Bandit's Lofrans Windlass - New Solenoids


Our new 12v black box type solenoids have arrived over the week and today I've been working out the wiring for them.

The new solenoid totalled to £42 including postage which is far better than the hefty £150 price tag on a pair of the old style solenoids from Lofrans. We purchased them from eBay and they were titled 'for Lofrans and Lewmar windlasses'. They arrived at the door and I signed for them. I opened it up and had a look only to find that the paper instructions supplied had no relation to our windlass motor whatsoever. The wiring diagram shown on the eBay advert was great and made perfect sense but the solenoid that turned up at the door had a different layout of the connections so it was hard to put both the solenoid I had in front of me and the instructions together. Now, maybe this is just me being silly but it all looks very different to the wiring for our current solenoids and motor. No matter, I spent a good hour in my room with a 9V battery and some cable and finally managed to suss out the wiring for the solenoid. I've got it figured out and tested it with the 12v domestic battery bank when we got to the boat on Thursday evening. There is a total of four posts on the solenoid but we only require three of them. There was something in those instructions about ignoring a post if your set up was not as it stated. Something like that, anyway...

I've gone over and over the solenoid wiring many times and I'm completely confident that I've got it right so hopefully I don't go blowing anything up. All jokes aside, all it would do is blow the fuse (or circuit breaker) so not much can go wrong. I wouldn't connect it up to the windlass motor until I was sure it was sending the correct polarity current to the correct post via the use of our clever multi-meter. All looks good and I look forward to fitting the solenoid and knowing that our windlass has had a complete overhaul this year!
The new solenoid


Today I've wired up the solenoid and mounted it in the anchor locker.

I stayed on Bandit last night as I'm working in the marina today and it seemed easier to stay here on Bandit than travel to work from home. So I got up with plenty of time spare and set about wiring up the solenoid. I connected up the large + and - cables coming from the battery and fiddled with the solenoid and a multi-meter. My predictions were correct and so I wired up the solenoid to the motor. Then for the final task, reinstall the 50amp fuse and turn on the battery switch. A press of the foot switches at the bow of the bow showed that the solenoid worked and was wired up correctly! Yippee! And even better, I had somehow managed to wire it round the correct way so pressing up pulled the anchor up and pressing down released it. All that's to do now is to secure the solenoid to the top of the anchor locker where the previous solenoids had been and we're done. I will also clean up the wiring with some cable ties later and pin up the battery cables using some P-clips. We might also get small power post which we can screw in the anchor locker and put all the -neg connections to it safely unlike what's shown in this picture where the negatives are held together with a bolt and left to hang loosely. Very unsafe but a power post would make the connections and wiring more permanent.
Wiring up the solenoid for testing (this is not the final wiring)

The last job in the windlass maintenance 'chapter' is replacing the 50amp circuit breaker for the windlass as we've currently got it going through a 50amp fuse which is not at all ideal. It would take 10 minutes to replace the fuse at sea and if we needed the windlass desperately and the fuse goes, we'd be in trouble.

Where we got our solenoids from (advert might have expired by the time you view the page):


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