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Old 07-12-2019, 12:21 PM   #1
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Adding autoanchor but keep bow buttons?

Anyone know if Maxwell's autoanchor products will allow retaining use of the traditional footswitch button controls? I looked on their website(s) and couldn't find an obvious explanation or manual for how something like that would be wired with one of their controllers.
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:28 AM   #2
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Our Maxwell RC10-10 has both footswitches at the bow and helm control on the bridge. I think they also offer a remote, too, maybe wired somehow to the wired controller on the bridge. Don't know if the 10-10 is an "autoanchor" unit...

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Old 07-13-2019, 09:02 AM   #3
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Yes, absolutely. They all operate in parallel, I.e. you can use any control to operate the windless.

The only caution I can think of is that when auto deploying or retrieving, itís controlled by the panel and the only place you can stop it is at the panel. You canít hit. Foot button and stop it. So if using the auto panel, you need to man it.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:01 AM   #4
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Yes, absolutely. They all operate in parallel, I.e. you can use any control to operate the windless.

The only caution I can think of is that when auto deploying or retrieving, itís controlled by the panel and the only place you can stop it is at the panel. You canít hit. Foot button and stop it. So if using the auto panel, you need to man it.
Excellent point regarding auto and local control. We have two helm stations (lower and flybridge) and both have good line of sight AND are within shouting distance. So any deployment issues would be relatively easy to notice and handle from one of these control panels. A friend has had a Maxwell panel on his past and current boats and operating it seemed relatively straightforward. The only wrinkle being the anchor doesn't drop itself off the roller when the rode is loosened. It has to be manually lifted a bit to get it to deploy. This was true on the friend's last boat too. So there's a bump to loosen the rode, lift and then automatic deployment to a certain length of rode.

I'm looking at ways to mitigate some of stress during the anchoring process. Using one of these as a rode counter would handle one aspect. The next is seeing the rode angle and chain filth during retrieval (to help use boat motion to clear gunk from the chain) . I'm considering a bow camera of some sort to help ease this. That or I may trade out roles to have my wife operate the engines while I handle the anchor retrieval. Which is a different sort of challenge...

A lot of this starts leading toward getting a wireless Yacht Controller setup. Controlling thrusters, throttles and anchor from a single remote would be fantastic... but as yet it's not been stressful 'enough' to get the process started.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:22 AM   #5
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I always preferred to handle anchor duties and have Ann take care of the helm. Simple hand signals told her what to do. I don't understand the value of the auto-anchor, at some point you have to go up there and set the chain snubber or cleat off the rode (and eventually undo same) anyway. Not to mention wash off the rode in many situations or occasionally manhandle the anchor. Among other miscellaneous tasks.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:38 AM   #6
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I always preferred to handle anchor duties and have Ann take care of the helm. Simple hand signals told her what to do. I don't understand the value of the auto-anchor, at some point you have to go up there and set the chain snubber or cleat off the rode (and eventually undo same) anyway. Not to mention wash off the rode in many situations or occasionally manhandle the anchor. Among other miscellaneous tasks.
We may start doing it that way, the snubber/bridle being a bigger factor.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:10 AM   #7
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I go forward to launch and retrieve, wifey takes the helm, hand signals work nicely... although we've recently begun using headsets and of course they work too.

I too have to lift our anchor shank off the roller before it will deploy. And on retrieval, I have to manually lift the anchor the last couple of feet through the slot in the pulpit and over the roller -- otherwise the anchor would bash the pulpit to death. (Wifey couldn't do that lift.) Then I have to do the wash down... and finally set the chain stopper. We have a remote control at the helm, but I've not ever used it for anything.

Our rode is combo chain/rope, 25' chain, 300' 8-plait, specifically because of the mud. Fewer chain links to clean, and a snubber or bridle isn't usually necessary. We have a raw water washdown system, and I've recently added an extended garden watering implement to provide more reach... so I'm better able to get the raw water stream more directly on the chain links and on the anchor itself...

The chain counter works great, for chain, not so much for the rope. Even though the gypsy is designed to handle rope, too, and does it well, there's still too much slippage for the chain counter to be accurate. Not a huge deal...

I've read it might be useful to draw the boat up toward the anchor much prior to weighing -- half hour or so? and that might take some of the mud out of the links. Haven't tried that yet, but that could be a useful purpose for the helm remote... preparatory to eventually bringing the anchor all the way in.

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Old 07-15-2019, 09:24 AM   #8
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Yes, absolutely. They all operate in parallel, I.e. you can use any control to operate the windless.

