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SOLUTIONS FROM THE BoatU.S. TECH TEAM
I bought a used windlass with no label to tell me who made it. The unit
appears to be heavy duty with a 12-volt motor. I’m going to use 1/0 wire for a
30-foot run to the battery bank. Do I need to install a control box? What other
considerations are there?
specs. Even conducting a garage “bench
test” for amperage may not help because I
doubt you’ll get a full load simulated.
Dan Rich, Cape Coral, FL
JOHN ADEY: This is a tough question to answer without knowing the rating of the windlass you’re going to install. For instance, following ABYC standards, a Maxwell 900-pound
unit is rated at 36 amps at 60 feet (we use round-trip numbers) following a 10-percent voltage drop rule (which may be acceptable for this unit) and would take a #4AWG conductor.
A three-percent drop (probably better performance) would be a 0AWG. You’re on the right
track, wire wise, if the unit falls around this 36-amp example. You’ll also need to rate the
fuse for the amp draw of the unit. Not knowing how much it draws gives you a distinct
disadvantage. You may oversize it and not protect the motor, or undersize it and have it trip
under load. Finding a picture of a similar unit online and searching for the manufacturer’s
specs would be advisable.
Controller wise, you need to consider a two-directional, solenoid-type switch for up-and-down use. Most installations have a foot switch up by the bow, and a toggle back by the helm.
These will work in conjunction with the solenoid you’ll install. The solenoid reverses the
positive and negative and runs the motor backward in most cases, and is rated based on the
amp draw. My final advice is, research this unit to find out what you have and look up some
I own a 32-foot powerboat with twin V8 gas
engines. Is it OK to shut down one engine
and motor on one for a few hours, and
then switch to the other for about the same
amount of time?
TOM NEALE: Some motors have transmissions that can be damaged by the prop
turning for long periods without the engine
on. Check with the transmission, manufacturer. If you have such a transmission you’d
have to lock that prop in place. This is often
quite difficult and could be even dangerous.
I don’t like to let transmissions freewheel
with the engine off, even if the manufacturer
says it’s OK. Further, I doubt it would cut
the cost in half. The drag from the running