Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-01-2020, 22:57   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 159
Anchor raised itself

While I was trying to go to bed this evening at anchor, I heard the windlass engage for a short period. I thought it was just chain noise as we had rough weather all day. Then about 5 mins later the windlass started pulling in the chain at full speed on its own. I flipped the breaker and shut it down. I investigated further and found that the up down switch I have installed in the cockpit is the culprit.

The switch is the SKU:MAX-P102938 from Maxwell and it came with the windlass when I installed it less than 2 years ago.

There was some corrosion on the top of the physical momentary switch and when I tested it with an Ohm meter I got around 12kohm on the up and over 1Mohm on the down terminal. Both showed a good connection when operating the switch, but I believe the lower resistance is causing the inadvertent operation as it probably hits a borderline level. The switch also is sticking in the up position instead of a momentary connection then breaking it.

I have a wireless remote that I am using and will replace the switch when I can get a new part. I may try to figure out what the actual switch used by Maxwell is because that thing is probably 2 bucks vs 50 for a whole new unit.

This could have been bad if we weren't on the boat as it would have basically pulled up the anchor. I got lucky the windlass stopped after it jammed on the snubber lines and I was able to turn off the breaker quickly.

This is going to cause us to change our anchoring procedure. The windlass breaker will only be turned on during active use from now on.
__________________

felizcortez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2020, 23:24   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Vancouver B.C.Canada
Posts: 161
Images: 1
Send a message via MSN to BugzyCan
Re: Anchor raised itself

That is a scare right out of a horror movie, not as bad as a breach or fire, but frightening in itself. As you say, good thing you were on the boat at the time, otherwise someone might have found it washed up on a beach somewhere.
__________________

BugzyCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2020, 23:35   #3
Beloved by chandlers everywhere

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Med
Boat: Dufour 455 GL
Posts: 217
Re: Anchor raised itself

I try to always ensure the windlass is without power, except when needed. In other words, it's default state should be OFF.

With two wired switches and one wireless, as well as a mile of cable, there is a lot of stuff that can potentially go wrong. Defaulting to off does increase the risk of forgetting or not being ready when seconds are precious, but I think that is a smaller risk overall than what might happen if the windlass is working inadvertently.
LongRange is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2020, 23:45   #4
Registered User
 
44'cruisingcat's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 9,185
Images: 69
Re: Anchor raised itself

Some time ago there was an incident where an electric halyard winch self operated. Can't remember the exact details, but from what I recall, the halyard tore off the davits, which it was secured to, dragged them to the top of the mast and did a huge amount of damage.
__________________
"You CANNOT be serious!"


John McEnroe
44'cruisingcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 00:03   #5
Registered User
 
Sojourner's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: On the boat!
Boat: SY Wake: 53' Amel Super Maramu
Posts: 807
Re: Anchor raised itself

This is why (also because 3 muscular cats can and have operated both the winches and windlass by stepping on their control buttons) we flip most of our running electronic gear off at the panel after anchoring. Sometimes I'll leave the chart plotter or wind speed running, but only in bad weather. If I need to winch a dinghy or pull in some chain later, it's no work to flip it back for a minute.
__________________
3 cats, 3 queers, endless wake, endless love!
https://www.facebook.com/anendlesswake/
https://anendlesswake.com/
Sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 09:16   #6
Registered User
 
boom23's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Med.
Boat: Amel 50
Posts: 957
Re: Anchor raised itself

Amel stopped using anchor foot switches due to reliability issues. I argued with them, but they refused to install them on my boat.

I would definitely make sure that the windlass has no power except when I use it. Also, I would treat the windlass as dangerous whenever it has power. It's good to know where all the breakers are...
boom23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 09:53   #7
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 28,714
Re: Anchor raised itself

I don’t like the foot switches myself, I didn’t install mine, I have a wireless remote and a wired switch in the cockpit.
Next year I think I’ll spend the bucks for a wireless remote with a chain counter built in.
I thought it common practice to turn the breaker off except when using the windlass, as much for fire prevention as anything else, that is a whole lot of power that can be run through those cables.
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 09:55   #8
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Denmark (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 26,398
Re: Anchor raised itself

This has happened to me also!


It's awful. So I now switch off the windlass power when not in use. However, this bothers me because of the prospect of emergeny reanchoring in a sudden storm and forgetting to switch it back on. These damn things should be more reliable.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-Ítre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 09:58   #9
Writing Full-Time Since 2014
 
thinwater's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Boat: PDQ Altair, 32/34
Posts: 6,783
Re: Anchor raised itself

Quote:
Originally Posted by boom23 View Post
Amel stopped using anchor foot switches due to reliability issues. I argued with them, but they refused to install them on my boat.

I would definitely make sure that the windlass has no power except when I use it. Also, I would treat the windlass as dangerous whenever it has power. It's good to know where all the breakers are...

I am not a fan of foot switches for winches or windlasses. It is too easy to be knocked off balance and end up with your weight on one.

