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Old 20-12-2014, 04:22   #1
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Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

I just got my boat out of the charter company's hands after 8 years. When I use the anchor windlass it trips the circuit 4 or 5 times while bringing the anchor up. It runs strong for several seconds then starts to bog down and if I don't stop quickly enough to let it rest (cool down) it trips the circuit. It is not even able to bring the anchor up to the roller once it is free in about 30 feet of water without popping the breaker. This can be nerve wracking when drifting down on a reef or another boat. It has always worked well in the past when I would use my boat while in the hands of the charter company.
Not being terribly electrically inclined I would like to know if this sounds like a problem with the wiring or if the motor is going bad and needs to be replaced. I hate to change the motor and find out it was a wiring problem as I did with my fresh water pump.
Any help appreciated as I can no longer just tell the charter company to fix it.


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Old 20-12-2014, 04:30   #2
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Doubt its a wiring problem ! More like a lack of maintenance on the windlass itself. Does it turn freely with no chain on it ?
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Old 20-12-2014, 05:04   #3
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

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...
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Old 20-12-2014, 05:50   #4
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

I'm with HappyMd--try the easy stuff first. Check battery voltage, and unmake, clean and tighten all connections. If that doesn't do it, only then start pulling your windlass apart.
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Old 20-12-2014, 05:56   #5
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

If it runs at normal speed for some seconds, bogs down and trips I would suspect dirty and corroded wiring or deteriorated wiring.

emmaliina is right to check the no load behavior. If it runs slow, grinds or bogs down with no load you mave a motor/mechanical problem with the windlass.

If you have access to the wiring connections check them after circuit breaker pop and they will likely be hot to the touch.
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Old 20-12-2014, 06:04   #6
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, MinorI.
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Old 20-12-2014, 06:14   #7
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Check the state of the carbon brushes as well.
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Old 20-12-2014, 07:04   #8
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

i would check to see if the wiring to windlass was adequate for the load--could be wires are too small, and batttery needs to be closer to the windlass--like in da bow. try that. extra battery for windlass and closer to bow. then you will have a windlass... thankyou for the thankyou.
is how i had to do mine with same exact problems....
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Old 20-12-2014, 07:53   #9
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i would check to see if the wiring to windlass was adequate for the load--could be wires are too small, and batttery needs to be closer to the windlass--like in da bow. try that. extra battery for windlass and closer to bow. then you will have a windlass... thankyou for the thankyou.
is how i had to do mine with same exact problems....
If it worked fine in the past and now it doesn't, the wiring is not too small and the battery doesn't have to be moved closer to the windlass. That's part of Troubleshooting 101.

I'm going for lack of maintenance and lubrication on the windlass but another possibility not mentioned so far is a failing circuit breaker. They can go bad to where they trip at a lower current than rated.
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Old 20-12-2014, 07:59   #10
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

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

Get a DC clamp ammeter and verify your current draw...
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
I'm going for lack of maintenance and lubrication on the windlass but another possibility not mentioned so far is a failing circuit breaker. They can go bad to where they trip at a lower current than rated.
What I meant...
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Old 20-12-2014, 08:06   #11
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

All good points. Eliminate/fix the easy stuff first. After 8 years in charter, it may be time to look under the hood anyway. I have found several DC motors on our boat that benefited well from an open inspection, cleaning, de-rusting, painting, greasing. - and brush inspection.
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Old 20-12-2014, 08:26   #12
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Or could just be a bad breaker.

Get a clamp on ammeter and see how many amps it pulls when the breaker trips.


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Old 20-12-2014, 10:08   #13
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

1. Check voltage at windlass. If less than 12 volts, check connection at windless breaker. Check screws on ckt breaker and inspect for corrosion. Check voltage at this breaker coming into it and going out.
2. If less than 12 volts at windlass, ck any connections between breaker and windlass. (probably none)
3. If you have 12 volts or more at windlass, the problem is in the windlass. Check brushes first. Next, run windlass with no chain/rode, eliminating as much load as possible. If brushes looked good, but windlass runs better without load, change brushes out. If it still trips with chain/rode on windlass, the next step is to measure the current draw of the windlass, using a clamp type DC ammeter, or, using a little more effort, wiring an ammeter in series with the motor. Compare this current reading to what the motor is supposed to draw.
Do the above with fully charged batteries if possible. The lower your voltage, the higher the current draw.
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Old 20-12-2014, 10:08   #14
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

It could also be a battery on its way out, and unable to sustain the voltage when heavily loaded. That leads to more amps, to supply the needed wattage, and the breaker blows.
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Old 20-12-2014, 10:20   #15
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Re: Windlass keeps tripping circuit breaker

Either the wire is to small or something else is wired in series...
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