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Old 31-01-2018, 16:56   #31
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

I am truly impressed with the lively and informative response here. There has been a rich diversity of ideas and discourse on what works and why. The information presented to me has helped in a way and direction I had not thought about, with so much really good input from all of you.
I have decided to run cable from the house batteries beneath the starboard cockpit locker to the new windlass. I am not sure whether to go with my calculation for #2 awg wire and take what I think is a .57 volt hit or to go to #1 awg and reduce the hit to .45 volts. Some feel the difference is enough to be worth the increase in cost of wire over wear on the windlass motor. I am not sure yet, but be that as it may, I am going to redo the house bank to 460 ah from 230 by installing two more batteries and run them as a parallel system by choosing all on the battery selector switch.
Since I already have the separate starter battery I am then going to steal "sailor chic's" idea and isolate the starting battery and keep it charged by a dc-dc smart charger. This should keep some redundancy in the system and enable me to upgrade the electrical capacity. I know the house would be fully capable of starting the engine, but I hate losing that starter battery isolation factor. Call me a coward I can take it!
Thank you all for your help
I will continue to monitor this thread.
BobV
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Old 31-01-2018, 17:31   #32
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

My windlass is on the end of my arms. ✋🤚
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Old 31-01-2018, 18:19   #33
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

I started with a manual windlass and I was 25 years younger. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But try lifting 200 (or more) feet of chain plus anchor in the summer in the tropics and you might change your mind - I did. I simply would not cruise without an electric windlass.

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Old 31-01-2018, 18:39   #34
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Well for my intended setup it would be under 100lb to pull up even if I anchored in 200’ of water.

3/16” chain is .38lb/ft plus the anchor is going to be a Spade aluminum 60: 10lb.
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Old 31-01-2018, 23:52   #35
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

My boat came with a batt box fitted in the anchor locker, with a large VRLA batt connected to the batt bank in the wheel house (round trip about 20m).
A few years ago I upgraded the cabling and last year replaced the shot VRLA with a 40Ah LFP pack. This can easily provide the current for the windlass, which averages about 40A (need to measure that again next time I use it). It'll be more than sufficient even for some re-anchoring, if required. I can also sail off the anchor, no problem.

The cabling to the windlass motor itself is only 2m round trip at 35mm^2, via the main switch next to the batt and the foot switch on deck. Dropping the hook doesn't require the windlass at all, just a winch handle.

If you go that route, remember to add a breaker in the anchor locker as well, not just at the main batt bank, since it is a batt-to-batt connection. I installed the 35A version there.
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:13   #36
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

My battery is near my engine. I use the starting batteries (2) to power the windlass and my bowthruster via pretty big cables. This means that when I have the engine running, then pretty much all the power is coming direct from the alternator rather than the batteries.
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:34   #37
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubstuff View Post
I would NOT connect a windlass to a house battery bank. Windlass loads are heavy and short, ideal for a high-aH starter-type battery, not a deep cycle house battery. Heavy, short-term loads on your house batteries will shorten their life.
Depends on how big your house bank is.

My boat was strangely wired as originally built -- one 24v bank of four 110 amp/hour batteries for windlass, thruster, and electric winches, midships over the keel, and a second similar 24v bank for house, under the aft bunk. Explained to me that separating them was intended to prevent big voltage sags from crashing the electronics.

I combined them with heavy wiring in order to increase capacity of the house bank. This works well -- increasing the time between charging when running on batteries, and at the same time, greatly reducing voltage sag when using the thruster. Running a 10 horsepower bow thruster off a 440 amp/hour (x 24v) battery bank is NO problem, especially when you have a 110 amps (x 24v) alternator connected to it and running whenever the bow thruster is being used. The alternator output shaves about 25% off the bow thruster demand, and the batteries easily cover the remaining 6kW or so.

I think 4 or 6 or 8 deep cycle batteries can deal with a short term, heavy load of X kW much better than 1 or 2 starter batteries. Spreading that load over more batteries is all good. In my case, the huge bow thruster needs 8kW, at least 2kW of which is provided by the alternator. The remaining 6kW distributed over 8 batteries is trivial -- only 750 watts per battery for a few seconds at a time. One deep cycle battery can deal with 750 watts a lot better than one starter battery can deal with 4kW.

Using dedicated batteries in the bow is inefficient and adds weight where you least need it. On top of that, you lose the alternator output from the equation since you're not running heavy cables from back there. All this just to save on running cables? Obviously using 24v helps a lot with the cables, but I wouldn't use separate batteries in the bow even on a 12v boat.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:01   #38
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

if you have a potent alternator (& a running engine during windlass operation) you will not be able to save on the cross-section of the long, engine-to-bow-running cables, as the alternator will feed the same current into your bow-battery as the windlass is drawing. so imho nothing speaks in favor of batteries in the bow...
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:01   #39
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Depends on how big your house bank is.

