How to Fix Your Electric Windlass 9 out of 10 Times

4 Jan

attachment 3626550438
If you have an electric windlass, eventually you will step on the foot switch, or flip the switch in the cockpit, and nothing will happen. Of course this can be caused by many problems, but the most common are corroded contacts on a solenoid. In a blog post a while back I discussed solenoids in general terms. If you don’t know what a solenoid is, or what it does, it would do you well to read this brief primer.

Here we’ll discuss windlass solenoids, or what they call a windlass control box, which is really just two solenoids in the same box and sharing some of the same circuitry. If your windlass just powers in one direction (up!) then your windlass control solenoid will be a simple one like this:
…or this:
Windlass Rewire
…But if your windlass has both power up and power down, it’ll look something like this:
June 020
…or this:
…or this:
IMG 0582

Hey, wait a minute, those last two look exactly alike. Yes, many windlass control boxes are made in Italy by the same manufacturer, and other companies brand them as their own. We must stop this evil Italian monopoly on windlass control solenoids!…or just address one problem at a time, like a windlass that won’t work.

Most windlasses are switched through a solenoid, like those ones pictured above, but some are switched directly through a high-amperage foot switch, with no solenoid between the foot switch and the windlass. In both cases, the problem and solution are the same: The solenoid in the control box, or your foot, presses a large copper bar against two contacts. Since this is a high amperage connection, this copper bar can spark, arc, and take a lot of abuse. Over time, the points of contact will become fouled, “carboned up,” as they say, and will no longer make good electrical contact.

There will usually be some warning: You’ll go to raise your anchor and the windlass won’t work. You’ll try a few times and it will work, then you’ll forget it didn’t work the first time, but the first time should serve as a warning that troubles are on the way.

The telltale sign is the solenoid clicking, or stomping on that foot switch, but the windlass still not working.

The solution is simple – clean the electrical contacts – but of course it’s seldom that simple. If yours is a solid state solenoid, as in many up-only installations, you simply can’t get at the contacts and the solenoid must be replaced (about $50). If you’ve got one of the Italian jobs, or one of their American (meaning Chinese) equivalents, you can get to the contacts and clean them.

During my ten-year circumnavigation this was an annual task, heralded by the aforementioned warnings.

Usually you’ll have to completely remove the control box and disconnect all wires. Note where everything goes: digital cameras and smart phones are great for this. Once you’ve got everything disconnected you can confirm your diagnosis by touching the power cable directly to the power lead(s) on the windlass. If it jumps to life, you’ll know your solenoid/control box is indeed the problem. If it doesn’t jump to life, your problem lies somewhere else.

Remove the screws that hold the lid on the the control box:
IMG 0586
Inside, you will see something like this:
IMG 0587
On both sides, down in the box, are the solenoids. Above are the contacts, the filthy, fouled contacts, which must be cleaned. But to clean the contacts you must loosen and remove the studs from the top of the control box:
IMG 0589
Once everything is out and exposed, go to it with a wire brush. Don’t be shy: The fouling on the contacts can be tenacious, and require vigorous action with a wire brush or sandpaper. The copper contacts will probably be zinc plated, but the zinc may have to go bye-bye to make clean electrical connections again. This isn’t rocket science: It’s brute physical/electrical stuff, where copper bars have to come into contact with copper studs like a punch in the face:
IMG 0592
IMG 0591
Once the contacts are clean, reassemble the control box, reconnect the wires, and you should be up and running again. Yes, there are many other things that can go wrong electrically with a windlass, but in my experience it was this about ten times in a row, followed by something more serious (I’ll get to this later).

Most importantly, a new windlass control box will cost $150-$180 retail. Forty-five minutes in the most uncomfortable position imaginable in your anchor locker to deal with a faulty windlass control box…priceless.

This article was syndicated from The Adventures of the Vessel Condesa


  1. Deanie🐠🌴🐬⚓ Sebring

    The silver mechanism that hold the rope tight against the round turning part that winds the rope and chain…won’t stay tight therefore the rope won’t pull down into the storage well…is the pin broken

  2. SAS

    Hi clark
    I have a marlin windlass, when i was pulling up my anchor with the foot pedal, chain stuck in the compartment but didn’t notice that until the windlass stopped working! And didn’t work again although i still have green light on windlass switch and i can hear it clicking
    Did i burn the motor? What should i check?

  3. Clark Beek

    Hi Frank, Definitely not the whole windlass. Maybe the motor, maybe just brushes, but before that I’d clean and re-terminate every electrical connection. Sounds like something is heating up, then cooling down.

  4. Frank Ragulsky

    We have a windlass that still works intermittently after replacing the solenoid. It can stop going down or up. Makes the clicking sound when tried and not functioning. Sometimes resumes working after failing when given rest time. Sometimes seems to slow in retrieving anchor before failure. Does this mean we need to replace the windlass?

  5. Miguel G

    Great thread!…I had the same symptoms as the original article, ended up disassembling the control box but it wasn’t it…it was just a loose electrical connection ( nut ) at the windlass motor!!…cero expense (just lots of sweat)… It would work sometimes, others you just heard the solenoids clicking…Solid 100% working condition after tightening them.

  6. Clark Beek

    Hi Pete, Sorry, I’ve been away on vacation and this is probably too late to be much help. I’ll agree with your assessment, but could also be that the breaker is faulty. It could have been tripped when you were trying your cockpit and foot switches, but you still would have heard the solenoid clicking, because the trigger circuit is separate from the main power circuit. Then when you circumvented the control box you know you blew the breaker, but maybe the breaker is the problem. Maybe try a temporary fuse or breaker that circumvents the one you’ve got before final conclusion on the motor?

  7. Pete R.

    Hi Clark,
    I have a Lofrans 700W Dorado windlass. When I turn on the power to the windlass from inside the cabin and press the switch in the cabin for up or down or the up or down with the foot pedals out on the deck I hear the control box click but nothing else. I decided to turn the main power off to the windlass and connected the power wire coming from the main switch directly to one of the power wires going to the motor from the top of the control box. Basically this was to bypass the control box. When I turned the main power back on to the windlass it tripped the main windlass button after a couple of seconds. My thought was that the control box is fine and the motor has the issue, What do you think that I should do at this point?

