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Old 04-08-2007
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Windlass wiring

I have all basic wires installed for my new windlass. I have a few questions to those that have mounted a forward battery under the v berth along with some kind of battery combiner.
Is the combiner connected to the starting battery or house bank batteries? Which is preferable?
Should I add a fuse AND an On/Off Switch to both sides of the cable going to the fwd battery or am I just being anal.
alan
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Old 04-08-2007
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Not sure how you presently have your house and start bank seperated, but you can tie the windlass battery wires to one or the other, with an OFF/ON switch in the line and a fuse, or a circuit breaker in the line to use as an ON/OFF switch. You do want some way of isolating that battery from the others.
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I don't think an extra fuse is ever a bad idea. Unless you forget that you installed them when one of them gets blown. Or you forget to take extra replacement fuses with you.
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Connect it to the house bank. The start battery should only start the engine.
If your windlass had a breaker before its probably suficiant to protect every thing up to the new battery but you will need another Fuse\ Breaker as close to the forward batt as possible but between it and the windlass this will protect the wiring for that run.
Nothing wrong with being anal when your dealling with that kind of amp draw.
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See response to your identical post on the SSCA board.
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Old 04-08-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aphil138
I have all basic wires installed for my new windlass. I have a few questions to those that have mounted a forward battery under the v berth along with some kind of battery combiner.
Is the combiner connected to the starting battery or house bank batteries? Which is preferable?
Should I add a fuse AND an On/Off Switch to both sides of the cable going to the fwd battery or am I just being anal.
alan
It should ideally be connected to the house bank, rather than the starting bank, but it really is up to you. The house bank is usually significantly larger than the starting bank and windlasses tend to be very power hungry. It would suck if you killed the starting bank trying to raise the anchor and then couldn't start the engine because of that... and couldn't use the windlass any more for the same reason...

Generally you should have fuses in-line, within two-feet of any power source IMHO. This is mainly to reduce the risk of fire in the case of a short circuit. You should also have an on-off switch to the battery—some way to isolate it from the house bank—so the weekend of blasting the stereo on the hook doesn't leave you with a dead windlass battery. A combiner is nice, in that it does allow the battery to charge automatically, but not discharge to the house loads, but is a bit more expensive than the switch.

BTW, both of the examples are from one weekend where I saw this happen once... I thought it was funny, but it wasn't my boat... it was a big power boat that had been partying all weekend and noisy... and the rest of us thought it was karmic justice..

He had just raised the anchors, but hadn't started the motors... not quite sure why he was doing it in that order—might have had something to do with being hungover though... When he finally got the anchor up...he couldn't get the motors started and started to drift towards shore. He couldn't figure out how to drop his anchor without power...

We heard him swearing for about ten minutes... Finally, we took mercy on the idiot and went over in a dinghy to tow him back to where he could drop the hook safely. Another boat rafted up to him and essentially gave him a jump start.

BTW, always make sure you know how to release your anchor without power using a power windlass.. there is usually some way to do it...same for retrieving your anchor. Most power windlasses have a manual way to work them.
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Get a three bank combiner. Your windlass battery should be similair to a starting battery with high cranking amps rather than a deep cycle, like your house bank. Generally you have your engine running when using your windlass and I would recommend having it on with your start battery with an on off switch to isolate it.
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Ebs-

do you have any links for a three-bank combiner??

While, I agree that you should keep your engine running if you're using a powered windlass.. but not everyone does it...some people like to use sail to leave an anchorage or mooring.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Ebs-

do you have any links for a three-bank combiner?
Google: Pathmaker Automatic Battery Combiners Xantrex

I concur with Ebs, get the 3 bank combiner. We have the house, windlass and starter combined with the PathMaker 3 Bank from Xantrex and it works great. The combiner eliminates the need to do battery switching.

Last edited by stoutwench; 04-08-2007 at 11:41 PM.
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A question about combiners: I thought there was a voltage penalty in using them...am I wrong?

I plan to have a separate wet cell in the forepeak handling the windlass with its own dedicated charger (repurposed when I put in a Xantrex charger/inverter for house and start AGMs). I want to have the ability to charge the wet cell from shore, or via the solar/wind array through a switch, or finally from the house bank itself. This will mean switching options. I also want to keep it fully charged should I have a complete battery failure with the start/house banks, and then I can haul the wet cell back into the engine room and "jump" the diesel. The combiner sounds good, but I am trying to avoid long runs of wire (the exception being from the house bank to the windlass wet cell in an emergency).
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