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Old 27-04-2015, 11:41   #1
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Windlass only running when engine is off...

My windlass (lofrans) is only running when engine is turned off and the alternator stops. My expectation would be the opposite. The only modification I done to it was to install a remote that work fine (with engine off). The electrical system is neat and 99% original. 2003 French production boat. There are thick cables running from aft to bow where the windlass is so there is no extra battery. Anyone have a idea where to start looking?


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Old 27-04-2015, 11:45   #2
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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My windlass (lofrans) is only running when engine is turned off and the alternator stops. My expectation would be the opposite. The only modification I done to it was to install a remote that work fine (with engine off). The electrical system is neat and 99% original. 2003 French production boat. There are thick cables running from aft to bow where the windlass is so there is no extra battery. Anyone have a idea where to start looking?


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Yes. If it worked as expected before you installed the remote and it doesn't work as inspected after you installed the remote, troubleshooting 101 suggests that the problem is with the work you did.

Go back and make sure you understood and followed the instructions that came with the remote. If necessary, unhook the remote and put all the wires back the way they were. Check for proper operation.
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Old 27-04-2015, 11:59   #3
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

Well ,the remote is mounted to the control box in parallel with the wired remote and I already tried to take it away. (Although I really doubted that it would make any difference) Same behaviour.


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Old 27-04-2015, 12:45   #4
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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Originally Posted by Flod View Post
Well ,the remote is mounted to the control box in parallel with the wired remote and I already tried to take it away. (Although I really doubted that it would make any difference) Same behaviour.


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But the windlass worked correctly before you installed the remote, right?
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Old 27-04-2015, 13:33   #5
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

No


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Old 27-04-2015, 13:45   #6
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

The only thing different with the engine running I can think of is the battery voltage would be higher. So the question why would a higher voltage cause the windlass not to run.

Is there such a thing as a windlass control relay with a voltage setting? I don't know.

What battery is the windlass power connected to, the house or starting battery? Where do the up/down relays get their power from? Is the power directly connected to the battery (via a breaker or fuse) or is it connected to something else?

Have you checked for voltage at the relays and windlass motor with the engine both on and off?

Try jumping across the windlass relays with the engine on and off.
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Old 27-04-2015, 13:51   #7
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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I think it's connected directly to the house batteries via a circuit breaker / fuse.


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Old 27-04-2015, 13:53   #8
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

I haven't measured anything yet. The boat is on the hard so I can't run the motor. Will measure next weekend after getting it back in the water.

Thanks for the tip. Will get back with more info.


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Old 27-04-2015, 13:57   #9
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

I would say ALL boats can run the windlass with the engine running infact all the charter boats need the engine running to save the battery. I would suggest the 1% of non original wiring is the culprit
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Old 27-04-2015, 14:01   #10
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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No


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OK. Now we can start from the beginning. Almost. We don't know how the windlass came to be on the boat, who installed it or if it ever worked correctly. Adding the remote just confused the issue.

Windlass wiring is pretty simple. Large cables go from the battery to the contactor (relay) and from there to the actual windlass. There should be overcurrent protection in the positive conductor near the connection to the battery. There are control wires from the switch(s) to the contactor. All the contactor does is switch the current from the battery to the windlass and reverse the polarity to reverse the windlass.

The windlass and contactor have nothing to do with the engine or the alternator and assuming a way to keep the batteries charged, there would not even have to be an engine on the boat for the windlass to operate.

Get the wiring diagram for the windlass (and contactor) and compare it to the wiring in your boat. Something is connected incorrectly (I can't imagine anything that would cause this strange operation). Find what is connected wrong and correct it. Or, pull all the wires loose and just start over, following the installation instructions.
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Old 27-04-2015, 14:04   #11
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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Originally Posted by Flod View Post
I haven't measured anything yet. The boat is on the hard so I can't run the motor. Will measure next weekend after getting it back in the water.




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OK, How do you know the windlass doesn't work with the engine running if you can't run the engine?
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Old 27-04-2015, 14:06   #12
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

A lot of production boats are wired so that the windlass will only work with the engine (or engine battery switch) on. This is not ideal and a lot of owners change this, which is not hard.

My guess is that someone has tried to change this set up and ended up with the opposite problem. Why they would leave it that way is a mystery. Perhaps they liked raising the anchor under sail?

Troubleshooting is consists of tracing the wires and using a multimeter to see which parts have 12v. Can you photograph the winch solenoid box? The first step is to see if the winch power leads are not getting 12v with the engine on, or if the solenoid activation is the problem. I can at least point out where to check these measurements from the photograph.
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Old 27-04-2015, 14:06   #13
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

I encountered the problem last trip before hauling it up for winter.


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Old 27-04-2015, 14:11   #14
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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A lot of production boats are wired so that the windlass will only work with the engine (or engine battery switch) on. This is not ideal and a lot of owners change this, which is not hard.



My guess is that someone has tried to change this set up and ended up with the opposite problem. Why they would leave it that way is a mystery. Perhaps they liked raising the anchor under sail?



Troubleshooting is consists of tracing the wires and using a multimeter to see which parts have 12v. Can you photograph the winch solenoid box? The first step is to see if the winch power leads are not getting 12v with the engine on, or if the solenoid activation is the problem. I can at least point out where to check these measurements from the photograph.

Yes that might be the problem. The windlass was put on by the manufacturer but I'm 3rd owner so maybe someone tampered with the solenoid. Will take some photos next weekend.


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Old 27-04-2015, 14:12   #15
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Re: Windlass only running when engine is off...

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Originally Posted by Flod View Post
I encountered the problem last trip before hauling it up for winter.


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So it was working fine and then one day it stopped working as long as the engine was running but worked with the engine shut down? Did you (or anyone else) work on the boat around that same time? Have any other problems that might have affected the windlass wiring?

Did you confirm this with several tests or was it a one time thing?

I have serious doubts that the windlass operation is connected to having the engine running, especially in your case that it will only run with the engine off. As I posted above, the windlass should be entirely independent of the engine.
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