  8. Gavin Gear

    hi Clarke,
    fix a new motor to windlass Simpson Lawrence anchor winch. it comes up but does not go down. tested on a battery and it works both way. but when fixed to main of the boat it does not go down but no issue coming up, any suggestion


    clark quick comes from italy but the solenoid is ip66 waterproof i changed the first one a t503 went it started clicking and threw it away. they replaced it with the t6415-12 and now that one is clicking. you are right i will have to take this one out to fix it. i just thought i didnt get many hours on this one of working but is a couple of years old. it costs about 150.00 dollars so it not that bad but i didnt know i could clean the contacts and it work again. this will be my 4th one. thanks for all you do for the marine community there are not many knowledgeable people that will share what they know to the world for no compensation. you have to be a nice guy,thanks glad i found you on the internet,good sailing

  10. Clark Beek

    Hi Bill,

    The only Quick I’ve installed is pictured in the blog post, where you can see the control box, and the Quick windlass to the right of it. The control box was definitely different than one of the Italian jobs, but not sure if it can be disassembled and cleaned…I guess one way to find out, especially if it’s not working and you’ve got to remove it anyway. Can very easily emulate a two-directional control box with two off-the-shelf $40 solenoids, but of course it involves some cabling that the control box solves.

  11. capt. bill landry

    hello thanks for helping everybody, I want to know if a quick t6415-12 can be taken apart and cleaned like you say in your articles. if I cant clean this one it will be the 3rd one with very little is a forward and reversing 12 volt model series 700, thanking you again capt bill landry

  12. Kais

    Hi Clarke,

    Sorry i know i mentioned that neither of the foot switches works but the up one is stuck and it can’t be pushed, however the down can be pushed.



  13. Kais

    Hi Clark,

    I have a Quick Riduttore 1500w, I was pulling up the anchor today and right before it got all the way up I realised the up button must of been stuck or something as it kept coming up, it then kept spinning even though the anchor was up and now it doesn’t work. Can you think what may have happened and how i would go about fixing it.

  14. David Hunter

    Many thanks for the rapid and helpful response. I shall do all you suggest when I’m next aboard.
    Regards, David

  15. Clark Beek

    Hi David, Sounds like your motor is seized or shorted, or something else in the windlass is seized. You can loosen and lubricate what you can on the outside, but you’re probably headed for a disassembly to then rebuild a shot motor or replace bearings. Also worth checking and cleaning all electrical connections, as a bad connection could emulate what you’re seeing, plus you’ll do that when you reassemble anyway.

  16. David Hunter

    Hello Clark, what an amazing blog! I’ve been through all the queries but can’t match the problem I’m having with my Lorain’s Konrad 24 v. It’s worked fine for years, but recently it has failed, both in the up and down sense. When I push either the up or down either at the foot switch or in the cockpit the moor runs slowly, whilst making an unusual (grinding?) noise and then stops completely after only a second or two. I’ve tried without the chain on the gypsy with the same result. I always run the engine when operating the windlass and note on the cockpit voltmeter a rapid fall off in volts as the windlass appears to stall. Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

  17. Clark Beek

    Hi Jason, Sounds like you either sheared off the shear pin on the shaft, or the brake is worn out. The shear pin would be what engages the motor with the shaft and the rest of the windlass. If it sheared off there would still be some of it, or pieces of it, in there, so it might grab intermittently. The brake (what engages the windlass instead of letting the motor freewheel) could be worn, or it just might not be clamping down as far as it should. You’ll have to continue to take it apart until you can see what’s going on with these pieces. Good news is that whatever it is, it’s probably fairly cheap (your time aside).

  18. Jason Ciletti

    Hi Clark, I have a older simpson lawrence anchorman 700. It was working but now it won’t spin above deck. The motor runs but the shaft dosnt. I can sometimes get it to grab for a second but that’s about it. I have taken the above deck pieces apart it seems to be internal. Any help much appreciated. Thanks, Jason

  19. Clark Beek

    Hi Chauncey, It might just be the breaker. When they get old and have tripped a lot they tend to trip easily. Put an amp clamp around the feed wire to check if the amperage is really exceeding the breaker’s rating (usually 125% to trip). If you don’t have an amp clamp, a multimeter with an amp clamp is $100 and change, and an excellent tool to have aboard. If it really IS exceeding the breaker’s capacity, then it’s a matter of figuring out what’s causing the high amp draw: Faulty motor, mechanical resistance, bad connection?

  20. Chauncey pope

    I have a simpson-Lawrence windlass operated from a toggle switch on dash. Works both up and down. It runs for about 2 seconds then trips the breaker. Resetable but repeats. 16 years old. Any thoughts ?

  21. Clark Beek

    Hi Bill, You’ll have to look at the wiring to the windlass. There are two ways it can power in both directions: Either there are three wires going into the windlass motor (a negative and a positive for each direction), or two wires and it changes direction by changing polarity. The latter would require a switching box that has two wires going in and two out, for a total of four. The button with a light sounds like it might just be the breaker, but that’s a guess.

  22. Bill DuPont

    Good article. Here is my issue. I have a Nilsson V3000 model. It is on my 1986 hull. The foot switch can bring the anchor up nicely, but I cannot make it to go down and I can’t tell is it is power activated to go down or will go down due to gravity, so to speak. I have a button type devise at the helm that has a small red light in association with this button, but pressing it does nothing one way or the other. Any ideas? Thanks

  23. Clark Beek

    Hi Bryan, That’s out of my wheelhouse. Sounds like it’s a proprietary Quick issue. Can you revert to using a foot switch, or is the whole system fly by wire?

  24. Bryan Austin

    Hi Clark,
    I have a Lewmar windlass and Quick hand and remote controls. When I press either up or down on the remote anchor control, I get a message saying “Opposed” meaning it senses the opposing direction also being commanded. I have unplugged the each controller at different times to operate it with just one control connected. Still, no movement. I have tried new remote controls (hand held and helm station remote display), still get the same “Opposed” message. It seems like this isn’t a Control Box solenoid issue but it’s my last device to replace. I checked the hand control connection in the anchor locker and see no corrosion. Boat is only 3 years old. What can I do to check the Control Box or Contactors to confirm that is the failed device?

  25. Larry

    Hi I am not getting anything when I use the switch at the helm or on the foot switches on my Leaman windlass it’s on a 2002 290cr crownline where is the solenoid if you think that may be the problem

  26. Clark Beek

    Hi Ben, Yikes. That’s another mystery case, but I’d guess your solenoid shorted out somehow and got stuck, causing the windlass to run out of control. Or maybe a foot switch got stuck…or there are several possibilities for something on the high amp circuit or low amp/switching circuit to have done something weird.

    The main breaker shouldn’t have cared, as the current running through it would be the same, but sounds like it got cooked somehow. I think I know the kind you’re talking about, with the red button and the indicator light, and I’ve seen these malfunction a lot, and plus it’s just getting pretty old. Maybe just replace it for sanity’s sake, then you know you’ve got a new, reliable main breaker. I like the Blue Sea Systems 187 series for windlass breakers, but there are many possibilities for appropriately-size high amp circuit protection:

    Then you know you’ve got clean, safe power serving the windlass. I’d have somebody ready to turn off the (new) breaker as you gingerly test out the system again. If you take it piece by piece, you should be able to narrow it down to a sticking foot switch, sticking/shorted solenoid, cockpit switch, or some kind of short or unintended connection in the switching circuit. Obviously disengage the gypsy, or take the chain off, so you’re not pulling chain during your testing.

