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Old 02-06-2020, 06:21 PM   #1
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Single foot switch windlasses?

I have seen two cases now where the anchor windlass only had one switch.

The windlass on my boat (and my previous boat) has two switches - one for up, one for down...

If there's only one switch, I'm assuming that the windlass can only be used to raise the anchor (??). Is that correct?

CAN a SINGLE switch setup be converted to a TWO switch setup?
I would think someone with some electrical expertise could wire relays / solenoids so that you could have off, up, and down. But will the windlass work that way? Or do you have to replace the windlass with a type that supports both up and down?

How then do you go about lowering the anchor - especially if the chain part of the rode is wrapped around the windlass?

I'm also then assuming that anchoring has immediately become a two person operation - one at the helm, one at the bow. That would be unfortunate - as I really like being able to single hand the boat. Sometimes I have to run up front, but many times I'm able to deploy the anchor, and then pull it up without having to leave the helm or ask for help.
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:45 PM   #2
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Lots of assumptions.

My boat only had an "up" foot switch till I added a down too. Easy Peezy.


Not all windlasses can be converted but many can.


Plus there are very few things on a boat that are two person evolutions unless you make it so.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:12 PM   #3
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oak box,
It's just a switch.
You just have to wire it so the polarity reverses.
I've always had one switch.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:15 PM   #4
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Not all windlass motors can be run in reverse...you have to check that first.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:29 PM   #5
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It looks like the Windlass is a Seawolf 12V Windlass - possibly a Seawolf 520?
I found a manual online that suggests that the Seawolf 520 can be wired either single direction, or to run forward and reverse.

If that's the windlass I have, and if it will run either direction, then it's a matter of adding more solenoids and switches...
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:59 PM   #6
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I've got just the one button for up. To go down, I just loosen the brake/clutch, and the weight of the anchor pulls the chain out. It'd be nice to have both directions so I could modulate the speed of the drop, but it's served me well enough as a single hander as it is.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:22 PM   #7
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I was really starting to wonder if anyone actually used one these days that only went up!

Ok, so it's good to hear that it is still done. I guess I am spoiled. But especially for when we raft up, it's really nice to be able to deploy the anchor and handle the helm at the same time!
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:33 AM   #8
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Ours is up/retrieve and free fall down.
It was briefly down only when I refitted it after Muir reconditioned it, and at my request,marked the "up" terminal connection at my request. It was only when we tested it, just after fitting it, using a wooden plinth to take up the larger new motor which didn`t fit the case underneath, with partly set Sika slathered top and bottom of the wood plinth, that I discovered the incorrect terminal had been marked. A very messy disassembly followed.
But, I find free fall out works ok for us. Only risk I see is ending up with a pile of chain on the sea floor instead of paying it out gradually while backing.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:14 AM   #9
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Instead of up/down foot switches, I use the hand held remote control from my davit to operate the windlass. I installed a receptacle for the remote at the back of my portugese bridge and ran wires to the windlass solenoid. The cord is long enough to reach the pilothouse, so I can control the windlass when single handing or when I'm at the bow.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:43 AM   #10
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I got fed up wit my foot switches years ago and installed a wireless remote in addition to the up/down switch at the lower helm. They kept corroding and failing.


Then I found some waterproof micro switches that I could fit into the old button covers on the foredeck.


I am VERY glad as this summer when anchored and solo cruising...my chain wrapped around a 30 foot or so nearly 2 inch in diameter piece of rusty wire cable leftover from some dredging operation of years past.


Had I not had the foot switches, I would never have been able to use both hands to manipulate the chain enough to untangle this very heavy piece of cable.


Oh, given enough time and thought something else may have worked...I was just happly that I rejuvenated my foot switches (BOTH up/down) that allowed me to untangle quickly without being hand or distance limited.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
I was really starting to wonder if anyone actually used one these days that only went up!

Ok, so it's good to hear that it is still done. I guess I am spoiled. But especially for when we raft up, it's really nice to be able to deploy the anchor and handle the helm at the same time!
I had a remote switch at the helm for up and down on Wayfarer. It was really handy. I do miss it a little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
... A very messy disassembly followed...
lol oh no... cringe
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:12 AM   #12
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It depends on your motor. If your motor is a REVERSING motor, a switch can be added but you will also have to have two solenoids. Each switch must be wired to a separate solenoid. So, your first step is to determine whether you have a reversing motor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
I have seen two cases now where the anchor windlass only had one switch.

The windlass on my boat (and my previous boat) has two switches - one for up, one for down...

If there's only one switch, I'm assuming that the windlass can only be used to raise the anchor (??). Is that correct?

CAN a SINGLE switch setup be converted to a TWO switch setup?
I would think someone with some electrical expertise could wire relays / solenoids so that you could have off, up, and down. But will the windlass work that way? Or do you have to replace the windlass with a type that supports both up and down?

How then do you go about lowering the anchor - especially if the chain part of the rode is wrapped around the windlass?

I'm also then assuming that anchoring has immediately become a two person operation - one at the helm, one at the bow. That would be unfortunate - as I really like being able to single hand the boat. Sometimes I have to run up front, but many times I'm able to deploy the anchor, and then pull it up without having to leave the helm or ask for help.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catalinajack View Post
It depends on your motor. If your motor is a REVERSING motor, a switch can be added but you will also have to have two solenoids. Each switch must be wired to a separate solenoid. So, your first step is to determine whether you have a reversing motor.
A windlass solenoids does both up and down so no need for two solenoids.

You have to determine if your windlass require a two wire or three wire solenoid.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:55 AM   #14
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A windlass solenoids does both up and down so no need for two solenoids.

You have to determine if your windlass require a two wire or three wire solenoid.
Quite correct as to a dedicated windlass control box. But, within that box are two solenoids. Some guys will go the more inexpensive route and use two automotive solenoids, something I wouldn't do and didn't do recently.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:07 PM   #15
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I have seen two cases now where the anchor windlass only had one switch.
My Camano Troll had up & down switches, but they were on the fly bridge! Why would someone do that? The first time I anchored I had my "first mate" use the switch while I monitored the rode retrieval. It was "UP!", "Stop!", "UP!", "Stop!", "UP!", "Stop!" (with a couple of "Downs" thrown in.) for about three minutes too long. As soon as I tied up to my home dock I was on the net finding a relay and switches to install. Next time out retrieval was easy.


BTW, I used a relay for a truck windless, same as the Lewmar at about 1/4 the $$$.
As of today Lewmar- $148.23 , Astra Depot 12VDC, 500 amp $33.99, both from Amazon.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:37 PM   #16
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I'm out of town till March but I have several new windlass solenoid/controllers that I bought at a going out of business sale.

I can't remember if they are two or three wire.

I'll post on TF For Sale section before I list on eBay when I return.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:35 PM   #17
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I was really starting to wonder if anyone actually used one these days that only went up!

Ok, so it's good to hear that it is still done. I guess I am spoiled. But especially for when we raft up, it's really nice to be able to deploy the anchor and handle the helm at the same time!
I also only have power up with a foot switch on the deck.
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:57 PM   #18
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My previous windlass up untill about 5-6 yrs ago was an UP only unit so although getting rarer are not all that rare.

Actually there are still windlasses that are power up only but they are now mostly used for anchor rodes that are mostly line with a relatively short section of chain where the owner manhandles those few feet of chain, up to 30 or 40..

They are of much lighter construction also. Power winch and the like.
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