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Old 11-04-2014, 14:46   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,925
Maxwell RC8-8 Windlass

Earlier this year I installed a new Maxwell RC8-8 windlass including a switch at the helm and a wireless remote. My comments on installation and use below.


A whole new windlass system is a significant DIY job (more hours than I thought starting out), but the Maxwell system is well thought out and the documentation, although quite brief, is good and adequate. It is very concise so read it a few times...its easy to miss some details.

The windlass is well engineered to make installation thru the deck easy. The motor connects via a keyed collar so that it can easily be separated from the above deck assembly (without tools even). This clever design makes the thru the deck bit pretty easy. I did it single-handed with no significant difficulty.

A template is provided for cutting the deck holes. One thing that concerns me, but has not proven to be an issue, is that the deck material remaining between the large holes for the windlass shaft/chain hawse and the thru bolt holes is a bit skinny. I would prefer a bigger chunk of deck here, especially given the max lift rating of 1,320lbs. May have a stainless backing plate fabricated just for my peace of mind.

One feature I don't like about this clever design is that it would be very easy to align the motor so that the chain could impact the plastic sight glass. Not good. Be careful to check this alignment and clearance from the chain.

The windlass is clearly quality built, smooth true machined surfaces and very sturdy thrughout. The snap ring at the base of the windlass shaft seems a bit less than robust and secure, but in operation so far not proven to be an issue.

The junction box, where the solenoid is housed, had a build issue. There is a terminal block where control lines attach to the outside. Pins from this block pass thru to the inside of the junction box. Wires are then soldered to these pins inside the junction box. On mine one solder joint was bad (separated from the pin). Fortunately, I caught this during pre-install inspection. It would have made for a frustating troubleshooting issue to have caught post install. I resoldered the joint, but can see why it was problematic originally...there are two wires pig-tail spliced together and then soldered to the very short pin...not any easy joint to make. I spliced the two wires to a short length of wire and then soldered that to the pin. Much easier, but I think a mechanical fastner here would be a better solution. For example, a terminal block on the inside too.


Smooth and fast!

Maxwell's "wave" gypsy works securely and smoothly on both chain and rope. In my case I have 200' 5/16" G4 chain connected via a long-splice to 100+ feet of 3/4" 3-strand. The 3/4" rope is oversized for the gypsy, but it still handles it smoothly. Even the long-splice passes the gypsy relatively smoothly, even under load.

The wireless remote is a very convenient accessory. I can stand anywhere on the boat and operate the windlass now. I also have a wired switch at the helm - good idea for backup I think. Especially since the one thing I found missing in the doco is how to change batteries in the waterproof wireless remote.

The RC8-8 is technically a bit oversized for my application but the fast chain retrieval rate (105 ft/min!) sure is nice. And, having already put it to the real world lift test while hauling up anchor from 65' in moderately rough and windy conditions, I'm glad I did not go smaller.
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