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Windlass Problems

Sep 5, 2019
22
Hunter 386 Allie IV Rock Hall
Having problems with my windlass on just purchased 386. Every thing seems to work fine as I raise or drop the anchor but then it stops and clicks when I press either up or down and won’t work. We cleaned all the contacts under the windlass and bypassed the solenoid and nothing changed. Tomorrow going to check house batteries to see if they are putting out enough amperage. Any other insights would be appreciated.
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,633
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
Does it draw current when you try and raise or lower it in its "dormant state"?

When you try and raise or lower it. TAKE YOUR foot/finger OFF the switch (or you'll hurt yourself), then manually turn the drum a quarter turn, or so,; and, then try the switch. If it suddenly works, then it may be the brushes or the motor itself.

Can you turn the drum, or is it "locked"?
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,553
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
We cleaned all the contacts under the windlass and bypassed the solenoid and nothing changed.
I don’t know what you mean by “cleaned all the contacts.” Mine used to do that. Some wires near the windlass motor were partially broken and deteriorated. Install new replacement wiring between the windlass motor and somewhere between the solenoid. Maybe not have to replace the entire length.
 
Jan 12, 2011
827
Hunter 410 full time cruiser
when my windlass did that it was because one of the motor magnets had broken and was jamming the rotor
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,633
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
if the motor is "locked", wouldn't the circuit breaker (or fuse) react? Etc., etc.


Does it draw current when you try and raise or lower it in its "dormant state"?

When you try and raise or lower it. TAKE YOUR foot/finger OFF the switch (or you'll hurt yourself), then manually turn the drum a quarter turn, or so,; and, then try the switch. If it suddenly works, then it may be the brushes or the motor itself.

Can you turn the drum, or is it "locked"?
 
Jan 12, 2011
827
Hunter 410 full time cruiser
if the motor is "locked", wouldn't the circuit breaker (or fuse) react? Etc., etc.
well the fact is - it did sometimes

in hindsight I had the problem for a couple of years of weekend use before it died (I of course was alone that morning on anchor)

other times if I reversed the windlass it would free up and work, but in the end there's only 1 fix
 
Sep 5, 2019
22
Hunter 386 Allie IV Rock Hall
My Hunter uses the engine start battery. I bet yours does too.
Why?
Windlass has high Amp pull.
Jim...

PS: Start your engine first then try Windlass.:cool:
I see now in the manual that mine also runs on start battery. Only had boat for 10 days, much to learn. So I guess I have 2 problems, windlass and house batteries.
 
Sep 5, 2019
22
Hunter 386 Allie IV Rock Hall
if the motor is "locked", wouldn't the circuit breaker (or fuse) react? Etc., etc.


Does it draw current when you try and raise or lower it in its "dormant state"?

When you try and raise or lower it. TAKE YOUR foot/finger OFF the switch (or you'll hurt yourself), then manually turn the drum a quarter turn, or so,; and, then try the switch. If it suddenly works, then it may be the brushes or the motor itself.

Can you turn the drum, or is it "locked"?
Drum seemed to be locked.
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,633
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
Drum seemed to be locked. -Waltsailor wrote...

When it's locked. (MAKING SURE YOU DON'T HAVE THE CIRCUIT or SWITCHES ACTIVATED -- lest you end-up hurting yourself, or someone...) Take the winch or windlass handle and see if it is jammed "down" as well as "up".

If it's really jammed, then you'll have to pull it apart; and, see if you have the drive/gears messed-up, or the motor.

Then try to energize down, then up (TAKE THE winch handle OUT before you try that, or else).

If it's jammed, it's not the solenoid.

if it's really jammed\ ...My suspicion is that it's not the feeder wire or the solenoid, (Those items might have issues, but I believe, your current issue is a not that).

If it's not locked, and just "stopped", then it should reverse down, shouldn't feel like you have a blockage or jamming. In that case, it might be the motor windings, brushes, or maybe the solenoid/switches.

IF IT'S JAMMED, you really should get a spike in the current draw, the breaker should pop -- but you may have an oversized fuse. be careful, but you should see a lot of load draw. IF you weren't running the engine, you might not have enough "umph" in your battery, but I you'll show some load.
 
Feb 14, 2014
4,346
Hunter 430 Saba Waveland, MS
So I guess I have 2 problems, windlass and house batteries.
You have 2 separated Battery uses.
1) House Battery that would normally be charged by the Shore power using your boat Charger.
2) Start Battery that would be charge by your Engine Alternator and NOT the boat Charger.

The Start Battery is sized to give +500 Cold Crank Amps or High Amp use like the Windlass and main bilge.

The House Battery is a deep charge type that does NOT have a Cold Crank Amp rating.