My boat was strangely wired as originally built -- one 24v bank of four 110 amp/hour batteries for windlass, thruster, and electric winches, midships over the keel, and a second similar 24v bank for house, under the aft bunk. Explained to me that separating them was intended to prevent big voltage sags from crashing the electronics.

I combined them with heavy wiring in order to increase capacity of the house bank. This works well -- increasing the time between charging when running on batteries, and at the same time, greatly reducing voltage sag when using the thruster. Running a 10 horsepower bow thruster off a 440 amp/hour (x 24v) battery bank is NO problem, especially when you have a 110 amps (x 24v) alternator connected to it and running whenever the bow thruster is being used. The alternator output shaves about 25% off the bow thruster demand, and the batteries easily cover the remaining 6kW or so.

Using dedicated batteries in the bow is inefficient and adds weight where you least need it. On top of that, you lose the alternator output from the equation since you're not running heavy cables from back there. All this just to save on running cables? Obviously using 24v helps a lot with the cables, but I wouldn't use separate batteries in the bow even on a 12v boat.
Yes, on a boat like yours, with electric windlass, bow thruster and winches, it makes a lot of sense. And larger cables too. Anything over 50 feet or so should do it. Less than that, 4/0 marine grade wire with the engine running is better. People gripe about the wire, when in fact it lasts a long time if properly configured. Its a one time buy. But batteries will die over and over and have to be repurchased. Costing more in the long run. One of the good things about mid cockpit boats is the batteries are more centrally located and the runs shorter. Of course having a 12v DC to DC converter for the electronics might make more sense and cost less. But on your boat it sounds like yours is a better set up.
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Old 01-02-2018, 13:40   #40
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nautitrix View Post
Hello All
I am into a windlass project but stumped by wether to put a battery under the bow and charge it with an echo charger or run #2 wire through the boat to the windlass. Assuming that all is safely wired I am considering putting a 125 ah deep-cycle starting battery under the focs'le. The only disadvantage I see is that
I won't get much boost from the charging system while running the windlass, but I am thinking that the 125 ah battery should be sufficient for several minutes run time on the 65 amp windlass.
Thank You in advance for your sharing your experience.
BobV
I do not have a V-berth, but a seven-foot-long "workshop" forward of a collision bulkhead. My windlass battery is going there and will be charged via echo charger, as you suggest. I do not care, nor do I think it necessary, to run heavy wire from my house bank or my alternator to run the windlass, which is also capable of manual operation, should it come to that.

EDIT: Having read the insights of others, I should state that I have a custom steel boat and access others generally do not. If I'm wrong on this, it's not a huge leap to run a windlass via the finger-width cables from the house bank, which is 1,575 Ah over six L-16s right in the middle of the boat. But I also run 20 A AC to the bow workshop, so it's no problem to arrange for more charging up there, either. Different strokes for different folks!
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:21   #41
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobfnbw View Post
Yes, on a boat like yours, with electric windlass, bow thruster and winches, it makes a lot of sense. And larger cables too. Anything over 50 feet or so should do it. Less than that, 4/0 marine grade wire with the engine running is better. People gripe about the wire, when in fact it lasts a long time if properly configured. Its a one time buy. But batteries will die over and over and have to be repurchased. Costing more in the long run. One of the good things about mid cockpit boats is the batteries are more centrally located and the runs shorter. Of course having a 12v DC to DC converter for the electronics might make more sense and cost less. But on your boat it sounds like yours is a better set up.
I'm not quite sure what you're saying here, but if you are referring to the fact that some people may want to run 24v windlasses and thrusters on what is otherwise a 12v boat, then yes -- that's obviously a different case.

In that case, you cannot use the house bank, and the alternator adds nothing, so you have no choice but to have a separate bank.

But in the absence of that particular situation, I think you are spot on -- a set of cables is not going to cost that much more than batteries, and you will generally only buy them once . . . Having heavy cables will give you the benefit of the alternator output, on top of allowing you to use the larger house bank. In my opinion, this is the way to go in most cases.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:29   #42
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Dockhead, I was agreeing with you that your boat is set up well for your application. Since your boat is over 50 feet, having a larger bank up at the bow is the way to go with both windlass and bow thruster. On a smaller boat, it would make more sense to run heavy cable up and skip the batteries. Since you would always run the engine with the thruster anyway, let the alternator power it. Some think that having a battery to run the windlass is the best to keep voltage sag down, and its true that it doesn't pull much amps in the short term, but I think it makes better financial sense to just run it off the house bank with 4/0 wire. The electronics side of it can be taken care of either by a larger bank of batteries, or a DC/DC converter to keep the voltages clean.
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Old 03-02-2018, 16:09   #43
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

My windlass is connected to the house bank, which is in the middle of the ship. I find this arrangement odd, because there's also a 24V bank in the bow for the bow thruster. Why run long, thick cables so far?

I plan to replace my windlass, and when I do it will be a 24V model, connected to the bow bank.
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Old 10-02-2018, 06:23   #44
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

Please allow a current powerboater (former sailboat owner) provide a comment to this knowledgeable group. We sell our anchors to sailboat owners and I always try to ask about their entire ground tackle set-up. I learn a lot and can also then offer some suggestions and recommendations.

Some of my sailboat customers have found a separate dedicated windlass battery below the V-berth area to be quite good in not losing voltage over a long cable run from the rear of the vessel. The challenge then is how to charge the battery? Options typically include either solar panels, wind generators, or alternator charging from the engine. I did not mention shore power because it is probably understood that if docked and plugged in to shore power, some sort or battery charging system would include charging the dedicated windlass charger.

Solar and/or wind power can work to charge batteries underway. However, lots of my sailboat customers on the Chesapeake Bay and on the ICW if the East coast of the US admit they spend a lot time under power and not sailing. Unfortunate but happens that way. In those cases, when there is no auxilary generator on the vessel that can charge battery banks while underway either with the main engine running or the sails up, the following system seems to work well:

1. The windlass is tied into the house bank.
2. Heavy cabling (0000) is run from bank to windlass to minimize the drop in electricity.
3. The main engine, while running, first charges the house bank then some combiner type device or relay switches the power supply from the alternator to the house bank to the start battery (when the house bank is satisfied). Typically the start battery does not require a lot of charge on a properly tuned and functioning engine. Also, some of these folks have their solar and/or wind generator charging tied into to charge the start battery.
4. Minimize the electric draw from the windlass: utilize more of a “free fall” when deploying the anchor and use the main engine to help reduce the strain on the engine motor (and electric draw) by powering forward to create a slack chain or rope rode and not using the windlass motor to pull the boat toward the anchor. Also use the main engine to “break the anchor free” from the bottom and not the windlass motor. These steps minimizes the electric draw of windlass (there still is a significant draw) and saves the windlass motor.

On my prior vessel, Willard Trawler, I had this setup with a large as possible house bank of 6 volt batteries in series and parellel and a dedicated start battery. There was a 000 cable to the bow thruster and the windlass (never operated both at the same time). There was a combiner that directed the alternator charge first to the house bank then to the start battery. Never a problem with power to the windlass or the bow thrurster.

Now a new boat (power) to me. Came with an undersized house bank to safely anchor all night with sufficient power and a start battery that supplied power to: main engine, generator start, windlass, and bow thruster. The battery banks and arrangements were not to my liking so I re-did to a simlar arrangement of my prior trawler.: large house bank serving house, windlass, bow thruster, and inverter devices. This bank has a dedicated charger/inverter. Dedicated start battery to just the main engine. That alternator charges the start battery first and then supplies the house bank. Dedicated generator start battery. New charger just for the two start batteries.

I know this system might not work for sailboat owners but the concept might work. I know it does from some of my customers.

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Old 10-02-2018, 09:14   #45
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Re: where is your windlass battery?

When I installed my new to me windlass (Ideal V3C) last year. I debated running cables back to the battery bank or use a dedicated windlass battery. One major issue for me was cable routing. I would have had to run the cables low in the boat which added even more feet of run with more cost.

As I found a nice waterproof 2amp 3 stage dc/dc charger that has a 14.6v peak output with less then 13v input for $12 off fleabay, it was easier to put a separate battery in the vberth (at the foot). This allowed me to feed the 2 amp battery charger from the 12v outlet wiring in the v-berth. I added a switch next to the led charge light so I could turn it off after the battery went to float.

I found that I could do 5 hoists from the battery before the battery voltage dropped enough to effect retrieval speed. I found this out as I was using the windlass for many days before having the battery charger installed. I installed the windlass myself at anchor (fun times).

Probably could do a total of 6 hoists before the battery got too low. This with a 1200 watt motor and 80 ish feet of rode out. Mind you I do either a manual drop or loosen the windlass clutch to drop the hook, so no power used in deploy.

Really either method works. Had I not found a inexpensive dc/dc charger, it might have been easier and less expensive to run cables to the house. Really either method works well enough.
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