  27. Ben Stedman

    Clark, I have a problem very similar to Greg’s – clicking when I hit the helm switch, nothing when using the foot pedals. There are a couple differences though that I’d like your input on – this happened because when I was dropping the anchor down, it suddenly reversed and pulled the anchor up and would not shut off no matter what. Finally after about 30 seconds of it still winding while I ran back and forth from the helm to the bow in a panic it stopped when I hit the foot switch for the 5th time. Yes I should have immediately ran to the cabin and pulled the fuse, but like I said panic set in! So, my question is this – mine is a Maxwell Freedom 800 on ’98 Cruisers, and the main amp fuse is the red button in the cabin. When there is power, the red light is illuminated. Since this happened, the red light is out, and the fuse never ‘popped out’ – it was still in the ‘in’ position when I checked it, and I have since pulled it out and pushed it back in to no avail. So while I think I have a solenoid issue, did I experience two problems at once? I feel like I need to get the red light back on before addressing the solenoid.

  28. Clark Beek

    Hi Greg, Sounds like you’ve got two things going on at once: If the foot switch doesn’t make the solenoid click and the cockpit switch does, then there’s something amiss in your control circuitry. Then if the solenoid clicks but the windlass doesn’t run, that’s on your high amperage circuit. You’ll probably need a second person to step on the foot switch/flip cockpit switch, while you test for voltage at every step in the circuits. You should be able to narrow it down to a particular bad connection, bad wire, or bad solenoid. I’d scrutinize the negative side especially, because a bad ground could lead to all of your problems.

  29. Greg Furtney

    Clark, Great blog thanks. I have a Maxwell P11112 electric motor and my system is not working. When I press the foot switches, nothing happens, however, when I use the helm switches, the solenoids click, but the motor doesn’t run. I’ve pulled it all apart and tried to connect the motor directly, but nothing happens. I checked voltage drop from the batteries and it’s good to the solenoids, but drops a little over a volt from the solenoids to the motor, a run of about 8 feet. So at the motor, I have around 11.5V. if I connect the motor to me generator battery at 13V it runs fine. Same if I connect to my car. Do I need to replace the wiring from the solenoid to the motor? Should I use a heavier guage wire on both runs? I have up and down capability. If the solenoids are the problem, and I don’t believe they are, I’ll have to buy new ones as they are solid state.


  30. Ed


    Any idea on a trick to install the thumb that holds the chain against the winch. A deck hand wound the bridal up into it and I had to remove the cover to release the chain

    Lofrans project 1500


  31. Clark Beek

    Hi Darren, If the solenoid is only a few months old it’s unlikely the contacts are already fouled. I’d suspect a bad connection somewhere along the high amperage circuit. Test for voltage/voltage drop from the main feed to the solenoid all the way back to the batteries.

  32. Brian wise

    I have a windlass on my crownline 250 cr with a switch on the dash and also foot switches on the bow. All of a sudden my windlass quit working. When you step on the foot switches all you get is a clicking noise. Any ideas on what the problem is?

  33. Darren Thompson


    I have a clicking sound only when I engage windlass. Solinoid is months old motor isn’t. Is it still worth checking solinoid?



  34. Clark Beek

    Hi Patrick, Yes, something must be stuck. You’ll need a Voltmeter. It could potentially be the solenoid that’s stuck in place, but more likely it’s one of the switches that controls the control box. If this is the case, with the breaker off there should still be voltage measurable at one of the control terminals (where the wire from the switch attaches to the control box). On the control boxes pictured there’s a negative and two positives, one for up and one for down. If either of the positives shows voltage, that confirms the stuck switch. Then it’s a matter of tracing it back to either the foot switch or the switch in the cockpit, which you can test for right at these switches. If neither tab shows voltage, it points to a stuck solenoid. This all assumes that the breaker just controls the high amperage circuit to the windlass, and the control switches are fed separately (IE With the big breaker off you can still make the control box click, but not turn the windlass motor.) If the switching circuit gets its juice from the high amperage breaker, then it gets a little more complicated.

  35. Patrick Davis

    Hi Clark. My winlass won’t turn off. It’s stuck in the on/down operation. The second I turn the breaker on, it immediately starts to unspool all of the chain and won’t stop running until I pop the breaker again. I assume one of the switches is stuck on (foot switch or at the helm), but I have no idea where to begin to troubleshoot which one while it’s running non-stop. Any suggestions?

  36. Clark Beek

    Hi Albert,

    Hmm, it’s something with the wiring of that switch. If you remove the module for the wireless remote it works without issue using the toggle switch? Then with the wireless remote wiring it trips the breaker? If that’s the case, must be something miswired with the remote module that causes a fault when you use the toggle.

  37. Albert

    Hi Clark

    I have windless anchor Lawrence 700 . I installed wireless remote control with solenoid since mine is direct connection to the up and down switch in the cockpit and the breaker. Once I installed the wireless remote it works great but when I try to use the toggle switch the breaker trips. I changed the switch but it still trips any idea. Thanks

  38. Clark Beek

    Hi Bob,

    Extremely slow operation could be:

    1. Wrong voltage (feeding 12 Volts to a 24-Volt windlass).
    2. Mechanical: gummed up with sticky old grease, or no grease, or something partially siezed.
    3. Bad electrical connection anywhere in the circuit, including solenoid contacts.
    4. Stuck brush in the motor.

    Those are all the simple ones anyway. I’d start with checking and cleaning all the electrical connections and/or measure for voltage drop at the windlass, while operating. Significant voltage drop is normal, say down to 10.5 Volts when under load, but if it drops below 10 there’s probably some high resistance somewhere. Stuck brushes, so you’ve only got 3 out of 4 making contact, are common, but you’ve got to get to the motor to free them.

  39. Bob

    Hi Clark, thanks for the informative article and comments.
    Our windlass problem is that it works, but extremely slowly both up and down. Any ideas?
    Thanks so much.

  40. Clark Beek

    Hi Tom, Can you remove the shaft? Not sure how complicated the shaft is, but a machine shop can make any kind of shaft, but it’s probably a day’s work, and that might be more than a new windlass. If the bent shaft is stuck, then you’re in the wilderness.

  41. Tom Wadsworth

    I have a bent shaft on an Anchorlift windlass. They say the only solution is to buy a new windlass!
    The whole thing; motor, gear box and gypsy. This is the main shaft from the gearbox up to the gypsy that is bent.

  42. Clark Beek

    Hi Robert, the typical ones have retaining nuts on the studs on the outside, spring washers, and o-rings. Once you get the nuts and washers off, should just be o-rings and plastic holding them in.

