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Old 10-04-2021, 04:29 PM   #1
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Tripping anchor windlass breaker.

First time anchoring since I bought my Mainship 350 one year ago. Kept tripping my windlass breaker on retrieval. Anchor chain straight down 100ft just off the bottom. Had to reset breaker at least 5 times to get the anchor up. Motor was hot. Could smell the gear oil. Couldn’t keep your hand on it.

Voltage on the line side of the switch was 13.44 volts. NO LOAD

With LOAD 10.4 then drop to 9.80 volts

Clamp amp reading initial start up 104 amps climbing to 119 amps running.

Breaker is a Lewmar 90amp breaker.

Batteries are new. Cables are 1/0 . Run is 30ft aprox

Bearings, seals, gear oil new as of refurbishment 8 months ago.
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:44 PM   #2
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Sounds like it could be a loose or corroded connection. Check the voltage at each connection and make sure there isnít a big drop on any. Also check the crimp on each connection. Is the 30í one way or round trip?
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Old 10-04-2021, 05:24 PM   #3
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Battery to windlass.
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:14 PM   #4
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What battery(s) are running the Windlass?
What size wire and how long between battery and windlass?
Based on the starting voltage, I assume the engine is running. What RPM and do you know the amperage the alternator is putting out at that RPM?

Low voltage is a killer and requires additional amperage which is what tripped the breaker. With out knowing wire size, length, battery capacity and health, it's hard to diagnose the problem as design or warn components (mediocre battery). The first thing I would do if the engine alternator is changing the battery that the windlass is running off of, would be to increase the engine RPM to maybe 1,200 to 1,500 while operating the windlass (reduce RPM when moving the boat forward). Most alternators put out very little amperage near idle. When increasing the RPM, you maintain voltage and increase available amperage. If the windlass draws 100 amps and the alternator is putting out 75 amps at 1,500 RPM, you should see a huge difference. This doesn't solve the problem, but removes the windlass as the cause.

Ted
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:54 PM   #5
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The cable run is actually 60í not 30í. You have to measure round trip from the battery to the windlass and then back to the battery. There are 2 battery voltage drop charts, 10% and 3%. The 3% is for critical circuits and the 10% for lesser important circuits. However I only use the 3% drop chart because everything works better with higher voltage. In your case the 10% drop chart shows that 1/0 cable is ok but it isnít on the 3% drop chart, it is then undersize. My thought process is to have 3% or less drop on all circuits, it costs a bit more once but then you have great voltage forever. Everything run better and lasts longer with good voltage, motors run cooler and your windlass motor is running extremely hot. So you need better voltage at the motor. As I said before you may have a high resistance connection in the cabling or it may be the case that your cables are undersize even if the 10% drop chart says they are ok. Check and/or redo the connectors in all the cabling. If it is all good then you could run a second cable in parallel from the batteries to the windlass. That will give you effectively larger cables. And you wonít have to spend as much to get say 4/0 cables.
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Old 10-04-2021, 09:13 PM   #6
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The windlass motor is a constant power machine. If the voltage is low, it draws more current to compensate which is the cause of your over heating and breaker tripping. As others have said the low voltage cause may be a bad connection, undersized cables, discharged battery or a combination. I am a fan of a dedicated battery under the forward berth for the windlass. Solves the voltage drop problem caused by the long cable runs. I charge my dedicated windlass battery with a Balmar Duo Charge .
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Old 10-04-2021, 09:56 PM   #7
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The easy fix, if there's room, put a battery close to the windlass. It's easier to send charging amps to a remote battery than 100 amps 30 feet.
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:19 PM   #8
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Could a defective motor cause the high amperage? The windlass is 24 years old. The bearings were completely deteriorated from water leaks and moisture
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:00 AM   #9
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You don't mention the windlass model or chain size but I would expect max draw to be no more than 80A. New batteries and 1/0 cable should be more than sufficient. Refurbishment caught my eye. Did they test or replace the motor? I would probably disassemble to check bearings and gear clearances. If something is binding you will get a high draw. But as mentioned it is most likely a bad connection or the motor is shot.
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Old 10-05-2021, 07:11 AM   #10
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Could a defective motor cause the high amperage? The windlass is 24 years old. The bearings were completely deteriorated from water leaks and moisture
I would expect the manufacturer / rebuilder to competently test the windlass after rebuilding, including amp draw. If you solve the voltage drop, the excessive amperage and heating should go away.

Ted
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
What battery(s) are running the Windlass?
What size wire and how long between battery and windlass?
Based on the starting voltage, I assume the engine is running. What RPM and do you know the amperage the alternator is putting out at that RPM?

