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  #1  
Old 08-05-2007
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Thumbs down Powering a windlass

I'm in the process of installing a Lewmar Concept 1 windlass on my ODay 34. In order to avoid having to run a very thick cable from the engine/battery compartment to the anchor locker. My intent is to put a decent size battery up front adjacent to the anchor locker. The problem is: how do I charge it? In order to avoid cables from the alternator to the battery, I'd like to consider a solar panel but, given the severe power requirements, I'm concerned that it would never get fully re-charged by the solar panel. I only use the boat on weekends, but am planning to retire and go cruising in the next year or two. Has anyone else found a satisfactory way to address this problem ?

Thanks,

Max
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Old 08-05-2007
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I asked this asme question a few months back, have a look here.

Windlass
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Old 08-05-2007
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SanderO is an unknown quantity at this point
The draw on a windlass is quite large. My Maxwell 1100vwc draws 97 amp. It may be only on for a few minutes but it is a big battery drain and I always run the engine.

I suggest you bite the bullet and run some heavy gauge cables/ wires to your windlass from the main bank with a large fuse to protect the wires. Cheaper and better in the long run.

If you have to up anchor a few times you'll kill the batt and wait for a week of sunny days before you can use it again.

jef
sv shiva
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Old 08-05-2007
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I disagree. All you need is a decent AGM battery that can stand the quick draw...and a small plug in charger can bring it back up since the total amp hours used is quite small. Besides...this s an Oday 34 and a small windlass is not anything like a maxwell 1100...maximum draw is 58 amps and typical is less than that.

Maddermax...I assume that for cruising you will have a small generator on board (Honda2000 type) or will be running your engine to charge your main batteries. (NOT a good idea...but commonly done). If you have an AC inverter on board then you can simply use the inverter to also charge your windlass battery thorugh a small charger. There is some loss in this process but it is not a big deal. Raising your anchor MIGHT take all of 5 minutes or 1/12 of an hour...at maximum draw, this would be a grand total of about 5 amp hours each day. You could raise your anchor 12 times before a Group31 AGM battery needed to be recharged...and it could be done in just a few hours with a small charger. Alternatively, a 25 watt or so solar panel can keep it topped up in sunny weather.
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Old 08-06-2007
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Smile Powering a Windlass

Thanks to all; the advice is both thoughtfull and thought-provoking. Yes, I will be buying a Honda 2000 generator for the boat (which also has an inverter that I've never quite figured out how to work), so there would be redundancy in re-charging the battery. The AGM suggestion is also a good one, since there's quite a bit more vertical movement at the bow to upset a wet cell.

Maddermax1
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Old 08-06-2007
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Maddmax1

Adding a battery to the bow of a boat will add heavy weight to the bow which along with the heavy weight anchoring gear will tend to cause the boat to 'hobbyhorse'. Keeping the 'ends' (bow and stern) as 'light as possible' will result in infinitely better sailing performance, especially in heavy chop or waves. Light (empty) ends will enable a boats ends to quickly 'rise' to waves and not 'plunge' / get 'slowed'. The 'effect' is the same as when an ice skater spins while holding barbels ... when the barbels are held far away from the body the rate of spin greatly slows down but when the barbels are held close to the body the rate of spin greatly increases.

Such a windlass can effectively run using either #3 ga. wire {or if the run of wire is over 25 ft. then #2 ga. wire}. .... keeping the heavy battery towards the middle of the boat for better boat dynamics / performance. A remote bow battery will involve hooking it up with a combiner, etc. (to make charging automatic, etc.) and you still have to run wire for the charging function and to tie in the battery to the system common ground.

Consider to run heavy WIRE cable from your *present* battery bank .... the cost is not that great IF you *shop around* for economically priced (Ancor) tinned wire. For #2 ga. (not 2/0, as there is a BIG difference) sources such as WEST Marine will charge $6.00 per FOOT for tinned wire but you can find tinned Ancor #2 for as low as $2.50/ft. on the internet, etc. There is a direct seller on eBay who offers (genuine) #2 Ancor wire for $2.60/ft. (genuinedealz.com) ... and they will 'cut to length'.

