Monday, April 20, 2015

Anchor Windlass Bypass and Handheld Coiled Cable

A recent topic on the Yahoo Leopard list is bypassing the anchor windlass interlock. The interlock makes sure that the windlass only runs if the port engine is also running. It exists to prevent over-discharging the house bank. Having an engine running is a good idea because the alternator will provide higher voltage and the windlass will use use less current, therefore running more efficiently.

Partial DC Schematic Showing Windlass Interlock Wire
The windlass is (or should be) connected to the house bank. On LUX (L40, 2005 model, hull 009) There is a large, dedicated breaker in the trash can compartment, along with the house bank on/off switch.

The wiring had already been modified on LUX, so I don't have detailed pictures of the change. However, the schematic provides the necessary knowledge of the circuit. The Windlass Control, located just under the Bat Charger in the top center of the schematic, is basically a big relay internal to the windlass. What isn't shown is the hand control unit. This hand unit controls the up/down function through two buttons. A ground connection is needed for the hand control to activate the up/down function. This ground, highlighted in thick red below, goes back to the port engine via a small diameter wire. The schematic shows a single switch on the engine. I think this switch is actually a relay in the plastic gray box mounted on the forward bulkhead in the engine compartment.

On LUX, there is a yellow wire under the windlass that's not connected to anything This wire would normally go to the little black wiring box, also in the forward locker under the windlass, to which the hand control connects. To modify the default configuration, remove the yellow wire and cap it with a length of heat-shrink to keep it safe. Run a new wire from its connection in the little black wiring box to the big DC terminal that's mounted to the side of the mast step in the forward locker. Now you can run the windlass without starting the port engine. Just try to have one of the engines running for the reasons noted above.

Engine Compartment Gray
Relay Box (from Ken Pimentel - Dream Catcher)

Here is a photo from Ken Pimentel (Dream Catcher) showing the gray relay box mounted on the forward bulkhead of the port engine compartment on an L40.

Windlass Control Black Box - Note disconnected yellow wire
The starboard forward locker is where the Windlass Control Box is located (see red arrow). Note the yellow disconnected wire hanging under where the windlass is located.

Inside the black box is just a connector. I presume that the yellow wire once made a connection in this box and is now replaced with one of the other wires.
What's Inside the Windlass Control Box

Windlass Handheld Control Cable

We also had a problem with the windlass handheld control. The coiled cord cover was deteriorating, exposing the insulated conductors. So it wasn't coiling like it should and it was a matter of time before something bad was going to happen. So we searched the web for vendors selling coiled cords - like the ones you see on hoists in factories.

We found a suitable replacement at:

Specialty Wire & Cord Sets, Inc
One Gallagher Rd
Hamden, Ct 06517

3 Conductor 18gauge 24" coiled cord
$42 shipped.

It is a little bigger than we'd like, but it is heavy duty. A 20ga version would be about right. The length isn't enough to stretch to the cross-beam, but on the other hand, it doesn't get tangled in the anchor chain when stowed.

Instead of using the existing strain relief on the hand control, we drilled it out to accept the cord and used black 5200 to create a seal and act as a strain relief.

If someone gets a good set of pictures of the wiring change, please let me know and I can add them to this post.


No comments: