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Mondofromredondo
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Electric Windlass Installation Do's and Don'ts

Hi all,
Thinking about installing a vertical windlass on my 34'. Anyone have any personal experiences of do's or don'ts with this type of install? Anyone find a vertical to be a problem stacking chain in the locker? Or chain and rode? Did you install a battery up fwd near the Windlass? I believe a dedicated battery should be utilized. I'd be selecting a Vertical that allowed for manual cranking as well. If u installed a dedicated battery, where did u put it?
My manual horizontal is wearing me down with 180' of 5/16 chain with a 45 CQR. Also I'm worried it may let me down being 25 years old. I searched the psc forum on this subject and couldn't find much. Hopefully i searched correctly.

Thanks to all !
 

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We have a PSC 37 and installed an IDEAL vertical windlass which has performed flawlessly since 2001. We are using the house bank as the 12 v source. The house bank is located starbard side forward. We have no problem with chain stacking up under the windlass although of the 180 ft of chain 70 ft is lead via the anchor locker condiut to about midship in the floor above the bilge.

We have no connection with IDEAL Windlass but they been in business for over 100 years and were very helpful in helping us size up a windlass.

George
S/V SACHEM # 335
 

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I am installing my first anchor windlass on my PS 37 and called Thumper at Pacific Seacraft for advice. He told me that they have been installing Lofrans Tigres, a horizontal unit, with good results.

David Howes
PS 37 #146 Margalo
 

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Crealock 37
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I have the Lofran Tigres on my 37. Very happy with it. The rope drum is very handy for lifting the dinghy aboard.

A couple of times the chain has stacked up and I've had to go down and shove the pile over…not enough to concern me.

Power for the windlass comes off the house bank under the settee at the forward bulkhead in the salon.
 

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81, 37'

I put in the Muir Atlantic 1250. It was alot of work. Ran cables rather than adding battery up front. There's alot more to those things than just the windlass (switches, breakers, etc.) Works like a charm. Only problem I have is the chain fall. I added a PVC fitting under the deck so I could route the chain with a few elbows. Still haven't been able to get it perfect and have to push the chain forward almost every time. Another project for another day.

Anyway, I'd strongly consider a horizontal because the vertical takes up a lot of anchor locker. In fact, I cannot fit in there to access anything beyond my arm's reach. There's still room for 250' of rode and 200' of chain but the rode is very cramped.
 

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FWIW, we've got a Tigres installed and have been happy with it.

Por Fin's 39' on deck and she's probably a little heavier than your PSC 37 (~26K loaded and topped off). We too use all chain rode as our primary. The Tigres has always performed for us.

I am noodling through a redesign of the chain fall into the locker, though. Chain pile "time outs" are pretty frequent.

A more common point of failure on electric windlasses are deck mounted foot switches. Do some research and try to buy good ones. You might also want to install a secondary switch as well; we've got the foot switches forward at the windlass, and a toggle switch at the steering pedestal as well.
 

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We have a Lewmar V2 vertical windlass on our 34. The motor is mounted horizontally and does not get in the way of the chain. We carry 250' of 5/16" chain and a 44 lb Rocna. I do sometimes have castling issues, but the motor never gets in the way, as it is offset from the deck hole.

The V2 has worked fine for the 8 years it has been on the boat. If I was starting from scratch I would look hard at the Lighthouse windlass, but then you have the potential problem of the motor being mounted vertically in the anchor locker. I think that would be a problem on a 34. The V3 windlass is the exact same footprint and hardware of the V2 but with a more powerful motor.

I ran 4/0 cable straight off of the battery (with a proper circuit breaker) up the port side of the boat to the windlass - anything worth doing is worth over doing:). People tend to undersize the wires to the windlass, which is one of the main causes of circuit breaker trips when using the windlass. 12 volt motors do not like under voltage. You can generally get away with the huge voltage drop of undersized cables with the engine running and the alternator putting out 14+ amps. Even if you lose 2 amps in line loss you are still getting 12 volts to the windlass. However, I like the ability to run off of my batteries in a pinch, and my cables never even get warm.

In my opinion, having a battery forward only complicates your electrical charging system, and adds a lot of weight forward. Keeping weight out of the bow has been a big challenge for us now that we live full time on the boat.
 

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Replaced the manual windlass with a Lofrans Cayman which I believe is the same windlass as the Lofrans Tigres sans the cleat on top of the Tigres in the mid 90s. One of the best upgrades ever.