The only caution I can think of is that when auto deploying or retrieving, it’s controlled by the panel and the only place you can stop it is at the panel. You can’t hit. Foot button and stop it. So if using the auto panel, you need to man it.
Timely thread...I just ordered a Maxwell AA150 Chain Counter and my understanding as to exactly how it works is per twistedtree's post, above.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:42 AM   #9
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I always preferred to handle anchor duties and have Ann take care of the helm.... I don't understand the value of the auto-anchor,
When other crew persons aren't aboard, Auto Anchor is nice to have when single handling. (It's also nice to have , period!) Not to mention having the ability to launch the anchor in an emergency. I know 5 people on my dock that have chain counters, sail & power, and to a man, they all rave about them. Also, having a self deploying anchor sweetens up the entire system. I also just added a salt water wash down to the bow to get most of the mud off the chain.

http://www.maxwellmarine.com/PDF/Pow...ontrollers.pdf
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:45 PM   #10
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OK, I must be missing something here; looking through the Maxwell literature, I am not sure what they mean by "auto".
Can you explain? No need for a chain stopper or means of tieing off the rode when the anchor is stowed in the pulpit? I had a buddy with a 32 foot Hunt Surfhunter (beautiful boat) that had something like that, but he just used it for day hooks.

I note they say to use a snubber or stopper when the anchor is deployed or when breaking it out, just like any other windlass.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:33 PM   #11
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No, itís not about securing the anchor, itís about paying it out and pulling it in.

With ďautoĒ, you can enter how many feet you want to pay out and press GO, and it will
Pay though out and stop. On retrieval, the press GO, and is hauls in the anchor until itís 6 feet from the boat, then stops and awaits further instruction.

I didnít want to reprogram the payout length each time I anchored, so just programmed in a large number. Then when anchoring I would note the depth, and watch until I had payed out about 10í short of the bottom. This is moot in shallow water, but significant in deep water. While rose is paying out, Iíd work my way into my final position. The once positioned, and with anchoring hanging 10í feet from the bottom, Iíd hit GO again and wait for the anchor to hit bottom. You could tell by the sound of the windlass when it hit.

At that point Iíd mark my location, start moving slowly down wind, and hit GO again on the anchor control panel.

I would drift back as the ride paid out until I had the desired scope, then Iíd stop and see if I could set the anchor.
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:51 PM   #12
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Auto anchor sound like someone's invention looking for practical usage.

As someone posted above, I can't see a use for it.

We have windlass control at the helm but have never used it. Instead of foot switches for windlass control, I use a hand held wired remote. The hand control allows me to work from both sides of the bow to wash the chain without thinking about where my foot is positioned.

My wife drives while I deploy and retrieve the anchor. We communicate with headsets.

I like to be up on the bow while the anchor is going down. I watch the motion of the chain as my wife backs up fairly rapidly and modulate the speed of the chain going out. And when the proper length is out, she goes into idle and I watch the chain as it tightens and make sure the anchor digs in. Or not. Once I know it's dug in, I watch the chain as engine power is applied to make sure we are set. Fit the riding chain stopper and we are done.

When single handed anchoring, I put out anchor and chain 5 feet from the bottom, put the engine in idle reverse and put chain out as described above. Once sufficient anchor chain is out, I return to the pilothouse and do the backing under power.

Auto anchor sound like a solution for for lazy boaters.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:11 PM   #13
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Auto anchor sound like someone's invention looking for practical usage.

As someone posted above, I can't see a use for it.

We have windlass control at the helm but have never used it. Instead of foot switches for windlass control, I use a hand held wired remote. The hand control allows me to work from both sides of the bow to wash the chain without thinking about where my foot is positioned.

My wife drives while I deploy and retrieve the anchor. We communicate with headsets.

I like to be up on the bow while the anchor is going down. I watch the motion of the chain as my wife backs up fairly rapidly and modulate the speed of the chain going out. And when the proper length is out, she goes into idle and I watch the chain as it tightens and make sure the anchor digs in. Or not. Once I know it's dug in, I watch the chain as engine power is applied to make sure we are set. Fit the riding chain stopper and we are done.

When single handed anchoring, I put out anchor and chain 5 feet from the bottom, put the engine in idle reverse and put chain out as described above. Once sufficient anchor chain is out, I return to the pilothouse and do the backing under power.

Auto anchor sound like a solution for for lazy boaters.

Quite the contrary. I find it incredibly useful. Necessary? No. But helpful and useful? Absolutely. Well worth the $500 or whatever is cost.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:31 PM   #14
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OK, I still don't get it. So this is an add-on device to a chain counter system, not a feature of the windlass? For me, personally, sounds complicated and ATTGW. After literally hundreds of anchorings, something like this never remotely crossed my mind as a nice to have. Our system is much like that of "syjos". But whatever floats your boat, far from me to disparage. After all,I once got questioned here for having too many bilge pumps, or letting the anchor self-settle into the bottom before hard powering on it amongst other personal picadillos.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:15 AM   #15
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OK, I still don't get it. So this is an add-on device to a chain counter system, not a feature of the windlass? For me, personally, sounds complicated and ATTGW. After literally hundreds of anchorings, something like this never remotely crossed my mind as a nice to have. Our system is much like that of "syjos". But whatever floats your boat, far from me to disparage. After all,I once got questioned here for having too many bilge pumps, or letting the anchor self-settle into the bottom before hard powering on it amongst other personal picadillos.

