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Old 08-08-2010, 10:07   #1
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Breaker / Switch Failure

While in the San Juan Islands last month my 12v Lewmar V4/V5 Windless went belly up (Try hauling in 200' of chain with a big, heavy hook at the end by hand in 4-5kt of breeze for a good time!). Tracked the problem back to the On/Off breaker switch (E-T-A of Germany, 125amp model 8345) at the panel. Have identical On/Off breaker switches for port and starboard winches that work when placed on the windless electrical cables. Have emailed ETA and tech rep says the switches/breakers are very reliable and never fail.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:25   #2
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Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:58   #3
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Originally Posted by Wakadui View Post
Have emailed ETA and tech rep says the switches/breakers are very reliable and never fail.
Bull. It's very uncommon, but breakers can occasionally fail. It might be due to a manufacturing defect, or exposure to environmental factors, or age. Did you speak to a real technician, or some call centre guy with a flowchart?
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:44   #4
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I had a double pole breaker go south that controlled my dock power. Of course it died in Bermuda. It was probably the most expensive switch out of a breaker on record as it had to be express shipped to Bermuda and nothing is cheap there.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:11   #5
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Breaker failure is not that rare. I've seen a bunch of them, and have two in my shop at the moment which failed.

Failure can be of several types, including:

1. inability, over time, to carry the rated load (i.e., early tripping);
2. corroded contacts;
3. burned and frozen contacts;
4. physical failure of the housing or internal parts (cracking of the typical plastic housing will do it); and
5. bad design (Blue Sea Systems did a makeover/recall/model switch as few years back for this reason).

So, the poster who said, "BULL" is dead on...except for the fact that it's quite common, not rare at all.

I've seen enough failures, including on my on boat, that a couple of years ago I replaced my anchor windlass breaker with a small battery switch and a hefty ANL fuse. No problems since.

IMHO,

Bill
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Old 10-08-2010, 14:48   #6
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Thank you all.

E-T-A rep referred me to Beneteau USA because the breaker/switch is made specifically for Beneteau boats.

Contacted Beneteau parts/warranty department and they are shipping a new breaker/switch. That's what I call great service!
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Old 10-08-2010, 15:43   #7
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I had a double pole breaker go south that controlled my dock power. Of course it died in Bermuda. It was probably the most expensive switch out of a breaker on record as it had to be express shipped to Bermuda and nothing is cheap there.
You should have called me
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Old 10-08-2010, 16:00   #8
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Breaker failure is not that rare. I've seen a bunch of them, and have two in my shop at the moment which failed.

So, the poster who said, "BULL" is dead on...except for the fact that it's quite common, not rare at all.

I've seen enough failures, including on my on boat, that a couple of years ago I replaced my anchor windlass breaker with a small battery switch and a hefty ANL fuse. No problems since.

IMHO,

Bill

Bill---

Of course breakers can and do fail. They fail more often when used on DC rather than AC because when breaking a DC circuit, internal arcing in the breaker is common.

General comment--- You did the right thing by using a fuse if the fuse is capable of interrupting the maximum current which I guess would be a locked rotor condition. There still are applications where fuses are the better choice!

Foggy
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Old 10-08-2010, 17:23   #9
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Just a thought , You now know that if the situation repeats itself to swap out a similar breaker. How about installing a second breaker for the windless right now. Use something that only allows one of the 2 breakers to be on ( have to turn 1 off before you can flip the other one on), mine is a simple mech lever. So if you are a "draggin wagon" and need to get the anchor up in a hurry you have 2 breakers at the ready.
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