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Old 02-05-2019, 14:11   #1
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Placement of windlass power relay

Hello,

I have a question regarding the placement of the power relay to my windlass. In the manual it states that it should be placed as close to the windlass as possible but are there any electrical requirements for this.

Is it okay to place the relay back in my boat closer to my batteries and put the long stretch of cables on the output of the relay instead of input?

Best regards,
Pauli Østerø
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Old 02-05-2019, 14:22   #2
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

I believe the reason to place close to the windlass is to cut down on the number and expense of cables.
There is no electrical reason that I know of.
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Old 02-05-2019, 14:30   #3
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

Depends on where your batteries are situated.
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Old 02-05-2019, 14:33   #4
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Placement of windlass power relay

Well, it might be bad practice, but putting the relay next to the windlass allows you to use the cable run that feeds the windlass for additional tasks at the front of the boat.

But I’m struggling to think of a rationale that is based on electrical theory.

And as I thought more I realised I’d prefer the relay close to the batteries because it means that huge pair of cables that runs to the front of the boat is very rarely active. I keep mine switched off and only turn the circuit on immediately before I go forward to raise or lower the anchor. I really do not like the electrical fire risk posed by such high current cables being permanently active.
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Old 02-05-2019, 14:39   #5
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I believe the reason to place close to the windlass is to cut down on the number and expense of cables.
There is no electrical reason that I know of.


That was my immediate thought too, but then I realised there was no saving when it came to the expensive high current cable. There’s a small saving on actuator wire if your only relay actuator switch is at the bow, but if, like mine, it is at the bow and the cockpit, there’s no gain there either.
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Old 02-05-2019, 17:22   #6
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I believe the reason to place close to the windlass is to cut down on the number and expense of cables.
There is no electrical reason that I know of.
Thank you for your answer. Since I don't have a bowthruster or any other existing wiring up front it makes no difference in the amount of expensive wiring needed whether I put the relay up front or in the back. And in the back I would have good access to he relay for servicing.
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Old 02-05-2019, 17:33   #7
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

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And as I thought more I realised I’d prefer the relay close to the batteries because it means that huge pair of cables that runs to the front of the boat is very rarely active. I keep mine switched off and only turn the circuit on immediately before I go forward to raise or lower the anchor. I really do not like the electrical fire risk posed by such high current cables being permanently active.
EXACTLY my setup too. I've heard stories about the relay acting up and a windlass catching fire. It's a even worse situation with bowtrusters since they are not easy accessable. Always have a circuit breaker on these things.
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Old 02-05-2019, 17:35   #8
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

I will try to call Muir, who made my windlass, and get their opinion. But this is one of those things I had never really questioned properly. Thanks BurningIce for bringing this up.
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Old 02-05-2019, 17:35   #9
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

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Depends on where your batteries are situated.
Of course they are in the back where I want to place the relay to keep all the electricity stuff, fuses, relays, circuit breakers etc. together in one place
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Old 02-05-2019, 17:40   #10
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

Our windlass has three wires to the motor, only two to the relay box.

So with the breaker @ the batteries, off when the windlass is not in use, we’ve got a pair of heavy cables to the v-berth and then three from the b-berth to the bow. The relay box is beneath the berth.
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Old 02-05-2019, 18:13   #11
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Our windlass has three wires to the motor, only two to the relay box.

So with the breaker @ the batteries, off when the windlass is not in use, we’ve got a pair of heavy cables to the v-berth and then three from the b-berth to the bow. The relay box is beneath the berth.
Yeah, if I had got an existing breaker panel in my berth it would have been a no-brainer but unfortunately I don't.
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Old 02-05-2019, 19:44   #12
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Our windlass has three wires to the motor, only two to the relay box.

So with the breaker @ the batteries, off when the windlass is not in use, we’ve got a pair of heavy cables to the v-berth and then three from the b-berth to the bow. The relay box is beneath the berth.
Like ^^^^ said.

There are two ways of reversing motors. One uses two wires with reversing polarities, in which case it matters not where you put the relay, the other uses a common negative, with separate positive wires for the two directions. This is actually the more common for windlass motors. In which case the wire cost for putting the relay back at the batteries will be 50% higher.

If you have a three wire connection and are fine with the extra wiring, put it where ever.
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:42   #13
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
If you have a three wire connection and are fine with the extra wiring, put it where ever.
My windlass only has two connections so the amount of wiring needed is exactly the same no matter where i put the relay.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:41   #14
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

Mine is a two—wire—from—relay—to—motor job, The low current wiring is only that which runs from the relay to the deck switches, and the current is taken from the relay terminals which are only live when the "Windlass Main Switch" is on.

Quote: "I really do not like the electrical fire risk posed by such high current cables being permanently active." I agree with this sentiment in principle, but in practice it makes no diff. The high current circuit is on a switch located IMMEDIATELY next to the batt.s so the circuit is ONLY live when it has to be.

You will perceive that the "natural" location for the relay is right next to the windlass. Mine is located in the chain locker, up high, immediately under the deck at a level the rode never reaches.

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Old 03-05-2019, 09:25   #15
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Re: Placement of windlass power relay

You really should have a single windless battery up forward just for the windless. And than cables for charging back to the batterys. that way you have power and any heat is close to the windless not buried in the lockers eather side. Short runs are just safer
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