Originally Posted by Mike Lowthian
I am in the Bahamas and was on the hook the other night and in the morning the windlass would not work. Had to haul in the anchor and chain by hand. In port now and would like to fix the situation. I am technologically challenged to all things electrical. My guess is that the batter serving the windlass has died although all other systems seem unaffected? How do I identify the battery that is the culprit? Do I change only that one?
Any help would be appreciated.
In what way did it fail to work? Was there any clicking? Motor sound? Movement? Etc?
My bet for a sudden failure like that wouldn't actually be the battery. It would be the circuit protection or the contactor(s)/solenoid(s)/"windlass controller".
In other words, "Is there a circuit breaker? Is it on? Is power getting past it?"; "Is there a fuse? Is it good? Is power getting past it?"; "Is there a self-resetting fuse, is power getting past it?" Etc.
Normally the way those things are set up is that the "low current/amperage controls" signal/operate the contactor(s)/solenoid(s)/"windlass controller" which, in turn controls the high-current windlass. It enables the control wires to be thin and easy to run, and keeps the thick wires needed to supply the power shorter, cheaper, and more direct.
But, these contactor(s)/solenoid(s)/"windlass controller" devices are notoriously unreliable.
I think the only way to find it is to trace things.
-- When you call for the windlass to go up or down, does the windlass get 12v?
---> If so, check the connections at the windlass, but it is looking suspect.
---> If there is significantly less than 12v, but it switches on or off with your control, is it also low at the battery?
------>If so, start there. It may be a battery or charger.
------>If not, check the connections from the battery there, a wire or connection or few is high resistance. Fix any problems, get the voltage up, and see what happens.
--If you aren't getting 12v to the windlass when calling for it to go up or down, find the contactor(s)/solenoid(s)/"windlass controller", often in the chain locker. It'll have a pair of thick wires and some thing ones. Is there 12v across the thick wires?
----> If so, are your controls getting 12v?
----------> If not, there is likely a wiring problem
----------> If so, if you follow your control wires, e.g. up and down pedal wires, to the contactor(s)/solenoid(s)/"windlass controller does +12v show up on the other end when you step on the pedal, press the button, etc?
-----------------> If not, it may be a bad switch/button
-----------------> If so, the contactor(s)/solenoid(s)/"windlass controller may be bad.