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Old 22-06-2014, 07:34   #1
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Electric winches slowing down - problem lurking?

I have Barient electric winches that are starting to show their 26 years of age. I've only owed this boat for <3 years and don't know the service history. What I've noticed is that under constant load they seem to slow down. In a perfect test yesterday my wife ran the winch as she hoisted me up the mast. By the time I got to top I was moving noticeable slower than when we started. I'm pretty sure I weighed the same at the top as at the bottom, and the fiction loads were the same, so I can't explain why the electric motor would slow down. We were dockside on shore power at the time.

Later while sailing the situation seemed similar, but in that case the load usually increased as we hardened up the main or the jib. Nonetheless it doesn't seem right.

The winches seem to spin freely and quietly by hand, but certainly I'll do a full disassembly and cleaning soon, but none of that effects the motor. What can explain this? Is it a warning of bad news to come?

Thanks,

JR
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Old 22-06-2014, 08:00   #2
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Re: Electric winches slowing down - problem lurking?

Have you checked the health of your battery bank lately?
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Old 22-06-2014, 08:12   #3
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Re: Electric winches slowing down - problem lurking?

Good question and I know I should be suspicious. Last season I completely replaced my battery bank. It's three pairs of 6v gels. Total of 540 ah. My charger/inverter is an old Trace and seems fine and is set up as recommend in the manual, but I'm not sure I'm really getting best performance. Just last week in installed a new Balmar SmartGuage monitor which will tell me a lot more than my current meters but it needs a few drain/charge cycles to calibrate and give accurate info. These batteries did drain dead and stay dead most of the winter (my dumb mistake) so they might be toast (which would suck).

Also, yesterday was our first day away from the dock this season, and only for a short shakedown sail after a ton of other work on the boat. So I don't know yet if under normal usage if the batteries are holding up as they should.
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Old 22-06-2014, 08:59   #4
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Re: Electric winches slowing down - problem lurking?

Because the batts were allowed to go dead I'd focus on that. They may be recharged but not have the reserve capacity they did when new. Does your winch slow when the engine's running (and alternator is boosting)? If not there's your answer. Replace batteries again.
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Old 22-06-2014, 09:55   #5
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Re: Electric winches slowing down - problem lurking?

Will check with engine running, but I did have this problem while on shore power and my charger can push 100 amps into the bank. But I don't know if it reacts quickly to a big load.
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Old 22-06-2014, 17:22   #6
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Re: Electric winches slowing down - problem lurking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
Because the batts were allowed to go dead I'd focus on that. They may be recharged but not have the reserve capacity they did when new. Does your winch slow when the engine's running (and alternator is boosting)? If not there's your answer. Replace batteries again.
This sounds like the problem. You have damaged your batteries.
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