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Old 21-06-2015, 14:47   #31
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Originally Posted by Gary H View Post
On a side note, it's a useful thing to know how to release the gypsy to allow the anchor to free fall and to have the fitting or tool required to do so in a handy place.
More than "know how". Use the releqased clutch often, I'd suggest monthly, because I found out the hard way that after a year of frequent anchoring by pressing the "down" button that when the electric didn't work that the clutch was frozen. Presently my windlass is in the shop to get it cleaned up and operating correctly - under electricity or manual. I plan that once I get it back and re-installed to periodically loosen the clutch, not enough to allow a free drop of the anchor but enough to slip, and try to retract the anchor beyond past the roller. I think this will wear the corrosion off the clutch. I am checkng with Lewmar.
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Old 21-06-2015, 15:08   #32
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

The starting battery is "usually always" fully charged unlike the house batteries. As I was advised by a marine electrician the anchor winch should be wired to the starting battery. The anchor winch has similar battery drain characteristics the engine starting motor so a starting battery is more suitable. Idealy the boat motor should be run at a fast idle while using the winch. I run about 1800 rpm on my 2GM 20. This will supply about 14 volts to the winch rather than maybe 12 volts and dropping lower if the motor is not running. It is better for an electric winch motor to spin faster as low voltage and slow speed can cause problems such as overload and carbon build up on the commutator. Also anchor retrieval is easier with the alternator charging the battery. The winch should still be able to be used even if the motor is not running. The charge splitting diode should be rated to pass the required current for the winch, plus a safety factor. (whether house or start battery is used) Wiring the anchor winch to the house battery also risks damaging any electronics on the same circuit due to a voltage spike from the winch. I also have an emergency switch to parallel all the batteries but have never used it. It should only ever be used with caution and switching off electronics that may be damaged by the starting or winch motor creating a voltage spike. All my instruments run on their own battery and circuit which is only solar powered. It has a switch position to connect to the house circuit if necessary.
Once when I was TV filming from a chopper, the pilot gave me a lead he had made to power my camera from the chopper battery. When he started up, the voltage spike blew my camera safety voltage overload cutout. Fortunately I was able to reset it after a built in time delay. He since made an isolation circuit. It is a common procedure in many light aircraft to switch off instruments and radio during starting.
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Old 21-06-2015, 20:18   #33
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Originally Posted by lordgeoff View Post
...... And you have managed to get your anchor up, have flattened the batteries and your engine won't start. Your next plan is suddenly?
The better plan is try to start your engine. If it starts happy days. If it doesn't start ....... Better have a good plan B when you have your anchor off the bottom but can't motor away from a dangerous shore?
In my opinion the only item powered by the start battery should be the engine. Windlass and everything else should be powered from the house bank. In my case all my charge sources go to the house bank with the start battery charged by an Echo Charge.

Whatever the windlass drain is on the house batteries will not have any effect on engine starting.

As I posted the engine is usually running when using the windlass. The option to do otherwise could save your boat one day.
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Old 21-06-2015, 20:25   #34
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
As I was advised by a marine electrician the anchor winch should be wired to the starting battery. The anchor winch has similar battery drain characteristics the engine starting motor so a starting battery is more suitable.
This is true if the battery banks are the same size. House banks are made up most often of multiple batteries - the total of these batteries has many more cranking amps than a single start battery.
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Old 22-06-2015, 02:08   #35
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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This is true if the battery banks are the same size. House banks are made up most often of multiple batteries - the total of these batteries has many more cranking amps than a single start battery.
My house banks plus instrument battery are 3 times the starting battery. If I want to sail away from anchor without starting the motor the dedicated solar panel will soon recharge the starting battery after winch use, during the day of course. Otherwise it's fairly normal to start the motor before winching; for me anyway. I can see no good reason to connect the winch to the house bank and voltage spikes caused by the winch motor are a good reason not to use the house batteries. As I've pointed out (whichever bank you connect), there will always be higher VOLTAGE for the winch if the motor is running at a fast idle. Your own decision; but it is available voltage that makes a difference regardless how many hundred ergs of spare storage you have sitting there at a lower voltage.

That's as I see it, but the lovely thing about boats is that we all have our own ideas. But all boats seem to have pointed bows. That's one thing in common.
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Old 22-06-2015, 05:02   #36
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

My windlass is powered from the start battery circuit, which isn't the same as being powered from the start battery. The start battery circuit including the engine can be run off the house batteries via my inverter switch that will allow power from the house to feed across the isolator to the start circuit, but the start battery can never power the house circuit. So I can start my engine or run the windlass even if the start battery breaker is open.

