Lofrans Windlass Control Box

Judy Rouse

A few weeks ago our windlass began to act up when switched to the DOWN
position from either the cockpit or the foot switch. After a little
troubleshooting, we diagnosed this intermittent problem as a faulty
control box. We contacted the Lofrans distributor in the US who
informed us that Lofrans no longer made the control box. He said that
they carried a universal replacement made by Imtra. With FedEx
charges delivered in the US, the new control box was about $200 USD.

As it turned out we had friends flying to Curacao to visit us so they
volunteered to purchase the control box from the distributor and
deliver it to us.

Our friends returned to the US yesterday so I decided to replace the
faulty control box today. I pulled out the board that it is mounted
on and removed the control box. As I did this, I admired how much
effort and attention to detail Amel puts into the solenoid mounting
panel in the forward port-side locker. If you have not looked at
this, you should.

Before I mounted the new control box I noticed that the old one had 4
screws securing the top of the box...so I decided to take a look
inside. I found that the solenoid contacts were hardly burned. I
cleaned the contacts and when I was putting things back together I
noticed something inside the "DOWN" solenoid. I removed a small piece
of black plastic sheet about the size of a paper hole-punch. This
piece of plastic was lodged between the solenoid plunger and the "on
end" of the solenoid. I am fairly certain that the intermittent
problem with the DOWN solenoid was caused this piece of plastic
interfering with the travel of the solenoid plunger.

Apparently Lofrans designed the control box to allow service and
cleaning of the solenoid contacts...I like that...Oh sure, the new
improved "non-Lofrans brand" control box is waterproof...in my book
all that means is that you cannot service and clean the
contacts...More significantly, who really needs a waterproof control
box if you mount it in the right place?

I put the old box back together and wired it up...it works perfectly.

I learned something today...look closer at what I am about to replace
before buying a replacement part.


Bill Rouse, sailing with Captain Judy
s/v BeBe SM2 #387
at anchor in Curacao

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