Low voltage is a killer and requires additional amperage which is what tripped the breaker. With out knowing wire size, length, battery capacity and health, it's hard to diagnose the problem as design or warn components (mediocre battery). The first thing I would do if the engine alternator is changing the battery that the windlass is running off of, would be to increase the engine RPM to maybe 1,200 to 1,500 while operating the windlass (reduce RPM when moving the boat forward). Most alternators put out very little amperage near idle. When increasing the RPM, you maintain voltage and increase available amperage. If the windlass draws 100 amps and the alternator is putting out 75 amps at 1,500 RPM, you should see a huge difference. This doesn't solve the problem, but removes the windlass as the cause.

Ted
Please read post. The info is there
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:16 PM   #12
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The motor was not re built. Ran on my bench fine. Bearings where almost none existent. Replaced bearings and seals like for like.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SoWhat View Post
You don't mention the windlass model or chain size but I would expect max draw to be no more than 80A. New batteries and 1/0 cable should be more than sufficient. Refurbishment caught my eye. Did they test or replace the motor? I would probably disassemble to check bearings and gear clearances. If something is binding you will get a high draw. But as mentioned it is most likely a bad connection or the motor is shot.
Windlass is Lewmar Concept 1. Now obsolete. Chain size 5/16Ē. 100ft
Amperage per manual is 100 a max
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jc180 View Post
The windlass motor is a constant power machine. If the voltage is low, it draws more current to compensate which is the cause of your over heating and breaker tripping. As others have said the low voltage cause may be a bad connection, undersized cables, discharged battery or a combination. I am a fan of a dedicated battery under the forward berth for the windlass. Solves the voltage drop problem caused by the long cable runs. I charge my dedicated windlass battery with a Balmar Duo Charge .
You do not have the alternator charge?
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:26 PM   #15
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Some boaters start their generators. The charger then supplies about 13.2 volts so no need to rely on the 12.7 volts or less in the batteries.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:31 PM   #16
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You do not have the alternator charge?
Alternator charges house bank, duo charge from house to windlass battery. So in effect, alternator does charge both.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:48 PM   #17
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Please read post. The info is there
Quote:
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The motor was not re built. Ran on my bench fine. Bearings where almost none existent. Replaced bearings and seals like for like.
Apologize for missing the cabling information.

A new battery doesn't mean it isn't defective.

Questions:

So the windlass has never worked correctly since it was rebuilt?

So you did nothing to the motor? The bearings you are referring to were part of the gearbox assembly?

Just because the motor runs with no load, doesn't mean it will run under load. If it were mine, I would want to determine if it were in the motor, battery or cabling. At 100 amps, a normal car battery will run the windlass lifting chain and the anchor in your boat slip. Put the battery next to the windlass and wire it up. Drop the anchor manually. With a volt meter and your amp clamp ring in place, try lifting the chain and anchor. If the voltage crashes or the amperage spikes, STOP.

Alternatively, it might be worth looking at the motor brushes and armature. I'm not good with electric motor repair, but a worn out brush, a hanging brush not making full contact, or a warn armature where the brushes contact, might allow it to run without a load, but not well under load.

Ted
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:52 PM   #18
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Could a defective motor cause the high amperage? The windlass is 24 years old. The bearings were completely deteriorated from water leaks and moisture
Yes. 1) If the motor requires more energy to turn due to mechanical binding. Donít know if the motor has bearings or bushings, but they may be warn or corroded as well. 2) If the winding is partially shorted, it would draw more current. Doubt you have a partially shorted winding. If you had the winding resistance spec, you could test the winding resistance.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:59 PM   #19
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jclays
Do you know if the windlasss ever worked? Agree with previous posters, need to eliminate the power source including battery, cables, and connections as a problem. A reasonable test would be to rig up a separate temporary battery and cables close to the windlass and then run it under load. Record current and voltage data.
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Old 10-05-2021, 03:21 PM   #20
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The windlass never worked when I purchased the boat last year. It had been seized due to the shaft bearings being deteriorated. I didn't have anyway to test the motor except to run it on my bench.
Im inclined to think the motor is the issue.
I have 2 new batteries purchased February this year. The batteries are not defective.
Cables are 1/0 look almost new.
Connectors on all ends are tight and clean.
Voltage at the windlass is 13.44.
On start up the windlass goes from 0 amps to 119/122 amps within 3 seconds the voltage then drops in relation to the amperage climbing. I'm inclined to think the motor is creating a lot of resistance possibly from issues in the windings? Armature? I'm not that well versed in electric motors.

Does the breaker have to be near the source battery or can it be moved forward close to the windlass?
The battery and breaker are in the engine room astern and below. When adrift in a crowded anchorage and solo operating, running down below into the engine room is not the best or safest thing to do.
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