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Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 6:26 PM

Next Tuesday seems to be the great day: after 30 months of hard after hours and almost every weekend work on my boat it finally gets back into the water. Today I went trough the entire check list, and everything was fine except the new anchor windlass (bought and installed a week ago). The windlass is rated 1500 W / 12 V and supposed to lift a vertical weight of 400 Kg, and to drag 1500 kg. The chain is also new because the former was almost the same size (3/8), but not ISO 766 (10mm) as requested by the manufacturer of the winch. This morning I lifted the 60 meters of chain and when almost done, the 135 A jumper went off. During this operation I had my son controlling the electric motor and the cables to see if they got hot (just in case), which did not happen. As I had another breaker, I changed one for another. This time it lifted the 60 meters at a constant speed.... but when it came to lift the anchor (30 kg) the RPM of the windlass dropped (perhaps a 30 %). No temp increase in the cables nor motor were noticeable. A while later I dropped the anchor again and placed 100 kg of weight on it. After lifting some meters, the jumper blew again....

The battery is rated 180 A / 12 V (new, at full load), being located about 10 meters away from the winch.Square cross section of both cables is 110 mm (0000 Gauge). Where do you think the problem may be?

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#1

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 7:02 PM

Maybe you hooked a Spanish galleon full of gold doubloons. Keep trying, perhaps a slower gear ratio.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 7:14 PM

Its on the hard! �� No doublons there!

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 8:29 PM

Forgot to say: gear ratio is fixed: transmission from motor to windlass is direct, by means of a pinion / crown gear.

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#3

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 7:18 PM

Get a clamp on meter that reads DC amps and see how much current you are pulling when you lift anchor. (Make sure it will measure several hundred amps). I'm betting that your motor is drawing more than 135 amps.

https://www.amazon.com/MS2108A-Range-Digital-Current-Tester/dp/B00SQ4UETO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474240466&sr=8-1&keywords=dc+clamp+meter

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 7:30 PM

Yes you need an amp and volt reading to accurately diagnose the problem....Although the first thing that springs to mind is cable size and length of run, both of which are critical....anything shorting....also would check connections with an IR thermometer for any overheating....also might check the windlass rating to make sure you have the right one...do you have a make and model number?

http://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvisor/Marine-Wire-Size-And-Ampacity

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#5
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Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 8:08 PM

I should have used 80 mm2 cables (which is quite expensive), but spent a 20% more and went for 110 mm2 to avoid Amp drops.

Tomorrow i´ll see if I can get someone to lend me an amp meter (down here they cost way more than in the US) and I need to fix this right now. (Amazon / courier is not an option right now)

Cables go straight from the batt to the windlass. Only 6 connection in the run (batt / jumper and windlass poles) all tight, no sign of heating nor loose contacts).

The battery belongs to the starboard engine. Tomorrow I´ll replace the port engine´s (which is dead). After that I´ll try the windlass on BOTH (= 360 A).

This is the windlasses info:

http://www.five-oceans.com/articulo/c1512-windlass-1500w-12v-10mm-din766-ht-g4-3-8-chain-rope-14mm-ss316-all-accesories-included-/3444

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 10:22 PM

Your 'amp drops' would have been zero even in a dead short condition. Your voltage however, would have been different.

Anyway. At 20 meters round trip on 110 mm (4/0) cable a 135 amp load would only see a ~.45 volt drop so it's not a cable size issue.

In fact even with 80 mm (~3/0) you would have only seen a ~.58 volt drop

and only .74 volts with 67 mm (~2/0)

and ~.90 volts with 55 mm (~1/0)

Cable size calculator

So yea, you spent a lot of money on cable you didn't need.

My guess would be the motor/winch being overloaded for too long of period being 100 meters of 3/8" chain would weigh roughly 200 KG so with the 100 KG anchor added to it with multiple wraps of chain on the winch reel you were beyond its working capacity which as Lyn pointed out is typically rated for the first wrap layer only and subsequently lower for each additional layer.

Given that, I wouldn't be surprised to see your winch motor pulling 150+ amps as the anchor come close to the surface.

FWIW standard 3/8" link chain has a working capacity of ~2700 KG or 27 times what your larger anchor weighs.

Chain rating chart

I have no idea how big your boat is but unless it's 15 - 20 meters (50 - 65 feet) 3/8" chain is likely way over kill like your battery cable.

Anchor chain sizing

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#16
In reply to #13

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/18/2016 10:38 PM

Thank you for your thorough reply! There is only one thing I can tell´ya: I´m much better doing brain surgeries than calculating cable cross sections! you can bet on that!

One thing I did not mention is that this cable is common to an 8HP electric bow thruster, therefore my cross section "calculation" may be a little less inadequate

Both pieces of equipment are only 1 meter / 3 ft apart and never used simultaneously

On the other hand: please check a previous reply to Lyn, as there are no wraps of chain on a reel.

My boat is a (quite heavy) 55 Ft steel trawler, so when i drop the anchor, I want it to stay put!

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#43
In reply to #5

Re: Is it the battery, the line or the motor?

09/20/2016 3:19 AM

Reading the link you provided i see a drop speed of 40m/min but no mention of a raise speed. ALSO • While raising the anchor, run the boat's engine above idle. This will minimise the power drain on the batteries. 'End quote' I guess you aren't running the motors. If you don't want to/can't run the motors, try raising the chain until the there is just 1 or 2m left before the anchor starts to lift. Leave it alone, have a bevy with some lunch and then try again to raise just the last 2m and anchor. If it's all good the battery is just having trouble supplying the required current over time.

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#7

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 9:10 PM

What you haven't told us is how you made up the connections between the cable and the terminal. Did you use a barrel crimp terminal and the proper tool? On my friend's Sundancer 460 electrical system I always sweated electrical grade solder into every high power connection; no corrosion, no loosening due to vibration, and the lowest possible voltage drop. For fastening the connection to the terminal you need copper washers with a properly torqued Belleville washer under the nut, again for the lowest possible contact resistance.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 9:17 PM

About the connections: My initial idea was to solder the cable to the terminal, but was told crimping was more safer and efficient; so I got a crimping tool and the appropriate terminals and did so.

Also copper and Belleville washers....

So far the clue seems to be getting the Amp meter.

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#10
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 9:57 PM

I'm assuming that you properly installed the winch and checked for any binding, so the only thing left is packing the chain with grease.

If you can't borrow a clamp-on ammeter, maybe you can find an induction ammeter at a local garage.

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#14
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 10:23 PM

Great idea! As I´m purchasing a new battery tomorrow, I will ask the battery guy to drop by and check the amps.

Anchor chains run dry (do you imagine the mess a greased chain full of mud would make on the boat!)

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#9

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 9:48 PM

The lifting power drops with the diameter of each additional wrap of the chain on the take-up reel.

The 400 Kg of weight can be lifted if the reel has no chain wrapped around it.

A full reel with take more AMPS to pull the 400 Kg load.

Is that the problem?

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 10:15 PM

The chain should be less than 150kg....60 meters about 1.5lb per ft...It is a possibility that the battery is not fully charged....

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#15
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 10:30 PM

Perhaps I was not clear enough: the boat is on the hard, so dropping the chain means that it gets piled up on the yard´s floor, just 3 meters (9FT) under the deck. Therefore the windlass will only be lifting 15lb at a time (9 Ft x 1,5lb). Unfortunately, the battery is fully charged (at least according to the B&D automatic 40 amps charger display)

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#19
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 1:28 AM

Maybe the breaker is just bad....how old is it?

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#23
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 6:43 AM

Brand new, came in the same box the windlass did... but I go for this diagnosis (looks like a cheapo component)

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 10:18 PM

Well, there is no consensus in calling this device Windlass" or "Capstan" (I go for the second name... but the (Chinese) manufacturer describes it under the first).

So, just to be clear: there is a grooved wheel (gypsy) flush to the deck, which does not wrap the chain, as it enters tangentially to the right side, turns around the back and is discharged into the bilge trough a pipe located opposite to the entering point. Therefore the chain is dragged by contacting 2/3ds of the gypsies perimeter, having a flat "Y" piece of metal occupying the remaining 1/3 (between the entry and exit points). Therefore the required force to "push" (??) the chain in any direction should always the same.

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/18/2016 10:49 PM

OK.

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#18
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 1:17 AM

In action Windlass operation...

Big Daddy...

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#20

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 3:58 AM

If you are lifting the chain and anchor dry... in the yard, it will be a LOT heavier than it would if it was submerged.
Dunno if that will be significant.
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#22
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 6:42 AM

Are you invoking this Greek guy Archimedes?

