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Old 20-12-2014, 10:22   #16
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
Tripping breaker = Higher amp load

High amp load =
1. Higher motor loads- binding, motor going South
2. lower voltage - battery low, going bad, bad connections to windlass

2 person job = Make sure your battery is topped up... check the voltage at the windlass terminals while operating. Clean all connections back to the battery, and check again...

Get a DC clamp ammeter and verify your current draw...
yeah.. do this and also check the breaker if it continues.
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Old 20-12-2014, 10:34   #17
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

With similar symptoms, my problem was solved by cleaning the connections. Always try the easy and cheap fixes first.
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Old 20-12-2014, 10:46   #18
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

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Originally Posted by Mystktravler View Post
Either the wire is to small or something else is wired in series...
Read my post #9. Troubleshooting 101.
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Old 20-12-2014, 11:22   #19
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

I agree with the check the easy(cheep) things first. If you run it until it pops and then go looking for hot (high resistance) connections, be very careful, as they can be hot enough to give you a real blister if you touch them. A laser thermometer is a safer way, but just being sure to put a finger close, but not on a connection can work. I have had to relearn that lesson a few times over the years. ________Grant.
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Old 20-12-2014, 15:23   #20
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Thanks to everyone. I will do all the recommended easy things first. I am hoping it will just be a connection problem as I have no idea how I would run a new battery size cable to the front of the boat. The fresh water pump that I mentioned turned out to be a wire that was only bringing 10.5 V to the pump but the pump would not work at all. A jumper wire made the pump work and I was able to route a new wire to it to fix the problem. And now I have a spare $200 fresh water pump. As I said, the windlass runs so I wasn't considering a bad wire but I will check the voltage at the motor anyway. Then I will try my hand at taking the motor apart and cleaning it and putting in new brushes.
Thanks again for all the good advice


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Old 21-12-2014, 02:30   #21
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Thumbs up Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker



It's obviously been working OK so as posted first check for loose or corroded connections. I'm guessing the engine/s are running at retrieval time so that would eliminate a battery problem unless alternator is not doing its job but then batteries would be going flat. Next suspect is brushes. If boat is 8 years old and been in charter I'd replace them as a matter of natural maintenance however I strongly suspect the real culprit here may well be the solenoid. Have had same problem twice over the years and after paying the electricians a bomb to "fix the issue" ended up replacing solenoids myself both times and fixed the problem. Good luck with it. Cheers, Roy.

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Old 21-12-2014, 03:00   #22
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

I had exactly the same problem and it was the circuit breaker.

These are usually thermal breakers and if there is corrosion or pitting on the contacts then they get hot and therefore the breaker cuts out early. You can check this by measuring the voltage directly across the breaker. If there is more than about 0.5 volts then there is some corrosion which will be causing excess heat. I had 2 volts across the contacts.

I drilled out the rivets and filed down the contacts and problem solved.
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Old 21-12-2014, 03:39   #23
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Fundamentally circuits pop because of high resistance - anywhere in the circuit including the motor and the circuit breakers.

The fact that the system has worked for 8 years cannot be ignored and indicates a properly designed system that is aging.

The most probable cause is loose corroded connections, followed by corroded primary wiring, followed by C/B followed by motor.

Follow the chain logically and this is not that hard to diagnose and correct.
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Old 21-12-2014, 03:52   #24
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Fundamentally circuits pop because of high resistance - anywhere in the circuit including the motor and the circuit breakers.

The fact that the system has worked for 8 years cannot be ignored and indicates a properly designed system that is aging.

The most probable cause is loose corroded connections, followed by corroded primary wiring, followed by C/B followed by motor.

Follow the chain logically and this is not that hard to diagnose and correct.
Hmm... not quite right
Fundamentally circuits pop because of high current flow - usually a result of a too low resistance.

In the instance of the windlass which will be series wound motor, a low motor speed allows for a large current flow (fundamental series wound motor theory). The slow motor speed can be due to several reasons but the common ones are too high a load on the motor (bad bearings etc) or a high resistance in the circuit causing a low voltage available at the motor thus low motor speed thus higher current draw through the circuit breaker.

So in essence, series wound motor is a "special case" where high resistance in the circuit allows the circuit breaker to trip contrary to "normal" circuit theory.