Second Brians thoughts on running suitable fused cables from the battery bank to windlass and not adding a battery up forward for windlass. I believe I ran 4/0 as well from the batteries location just aft of the mast post. Never has been issue, in any event the diesel engine is usually running when the anchor is coming up and the alternator pouring in amps as well.

Regards
Marc Hall
Crazy Fish, a Crealock 37 Hull 207
 

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Mondofromredondo
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I 've owned my PSC 34 for 7 years now. I've always been aware of a large open space under the V-birth just aft of the chain locker. Only recently did I learn from previous owner that this area was once a water tank. Apparently there was delam in this tank and the owner emptied it and put a water bladder in the area just aft of this. The owner claimed that the water tank when full impacted the handling of the boat when motorying into seas. Of course I have nothing to compare this to. I do see this area as a possible chain locker if I can work out a clever way to route the chain there. This will I hope reduce the possibility of castleing of the chain and move chain weight further aft. I changed my mind and went with a horizontal Lighthouse 1501 windless has a underdeck vertical motor which can complicate chain storage.

Brian- did you route your cable under the caprail or thru the lockers and head area?

Thanks to all for the input.
 

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I wouldn't worry about a dedicated battery. While the amps are high, the amp-hours are tiny because it will never be under real load for more than 20 seconds (remember, you don't use a windlass to pull the boat to the anchor, only to lift the anchor and chain. About 0.2 amp-hours.

If your batteries are low, start the engine first, which you probably need to do anyway.
 

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We have a now discontinued bronze Muir 800 with a 1000W 12V motor. The vertical windlass has both a capstan and gypsy. The motor is horizontal just aft of the starboard hawse hole and does not interfere with fall of the chain or the storage of 100' of 5/16" chain and 175' of 5/8" nylon on one side of the chain locker divider and 50' of 5/16" chain and 175' of 5/8" nylon on the other. There is a cut out in the divider extension to accommodate the motor. The cabling is 1/0 as is all my inter-battery and alternator cabling. There is a 100A circuit breaker for the windlass mounted below the companionway with a red "on" light. Two foot switches on the foredeck control the motor. There are no relays. The cables to the bow are routed through the bilge. (There is a hole under the forward water tank that you might not expect.)

Bill Murdoch
1988 PSC 34
Irish Eyes
 

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Mondofromredondo
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies guys !!! This is exactly the kind info I need. This site has really proven to be a very valuable resource.

Bill your cable run certainly seems easier but the route under the caprail if I can pull this off seems to place the cables more out of the way and perhaps out of the nasty bilge.

But as soon as I hit something under the caprail given my level of patience I'll be crawling down in the bilge real quick
 

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The caprail route should not be too bad. I've replaced the washdown pump hose which ran from the pump under the sink to a male hose fitting on the bow. It was an easy shot. My guess is that the route through bilge was taken because the power was taken from the 1-2-both switch under the companionway, to an adjacent circuit breaker, through the holes forward of the engine down to the bilge, then up to the bow to avoid problems going around the galley. During the construction of the boat it would have been easy to cable-tie the wires to the bottom of the liner before it was installed in the boat.

Bill Murdoch
1988 PSC 34
Irish Eyes
 

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I hope nobody minds me resurrecting this thread ...

I've been doing my own hunting for a windlass for my Tartan 37. I'm curious, are Lofrans worth the money? Because the Tigres costs about 2x what a comparable unit from most other companies costs.
 

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I have a Maxwell VWC1100. It runs off the main bank with it's own (huge) fuses... and monster cables. There is no interference from the motor and the lead is CL to the bow roller. The only problem is if / when the chain pile gets too high in the chain locker
 

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I thought you were in budget mode..?
If there's one thing I've learned about budgeting, it's that sometimes it's worth spending a bit more up front to save yourself a lot of money later ...

Since I _am_ in budget mode, I'm trying to figure out if this is one of those cases. I don't want to blow my budget on a premium priced windlass only to find out later that I would have been fine spending 1/2 as much, but I also don't want to be cursing myself a year or two later because I tried to save a few bucks and ended up with a PoS.
 

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I have a Maxwell VWC1100. It runs off the main bank with it's own (huge) fuses... and monster cables. There is no interference from the motor and the lead is CL to the bow roller. The only problem is if / when the chain pile gets too high in the chain locker
How long have you had it? Under what conditions do you use it?

Maxwell is one of the brands I've looked at, but you're the first person I found who actually has one.
 
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