  43. Gordan


    I have yet another problem that I have not seen asked yet: on one od the two switches when I release it the solenoid is (sometimes) not disconnected immediately. It can take a few seconds. No issues with the other switch though. I have Lofrans’ controlbox.

    Thx, Gordan

  44. Clark Beek

    Hi Eric, I’m not sure. There are control boxes as pictured in the blog post, and there are ones that reverse polarity to change direction, rather than having two positive leads to the motor. The latter type would have four connections to big posts on the control box, positive and neg from battery, and the two windlass wires, then multiple smaller connections for control wires. Sounds like this is what you’ve got. Might punt and call Simpson Lawrence, or email them pics of your control box.

  45. Eric Lecavalier

    Hi Clark, I removed the Simpson Lawrence windlass control box over the weekend (damn it was hot in that pit), tested the windlass motor directly connected on the battery and it raised the anchor fine.

    So my problem is really the control box. I’d like to order a new one now. I saw a Five Oceans BC3292 box on Amazon that would probably fit, but I can’t find details of the wiring diagram anywhere. I want to be sure the new box will have identical connections like my original box. My Simpson Lawrence has 2 connections to the windlass, 2 connections to battery positive and negative and 3 connections to the switches (1 for up, 1 for down and the middle one is a common positive). The common positive interconnect each switches together to provide them power.

    I saw several boxes on the market, but I don’t think they all have a “common positive” like that… Any thoughts?

  46. Clark Beek

    Hi Kerry, You followed excellent troubleshooting methodology! My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that there’s a bad connection somewhere along the down motor lead. I believe all the motor brushes are used for either up or down, so your troubleshooting rules out a stuck/fouled/damaged brush, and also shows that the guts of the motor are working fine, since it works in one direction. But it sounds like something along the down circuit has high resistance. Check what you can, like the terminal where the down lead attaches to the motor, but if there’s nothing obvious on the outside of the motor you’re probably looking at pulling the motor and taking it to a shop, since if it’s in the guts of the motor it probably involves replacing some components and doing some soldering. The repair will probably be fairly cheap, but extracting the motor from the windlass, which probably means removing the windlass from the deck, can suck up lots of time.

  47. Kerry Moser

    My name is Kerry, I have an Ideal windlass on the boat. It has power foot pedals up and down. There is a solenoid for each foot pedal. For some reason when I drop the anchor the windlass moves very slow and sluggish lately. When retrieving the anchor back to the boat the windlass works properly and runs quite quickly. So I switched the leads on the motor affectively reversing the foot pedals. Now the opposite foot pedal runs the anchor down and it still drops slowly and retrieves quickly with the other foot pedal so I know this cannot be a solenoid issue. Having a hard time understanding what could be going on here. Could it be in the electric motor itself?

  48. Eric Lecavalier

    Great. Thanks again. I’ll bring a battery on the boat, unplug the whole control box and then test the leads from the windlass to the battery directly. I suspect I simply need to put the leads to the battery (red to + and black to -) and see if it release or raise the anchor.

    And then do the opposite (red on – and black on +) and see again if it release or raise.

  49. Clark Beek

    Hi Eric, I remember messing with a Simpson-Lawrence and noting some proprietary, solid state components. Yes, applying power directly to the windlass leads is a good test, and will help you rule out a problem with the windlass itself. Remember it’s a high-amperage connection, even with no load on the windlass, so expect sparks and wear eye protection.

  50. Eric Lecavalier

    Thanks Clark for the quick answer. This is much appreciated. Since it doesn’t work from both the foot switch and the helm switch, I’ll have to look at the solenoid. But I think in the Simpson Lawrence box the contacts cannot be accessible so I might need to replace the Solenoid completely.

    Can I apply power directly to the windlass, bypassing the control box switch to see if it works and raise the anchor?

  51. Clark Beek

    Hi Eric, I’d suspect the solenoid, just like in the blog post, or the connection from your foot switch to the control box.

  52. Eric Lecavalier

    I’m a recent boat owner and over the weekend the windlass stopped working to raise the anchor. But it works to drop it. Only going up won’t do anything.

    It was working fine, then after a few attempts it started to stop responding. The control box is a simpson lawrence reverse solenoid. If I try to raise the anchor from the foot switch or helm switch it does nothing. What could be the problem? The reverse solenoid in the box?

  53. Ken

    Looking for an answer. Would anyone know if i could change a down only vertical windless anchor to a up and down windless. I have a older 29′ Regal. The solenoid looks exactly like the picture second from the top. By changing the solenoid to a 4 post (Like 3rd pic from the top), would that work? Reading over many site and see some are saying it will work and some are talking about gear rotation and clutches. Has anyone ever converted there Windless to a up and down from a single direction??? Please let me know. Thank you

  54. JLO

    Ahoy Clark I have a Maxwell anchor windless on my boat and the motor operates and the windless rotates but does not let out or retrieve the anchor rope
    What do you think the problem is ? Thanks

  55. Paul Grierson

    Hi, I have a Muir cheetah 12v (in bits now!) need to replace the brushes and mounting or replace the motor, can anyone give me hint of where to find these parts or a replacement motor? Thanks

  56. Nick Kamper

    i have one of those Italian control boxes in my boat and when I flip the switch in the helm the windlass lowers the anchor but when I lift the the switch to raise the anchor I just here the clicking sound but windlass won’t raise.
    When I go to the front of the boat I’m able to raise and lower the anchor with my foot pedal.
    Weird that the solenoids work at the pedals and not the helm.

  57. Rafael

    Hi Clark

    Thank you very much for the reply.

    When I bring it back to life the windlass runs at partial strenght for 10 seconds. After that it goes to full load.

    But if you stop it for a few seconds it returns to the initial situation again.

    I will follow your advices and start looking for the problem step by step.

    Thank you.

  58. Clark

    Hi Rafael,

    I guess first question is after you bring it back to life with the wrench, does it operate under full load, as in pulling the anchor up, or does it just get the windlass turning by itself, at partial strength?

    Assuming that once you get it moving it’s operating in some weakened state, it sounds like it’s electrical rather than mechanical. A bad connection could be anywhere in the circuit, so it’s worth going through the mantra of all electrical troubleshooting manuals: “Ensure that all connections are clean and tight before proceeding.” Next I’d suspect the control box. Remove the cables from the control box and touch (carefully….there will be sparks) the pos. power cable to the leads on the windlass motor, and see if that makes a difference.

    Equally I’d suspect a stuck brush in the motor, even though it’s only a year old. The brushes are usually in the back end of the motor, and they should be semi-accessible, hopefully without removing the motor from the windlass, but you might have to. If you’re lucky there may be little covers, under which the brushes are very visible, accessible, and replaceable. If you’re less lucky you’ll have to completely disassemble the motor. A motor that runs like you describe could be only 3 out of 4 brushes making contact…still turns, but very weak.