Some years ago I was knocked over by a wake while anchoring. I was kneeling on one knee and not actually using the windlass at that moment, but my other knee landed on the switch, my hand on the chain, and I could not take my weight fully off either for several horrible moments. If not for a tight glove I could have lost a finger. After that, I would only sit or stand in that area if the breaker was on. Sitting is safe and standing my hands are far from the chain.


In the future, I would use a hand switch on the rail. It's too easy for you balance to shift on foot switches. The idea of an open electric winch on a pitching deck is a little scary. OSHA would have a field day.
__________________
Gear Testing--Engineering--Sailing
https://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/
thinwater is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 15:20   #10
Registered User
 
CaptTom's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Boat: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Posts: 1,757
Re: Anchor raised itself

Thanks for sharing! My windlass is protected by a big ol' fuse, and it would be a pain to go down into the ER to pull it every time we stopped. Worse would be needing the windlass on short notice.

I wonder if a relay would make sense. Have a switch somewhere accessible to power the relay when needed.
CaptTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 16:02   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
Dave_S's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Brisbane Australia
Boat: Schionning Waterline 1480
Posts: 1,307
Re: Anchor raised itself

Never occurred to me why, but mine has a big circuit breaker beside the switch at the helm, I guess now it was put there for this reason by the PO. I'll start switching it.
__________________
Regards
Dave
Dave_S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 16:23   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 159
Re: Anchor raised itself

I investigated a bit further today and it was definitely the up down switch in the cockpit.

It had standing water in it and some corrosion at the bottom. I cleaned it and reassembled the switch and it works again correctly. This is temporary as the contact plating on the actual switch was corroded off so I am going to get a new one. I didnt see any part number on the actual switch so I will prob just have to buy a whole new unit.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20200102_153504709.jpg
Views:	179
Size:	409.8 KB
ID:	206112   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20200102_161645728.jpg
Views:	177
Size:	416.0 KB
ID:	206113  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20200102_162723148.jpg
Views:	157
Size:	406.5 KB
ID:	206114  
felizcortez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 16:42   #13
Registered User
 
Reefmagnet's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: puɐןsuǝǝnb 'ʎɐʞɔɐɯ
Boat: Nantucket Island 33
Posts: 3,818
Re: Anchor raised itself

If you have a contactor installed for the winch (which any winch fitted with a remote control will have), you just need to put a small switch in the circuit that will disable the contactor by interrupting the circuit to its relay coil.
Reefmagnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2020, 18:50   #14
Registered User
 
CaptTom's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Boat: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Posts: 1,757
Re: Anchor raised itself

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
If you have a contactor installed for the winch (which any winch fitted with a remote control will have), you just need to put a small switch in the circuit that will disable the contactor by interrupting the circuit to its relay coil.
That will work. True, it still leaves the heavy cable up to the contactor energized. But in my case I have a bilge pump on that circuit (the "if everything else fails" pump) so that might be a good thing.
CaptTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2020, 00:50   #15
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Boat: Bestevaer.
Posts: 11,882
Re: Anchor raised itself

This is not an uncommon incident. As has been mentioned, foot switches are the most frequent culprit (which is one good reason not to have them) but they are not the only cause of this problem.

I think it is worthwhile always turning off the windlass when it not in use even though this will make the anchor slightly slower to retrieve in an emergency situation (the anchor can usually still be dropped by loosening the clutch even if there is no power to the windlass).

The other consideration that has not been mentioned is stray current corrosion (often slightly incorrectly termed electrolysis). Electrical anchor winches are a reasonably common cause of this problem. This can eat the zincs rapidly and in more severe cases cause corrosion to the stern gear or rudder stock. Turning the windlass off when not in use reduces the time when this corrosion can occur. Unfortunately, to eliminate this problem both the negative and the positive supply to the windlass needs to be broken. Turning off the breaker or the battery switch will often only cut the positive supply, leaving the windlass connected to negative battery terminal. It will not operate in this state, but it can still produce stray current corrosion.

The best solution is to fit a double pole battery switch to the power supply for the windlass. The Blue Sea 5510e is a good example. This will break both the positive and negative supply. Switching this off when the windlass is not in use will prevent inadvertent operation and at the same time eliminate one cause of stray current corrosion.

Photo from Blue Sea:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	9C36986E-6732-4855-B806-BE8E6DD92C4D.jpeg
Views:	80
Size:	217.5 KB
ID:	206156  
__________________

noelex 77 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ais, anchor

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
flat deck vs. raised cabin ? Aquah0lic Monohull Sailboats 17 24-11-2013 08:14
Raised Boom Affecting Mainsail Shape? illiniphoenix Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 5 04-09-2012 12:23
Haven't even raised my first sail Webb Dillard Meets & Greets 12 30-07-2012 07:29
For Sale: DeFever 49 Raised Pilot House (RPH) Trawler MermaidLil Classifieds Archive 0 02-08-2010 17:39
Raised a Sunken Boat Today Chief Engineer Construction, Maintenance & Refit 26 11-03-2010 19:58

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:34.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.