Anchor Winch Electrics


21 Jun 2001

I am having trouble with my anchor winch. The breaker keeps poppings.
The breaker is rated at 40 AMPS. I cannot find any specs on the winch other than it is 12 volts. The problems started the middle of last season so I stripped down the winch but found it to be in good condition with no lose wires and all mechanics turning freely. The winch runs for a few secs then the breaker goes.

The only thing I can see is that it turn faster in one direction than the other.
Are they constructed to have a different up ratio than down in the electric motor?
I have replaced all the solonoids and cleaned all contact so I am more than a little listified what could be cleaning this.




New member
22 Oct 2001
Sugest you post name of windlass and maybe someone who has same windlass might have a handbook. 40AMP cutout does seem low. I have an old Simpson lawence seawolf which works one way only and it has a 50AMP cutout.


Active member
16 May 2001
live near Saint Ives, Cornwall.
It's possible that the breaker (thermal trip) has gone weak. The only way to test this is to replace it with a known good/new one. Thermal trips can go weak after a period of time and use. If yours was working at the beginning of the season and then started popping, it could very well be the breaker.

Also, have you been able to test the insulation resistance of the motor to case. If this has gone low, it will put an extra load on the breaker, thus making it trip early - or when it shouldn't.

If you cannot get a marinised/expensive breaker, have a look at the Radio Spares website.
or Index Marine, or ASAP.



New member
5 Feb 2002
Belgium, Ostend
A 40 Amp circuit breaker in a 12V system meens that you only can deliver 480Watt to the electric motor. This seems to me very low for an anchor winch. On the electic motor itself, there must be an identification plate on which you can find all the data you need.

Marc B.


New member
22 Nov 2001
on board or in Austria
As everybody pointed out 40 Amps seems very low for an anchor windlass. Usually they would be about 50% higher than the specfied max current draw.
So a 1000 Watt windlass would be fused at about 1500 W which for a 12V supply would be a 125A fuse.
In such a case it would still trip after about about 5 seconds if the winch is blocked.

On the other hand, a free running windlass, without much load should never trip your 40 A breaker. Also from what you write, you have been living with the 40 A breaker for some time. So what could have changed?

If you have an Amp Meter for your DC circuit, you might check what the windlass actually draws before the breaker trips. Alternatively you could use a clip on current probe around the feed or return wire of the windlass.

You might find that it doesn't really draw a lot, then your breaker is bad and that's is quite a high probability.

I presume your breaker trips regardless of direction, otherwise you would have mentioned this. Most likley it is a series wound motor and this would mean that if the motor has a problem, it would not be confined to one half of the field (stator) winding, but would more likley be a short in the armature winding.

Running in differnt speed forward and reverse is more likley due to the brushes having worn in for a favorite direction. I have not seen a windlass motor that would be made asymetric on purpose. It would be difficult to do and a classic series wound motor has all the needed characteristics like going very fast under no load and having a huge tourque when it is slowed down to almost stand still.

Hope it is your breaker. Good luck.