As a matter of fact, 4 meters of chain (from the deck to the floor) weigh about 15 or 20 kg, (the rest is on the ground = 0 weight) when lifting the end of the chain you have to add a 30 Kg anchor, total 50 kilos.... which is far from the rated 400 kilos the manufacturer says it should lift

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#26
In reply to #20

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 7:46 AM

Those floating anchors and chains are pretty tricky!

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#27
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 9:40 AM

You know full well it's weight will be reduced by the weight of water which it displaces regardless of whether it floats or not.
Go and sit on the naughty step...
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#28
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 10:16 AM

I don't know Del. Lately I am seeing using basic rational sense in engineering topics to be a last resort. (if acknowledged or used at all.)

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#29
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 1:08 PM

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#36
In reply to #20

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 7:04 PM

Actually, if the specific gravity of iron is about 7, it should weigh 6/7 as much under water, I think.

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#21

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 4:31 AM

My first line of inquiry would be the breaker, many of the cheaper DC breakers, especially the ones as shown in the accompanying picture, do not come anywhere near being reliable. I recently replaced a new 300 amp one that was tripping on less than 100 amps continuous.

Next would be the battery - an AGM in good condition would have an internal resistance of about 5 milliohms which, at 100 amps draw, would relate to a drop of terminal voltage of about 0.5 volts. Add that to a voltage drop of around 0.3v for the 20 metre cable length and you have a voltage at the winch of only about 12v - that's roughly equivalent to a 12v battery at only 45% state of charge.

If the battery is not in top condition, then the internal resistance could well be many orders of magnitude greater, thus causing the drop in RPM that you experienced. An older battery with a bit of sulphation would quickly run out of steam at those current draws.

If replacing the battery for winch use, I would suggest that you select a start battery in preference to a deep cycle as it can provide far greater short term current, which is what you need for the winch.

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 6:51 AM

I feel you share the same concern I have about the breaker: it looks quite s+itty. (it´s the same shown in your photo). As I said earlier, the battery is only 6 months old (yes, I know that does not mean anything)... and should do quite well. My deep cycle bank is just for appliances. This is a engine starter battery.

In a while I will buy a new battery for the other engine, so I will have the battery guy come to the boat to check the "old" one and also the amp draw of the windlass

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#34
In reply to #24

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 3:49 PM

I've never seen one of those breakers that actually worked at it's rated amperage.

I have seen ones that wouldn't go half.

I would start by replacing it with a fuse.

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#25

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 7:00 AM

It's pretty much got to be the breaker, the other faults would make it stop lifting or draw less current because they will involve loss of volts or amps.
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#30

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 2:51 PM

..."As I had another breaker, I changed one for another. This time it lifted the 60 meters at a constant speed.... but when it came to lift the anchor (30 kg) the RPM of the windlass dropped (perhaps a 30 %). No temp increase in the cables nor motor were noticeable. A while later I dropped the anchor again and placed 100 kg of weight on it. After lifting some meters, the jumper blew again...."

So,,,,2 bad breakers??

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#31
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 3:20 PM

They look like a piece of s...t. As the winch did not work I went to the store and the guy gave me a breaker to exchange.....

Tomorrow at 9am comes the battery guy to install the new one I bought, and he will also check the electricity drawn by the winch

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#35
In reply to #31

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 4:20 PM

Yes I think this will tell the tale....

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#32

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 3:27 PM

So go back to basics. The power you need is the same as the rate of increase of potential energy of the load divided by the efficiency. If your breaker is tripping, you're trying to lift too much, too quickly, and the breaker is trying to convince you not to convert your motor into a Kamikaze convection heater.

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#38
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Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 8:48 PM

Monsieur le commissaire: I agree with you from the theoretical point of view, but the "petit cochon" who manufactures these windlasses says it lifts 40 mt / 120 ft of chain per minute and a weight of 400 Kg / 750 Lbs .... which is absolutely not true in my case, as it only lifts less than 100 Kg / 150 pounds quite slowly, until the breaker gives up. Tomorrow I will have the current measured and will see where the problem hides.

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#33

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 3:28 PM

In over my head here.