This is true "The most probable cause is loose corroded connections, followed by corroded primary wiring, followed by C/B followed by motor."
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Old 21-12-2014, 04:01   #25
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

FWIW, a series wound motor develops maximum torque (and thus maximum current draw) at 0 RPM. As RPM increases, the current draw reduces as does the torque. This high initial torque is what makes them so good for starter motors and winches.

The reduction of the current draw is essentially due to the "back EMF" developed by the spinning rotor inside the magnetic field.
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Old 21-12-2014, 05:41   #26
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

I think the key here is it runs strong for few seconds. And probably longer than a few if you can get the anchor up with the breaker only popping 4 or 5 times. Sounds like a bearing to me. After eight years of charter use putting new bearings in isn't going to be a waste of money even if it's not the problem
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Old 21-12-2014, 08:50   #27
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Hmm... not quite right
Fundamentally circuits pop because of high current flow - .............
Correct and that's why circuit breakers are used in the first place; To interrupt the current flow if it is high enough to overload the conductors and possibly start a fire.

Quote:
The most probable cause is loose corroded connections, followed by corroded primary wiring, followed by C/B followed by motor.
While the problem may well be caused by corroded high resistance connections in the wiring, I would put the chance of the problem being with the motor ahead of the circuit breaker. Windlass motors have a tough job, exposed to rain and salt spray and often sit unused for long periods of time. Personally, I had the motor in mine seize from rust and of course that tripped the breaker. I was able to free it up and use the windlass on the rest of my cruise but the damage had been done and it failed on the next cruise (the gears stripped because of rust) and had to be replaced. Lesson learned - anything that moves (windlass motor and gears in this case) needs maintenance from time to time.

To sailinglegend, "repairing" a circuit breaker, except in an emergency and until a proper replacement can be obtained is a very bad idea. A circuit breaker is a safety device and if it doesn't work as designed, it could fail to trip in an overload situation and cause an overload and possibly a fire. You have no idea at this point if it will still work as designed and protect your boat's wiring from overload. Buy and install a new replacement ASAP.
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Old 22-12-2014, 05:54   #28
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Ok I have checked all the connections and they are all looking pretty clean. While checking the voltage I found the following:
With the thermal circuit breaker closed (operating position)
13.52V battery side of breaker
13.52V windlass side of breaker
13.49V at windlass motor
With the thermal circuit breaker open (manually popped)
13.52V battery side of breaker
13.32V windlass side of breaker
13.29V at windlass motor
Here's where my electrical ignorance comes in. With the circuit breaker open I assumed there should be no current going through the breaker and therefor there should be zero volts on the windlass side of the breaker as well as at the motor. Is there something I'm not understanding here or is the breaker just shot?


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Old 22-12-2014, 07:52   #29
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

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Originally Posted by MinorI View Post
Ok I have checked all the connections and they are all looking pretty clean. While checking the voltage I found the following:
With the thermal circuit breaker closed (operating position)
13.52V battery side of breaker
13.52V windlass side of breaker
13.49V at windlass motor
With the thermal circuit breaker open (manually popped)
13.52V battery side of breaker
13.32V windlass side of breaker
13.29V at windlass motor
Here's where my electrical ignorance comes in. With the circuit breaker open I assumed there should be no current going through the breaker and therefor there should be zero volts on the windlass side of the breaker as well as at the motor. Is there something I'm not understanding here or is the breaker just shot?


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How are you measuring the voltage? Where are you putting the meter probes?

To mean anything, voltages (in most cases) are referenced to ground or the negative battery terminal. Because the windlass motor can be reversed, the voltage at the motor is not referenced to ground, but measured between the two wires. If you measured 13.29V at windlass motor between the two wires, the motor would be running (unless the windings are open).

There's another question and another possible point of failure. Two, actually. Is there a "contactor" (relay) or just a switch with the heavy wires running to and from it? The contactor or switch contacts could be defective.

The voltages you measured (even if you measured them to ground) are meaningless unless the windlass was running when you made the measurements. To determine if and where there is a voltage drop, the circuit has to be under load so current is flowing.
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Old 22-12-2014, 08:10   #30
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

I just had exactly the same thing happen (tripped often, ran erratically even with no load, and drew high current). I checked all connections - all were good. So I pulled the motor. The windlass turned easily by hand. I took the motor to a place that re-builds starter motors. They disassembled it and showed me worn brushes and a bad bearing. Unfortunately they wre not able to find the parts as it was a French motor, but they did find me a replacement motor that was slightly larger. I installed it and its working fine now.
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