Project Description

Using the windlass w/o engine
On our boat, we must run the port engine to operate the electric anchor windlass.

How does it work?
When the port engine runs, it activates a relay that allows current to the anchor windlass. Fountaine Pajot does not want you to use the windlass without running the (port) engine. The windlass draws a lot of current, so I understand the logic. But why not wire it so that it can be used with either engine and not just the port one?

If for any reason (MDI box, fuel contamination) the port engine does not run, we cannot use the anchor windlass. The chain and anchor are too heavy to pull up by hand.

solution
To solve this, you need a 5 amp switch, some wire (best is tin-coated), terminals and 30 minutes of time if you have done it before. So reserve two hours…

In the engine room, mounted to the bulkhead, there is a plastic box with a relay called “Guindeau / windlass”.  Take the cover off and install a switch in the cover and connect two wires of 20 cm each, to the new switch.

Connect one of the wires to the power source inside the box. In our boat, it is a thicker red wire coming from a 5 amp fuse. But the colour is not consistent from boat to boat. Connect the other wire to the (terminal of the) pink wire. There are different ways of making connections. You can use three-way split connectors, biggy back connectors, etc.

With this switch, you can bypass the relay when you set the switch in the ‘on‘ position. Your windlass now works without running the engines. Make sure that normally the switch is off. Use it only in emergencies preferable with the starboard engine running.

It is not very difficult to do if you find the right connections. In one of the pictures, you find the wiring diagram of the relay on our boat. I already know that it is not the same on all boats, so you need to spend some time making your own wiring diagram. A relay is an electrical device, typically incorporating an electromagnet, which is activated by a current or signal on one circuit to open or close another circuit. The activating current comes from the engine and is connected to terminals 85 and 86. When the engine runs it will close the switch drawn above it, so that a current can run between terminal 30 and 87.

To confuse it all, Fountaine Pajot uses the same relay to switch on the port engine room blowers. In my diagram, the brown (87) and blue (85) wires are for the blowers. They have a joint grey cover running to the blowers. The consequence is that when you by-pass the relay, that you also switch on the blowers. In an emergency, this is not a problem. If you don’t like this you can install a diode in the purple cable, as shown, before the by-pass connection. Alternatively, you can install a double/parallel switch, such that when you switch on the windlass, you switch off the blowers.

Alternative
You could also install a switch anywhere in the boat where it is more accessible to switch on/off the power to the windlass via the pink cable. In that case, the exiting relay will just operate the blower. But that will be a lot more work.

It all depends on how handy you are and how much time you want to spend. I went for the quick and easy solution. So the blowers go on when I activate the windlass bypass.

Note: with a winch handle you can release the friction brake, so you can always drop the anchor in an emergency situation. Make sure to test this from time to time to keep the brake operable.