_____
Try to start the engine first, before checking windlass. If it starts, let the Alternator charge the Start battery for about 10 minutes. Then with engine running, try the windlass.

If no Engine Start, you will need a Jump Start to get it running. Be prepared;)
Jim...

PS: Bet you a :beer: you have no windlass problem.
 
Last edited:

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,633
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
A house bank, in my experience needs to be charged from the alternator on the boat, as well as, a shore power source and AC charger.

We three batteries: Engine Start; Generator Start; and, House Bank. The normal approach that I'm familiar with would NOT have a windlass on a "engine" (or "generator") start battery. I don't know how Hunter did it.

The differential issue isn't "cold cranking" amps because you're really going to be retrieving the chain for more than a couple of minutes of "cranking"; and, you'll be running the alternator(s) while you're retrieving the chain/line. Cold cranking amps is less of an issue in normal cruising temperatures and loads for sailboats. You aren't starting a V-8 in the winter in Minnesota ;^)))) Even then, you're not running the starter for very long, you just need to get the engine going for not a long period of long before it starts, or it doesn't.

I believe a house bank is either charged with a the main engine alternator; or (as with our boat) a separate larger alternator. (In our case we have a 50 Amp smaller alternator on the main engine that charges the engine start battery; and, a 250 Amp [nominal] alternator for the larger house bank.).

So, Waltsailor (and, others with a similar Hunter): What size alternator do you have? What voltage regulation do you have on the alternator output -- i.e., dual battery independent, a combiner, or?.

The Watts = Amps x Volts is the determinate formula. If you have a 12 Volt nominal battery that is really putting 13.2 volts to the Windlass, vs. 12.0 volts, then you'll only a maximum of 90% of what the higher voltage will put-out.

Having said that, your problem Waltsailor appears not to be the issue of maximum capacity (which would be a different issue) -- rather, you have a more basic issue of some sort. It's possible you have a "crashing" of the actual capacity of the conductor because the windlass wire is compromised by corrosion or a bad connection. You'll know that when you determine what the actual draw is on the windlass circuit under load.

.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,491
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
On our 41 DS both the thruster and windless are powered off the house bank, the alternator also charges both banks the inverter/charger only does the house bank. I am on the side of either a weak battery or bad connection and if the engine is starting fine I would start by looking at the connections, if those are good then I would be looking at the brushes on the windless motor. I had a similar issue with our thruster, it would only run for short bursts until the thermal overload would open the circuit (not the breaker) I removed the motor and took it to a automotive electric motor shop gave the new brushes, they checked the motor out, turned the armature and undercut the insulators, picked it up, it looked like new and operates like new as well.
 
Dec 19, 2006
5,600
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda
Try running engine when ever using it if not helping may be more internal problems.
Nick
 
Aug 15, 2013
173
Hunter 35.5 Legend 003 San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Two words, "Voltage Drop". Measure the voltage at your windlass. If you have poor connections or nominally sized wire then all the current in the world will not fix your problem. Measure voltage at the windlass as you try to run the windlass. It would take more than I would like to write. If your voltage drops below 11 volts at the windlass then get a copy of Nigel Calder's Electrical Maint book. Your answer is in there. Good luck, fair winds.
 
Sep 5, 2019
22
Hunter 386 Allie IV Rock Hall
Two words, "Voltage Drop". Measure the voltage at your windlass. If you have poor connections or nominally sized wire then all the current in the world will not fix your problem. Measure voltage at the windlass as you try to run the windlass. It would take more than I would like to write. If your voltage drops below 11 volts at the windlass then get a copy of Nigel Calder's Electrical Maint book. Your answer is in there. Good luck, fair winds.
Problem solved. The 70 amp breaker was bad. Seems it wasn’t completely resetting. It would.close on initial start up and then partially open when it got hot and then partially reset again when it cooled down. We changed the breaker out and it now seems to be fine. Before we zeroed in on the breaker, we removed the motor and had it checked out and it was fine.
 
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Dec 25, 2000
4,213
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Our windlass draws power from the house bank through an 80 amp breaker. It popped once many years ago when the chain became jammed when raising the anchor and popped before I could take my foot off the switch. Very difficult to reset; lots of hand on thumb hard pressure.

I always make it a practice to start the main engine before raising the anchor. Just do not want to have the anchor up and the engine won't start.
 
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Oct 29, 2016
1,491
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
There are a few comments here where the operator of the Windlass is doing so without the motor running, I was taught that the Windlass is not intended to pull the boat toward the anchor, but rather is only designed to lift the chain & rode while moving the boat toward the anchor. Was I taught incorrectly? do most of you retrieve the anchor only using the Windlass? Just wondering.
 
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