise the anchor but not both. I could choose by swapping the motor leads one for another. In fact, I kept it for raising and manually deployed the anchor chain on our one-year cruise doing the Great Loop. As we have been back in our home marina since last May, I have been engaged in a number of "home improvement" projects, one of which is replacing the windlass control. Unfortunately, as with all Galley Maid products, replacement parts are VERY expensive. GM wanted $832 for a new control box which includes a 150amp circuit breaker.

Not willing to pay what I think is an outrageous amount, I set out to find an alternative. It was a long search because I needed to find a reversing solenoid for a four-wire series-wound motor with a wiring scheme that matches that of my Galley Maid. I finally found one in a Lewmar contactor rated to more than accommodate the current draw of my windlass motor. I mounted it and the circuit breaker, wired it up and prompted blew a 125 amp MRBF fuse. Ah, I had attached the cables to the wrong terminals. My attention to detail was lacking yesterday.

This morning, I went back into the chain locker and corrected my mistakes. Then it was outside to the foot buttons for a test. Success, both up and down! Total cost:

1. Circuit breaker - $86
2. Lewmar contactor - $187
3. New 1/0 main feed - $22

Savings was over $600. My point in posting is that sometimes there is more than one way to get to the other side.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:11 PM   #2
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I hate it when I let the smoke out of a fuse... But it happens. Glad you got it working. And saved a pretty penny too.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:46 PM   #3
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My windlass failure sounds like the same beginning, but a very different end.
First I swapped the leads from the dead solenoid to the live one for the "UP".
Then, back home again, I went to the local Auto parts supplier and bought a pair (both the same age, living in the same hostile environment, the second solenoid's life was likely nearing its end too) of solenoids. $25 (CDN) or less each.

I looked at Lewmar windlass Solenoids, in the parts book at the Marine Store, but couldn't face their price tag. If I need to change my Solenoids every 10 years, I won't live long enough to make the Lewmar price reasonable.

My Lofrans Tigres has always been controlled by external (Sourced from the Auto Parts store as far as I can tell) solenoids. I am sure any brand can likewise be controlled externally. Solenoids come in "momentary" and "Continuous" duty. This application requires "Continuous" with an amp rating above the amperage draw of the Windlass. Mine is a 1000W, so requires a (1000w/12v=83.3a) 100 amp rating.
Even the little Auto parts place in Ganges had those, so obtainable everywhere.

I am actually on my second redo. The first was likely in 1995, when I went through all of the systems on my relatively new to me boat. The second was in 2017 or 2018.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:50 PM   #4
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Nicely done! Maybe worth noting that Galley Maid’s very high price simply reflects the cost reality of their business today. 99% of their business is now high volume sheet metal fabrication work for industrial OEM’s. They continue in the marine business only to support Galley Maid equipment owners. With no marine manufacturing base, everything they do is essentially a one-off exercise, which is almost always an expensive proposition.
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