    Or try whacking the motor with a mallet/wood block/plastic handle of a big screwdriver, as this sometimes dislodges a stuck brush.

  59. Rafael

    In need of advice please. I’m In Bahamas with the following situation:

    My windlass is a Horizon Express  (Simpsom Lawrence) with a remote control on the anchor lock.

    The motor was replaced one year ago.

    The solenoid  (control box) looks new and it’s located inside the boat so it does not get salty.

    When I push the up / down button it clicks the solenoid but the windlass does not turn .

    When I use a wrench to move the drum manualy it makes the windlass return to life. Slowly on the beggining and normal after a few seconds.

    But when I stop using it for a few moments it does not work anymore. So again need to give some manual help before it works one more time.

    What should I check first?

    Thank you.

  60. Clark Beek

    Hi Brian, That’s a new one. You’ll have to poke around with a voltmeter to see what’s going on. Verify the voltages going in and coming out of the solenoids, and going into the windlass to figure out what’s 12 and what’s 24-Volt. Could it be that the bow thruster is 24-Volt, with the batteries wired in series to power it, but the windlass is 12-Volt, so it’s taking 12-Volt off just one of the batteries? Or vice versa? Or maybe it’s what you suggest, and the solenoids are doing double duty to handle high current? Or could there be some related purpose for the additional solenoids, like running a chain counter, anchor washer, or???

  61. Brian Whiddon

    My boss’s windlass solenoids on her 52 ft Irwin ketch are horribly rusted and need replacing. But I’m a little confused. The windlass is 2 directional. But there are a total of 4 solenoids! I know that the boat is wired to run 24 volts for the bow thruster and (I think) the windlass via 12 volt batteries connected in series. The solenoids are the cylindrical types with the 4 terminals. Is it possible that 2 12 volt solenoids are being used for each direction to handle 24 volts? Or are 2 solenoids actually required for each direction?

  62. Clark Beek

    Hi Stacey, That sounds like the gypsy/wildcat just isn’t engaging the motor. There’s a nut to tighten to clamp it to the motor. On yours it looks like you do this with a winch handle. It’s designed to slip under heavy loads, and it can be well-greased, so you might have to really crank down on the nut. When my windlass was new I was surprised how hard I had to crank down on it to stop it from slipping. Cheers, Clark

  63. Stacey

    Hi I have a Quick Antreas windless
    Power is there but anchor won’t go up or down the piece just turns what do I do ?

  64. Clark

    Ken/Paul, If you can’t find the right brushes online or through manufacturer, most windlass motors are automotive starter motors, or close enough, so if you take it to an auto electric shop, where they rebuild starters and alternators, they will almost certainly have, or be able to get, the right brushes.

  65. Ken Tait

    For Paul Westhead.

    Where did you find Brushes for your windlass motor. The motors all seem to be CIMA manufactured.
    I need some and am getting the same run around from the manufacturers that I need to buy a complete motor!


  66. Clark Beek

    Hi Dayne, You’ve got me. If the solenoid clicks that usually means electricity is no longer flowing. You’d have to get a volt meter on the leads to see if the juice stops when you hear the click. If it does, it’s some free-wheeling issue with your windlass. If not, I suppose the contact within the solenoid could be sticking, but that would be weird.

  67. Dayne Turner

    Hey Clark,
    Just installed a Lewmar Pro Series 1000. When I toggle between up and down (with no load/rope/chain/anchor) the winch will sometimes spool for a few turns on the down after the solenoid has clicked off. It’s a brand new winch……think it could be tracking inside the solenoid causing the winch to go forward? Or could it be a mechanical issue in the winch like maybe the clutch? Any light on this issue is much appreciated.


  68. Jeremy

    Hi guys. Was wondering if anyone ever encountered this problem.
    My lofrans will lower the anchor with no problem, but when I press the up switch, nothing is happening.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

  69. christian

    I have a Lofrans and it wont stop ! I was going to change out my chain at the dock thank goodness when I was letting it out and I released my button to stop, and it kept going then reversed on its own and brought the chain and anchor back up! once all the way in, the circuit breaker popped for me. I have disconnected all switches and about to take the control box off. Any thoughts on my issue would be a great help. Thanks Christian

  70. Peter windsor

    Hi,we are in Indonesia at present so not much help here .we have a quick 1000w.
    On retrieval it came up to a hard stop ,but did not trip the fuse as it did once in the past .since then it only clicks .we have cleaned the solenoid ,cleaned the brushes ,filled up with gearbox oil but no luck .Dismantled the clutches only to find 2x broken circlps .There is power to the unit .Any ideas? Cheers Peter

  71. Nimrod Shapir


    I have a Lofrans 1200 W. windlass.
    When I lift my anchor the windlass stops every few meters and I have to wait 20-30 seconds before it comes to life again. Sometimes the fuse is “jumping” and I have to go to the cabin to put it on.
    I don’t think it’s a contact problem as it works every time I push the up and down buttons.
    Do you have any idea how this situation can be solved or at least improved?

  72. Paul Westhead

    For Jane marrie brunette look at my post my windlas had sticking worn brushes inside motor this also caused windlas to operate very slowly when solonoid did not click just 2 bolts holding base of my motor which holds the culprit sticking brush

  73. Paul Westhead

    Hi I had a problem with my Lewmar v700 windlas when trying to use solonoid just clicking after my own investigation I took the motor apart and found the brushes to be worn and one brush was sticking so I sanded it down a little so the brush does not stick and the spring does its job, it now works perfect. I contacted lewmar to order 1 pair of brushes but they said I would have to buy a new motor I have measured the brushes and ordered a pair off the Internet for £3.99 so waiting for them to arrive hope this helps anyone else


    But do you think that the wash down pump connected directly to the control box may have damaged the solenoids?

  75. Clark Beek

    Jean-Marie, No, not too risky, assuming the high amperage connection comes through a fuse or breaker, usually somewhere aft, closer to the batteries. Since it’s a high amperage connection you should be careful when you touch the leads together as it is sure to spark, and if there is some kind of short or seizing in the motor, it will really spark, so probably prudent to wear glasses and gloves.


    Hi Clark,
    Thanks for your prompt answer. I opened the control box earlier. No corrosion in that. Everything very clean. It is not located in the anchor box but under in the ” crew cabin” not exposed to salt water.
    Last week the problem began when I used the windlass and the wash down pump at the same time. But, probably not a good idea, the connections for the pump were made directly on the control box. Maybe, using both together I created a dammage in the solenoid box.
    What do you think? Is it risky to bypass the control box to test?