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#37

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 8:06 PM

Glad to hear it. BTW the pix look great. Now for your issues. What is the input voltage at the motor when the breaker trips? If the voltage has dropped, it could cause the motor to draw more current. I just worked on a Sea Leopard. The windlass was interlocked with the port engine. It had to be running for the windlass to work. In addition, is 135A what the manufacturer recommends, that seems a bit light. 4/0 cable seems adequate. Typically there is usually a very large SPTT (center off) relay (one relay for both raising and lowering). Those connections should be checked for abnormal heating. If all else fails you're going to have to buy, borrow etc a 200 Amp shunt. This will allow to actually measure the current being drawn. It is known value precision resistor, you measure the voltage drop and calculate the current using Ohms Law. You may have one installed on the ammeter side for your alternators. It will be brass, about 3 inches long with fins for cooling and two large studs with heavy wires on them, and two smaller wires that go to the meter. They could be any place, not necessarily near the engines or batteries. But they will be in the circuit connecting them.

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#39

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 9:26 PM

Fitzcarraldo (*) has been dragged to the edge of the water today. She will get a new battery for the starboard engine tomorrow as well as two new deep cycle batteries for the bank. After solving the windlass issue she will get back into the water. Should she float, and should the engines work, I will be back to you to tell how this story ended. If not back, we sank.

(*) if you wonder why I christened her Fitzcarraldo, watch the film telling the story of a lunatic Irishman called Fitzcarrald in the Amazonas at the beginning of the 20th century, who accomplished the -almost- impossible task of transporting a steamship over a steep hill with the aid of a head-reducers native tribe (my boat and me are the reincarnation of that story)

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 11:26 PM

Take some measurements with a DC voltmeter and do some calculations. My brother has a 41' flying bridge fishing/cruising power boat. Had a somewhat similar problem. Windlass would slow down and breaker would trip with only a moderate load on it. Took measurements at windlass during operation including when it stopped running. Take measurement of battery-->windlass motor on both wires of the circuit. A measurement of more than 2 volts is bad (resistance in breaker, bad wire, bad connections, etc. Measure across the battery terminal when it is operating and just before it stops on it's own. Measure the voltage across the breaker with no current flowing and also immediately prior to tripping.

His boat had 3 problems making it longer but not much more difficult to solve. Windlass motor bearings were shot and motor had to work harder (higher current).

Boat was built with a wire connection in the bilge. This corroded from the salt water and salty atmosphere causing a high resistance. We replaced the entire length of wire from the battery (-- terminal) to the windlass.

Last was a bad breaker.

Investigative tools: volt/multi-meter, Ohm's Law, patience and some hands on and brain work.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/19/2016 11:29 PM

Yes that was an excellent movie...Klaus Kinski plays a madman well....haha

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/20/2016 12:00 AM

Great movie. Werner Herzog is always worth watching.

The production of Fitzcarraldo seems like competition to top the audacity of the original feat was as important to Herzog as producing the film. There were no special effects. A ship over 300 tons (the original was 30 tons) was ported over a hill with the help (later accusations of exploitation) of native tribes. A full half of the cast involved In the scene crashin down the rapids were injured. A tribe chief offered to kill annoying actor for Herzog, and eventually relatio n s deteriorated to the point that natives burned down the film production studio.

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#44
In reply to #39

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/20/2016 11:03 PM

When working on the many different types of power consuming and power supplying devices/circuits on boats I try to make it simple for myself by using a somewhat comparable situation on some other unit. For your windlass situation I used an automobile/truck starter circuit as a "mental reference". Everything in it, including the potential problems, is almost identical to the more common and familiar starter circuit.

Windlass motor=starter motor; battery=battery; cables between battery and motor= same; wire connectors and terminals= same; switch on windlass should be a high current relay or contactor just like the solenoid on the starter motor. About the only thing different is the use of the windlass circuit breaker.

When doing this type of diagnosis/repair it is easier for me to keep the mind work as simple as possible, "KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid". This is especially true when I have spent more time than I want to being contorted in the bilge, chain locker, head, engine "room"/area, engine instrument panel, guts of the navigation station and other confined or uncomfortable space. Don't get me wrong though, I would rather be doing this than pushing a hot pencil or mouse at a desk in an office!

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#45

Re: Is it the Battery, the Line or the Motor?

09/21/2016 10:58 PM

The chain should self stow in the anchor locker so it's weight is negligible. If the voltage is 12 volts, then the roughly 80 feet of cable would handle 300 amps at a 10% allowed voltage drop. If you get an amperage reading less than the fuse rating, look to loose or improper connections or a problem with the windlass. If the windlass is rated for larger over current protection, a larger fuse could be used. Good luck and be careful!

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