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Crealock 37
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676 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a Lofrans Tigres windlass on Elnora. This year it has been having intermittent occurrences of not working.

When either lowering or raising the anchor electrically it will work fine one moment, not work the next. An example is I'll hit the "down" button to ease enough chain out to push the anchor over the roller is prep to lower it…when I again hit the down button nothing. Or maybe it will work fine as I lower the anchor putting out 50 or 100' of chain. I pause for a moment and when I again hit the switch it doesn't work. Other times it works without issue.

I have checked the breaker and it has not been tripped. I have reset it "just in case" but it doesn't cure the issue. On this past trip 3 times lowering the anchor it failed to work….the next morning it would work fine to raise the anchor. When it does fail I have tried both the up and down buttons…doesn't work using either button.

The windlass is a fairly recent installation, I believe it was installed in 2011. The wiring connections are clean, no corrosion. The switches sound/feel like they are working.

The trouble shooting section of the manual doesn't say much.

Any ideas? Or thoughts on how to test? I'm not great with electrical issues but can use a volt/ohm meter.

Thanks in advance.
 

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1,783 Posts
Switches are possible, bad connections are possible, as is a bad winding on the motor.

If it's a bad winding, the motor will start and turn in some positions and not in others. People used to hit their started motors with a hammer. Suggest since the windlass has a manual mode, if it sticks, try manually turning it a small amount (say 1/4 turn) with the clutch engaged and button not engaged, then press the button again. If that consistently fixes the problem, the motor needs to be removed and serviced. A guy who rewinds starters for cars might be able to do it.

If it's the switches, it could be the buttons or relays. The buttons handle small current, the relays handle big current. You could bypass the whole thing with jumper cables and a battery directly to the motor. Be careful, don't touch + to minus when you do this. If when it sticks the motor will turn with this direct connection, then it's likely bad connections or switches/relays. It doesn't take much resistance to stop this thing from working, just a slightly loose or corroded connection. Those relays can carbon up after a while and make just enough resistance. Sometimes toggling the button a few times makes it work for a bit.

Try the easy experiment testing for bad windings first.
 

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capecodda makes a good point about dead spots in the motor. That should not be the case with a 3 yr old motor. However, be absolutely sure that it is in a watertight location or it will corrode prematurely and that would be a symptom.
 

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Master Mariner
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8,968 Posts
I would tend to agree about the solenoid or the motor.
It is simple enough to remove the protective case from the motor (2 nuts) and the brush cover from the motor. Check the connections to the motor inside the case and there could be some deterioration of the alloy case inside, as well. Clean and polish the commutator (the spaces between the copper bars must be free of any contaminants that could make an electrical connection) and make sure the brushes are making good contact with the commutator. The solenoid you can test by jumping across the large contacts with a wire of sufficient size, for a second or two.
Just looking at the connections is not sufficient for a high amp unit like this. Take each apart, checking the crimps and clean each part, especially the wires from the switch to the solenoid. I like "Corrosion Block" for connections I can't check easily.
I removed our Tigress from the boat only because the legs holding it to the boat had corroded off and the motor cover (inside) turned into alloy powder, but it was still operating perfectly.Lube the moving parts liberally and make sure you have the correct oil in the case and that windlass should last 20 years or more.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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3,619 Posts
My bet is your problem is the buttons. They are made metals that corrode away to nothing in about a year.

Remove the three screws lift of the rubber bit. You may find a pile of green stuff where the terminal was. If not poke gently at the solder connections.

Mine last on average 15 months. I carry a spare.
 

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Crealock 37
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676 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks folks,

Will take a look this week when I get back to the boat.
 

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Crealock 37
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676 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Update

Checked voltages at the relay (13.5) and at the switches (13.5). Went on deck and ran the windlass a few times each direction, finally failed.

When it failed I could push the foot buttons and would not hear the relay click, if it was working I could hear the relay. Since I wasn't hearing the relay I figured the issue wasn't with the brushes/motor.

Re-checked voltages and found only 8-10 at the switches. With the assumption the connections in the wire to the switches was corroded I removed them, cleaned and corrosion proofed. Everything working fine now, voltage at switches 13.5 and so far no failure. Time will tell.

An oddity I found was the relay is an Imtra SPA10700. Right on the label it says 700-1700 watts. The Imtra SPA10700 that I found for sale and on the Imtra website spec the SPA 10700 at 500-1500 watts. Literature for the Tigres shows 1500 max.
 
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