  77. Clark

    Hi Jean-Marie, Try circumventing the control box/solenoid by disconnecting the big cables and touching them directly (carefully) to the leads on the windlass. If it jumps to life you’ve got a problem with the control box/solenoid. If it still performs poorly it points to a problem in the windlass motor. Windlass motors lead hard lives, and the brushes often get corroded, or just stuck. I’m not sure about a Quick, but there can be 2-4 brushes that contact the rotor on the motor. If less than all are contacting the rotor, it will still work, but work poorly. The brushes are usually accessible, so if you remove, clean, and (lightly) lubricate them, they’ll work better. It takes a long time for them to wear out, so it’s usually a stuck brush.


    Hi Clark,
    My Quick windlass operates very slowly since one week. I cleaned the corroded connectors and changed the bolts at the motor posts. In operating slowly, the 100A breaker trip many times. The voltage at the motor when operating was around 9.3 volts. On the wires at the bow coming from the batteries the voltage was around 13 volts when testing. Do you think it is something wrong in the control/solenoid box. It is slow either going up or down. A prompt reply would be really appreciated. Thanks

  79. Abdel

    I got a problem with my windlass. a rope got stack in the windlass and after that the motor does not work, I realized that the 5 amps fuse was broken, I replaced the fuse but once I activate the windlass the fuse breaks again. The solenoid clicks but the motor does not work because the fuse breaks every time you activate the windlass. Apparently is an electrical problem, could you help me??? thanks

  80. Clark Beek

    Hi Ken, If it were an overcurrent issue it would be tripping the breaker, requiring a reset each time. You’re sure the motor is stopping each time, and the gypsy isn’t just slipping? Had to ask :-) If the motor is stopping each time, while you’re pressing the button, it sure sounds like some kind of faulty connection somewhere, which would be odd on a new installation. I guess I’d start by circumventing all switches and solenoids, and just (carefully) touch the live cable to the lead on the motor (or use a jumper cable to accomplish same without disconnecting everything) , with anchor down and some load on it. If it powers up like crazy, then you know the problem lies in the switching circuitry and it’s not an overload problem with the motor itself. Then it’s on to the witch hunt of finding which connection is faulty.

  81. Ken Landis

    Hi Clark,

    I recently installed a Maxwell HRC10 (1200 watt motor) on my Beneteau 473. Everything appeared to work at installation however the first real test came this past weekend at Catalina. With the engine running, I pressed the up button and the windlass would raise the chain a few feet and stop. After waiting a few seconds, I would press up again and it would take in another few week before stopping. The motor did not have time to overheat so I think it must be related to amperage draw. It has a 135 amp breaker, either 1 or 0 size cable running from the batteries to the solenoid (approx. 55 feet round trip), and size 2 (from memory) from the solenoid to the windlass which is about a 10 foot run round trip. Any idea where to start trouble shooting? Thanks, Ken

  82. Clark Beek

    Hi Dennis, Sounds plausible to me, as long as the knife switch is rated for the amperage and you’ve got a fuse or breaker in the works. Also sounds like if it doesn’t work out, electrically or convenience-wise, you won’t have too much invested.

  83. dennis schneider

    hi clark (hope your july 4 will be a blast. Hey, Im building a46′ cat forca 40k$ from scratch; have ca 6k hrs in her now(started when i was74…) so not a lot of $$$ for Lewmar v2 windlass(auction$250) control box/contactor. Having backround in electrics\-tronics, and winch located amidship on bridgedeck next to helm, I’m considering making a ‘knife blade’-type make\break with + from bat -thru a 90amp c.b., to the central ‘blade, pivoting left to ‘down fork’ then to motor, Or right, to ‘up fork’; then to other motor terminal;then from motor back to bat -…….If I build it so its idiot-proof, why not? Your thoughts, please! Dennis S.

  84. Clark Beek

    Are you trying to power down, or release a clutch and let gravity do the work? If it’s the former, probably a solenoid; if it’s the latter, it’s probably just a stuck clutch, which can be remedied by disassembling, cleaning, and lubricating.

  85. Danny DeFelice

    I have a Simson- Lawrence , It works only when i hit the up position but when I try to release it wants to go but will not release the anchor. What is your take on this ?

  86. vega

    i have a h600/900 windlass and is not moving look is too tight how i fix this. any advice

  87. Clark Beek

    Sounds like you should clean the contacts on the solenoid, or replace it if it’s solid state. Disconnect the cables from the solenoid and touch them together (carefully) and see if the windlass works. If it does, you know you’ve got a solenoid problem.

  88. john

    yes it moves manually but when you hit switch just a clunk.. Like you hear the solenoid engage but just one clunk… any ideas?

  89. Clark Beek

    Sounds like a fouled solenoid, as in the article, or maybe something stuck or frozen in the windlass itself. Try moving it manually, if you can…

  90. john

    when i hit the down or up mode it just clunks like the solenoid is stuck….
    Any ideas???

  91. tony

    my windliss will free drop, but on retrieve the outer casing moves in like its about to grab the rope, but rope gear is not spinning or grabbing and retrieving the rope . is there a shear pin out or any suggestions what to do?

  92. chris cornelius

    My windless, when in the up position, slowly when traveling allows the anchor to loosen about 6 inches and becomes loose.

    Also, when trying to pull up the anchor, the line is slipping through the teeth. How can I remedy this?

  93. Neil McCubbin

    Follow up on Lofrans that drew 180 amps on no-load
    Lofrans finally replaced the motor,, (which took two attempts, since they sent wrong one first time)
    We rented a car and drove 1000 miles in two days to get it worked out
    It took from my July 2016 post till a few weeks ago to get refunds for the motors we paid to get shipped, including dealing with emails from Loframs factory that were an insult to any customer’s intellect.
    We have given up on a refund for the solenoid they made us buy to replace the original that had a one volt drop across it when new.
    The windlass is working now, but cannot pull anywhere near the advertised load, we have over 10.5 volts at motor terminals at full load.
    Bottom line. I will never buy a Lofrans product again
    We bought in the UK, and are now in Caribbean, a few weeks later than planned due to the Lofrans issues. If I lived in U.K. I could probably get a good settlement in small claims court, but I prefer sailing

  94. Jim

    I have a sea wolf windlass all chain that stopped working. It is old but not crazy old. It is up only. I here the click on the foot button but hear nothing from the motor. I think I used to be able to crank it up Manually with my metal bar but that isn’t working either. It just tightens up the windlass. If I loosen it the chain deploys. Any ideas beyond your tips here that I will try? I’m worried that I can winch it normally up. Could it be seized somewhere?

  95. Clark Beek

    Hi Neil, That sounds bizarro. You say it moves freely, as in, the motor spins without any load on it, so that rules out some failed bearing, or something putting a lot of drag on it, which would be unlikely anyway on a six-week-old windlass. My guess is that your problem is purely electrical. Measure the voltage right at the windlass, while it is running. My guess is you’ll see very low voltage, which shouldn’t push the amperage up in and of itself, but if it’s trying to draw current through a bad connection or undersized cabling, that might be causing the extra current draw. Simplest (although back breaking) solution would be to take a battery up to the bow and connect the leads from the windlass right to it (very carefully, and with a high amp fuse or breaker in between) and see if it performs better. My guess is that it will, and that your problem lies somewhere in the cabling or connections between you battery banks and the windlass.

  96. Neil McCubbin

    Our 6 week old Lofrans Tigres 1500 watt 12V windlass worked OK first few times used, but is now gutless
    It trips a 150 amp breaker, although I can pull the chain in a few inches with one hand.
    Motor runs at advertised speed on no load (chain off) BUT draws 180 amps. Full load is supposed to be 130 amps.

  97. Clark Beek

    Hi Brian, Hmm, to actually sheer a sheer pin would take some force, so unless there’s been something catastrophic that’s unlikely. Usually a cone or washer friction device engages the motor to the gypsy/wildcat/drum. This device can get stripped or just weirdly-greased. I mean, the two halves of the cone/washer are supposed to be greased, but if they’re too greased, or if you don’t crank down enough, the joint just slips. On mine, with fresh grease, I’ve got to really crank on it- Like use all of my strength to tighten the clutch–so if you really crank on it, and no love, then suspect a sheer pin, or something mechanical that’s come undone.

  98. Brian

    The motor on my unit seems to be working fine but doesn’t hoist. Are there sheer pins or something like that might have been compromised?

  99. Colin Walsh

    I have a Lofrans Project 1500 windlass. One of its selling points in the literature is that it has internal solenoids. Now that one has failed I am told by the supplier that it is not a spare part and it will cost me over £1,000 for a new motor! I’m pretty cross about this as I know solenoids will eventually give trouble. The windlass comes with an emergency terminal marked E to bypass the ‘up’ solenoid so the manufacturer knows it will fail at some point. So why is it not a replaceable part!!
    Anyone know if it’s possible to source and replace it?

  100. Clark

    Hi Trevor, I’d circumvent the solenoid and touch the power lead from the windlass directly to the power cable coming from the battery (carefully, and ready to abort quickly, as there may be sparks), with the anchor down so there is some load on it. If it makes the same noises and complaints this eliminates the solenoid. It could still be electrical, like something in the windlass motor, or could be motor bearings or other mechanical bits in the windlass. If it’s old and it’s about time anyway, it gives peace of mind to pull the motor, take it to a reputable shop, and have it completely rebuilt and tested. It’s usually about $300, then you know you’ve got a solid motor for the next ten years-ish, and you can eliminate it at a possible cause.

  101. Trevor Coverdale

    Hi Clark,
    The Muir VRC1250 winch has recently begun labouring and making loud wining noises when anchor is being raised, it has also thrown the circuit breaker several times. I am about to strip the mechanical side down to clean and grease, but wondered if I should also be looking for an electrical problem. I would appreciate your helpful advice.

  102. Clark

    Hi Mel, That’s definitely a bizarro one. The fan circuit is somehow cross-connected with one side of the windlass control circuit (but not the windlass power circuit). I guess first see which way it turns with both the fan breaker and windlass breakers on, then you’ll know whether the up wire or down wire is suspect. You’ll probably need to test for voltage at the solenoid to see which wire is energized. From there you can turn off the big windlass breaker so it doesn’t spin, but leave on the control circuit power, which I’m guessing is on a separate breaker/circuit from the main windlass breaker. It won’t hurt to leave the solenoid energized while you’re testin, but I’d give it a break every few minutes to let it cool off. Then it’s just matter of testing for voltage (with the fan breaker on) back from the solenoid. I’m guessing you’ll find wires melted through, or some erroneous cross-connect in the back of a panel somewhere. Do you have a remote switch in the cockpit, or just the deck switch forward? If it’s just the deck switch forward, then the problem has to be somewhere forward. If you’ve got a cockpit switch, it’s more likely to be along the up or down wire from this switch. It should be straight shots from the up and down sides of the cockpit switch to the solenoid (no switches, breakers, or fuses along the way) so my bet is on something in your fan circuit actually touching one of the terminals on the back of the switch, or a melted/chafed wire making unintended contact somewhere. If all else fails, replace the the whole up or down wire, at least with a temporary test wire, and see if this fixes it.

  103. Mel

    HI Clark- I recently purchased a new solenoid because my windlass would only spin one direction, and when I disconnected the solenoid and tested the windlass it would turn both directions when I changed the leads. I also changed the outside switch because it was fairly corroded and to make sure that wasn’t a source of another problem. I have a forward remote switch that I have taken out of the picture since that is fairly corroded and I don’t have a replacement. Now the windlass works great with the new switch in back operating it up and down but I still have one problem that may have caused all this in the first place. When I turn on one specific breaker (fans), the solenoid makes a click/pop sound. And if I have the fan breaker on and the windlass breaker on it actually spins the windlass. I am checking all the wiring to ensure there are no bad connections but right now, I’m not finding anything. Any ideas on how to better narrow down this search would be greatly appreciated!

  104. Dave

    Anyone help with an IZ Leroy Somer 12v 100 amp vertical windlass 1999 (model courant continu) that will turn only about 1/4 inch and then it seems to lock up or stop abruptly So it has power but will not turn except the 1/4 inch distance? Possible solenoid problem or mechanical freeze up?

  105. Johann

    Can I have some info about a CIMA windlass, don’t know how old is it? How do I know how use are the carbon box ? Visual ? Technic list would be good to have for spare part

  106. Paul

    thanks Clark, yeh thats what i was thinking, just never had an anchor motor before. there is a 50 amp breaker associated with the system as well. this one just through me off being on such a heavy gauge wire.

  107. Clark Beek

    Hi Paul, I’m thinking the 3 Amp fuse is just the fuse for the switch circuit. IE It’s just carrying the current that runs through the switch when you step on it, not the full current going to the windlass motor. That should have a BIG fuse, like 100 Amps, or similar-sized breaker, somewhere.

  108. Paul

    hi, restoring a bot presently. the winlass works as far as can tell right now being out of the water but the question i have is regarding an in line fuse coming from the control box going up to the switch. i had to break apart the fuse holder to see what size fuse was in there and to my surprise it was only a 3 amp fuse on what looks like 10 gauge wire. i only ran the winlass out about 15 feet and back just to see if it worked and it seemed fine but is that the correct fuse for that location?

  109. Clark Beek

    Hi Mike, Start by checking and cleaning all the electrical connections. A simple bad connection can do that, work fine at first then cause the device to fade as the bad connection heats up. If you’ve got a multimeter and/or amp clamp you can check for Voltage drop along the cabling and see if it’s drawing the right amount of juice. If all the cabling and connections are solid, then it points to warn motor brushes, or brushes that aren’t making good contact. Replacing the brushes and cleaning the commutator is something you can do yourself, if you can get hold of a brush replacement kit, or you can just take the motor to an electric motor shop and they’ll make quick work of it. Getting a motor out of a windlass can either be easy or take an entire weekend, unfortunately.

