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Old 18-10-2010, 12:08   #1
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Contactor or Solenoid

I am looking to add a 5 button wireless Lewmar remote to operate my windlass and bow thruster. According to Lewmar remote kits can only be added to devices that use solenoids. My Lewmar V4/V5 windlass uses a contactor.

I am wondering if Lewmar uses the term "solenoid" in the general sense to describe an electromechanical device. I believe a contactor is also an electromechanical device. If so, I believe I can add a remote device to my windlass.

Please Help!


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Old 18-10-2010, 12:25   #2
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Don't worry about the semantics.

A relay is an electrically operated actuator switch*.

A CONTACTOR is just a heavy-duty RELAY that can handle the high power required to drive an electric motor.

* There are two basic types of RELAY actuator:
- the direct-acting SOLENOID, in which a moving core or plunger is drawn into a coil when current flows;- and the simple RELAY, in which a hinged plate is pulled against the end of the coil.

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Old 18-10-2010, 12:31   #3
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Contactors, relays and solenoids are used approximately synonymously.

I guess it is a matter of personal preference but I would use a separate switch assembly for the windlass and bow thruster. Lewmar sells a rocker switch that will control your windlass remotely. Your Lewmar "contactor" has three wires that you need to hook up to the remote switch: pos, neg and neutral.
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Old 21-10-2010, 15:33   #4
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My anchor winch & single (can't afford more) cockpit winch both have switched low current "arm" circuits to enable/disable the relays controlled by the main operating switches.

This is in addition to high current DC breakers in the main battery feeds.

The arm circuits provide a degree of safety & security when the winches aren't required.

If in doubt RTFM
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