Ask PYS: Power

Jeff – Windlass Clicking Noise, on Sep 10, 2014 asked:

My windlass stopped working. Specifically, the solenoid continues to switch, making the “clicking” noise, yet the windlass does not respond. I’ve used a multimeter to test input voltage on the solenoid, which displays good at 12 volts. I’ve also used a continuity test at the output posts of the solenoid, which tests good. I did a similar continuity test at the wires closest to the windlass, and that was good. The measured output voltage at the solenoid is 12VDC. I measured again on the wire connections next to the windlass with no input voltage showing with foot switch pressed, but then the windlass started up for a brief moment, then quit again. This test seems to indicate to me that there is a wiring issue between the output on the solenoid and the windlass, as opposed to a dead windlass motor. Good news! This windlass only has positive and negative wires connected to it. There is no third wire. What size wire should I be using to replace the run? The existing size looks to me like #10 or so, which seems a little light for the job. I feel I should be running at least size #6, perhaps with a fuse?

Other than a blown fuse/breaker, I highly doubt that you have a wiring issue between your windlass and solenoid. Perhaps a loose connection, but a severed wire of that size must be extremely rare.

Your windlass only needs #2 wire to operate up or down, since the windlass solenoid changes the polarity of the wires depending on if the windlass goes up or down.

I would still like you to further test the solenoid. In order to do so, let’s bypass it. Take the positive from the battery and apply directly to the positive going to the windlass. This bypasses both the footswitches and the solenoid. Does the windlass function? What is the voltage measured at the windlass?