Anchoring issues – fixing the windlass remote

When we bought Mariadz, the anchor windlass had only just been replaced and we laughingly have suggested that this was the only thing that actually worked properly when we got her. So it was with some dismay, that on our first weekend of the 2018 season, we tried to deploy the anchor and got nothing.  Fortunately this was immediately traced to the remote as we were able to control the windlass from the now working button on the steering console in the cockpit. However, this would need to be sorted.

Having checked the remote control unit it was clear that one of the pins had broken within the connector, having corroded badly. It wasn’t repairable and actually the buttons on the old controller had started to fail as well as the labelling. Time for a replacement then.

Originally we had a Quick remote control and this seems to have done well so we decided to implement a like for like replacement. The new one has a slightly updated design, and also had the option of a torch, but the rest looked very similar. 20180429_163339We decided on the two button control with lamp But as you can see they sent us the six button instead.

I decided I wanted to resolve this issue without the help of my friends, whether fellow boat owners or professionals. At least until I had messed it up, anyway!

The first stage was understanding how the old control unit, itself an eight button, was wired in. Only two buttons worked and on investigation there were three wires required to make this happen.  Thankfully, on checking the manual, it appears that the colour of the wires hasn’t changed since this had been fitted so that would make it easier. I decided to do the same, with the slight added complexity of adding in the two extra wires required to support the torch functionality. In retrospect I am thinking that it would be good to connect all of the buttons to the windlass so that if there is a problem within the remote, I have an alternative. I may go back and do that!

The female end of the connector for 20180429_163441the remote is mounted on a stainless steel bracket (top right of the picture) and of course the design of this has changed which meant I needed to redrill holes into the plate for the new female connector. The wire then goes around the aft part of the anchor locker to the control box. Having crimped each of the wires and having learnt my lesson from the recent stereo replacement, we were soon ready to go. 20180429_163451I am connected up and so go back into the boat to switch on the power. Silence so at least I haven’t done anything stupid! I go to the steering console, let’s make sure that I haven’t broken anything, it works. That’s a good start, at the very least it isn’t worse than when I began. I plug in the remote and go for the buttons. The windlass springs into life and works as expected. I have wired the power for the light to the incoming live but wasn’t sure which negative to use so I test it and that works. I am now feeling very smug as I replace the cover for the box, cable tie the wire for the remote and finally fit the cradle for the remote to the wall of the anchor locker.

One more test…..of course it still works! How many times have you put everything back together after it has been tested and it suddenly stops working. Final test at the steering console and no problems there either.  We have a fix.

However, my smugness is short lived after I start the next simple job.



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