Fixing the windlass remote control

Any boat, but especially an older boat (ours was built in 1982) requires a lot of maintenance. With this inaugural post, we are opening a new section on this blog dedicated to more technical aspects of owning a boat.

The first project to complete was rehabbing the windlass. It is not entirely surprising it was not lowering at the time of the purchase. As you can see, the remote control that was built with the household components, have corroded quite a bit, despite the efforts to waterproof it:

Inside the box things look even worse:

Even the terminal block inside the v-berth was corroded, with some contacts having virtually no clean metal left to conduct electricity:

We decided to replace the remote with a commercially produced one:

And replace the shot terminal block a very basic but robust one you can buy at a hardware store. Ideally, I would have preferred a 12-pole stainless steel block to accommodate all the connections without grouping them together on the same screw (will have to replace it later), but this is all they had at the Home Depot and I wanted to move on to other bigger projects sooner:

Screw terminals are a better choice than quick disconnects in marine applications, because they minimize the chance of failure due to vibrations and corrosion.

We replaced all the wiring with marine-grade cables and properly insulated terminals:

In some cases a little bit of MacGyvering was necessary—quick disconnects are hard to waterproof. The green goo in the picture below is liquid electrical tape, with heat shrink tubing over it:

After a few hours of pulling dead wiring off, cleaning things, drilling more holes and putting everything together, the results are extremely satisfying—out first of many projects is in the bag:


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