  110. Mike P

    Hi my name is mike perkins I have a Lewmar 500 it works most of time but it just seems weak and some times just struggles to pull up the anchor does that mean the motor is getting weak please email if you know or can help at

  111. Paul

    Thanks Clark

    This was useful and led to my own project following a failed windlass a few weeks back. I’ve documented my findings (and referenced your useful detail above)


  112. Pingback: Windlass cutting out, fusing, anchor counter resetting | Just Sail

  113. Clark Beek

    Hi Michael, I would think it’s got to be a stuck switch, or something bridging the contacts on the switch. I’d disconnect the leads on both sides of the switch, just for sanity’s sake, and see if touching them together and separating them starts and stops the windlass from going up. If that’s the case, something is funky in the switch.

  114. Michael Moloney

    After blowing a fuse overworking my Lofrans windlass I replaced the fuse only to find the windlass instantly ran in up mode without pressing the switch. I removed the power and checked and cleaned the switches then hooked the power up and again it ran without pressing the switch in the up mode. Any ideas where next to look??????

  115. Clark

    Hi Jane, You’ve got me. Sometimes you can get faulty readings with a digital voltmeter. You might do better to use a test light rated for the ship’s voltage and see if it lights up when touched to either side of the switches. And just see if the windlass moves when you bridge the contacts that the foot switch should be making. I’ve seen some Lewmar foot switches that seem to have some electronics built into them, so they’ve got more to them than just two contacts and a copper bar.

  116. jane towler

    we have a Lewmar windlass it has a switch in the cockpit that works, a remote in the anchor locker that works but the two foot pedals don’t work, I have taken them apart and cleaned the contacts but no go. I put a voltage meter on first the remote and it reads 13.7 same as the Xantrax. When I put the meter on the up switch I get 40.3 and when I put the meter on the down I get 194.1 what am I doing wrong

  117. Susan

    When ever the anchor windlass is activated a loud noise comes from the stereo speakers when stereo is on. I have had an electrician look at and replaced the AMP in stereo but can not find the problem. Ever heard of this? What could it be?

  118. Clark

    Well, no, but I’d guess the don’t make their own electric motors, so if you can look at the motor itself and get a manufacturer and a model number, you can probably get them from a motor supply place instead of from Lofrans.

  119. Clark Beek

    Hi Michael, You say a little shaking in the electric motor shaft? That sounds like you’re getting current to the electric motor, but the motor isn’t turning. The fact that you’re seeing/hearing some vibration means (maybe/probably) that either the motor is locked (it’s stuck and trying to move) or maybe has a stuck brush or two: Usually simple DC motors have brushes (which are actually solid and not very brush-like) that contact the commutator, on the end of the rotor. I’m not sure how many brushes can be stuck and still get noise/vibration from the motor without any real oomph, but that’s a simple thing to check with a preliminary disassembly of the motor. Or just pull the motor and take it to a motor shop, where they can check it out and make quick work of it. Before any of that I’d try touching the power leads from the battery directly to the leads/posts on the motor and see what happens. Keep in mind you’ve got a motor that might be locked or have something wrong with it, so expect sparks (wear glasses) and be ready to abandon the effort quickly.

  120. Michael Warlick

    Hi Clark, I disassembled my solenoid that operates my Seawolf windlass. It was mounted inside at the front of the V-Berth so corrosion does not seem to be an issue here. The contacts are clean. I see only where they have been arcing clean as they made contact. So with the clicking sound coming from the solenoid and little movement from the motor except for a little shaking in the electric motor shaft, what would be next on the list to check? Thanks

  121. Clark Beek

    Hi Keith, It’s hard to say what’s going on without seeing it. The up/down control circuit on the control box should be fairly low amperage (your model probably calls for a 3-Amp fuse) so 14-16 AWG wire (1.5-2mm) should be big enough, and it’s odd that only the ground wire gets hot. As every electrical instructional begins, “ensure that all connections are clean and secure” so I’d disassemble all the connections and scrub them with a wire brush, then reassemble. I suppose a bad connection somewhere on that ground wire could cause only it to get hot. I assume there’s a fuse on the positive side, yet it’s not blowing?

  122. Keith Francica

    Hi, I have a problem with my Lofrans solenoid that takes 4 Main contacts + the 3 small contacts for the control…
    Motor seems to work well and the switching of the solenoid as well.
    The only problem I have is that I have 3 new wires of 1.5mm squared/ approximately 15AWG from the solenoid to the toggle switch and when I operate the motor in any direction the ground 15awg wire gets hot after only 5 seconds of operation.
    Is the wire so thin ?
    but it was the same gauge before I overhauled this boat….
    (wires in solenoid make contact with sliders like the ones in your pictures)
    Distance from solenoid to toggle switch is 4 metres.

  123. Clark Beek

    Hi James, Definitely, as long as it’s 12-volt. Remember it’s a high amperage motor, so when you touch the cables to the battery there will be sparks! To be safe, you should have a fuse or breaker in the circuit too.

  124. James Herbertson

    I recently purchased a lofrans tigres 1500 at auction. I’d like to test the motor before fitting it. Is it possible to test it in the garage using a car battery to power it?


  125. Carlos M.

    I have a windlass control box IMTRA, 12v, 500-1500 watts, 3 terminals. I tried the above procedure step by step, still the windlass will not move, the control box is just doing the clicking sound. Any other ideas???


  126. Clark Beek

    Hard to tell what’s going on there without seeing it, but sounds like you don’t have power at all up to the bow. Trace it all the way back to the batteries. Once you get juice to the big wires up to the bow you can touch them directly to the windlass motor cables to see if the windlass is alive…then it’s back to troubleshooting switches, solenoids, connections, et al.

  127. Mike Crouse

    I have an older windlass electric anchor and it is now dead. The foot pedal nor the switch in the cabin make it work. There is no electrical clicking heard coming from the solenoids. I have put a tester on the high voltage line and ground on solenoid and there is no power there at all. I have checked the cable from front to back looking for a fuse or in line breaker switch and have not been able to find anything that resembles a breaker.

  128. Michael Roberts

    Thank you for this invaluable information.

    Two hours ago we were seriously jammed in a bay in the Cyclades with a gale forecast tomorrow.

    Encouraged by you we now have a reliably working solenoid and we can get to a safe anchorage.

    Thanks again

  129. John T

    This is called just in time publishing. During the survey of my GS 50 it was noted that when attempting to activate the windless only a click was heard. That led me to believe it was a connection someplace. I will be back to the boat in a couple weeks and will start there. Previous owner says it has not been used in a few years.

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