Wiring Windlasses - SailNet Community
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 05-19-2001 Thread Starter
Contributing Authors
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 536
Thanks: 0
Thanked 10 Times in 8 Posts
Rep Power: 16
 
Wiring Windlasses

I am about to purchase a windlass for my 34-foot sailboat and I'd like to know your recommendations regarding a choice of installations. Should I wire the windlass to the house batteries, which will entail a fairly long run of heavy guage (and expensive) cable; or should I install a battery dedicated to the windlass that is mounted rather close to it, such as under the V-berth?

Sue & Larry respond:
In a 34-foot, aft-cockpit sailboat, your cable run from the house bank forward to an electric windlass could easily equal 25 feet in one direction. If you choose a windlass that is capable of drawing 100 amps from your battery bank, then your cable size should equal No. 2 wire (at a minimum) given an acceptable voltage drop of 10 percent for this application. For even better performance, you'd be smart to opt for even a larger size. If it were our personal boat, we'd choose either 1/0 or 2/0 battery cable.

So, where do you go from here? As you mentioned, you can either mount a battery forward near the windlass, or run 50 feet of heavy cable from your house bank through the lockers & under the floorboards until you finally make it to the bow. Quite a few people recommend mounting a battery forward, and it does seem tempting, but we feel that there are a couple of downsides to this approach. 

Firstly, you need to buy a heavy-duty battery and secure it in a location that provides easy access for maintenance. Then, you have to charge the battery, and here's where we see a potential problem. If your windlass draws 100 amps during operation, the battery can be quite discharged after raising and stowing your anchor. A highly discharged battery is often able to accept the full output current from your alternator. If like many sailors today, you have a high-output alternator on your engine, its output could easily be 100 amps or even more. So, now you need the heavy cables running from your engine to the forward battery just to handle the charging current from your alternator. Voila, you're back to installing the heavy cables anyway, plus you now have a battery mounted forward. 

If your alternator output is paltry, you could get by with smaller wires for charging your windlass battery, but you'll still have to make the run through lockers and under floorboards. 

We've heard of some sailors mounting a dedicated windlass battery forward, and installing a dedicated solar panel on the foredeck to charge just that battery. We're don't believe, however, that this arrangement would allow for
multiple anchoring attempts without fully exhausting your battery, plus it's not cheap either. 

We feel that if you bite the bullet now and install adequately sized tinned cable from your house bank forward to your windlass, you should enjoy many years of easy anchor raising with minimal future maintenance.

Sue & Larry is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



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

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

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome