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Old 08-09-2019, 09:25 AM   #1
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Vessel Name: Little Wing
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Problem with Maxwell 500 windlass

I have a Maxwell 500 windlass on a 2005 model Camano that has been giving me problems for awhile. I use the remote control at the helm to operate it and it always worked well then it increasingly struggled to raise the anchor even when it was off the bottom. The breaker would kick out if it was powered for more than a few seconds. Eventually it would even kick the breaker when just lowering the anchor. I cleaned and lubricated per the manufacturer instructions but that didnít help. The four house AGM batteries are strong so I donít think that it is a battery issue.

My boatyard troubleshooted and replaced the windlass motor and it seemed to work okay in just raising and lowering although with not as much power as it once had. When I actually anchored out it started laboring again the more times that I used it. Now it is back to kicking the breaker in just lowering the anchor.

Another issue that may or or may not be a factor or may just be my imagination is the bow thruster doesnít seem as strong as it once was, although it continues to work. I would buy another windlass but my concern is there could be an underlying issue that is causing the problems with perhaps both systems.

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Old 08-09-2019, 09:42 AM   #2
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Perhaps you have bad connections if you are certain that the batteries are good. What do the thruster and windlass share? Ground connection perhaps?

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Old 08-09-2019, 09:51 AM   #3
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The mechanic claimed that he checked the connections but it’s worth checking again. Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:25 AM   #4
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Been through this on one boat. It was a windlass power issue. You probably didn't need a new motor, just a competent boat electrician. Corrosion can creep up inside the cable's insulating covering quite a long ways. Electricity flows over the surface of the strands of wire, not through them.This is why they must be clean for a good connection. Connections can look good, almost perfect and still fail. I use a brass brush that looks like a toothbrush to clean every terminal and use contact cleaner to help. They should look shiney once clean. I don't just clean the wire ends. I also clean the windlass and in your case the thruster connections. Change any fuses in the system and clean the contacts, same for circuit breakers. Corrosion can creep inside of them as well. Then check the power cables resistance with a multi meter to make sure they meet spec, if everything is still running poorly. I can't tell you what resistance is acceptable because I'm don't know the wire size or length of the runs for your equipment. I'm sure it can be looked up online.

Also, with both the thruster and windlass getting weak, that could be a sign of a battery bank with a few weak cells in the batteries. I would have them tested one at a time after a full charge. If that comes back OK, I would let them sit for 24 hours with nothing connected and have them tested again.
What a pain in the transom.

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Old 08-09-2019, 10:40 AM   #5
City: Carefree, Arizona
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I recently read, after the gear box leaking oil, my Maxwell manual. Geez have I been lazy in following their maintenance guidelines. You might want to get your manual out and do the A to Z routine stuff they recommend as you trouble shoot through your unit.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:14 AM   #6
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Simple to check the voltage at the batts and on the motor terminals while in operation.

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