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Old 03-03-2016, 17:32   #1
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Wiring in a Windlass

My spring project is to instal a Lewmar vertical windlass on my Beneteau 331.

Does anyone have advice on whether I should connect it to the house battery (a bank of two dual purpose group 27 lead acid batteries in parallel) or the engine battery which is a group 27 lead acid starter battery). I assume that the engine will be always running when I am using the windlass.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Peter
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Old 03-03-2016, 17:54   #2
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Hi Peter,
I'm in the process of installing a 1000 watt windlass on my sailboat. Some thoughts for you to ponder, Do you have space under your v berth to add another group 27 battery? The large wire needed to do this job properly is very dear, so putting the battery close would allow for smaller "charging" wires back to your house bank.

If no room, or weight concern, then I would tie into your dual house bank and make provisions to charge them while using the windlass.

Whatever you do, don't undersize the power feed wiring! I am told this is the primary cause of windlass failure at the most inconvenient time.

I'm sure others will chime in here.

Paul
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Old 03-03-2016, 18:00   #3
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Wiring in a Windlass

I connected to the house bank, reasoning was its much bigger and voltage sag will be minimal, also when I'm using the windlass of course it's usually to weigh anchor and I have the engine running, and have the battery selector connected to the house bank so I'm charging the house bank, that was drawn down some from the time at anchor, if I left it on start bank, of course then I'm not charging the bank that needs charging. I also like to run my engine for at least 30 min if I start it so it gets fully warmed up and I can get 50 or so amp hours into a bank in that half hour.

On edit, I don't understand the reasoning of having a start type of battery on a boat, seems a deep cycle will start an engine with no issue, and can function as a deep cycle battery as well.


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Old 03-03-2016, 19:19   #4
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Quote:
Originally Posted by pesarsten View Post
Hi Peter,
I'm in the process of installing a 1000 watt windlass on my sailboat. Some thoughts for you to ponder, Do you have space under your v berth to add another group 27 battery? The large wire needed to do this job properly is very dear, so putting the battery close would allow for smaller "charging" wires back to your house bank....
I have heard about that, but I think its only advantageous for very large boats (long distance to the bow).
So, say the round trip is 70 feet. At $5.30/foot for a 2/0 cable (330 amps) it will cost around $370.
A new battery plus the cable back to the charging area will probably cost close to that, no?

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...On edit, I don't understand the reasoning of having a start type of battery on a boat, seems a deep cycle will start an engine with no issue, and can function as a deep cycle battery as well...
++ 1 on that, Pilot.
I only have deep cycles, and I don't have a start battery - I have a reserve battery. But let's not drift....
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Old 03-03-2016, 19:56   #5
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Make sure the housing of the windlass is not bonded/grounded nor connected to any steel part of the boat. It should have an insulated negative terminal.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:08   #6
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Many thanks for the responses - my challenge now is deciding the gauge of wire - my length of run is right on the cusp of Lewmar's recommendations for 6 and 4 AWG!
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:40   #7
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

When it's close, always go bigger. I see it as the wire is marginal the day it was installed, let it age and oxidation creep in etc and it's now its substandard, plus I believe the brushes and therefore the motor in the windlass will last longer with a lower voltage drop.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:21   #8
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

You'll love having a new windlass! Go with the bigger size wire, and consider going one size up beyond that. It's easier on your windlass and more efficient. But of course more expensive (only slightly more weight).

I'd suggest wiring it to your house batteries with a fuse sized for the wire (per standards) and a big switch near where you want to turn it on (not the actual up/down switch) but just to make power available. Often a circuit breaker can do both and is very common. That is what I would do but other is OK too.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:32   #9
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Don't forget to separately fuse the foot switch wiring. Recently worked on a sportfisherman $2000 pulpit that was damaged when water entered the switch and the windlass was over-fused.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:34   #10
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Not finally decided but I'm leaning toward using Anderson plugs to disconnect windlass except when needed.

Switches, breakers & solenoids can short because of corrosion.

Likelihood of needing windlass quicker than I can plug it in seems the lesser of two.. wotsits? weebles? something.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:00   #11
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

The Anderson plugs would be the way to be absolutely sure, and smear them with silicone grease and they will last forever.
I just used the supplied CB, and pull it after every use, so no power to the system, same as with the plugs.
I ran 2Ga wire to my 1200 W windlass, and would have liked to go bigger, you can't be too big.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:46   #12
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

I'd put the wind lass on the start battery. House is likely partially depleted when you wake up in the morning. Fire up the engine, then fire up the windlass.
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:49   #13
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

I installed an older Nielsson horizontal windlass which was taken apart, cleaned, housing repainted and pronounced in A1 condition by my marine pro buddy. For me it was easier to put the battery under the v-berth so this kept the wire run to only about 6' instead of 25-30', not to mention the headache of running it through the cabinetry. I used 2/0 gauge battery (welding?) wire and a regular Rule battery switch by the v-berth entry. No fuses as when not anchoring I keep the battery switch in off position. Before I leave my mooring I turn the switch on and when I return I switch it off. Just like the main battery switch. I figured this would be the simplest set up without tearing up the joinery to run wires from main bank to solenoids, fuses, windlass, etc.

Up until now, again to keep things simple, I charged the windlass battery via 45W solar panel with small 7A charge charge controller. Thinking now of running a charging wire to the main bank as that is not as difficult with the wire being a more reasonable/flexible size than 2/0.

PS The add'l benefit of the 3rd INDEPENDENT battery became apparent when one day coming back to my mooring after a few weeks absence I discovered my main bank dead, a result of a small obstruction debris not allowing my bilge pump float switch to go off and draining the batteries as a result (this was before I installed solars for the main bank). So I got the jump start cables, brought the windlass battery to the cockpit and was all set in seconds.
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:29   #14
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

Quote:
Originally Posted by pesarsten View Post
Hi Peter,
I'm in the process of installing a 1000 watt windlass on my sailboat. Some thoughts for you to ponder, Do you have space under your v berth to add another group 27 battery? The large wire needed to do this job properly is very dear, so putting the battery close would allow for smaller "charging" wires back to your house bank.

If no room, or weight concern, then I would tie into your dual house bank and make provisions to charge them while using the windlass.

Whatever you do, don't undersize the power feed wiring! I am told this is the primary cause of windlass failure at the most inconvenient time.

I'm sure others will chime in here.

Paul
By the time you factor in the cost of the extra battery, box, wire to charge with, you're pretty close to the cost of just wiring back to the house bank, and all you've really accomplished is adding complexity. If cost is a problem use welding wire with well sealed connections.
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Old 04-03-2016, 21:29   #15
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Re: Wiring in a Windlass

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Originally Posted by Peter Nicoll View Post
Many thanks for the responses - my challenge now is deciding the gauge of wire - my length of run is right on the cusp of Lewmar's recommendations for 6 and 4 AWG!
In my opinion Lewmar's recommendations on wire size are wrong. I always go larger when installing a windlass.

What is the distance (there and back) and what is the windlass wattage?
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