Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Old 08-12-2013
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Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

(Ooops, meant to put this in Electrical forum)

Once in a while when I start my engine the bow thruster and windlass are not powered on. Once it gets into this mode I can't seem to get them on at all. I just cruise off and maybe an hour or so they turn on. Then the next day they turn on fine once the engine starts

I am figuring that the relay's are not getting their ignition "on" signal. Or maybe the ignition directly supplies the 12 volts to power the relay's. Clearly I need to dig into this but I was wondering if anyone ran into this before I start pulling things apart.

Thanks as always.

Last edited by kellysails; 08-12-2013 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

You'd need to check the electrical system out. They could be powered from a second battery which is on a combiner, and not getting enough voltage to work until after that has charged up a semi-dead battery they are working from.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
You'd need to check the electrical system out. They could be powered from a second battery which is on a combiner, and not getting enough voltage to work until after that has charged up a semi-dead battery they are working from.
This weekend the windlass/thruster batteries were on a charger prior to use, they were fully charged. It was the first thing I checked. Batteries are about a year old.

The thruster and windlass each have their own relay and each have their own battery. I think it points to the ignition switch on the engine control panel. Maybe?
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

Is the problem just with those two systems? Or with *everything* that is connected to the ignition switch? Normally that would include instruments and other circuits, and if everything else was working, it wouldn't be the switch. Might be a relay or other interconnect between those circuits and the ignition key though. You'd have to trace the wiring to see what POs might have put in there.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Is the problem just with those two systems? Or with *everything* that is connected to the ignition switch? Normally that would include instruments and other circuits, and if everything else was working, it wouldn't be the switch. Might be a relay or other interconnect between those circuits and the ignition key though. You'd have to trace the wiring to see what POs might have put in there.
The electric fuel pump automatically comes on. The blower comes on. All the proper lights on the idiot panel come on. Everything else works just fine.

I originally thought it was "a" relay problem but then I realized the windlass and thruster each have the own independent relay.

Worst case I have to figure out how I can jump the relay circuit so when I have 200 feet of chain out there I can still bring up the anchor. That actually happened to us but for whatever reason on the fifth startup try the windlass came alive.

AND... it is a keyless control panel, just to make things interesting.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

It would seem that the two things that don't work have in common, even if they are on separate relays, is that they are high power drains forward. So there might be a common connection feeding power forward to both of their relays. That would be my suspicion. Somewhere, something, that allows battery power from the back end of the boat to go forward to the high loads, even if that in turn splits up further forward.

Keyless panel won't matter, that just means there is no physical ignition switch to worry about, there's a relay or something instead, and the odds are still that it turns on one "ignition hot" circuit that feeds everything else.

As to jumping the relay? Depends on what it is and how it is set up. An alligator clip from the positive line to the relay coil probably is all it takes, or wiring up a more permanent "manual bypass" switch.

Never forget that some bozo may have installed a bad splice, an extra fuse, or some other failure point way back there, between and behind bulkheads, where only a trained monkee could ever reach it. And only a skilled roach would know it was there.

The fact that it is just the two high power loads, forward loads, that are not engaging makes me think they share some common feed point in the wiring, and that will be the culprit. But the only way to find out, is hands and eyes over the whole wiring run.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

Never seen a thruster or windlass connected to an ignition switch in any fashion whatsover.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

I have seen an option (on my boat's schematic, but not installed) for a "safety relay" that prevents windlass use with the engine off - presumeably to prevent killing the engine battery. Sounds like the interlock relay may be the problem; it could be one relay removing power to both the thruster and windlass relays.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

boatpoker-
Well technically, there is no "ignition" switch on a diesel engine since there is no ignition system, is there?
So if we can, ah willingly suspend our disbelief over that, why not also allow for the possibility that some PO decided to use the ignition "switch" as an interlock, to ensure the windlass and thruster couldn't be used unless the engine was running? To prevent some numbnuts from running down the batteries when the engine was off.

Surely you've found some "who the hell did this and what were they smoking?" kludges on some of the boats you've inspected?

Or perhaps you've noticed that you can't buy a home hair blower less than 1600 watts in capacity, even though that just about overloads the typical 15-amp circuit for the entire bathroom, all by itself and ignoring the lights? There's genius amongst us.
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Old 08-13-2013
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Re: Weirdness with Yanmar Ignition

Intermittent problem? Could be a bad splice somewhere out of sight? Temporary, or permanent fix could be a separate switch with new wiring to the thruster and the winch relays. Simple can be good.

Paul T
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