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.
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.