Obviously a windlass is not used to 'pull the boat' but simply LIFT the anchor gear; and, in this mode the amps draw is minimal and nowhere near the max. rated amperage requirement of the windlass motor. A 'wired'-back-to-the-battery-bank windlass using good quality ancor tinned wire is *far cheaper* and yields better 'weight distribution' (trim) in comparison to adding yet another battery in the bow .... PLUS the electrical system is SIMPLER. A long run of wire to a windlass .... keeps the 'electrics' simple (for a boat with a separate house bank and separate starting bank).

WEIGHT LOCATION considerations:
for instance if you add a 100# battery to the bow of a 34 ft. boat ... the result is 34/2 ft. X 100 lb. will result in a (hobbyhorse) MOMENT of 1700 foot pounds that the 'motion' of the boat will have to overcome when 'plunging'.
Running wire of probably 1/4 that weight will calculate (guestimate) to a MOMENT (because the 'load' is distributive' along the whole length) of about 30 ft. pounds. ....BIG difference.

Dont forget to additionally solder the wire terminal connections after you swage/crimp them, etc. to keep the line losses at a minimum.

:-)
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SanderO is an unknown quantity at this point
The anchor windlass does not simply lift the tackle off the bottom.

When properly used the windlass takes out the catenary in the chain. The new catenary cause the movable end (the bow of the boat) to move toward the fixed end.... the anchor.

Simply taking "out" the catenary is not always as simple as it sounds and the windlass operator often does use the windlass to pull the boat forward... adding to the momentum created by pulling out the catenary.

The trouble is when you are in a stiff breeze. The chain will lift strain the snubber and there will be less catenary to the chain and therefore it is hard to get the boat moving toward the anchor. And the wind force on the boat increases too.

If you motor forward (possible with a second crew) this becomes moot.

I think if one does a cost benefit analysis you will find that you are fine with appropriate sized cable led to the house bank. Cheaper than a new batt, a separate generator and all the weight issues and loss of space for the battery.

My thoughts

jef
sv shiva

Last edited by SanderO; 08-06-2007 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 08-06-2007
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Some vessels that I have worked on used hydraulic powered wenches. The hydraulic steering gear or a PTO hydraulic pump on the engine supplied the power for it. Works quite well in fact. And no heavy drain on the batteries either.
This was given as food for thought.
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-A 100# battery mounted low under the V berth rather than high at the bow will add virtually nothing to the movement of the boat. Less than a person sleeping on the V berth while underway.
-My assumption and recommendation for a cheap charger is based on the assumption (confirmed) that the owner of a cruising boat will already have a generator and inverter on board and will need a new battery to supplement the existing bank which has been sized for non-windlass needs. It does not make sense to buy a generator simply for the windlass.
-Blue Sea systems ABYC wire guage calculator also recommends #0 guage wire for a 25 ft. (50 ft. total back & forth) run for a 60 amp DC load. That is tough to work with and expensive. http://beta.circuitwizard.bluesea.com/
- By going to a seaparate AGM battery and small charger up front you get a battery that is capable of unlimited current rather than restricted like flooded AND there is no need to change out the flooded cell house batteries which are maintained by a separate charging system. And there is no risk of drawing down the house batteries flat when the anchor gets stuck.

You can go either way...but since you asked for alternatives to long, thick cables...I think the up front solution is appropriate and well tested in practice by others. (see prior thread).
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Old 08-06-2007
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It should be noted that one is usually running their engine when using the windlass. If the alternator is responding to the load it will putt out almost as many amps as the windlass.

I never use my windlass without the motor running and I believe my 50' run back and forth is #1 cable. I found that this was indeed the simplist install and I have an up down switch in the cockpit as well as the bow.

This has worked fine for us... I didn't give up any space in the V for a battery. My charging system charges only the house bank and an Echo charge then takes care of the Start bank. Some boats / systems will work fine with a separate windlass batt. I suppose you need to weigh the options and then weigh the anchor!

jef
sv shiva
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