There are probably lots of different types, but the one I've used is just a feature in the chain counter. It's a Maxwell AA560. It keeps track of how much chain is out (the counter part), has manual up/down control buttons, and also has auto up/down.



Winch Accessories


Perhaps the most convenient aspect of it, at least for me, was being able to pay out chain without having to hold my finger constantly on the down buttton. Now I have both hands free for gear and steering so I can maneuver into position while the anchor is lowering to just short of the sea bed. In deep water it can be a minute or more to get that much chain out. Then I find it helpful in the same way after the anchor is on the bottom and I am laying out whatever scope I want. The auto-out cranks out chain, and both hands are free to maneuver the boat slowly aft to lay out the chain.


Then similar for retrieval. I can engage auto-in and while the windlass cranks, I have both hands free to move the boat forward towards the anchor as the chain comes in, keep the bow pointed towards the anchor, and once the anchor is off the bottom, hold position as needed until the anchor is stowed.



I found it very helpful, but there are a zillion ways to go about anchoring, and if you have a different way that you prefer, go for it.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:45 AM   #16
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An update, I had my wife handle the helm this weekend while I retrieved the anchor. Process went a lot smoother as it only required me signaling back/forward/port/starboard. Looks like we'll make that a standard practice from now on. So, thanks for the advice Chris, it was spot-on.

While up there I confirmed the Maxwell windlass bow buttons are toast, already have a replacement set on order. Up button was really inconsistent finding the right push point.
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Old 07-22-2019, 03:27 PM   #17
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Amazing......
I had no idea some of this auto stuff existed.
I was about to say “nothing I’d use” but there was mention about needing to watch where you step re the foot switch and how the hand held control helps on that issue. But I couldn’t take advantage of that because I need both hands to haul in the rode with the capstan drum. The line walks to the other side (port) and it’s a constant fight to keep it on the drum or/and not doubled over.

Interesting thread though.
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Old 07-22-2019, 05:28 PM   #18
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I could see a use for it. But one burr is I hate letting the windlass drop chain at all. Too slow, thatís why I like using the free fall with a clutch. Gets the anchor down right now before I drift out of place. Plus, I need some chain to deploy quickly as I back down as I donít want to pull on the anchor until some scope is out. Do they do any kind of free fall automagically? Iím thinking that would be too tricky, but who knows.

Iíd also love to see an auto retrieve that would pull in 5 feet, wait a minute, pull in another 5, until it reached set target. Would be very useful in getting ready to pull anchor.
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:04 PM   #19
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Quite the contrary. I find it incredibly useful. Necessary? No. But helpful and useful? Absolutely. Well worth the $500 or whatever is cost.
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Amazing......
I had no idea some of this auto stuff existed.
I was about to say ďnothing Iíd useĒ but there was mention about needing to watch where you step re the foot switch and how the hand held control helps on that issue. But I couldnít take advantage of that because I need both hands to haul in the rode with the capstan drum. The line walks to the other side (port) and itís a constant fight to keep it on the drum or/and not doubled over.

Interesting thread though.
The way I see it, it's like power windows in a car. If you never had them, you don't know what you're missing, but once you've had them, you wonder how we ever coped with manual winders for everything.

My boat - when I had her - was the oldest in the marina, and most of her equipment was pretty basic. But the thing that I fitted and enjoyed the most was the chain counter..! Wasn't even auto up or down, but the winch was power up and down, and that, combined with the self-launching S-Sarca anchor made anchoring so easy it was fun, my wife never needed to help, and the system worked faultlessly the whole 16 years we had her. Only once she was set and the required scope out, would I wander, in my own good time, to set a snubber, knowing exactly how much rode I had out. Upping anchor just the reverse process. No painted section, bits of coloured this and that, no stomping on foot switches - didn't have any. Beudafool...
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:41 PM   #20
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I hate letting the windlass drop chain at all. Too slow, thatís why I like using the free fall with a clutch.
Given the depths we typically anchor in here on the Chesapeake this is not a factor. I can understand where folks in greater depths might benefit from it.

But I don't know of too many (any?) windlasses with a clutch control that supports being automated. At least not in smaller recreational vessel setups. Most of the ones I've seen depend on manually releasing/tightening a clutch/brake. I'm sure they're out there, I just haven't seen them. My Maxwell VWC uses a 24" long handle for loosening/tightening the clutch. By the time I dig that out and use it, the motor would have already deployed anything I'd likely need.

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Iíd also love to see an auto retrieve that would pull in 5 feet, wait a minute, pull in another 5, until it reached set target. Would be very useful in getting ready to pull anchor.
With the display you're able to see how much rode is out. Use any manual function control to pull up what you want. The controller will track that. Do it again, and eventually do a full auto-retrieve. The controller allows any manual use (including footswitches) while still keeping track of deployed rode length.
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