Windlass Wiring

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Back to Home ... s/v Stella Blue home ... Ground Tackle ... Wiring Page ... Projects

This is essentially standard wiring for my new windlass,
but I made one big change: Instead of using the circuit breaker for on/off, I added a big Cole Hersee on/off
switch (with 175 Amp capacity.)

The breaker needs to be by the battery,
and more importantly I don't like Maxwell's breaker panel
as an on/off switch. More on that later.

The LED on the breaker panel is fed from the output of the Cole Hersee switch. There's another Red LED directly under the big switch that is fed from the output of the small breaker which protects the solenoid. More on that later.

Wire is pulled for a remote control, but it's not installed because *I don't know* if I want it, or where it should be.
I have a feeling that the anchor locker design will require someone at the bow to manage the rode.
I also expect to be using a snubber with the chain rode,
so it'll be necessary to go forward anyway
to make adjustments in scope.

Some folks have told me that it's great to just flip a switch
and increase scope, but that requires using the windlass
as a cleat for the chain rode, which isn't a good idea
if you want your bearings to last. (In my humble opinion.)
Chain rode without a snubber also makes sleep difficult
for folks in the v-berth.


When I visualized this
it was a lot neater! (grin)

The wire that's Always Hot
is the big one on the left.
It's untouchable.

I left a few inches of extra wire so the breaker could be pulled out on the other side and worked on,
but that sure makes it messy!

The back cover is smoked plexiglas.


The Cole Hersee switch and little breaker are located in
the nav station at the foot of the companionway,
mounted high in the bulkhead by the new bookshelf.
It's out of the way but visible from the cockpit, so that you can peer down and see if the windlass was accidentally left on. That's made easier by the bright Red LED light that's
just under the big switch.

The little breaker is always on (it feeds off the big switch)
so I put a cover over it to protect it in the On position.

The electrical stuff for the switch and breaker is located inside the cabinet in the head. It needs a cover, since there are a lot of Live Amps there.
I slapped this little box together that will support a cover plate, and also pulls the big switch back another 1/2" so it doesn't stick out
too far on the pretty side.

All the wires are bundled together and run down the starboard side under the deck. New runs for V-Berth lights and running lights are in the same bundle, since they're all going up
to the same place.

This is one of those areas where
a casual observer will think I'm an idiot --
if the batteries are on the port side,
why run the wires down the starboard side?

But since it's here (and I already drilled the Frickin' hole)
I'm going to use it. The 135 Amp breaker will be
covered and left 'On' all the time, since that big
Cole Hersee switch is really the main control.

The LED on the panel is wired over to the output
of the Cole Hersee switch, so it will be lit
when the big wires going forward are Hot.

Oops. The wires are supposed to come out of the ROUND hole.
(Go ahead and laugh, I did.)
Fortunately I caught it before the heat shrink was applied.

This is the Thermal Breaker supplied by Maxwell.

I wouldn't buy it again. It sounded like a good idea
to have a 'matching' little panel with an LED Power indicator,
which could be used as an On/Off switch as well.

However, the switch is "push pull" and is really stiff (and ugly.)
It's bolted to this bulkhead with washers on the other side, but
pulling it 'Off' feels like I'm going to rip it off the bulkhead.
That's why I changed plans and installed the Cole Hersee switch.

If I were to do it again, there would be a Blue Seas thermal breaker hidden inside the compartment, wired over to the Cole Hersee switch.

Have I ever mentioned that labeling wiring is really important?
I write a
label every
few feet.

Here's the back of the Maxwell Breaker panel.

Everything is well sealed and covered,
because this is also a storage compartment.

I need to go back and
tie wrap that small feed
for the LED light.

The Windlass Ground wire is attached
to the far side of the Ample Power shunt
so that the monitor will be able to track
windlass power consumption.

Naturally, one thing leads to another.

Boats built before 1985 were not required to have any fuse or breaker protection by the batteries, but ABYC specs are for a fuse or breaker within 72 inches of the battery bank.

The windlass has it's own 135 Amp breaker, so I put this 150 Amp
Slow Burn fuse next to the battery, fed by a 2/0 gauge wire.
This should never blow unless the breakers malfunction,
so I used a fuse that can be left unattended
for years and years.

It serves as a junction post so that all these big wires aren't connected directly to the battery. Cleaner. A spare fuse is sealed and
tie wrapped to the cable next to the fuse block.

I took the opportunity to add a few labels, like the house feed.
It's just paper covered by clear shrink wrap.

The reason is balance.

Everything heavy on this boat -- (the galley, the double quarterberth, four batteries) -- is on the port side.
I need to keep the weight distributed evenly and am
trying to install heavy items to starboard.
The windlass wire weighs 44 pounds.
It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up fast.

To the left is a shot of the wire bundle going
over the top of a cabinet in the head.
There is a lot of room, so I put a split piece of
sanitation hose over the sharp edges,
and tie wrapped the wire down.
With a bolt, not a screw. Just because.

Most of the bulkheads going forward
extend up close to the deck,
so I had to drill holes.

By using a 1.5" hole saw, then taking a slice of
2" reinforced sanitation hose,
chafe protection is created that really stays in place.
I pulled wire through them all the way to the bow and
they didn't budge.

A band saw would have made a nicer looking edge,
but I don't have one so I used a utility knife.
You really have to look up there to see them,
so I'm not too worried about appearances.

To the right is a picture of how they enter
the battery compartment.

Up in the V Berth, the thick bundle of wires is held in place with tie wraps.

Rather than drill holes for the fasteners, I used my Handy Dremel Tool to grind lightly down to the fiberglass, and rough it up to create a physical bond. Then a dab of thick epoxy putty holds the nylon fasteners tight.

The wires need to get over to port, so after the Cole Hersee switch in the head, they run down and across to the batteries. That meant pulling the cabin sole in the Aft Cabin.
That's now possible, since I moved the battery box that used to block access.

This is nasty looking!

Well, scrubbing
and painting this area is on my list.

In the meantime,
the wire is carefully fastened up so that it's just under the sole, and will
stay dry.

Where the wires come through the liner,
I used the same trick of drilling a 1.5" hole and inserting a split piece of
2" sanitation hose.

The wires are fastened every 12" to 18".

The solenoid is mounted on that nice big 3/4" thick backing plate.

The labels on the motor for 'F1' and 'F2' fell off during installation, and the motor didn't match the pictures in the manual. As a result, I had to move the big wires to different studs, and they aren't as pretty as I'd intended.

But it works!

Click on the drawing to see it full size. I went with PINK and PURPLE for the up/down ancillary hot wires.
Pink is to Purple as Up is to Down. This isn't a Mensa test, but it seems to make sense to me.
Pink and Purple have elements of RED in them, which will provide additional clues if all my labels
and drawings are lost. ABYC standards have other uses for Pink and Purple,but they don't have any standards for windlass wiring, and in any case they should have checked with me first. (smile.)
No one will confuse this with an ignition wire!

The studs are covered with
this spray-on urethane coating.

I still need to make a pretty cover for the thermal breaker.