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Old 28-04-2017, 09:27   #1
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Anchor Windlass

I have a Lofrans 2 pole windlass that is wired for up only. The power goes from the battery through a fused switch, then through a single foot switch to the motor and then back to the battery.
I want to convert it so it runs both up and down by adding a reversing solenoid that will switch the polarity of the wires into the windlass.
My question is whether or not I am correct in assuming that reversing the polarity on the anchor winch will indeed reverse the direction of the motor and will not do any damage to it, either the motor or the mechanical winch. The windlass motor is from the 80's and I assume has a copper wire field, not permanent magnets, which I gather may make a difference??
I originally posted a similar question in the "electrical systems" forum but didn't get a single reply, so am trying again here. Thanks.
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Old 28-04-2017, 10:16   #2
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Re: Anchor Windlass

I don't know if we have the same type of windlass, and can't speak to the electrical part of you question, but my windlass has bi-directional switches and the motor has two positive wires going to it (plus the negative wire). I assume that gives it the change of direction depending on which one is powered.

The problem is that if your windlass is like mine, the powering down/out does not really power the chain out of the locker but really just keeps it from running free as the weight of the chain is really doing the "power out". The internal pawl keeps it from actually pulling the chain out of the locker. So if powering out is what you are looking for, the windlass and not the motor might be what would keeps this from happening.

Maybe the wiring schematic on my motor might help answer your question.
I hope this helps.
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Old 28-04-2017, 10:31   #3
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Re: Anchor Windlass

Can you just try it by reversing the positive and negative leads and see if it will run opposite direction with out harming itself. I would think most 12 volt D.C. motors would be reversible. Don't really know about the winch mechanism though.
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Old 28-04-2017, 10:31   #4
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Re: Anchor Windlass

I am surprised your system has worked like that.
You NEED a solenoid, the foot switch is not meant to take much power, usually just enough to close a solenoid, not enough to run the windlass.
There should be two posts on your windlass motor, one runs up when power is applied, the other down of course.
There is also a ground of course.
Just buy another foot switch and a solenoid box, it should come with instructions.
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Old 28-04-2017, 10:50   #5
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Re: Anchor Windlass

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I am surprised your system has worked like that.
You NEED a solenoid, the foot switch is not meant to take much power, usually just enough to close a solenoid, not enough to run the windlass.
.

Not always the case. There are lost of line current rated foot switches out there.
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Old 28-04-2017, 12:22   #6
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Re: Anchor Windlass

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Not always the case. There are lost of line current rated foot switches out there.
Correct. I installed IMTRA foot switches rated at 200 amps. I still use the solenoid with these switches but if it ever gives up I can wire the windlass directly to the switches.
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Old 28-04-2017, 12:29   #7
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Re: Anchor Windlass

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Not always the case. There are lost of line current rated foot switches out there.


Well apparently at least one anyway
Personally I hate foot switches, I did not install on my current boat. Wireless remotes are so cheap now, hardwired to the cockpit too. A solenoid makes that way easier.
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Old 28-04-2017, 12:54   #8
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Re: Anchor Windlass

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Well apparently at least one anyway
Personally I hate foot switches, I did not install on my current boat. Wireless remotes are so cheap now, hardwired to the cockpit too. A solenoid makes that way easier.
I agree, and I will eventually have a set up like you have. A high amp foot switch is just a good back up for a failed solenoid, but I suppose a spare solenoid would be a better back up!
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Old 28-04-2017, 13:36   #9
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Re: Anchor Windlass

I guess my backup in the eventual event of a failed solenoid is the same as the starter, jumper the connections with a screwdriver, who didn't have to use a screwdriver to start at least one car as a broke kid?
I know, cave man primitive, but it works
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Old 28-04-2017, 16:15   #10
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Re: Anchor Windlass

A64, the popular Maxwell windlasses come with simple foot switches, not with solenoids. Ours were on the boat when we bought her 14 years ago, were not new then, and they still function as new. And we use the windlass a lot, living at anchor and cruising full time.

I've go a solenoid box, and someday will get around to installing it with a remote... but someday isn't getting here very fast! And if it does get here, the foot switches will still be functional.

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Old 28-04-2017, 17:11   #11
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Re: Anchor Windlass

Jim I learned. I'm surprised, but better educated now. Seems foolish to me as you can't realistically have a remote switch or a remote but obviously it works.
The one boat I had foot switches, it seemed I had to kneel and work them by hand, the chain would come tight, I'd have to move my foot or fall
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Old 29-04-2017, 16:55   #12
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Re: Anchor Windlass

Okay, thanks. After some more research, I think the problem may be the winch mechanics, not the motor. As the first reply above points out, the power down mode may not simply be power up in reverse, but rather a whole different mode of operation. The current version of my winch has, according to the Lofrans website, a "non-reversing" worm gear, which suggests it might not work in reverse. I had emailed Lofrans for help, but no reply yet. I will try them once more, as I don't want to end up with no power!
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Old 29-04-2017, 17:15   #13
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Re: Anchor Windlass

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Originally Posted by osprey877 View Post
Okay, thanks. After some more research, I think the problem may be the winch mechanics, not the motor. As the first reply above points out, the power down mode may not simply be power up in reverse, but rather a whole different mode of operation. The current version of my winch has, according to the Lofrans website, a "non-reversing" worm gear, which suggests it might not work in reverse. I had emailed Lofrans for help, but no reply yet. I will try them once more, as I don't want to end up with no power!
The usual interpretation of "non-reversing worm gear" is not that it can not be run in either direction, but that you can't drive the motor by applying torque to the output gear. That is, pulling on the chain will not cause the motor to turn. But, they can run "in reverse" by turning the worm gear in the opposite direction.

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Old 29-04-2017, 17:54   #14
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Re: Anchor Windlass

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The usual interpretation of "non-reversing worm gear" is not that it can not be run in either direction, but that you can't drive the motor by applying torque to the output gear. That is, pulling on the chain will not cause the motor to turn. But, they can run "in reverse" by turning the worm gear in the opposite direction.

Jim


Exactly, a good example of this is a chain hoist, goes both ways of course, but let go of the chain and the weight is held up, so it's non reversing
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Old 29-04-2017, 17:59   #15
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Re: Anchor Windlass

I recently installed a new lewmar pro1000 on my boat. Only two conductors go to the winch, polarity is reversed by the relay. Motor on the windlass reverses with reversed polarity.

I would want to hear from an authority that your motor and gearbox would not be harmed by running in reverse though.
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