But I always have the engine running coming into or leaving an anchorage and though that was just common sense.
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Old 22-06-2015, 05:22   #37
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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That's as I see it, but the lovely thing about boats is that we all have our own ideas. But all boats seem to have pointed bows. That's one thing in common.
Not all boats.

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Old 22-06-2015, 13:14   #38
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Nice pictures. I just knew I'd be found wrong. Also of course the Optimist Dinghy has a flat bow. Don't ever try towing one as they fill with water splashing over the pram bow.
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Old 22-06-2015, 13:16   #39
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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The best solution is to be in the habit of always running the motor but have non-nanny state wiring.


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Old 22-06-2015, 15:57   #40
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

[QUOTE=svinvictus;1852673]Raising 200' of 3/8" chain is a different story. Don't think about sailing off you anchor in such conditions.
QUOTE]
That's not quite true. I've done it frequently (though when I was only 50, 30 years ago - I might have trouble now). But it was slow work. And it was when I didn't have a windlass. or didn't have a working windlass. But, with patience, it is doable.
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Old 22-06-2015, 16:01   #41
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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When I retrieve my anchor my engine is almost always running. But there are many times when I will deploy more chain by powering out or even retrieve some while at anchor without it running.
Also if I am going to sail off the anchor, no point in starting the engine.
Most of the years that I sailed off the anchor I did not have a windlass. And I often did it singlehanded.
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Old 23-06-2015, 07:16   #42
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Most of the years that I sailed off the anchor I did not have a windlass. And I often did it singlehanded.
And having 200ft of 3/8 chain, as we do, does not mean it is all deployed, not even a Rocna Mantus can set with a pure vertical rode pull nor does it all have to be lifted as one weight, only the bit off the bottom and the anchor weight are relevant.
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Old 23-06-2015, 08:29   #43
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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only the bit off the bottom and the anchor weight are relevant.
Yes, good point, but in some parts of the world you don't have to drag far to be in over 200 feet of water.

Your windlass, or you, then has to lift the best part of 400lb.
If you are planning to visit areas like this, make sure your windlass is capable, or with no windlass consider how you would rig up a system to lift this weight. Unless you are stronger than I am .

Fortunately, sailboats have powerful sheet/halyard winches and these can usually be utilised.
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Old 23-06-2015, 08:55   #44
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Yes, good point, but in some parts of the world you don't have to drag far to be in over 200 feet of water.

Your windlass, or you, then has to lift the best part of 400lb.
If you are planning to visit areas like this, make sure your windlass is capable, or with no windlass consider how you would rig up a system to lift this weight. Unless you are stronger than I am .

Fortunately, sailboats have powerful sheet/halyard winches and these can usually be utilised.
hereabouts 20 FEET of water would be nice.
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Old 23-06-2015, 09:19   #45
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Re: Windlass. Powered through engine or service batteries?

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Originally Posted by secrabtree View Post
More than "know how". Use the releqased clutch often, I'd suggest monthly, because I found out the hard way that after a year of frequent anchoring by pressing the "down" button that when the electric didn't work that the clutch was frozen. Presently my windlass is in the shop to get it cleaned up and operating correctly - under electricity or manual. I plan that once I get it back and re-installed to periodically loosen the clutch, not enough to allow a free drop of the anchor but enough to slip, and try to retract the anchor beyond past the roller. I think this will wear the corrosion off the clutch. I am checkng with Lewmar.
When reading this Thread I was wondering how many de-clutch and free fall their anchor as standard practice?

I do and I believe there are a few good reasons to do this:

It gives you a far better feel and control of drop speed and laying out chain in the preferred direction ....when you are controlling with the brake rather than a power button..... backing down at anchor you set the brake to pull out a touch more when anchor is set hard in a current.....thus acting as a safety release / shock absorber to protect the windlass.

Fast gravity drop on a free spinning gypsy is less likely to cause a kink or twist in the lower chain as opposed to a slower power out where kinks tend to roll a half link on gypsy, causing the wrong orientation when retrieving and bedding anchor.


Lastly it better trains the crew to handle an anchoring emergency...... Coming into a tight harbour. Anchor is de-clutched and ready for fast deployment in case of an engine or steering failure.
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