Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Main furler motor issue

Sv Garulfo

An update:
No parts or diagrams from the yard or its supplier (Leroy Somer) so far. Amel do recommend changing the top seal to avoid water intrusion but so far we haven't found a description on how to do that, except that it is possible to do without removing the end caps, which are "glued and near impossible to remove without damaging the casing" as per Amel. 

Anyway, we gave up trying to remove the top end cap. 

At the bottom end of the block there is an electromagnetic shaft break, controlled by a separate solenoid. When not energised, a spring mounted ferrous metal disc presses on a plastic disc fixed to the shaft. When energised, the magnet pulls the metal disc away and frees the shaft. There is a distinctive click noise when that happens. I think this is the first point of failure when corrosion strikes, as the corroded springs between the magnet and the ferrous disc seem to lose flex. 
In the event of failure of the overall system, absence of that mechanical click coming from inside the casing maybe a tell tale. 

We researched the part (ERD 500 from Warner Electric) and its maintenance and the constructor suggests the gap may need to be adjusted later in life to allow operation.
This part is easy to remove, 3 Allen screws. 1 of ours was corroded in and broke, though. I think those screws also control the amount of default pressure on the plastic disc, so it maybe useful to make a note of their position before removing them. 

Next is the motor itself. 4 screws to remove 2 top plates, circlip, gear, wedge (?, clavette in french) and then 2 nuts that screw onto bolts the length of the motor to maintain the brushes element wedged in place onto the collector/commutator. Brushes are indeed spring loaded and a pain to put back. 

Around the rotor, there is a metallic tube with the permanent stator magnets glued on the inside. On ours half of the magnets were unglued and all over the place. Hence the motor failure. Did they become unstuck because the failed shaft break prevented rotation and the rotor magnetic field snapped the permanent magnets off? Or is it just direct failure? I don't know. 
So we epoxy-glued them back, cleaned all the dust away, remounted everything but the break, tested on a pair of car batteries and it rotated happily. The break wouldn't snap, though, so had to change the springs, adjust the gap, and remount it with the right amount of pressure to let it do its job. 
We intend to change the break part altogether for a new one, as a better solution. We also intend to carry a spare complete system bought from Amel for peace of mind, when we can source/afford it ($3k?).

We knew next to nothing about DC motors when we started, so we would be very happy to hear comments about what we found/did. For instance I don't understand why the break is controlled by a different relay/solenoid. They seem to be on at the same time/voltage. 
We got help of a local guy in Morocco. He was fantastically helpful if not 100% orthodox in his methods. 

We'll try to annotate pictures and make a document in the files section. We'll carry on researching the changing of the top seal. Stay tuned.

Fair winds,

Amel 54 #122
Porto Santo, Madeira, Portugal 

On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 at 16:03, 'Mohammad Shirloo' mshirloo@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Hi Thomas;
I did not attempt to open our furler motor due to the poor condition observed and the amount of water that came out of it. We sent it to a mechanic familiar with Amels and the furler motor. They did open it and after review said that the motor was basically not repairable. So, I cannot be of much help in how to open up the unit. But as with everything else, you start from the obvious and move forward and try to figure out as you go.
One suggestion may be to request any diagrams or maintenance information Amel may have. If they don't, they can tell you the manufacturer's information and most likely more information can be found online or directly from the manufacturer.
I would definitely be interested in your progress and any pictures that may help us and other 54 owners. The beginning of the next season is going to be the 2 year mark for our furler as well and I will be changing the top seal.
Mohammad & Aty
B&B Kokomo
Amel 54 #099

From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...]
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2017 11:46 PM
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Main furler motor issue


Hi Mohammad,

Thanks for your answer

I realise, searching for pictures online, that the 54 has a different electrical furling system than Super Maramu. It is vertical. I guess that reduces the expertise on those systems. Hopefully we can contribute to building it without too much damage.

Any tips still very much appreciated

Fair winds to all

Amel 54 #122
Tangier, Morocco 

On Tue, 17 Oct 2017 at 03:10, 'Mohammad Shirloo' mshirloo@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Hi Thomas;

The seal is between the shaft and the end cap.  You can see it in your picture. This seal is constantly exposed to the sun and the elements. When the rubber dries out, water gets in. The 54s have similar issues with the top seal on the Bamar furlers.

Has any one used a good rubber conditioner/protector that extends its life? 


Mohammad Shirloo
323-633-2222 Cell
310-454-3148 Fax

On Oct 16, 2017, at 11:24 AM, SV Garulfo svgarulfo@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:



So the gearbox is fine, we can operate the manual furling without problems. 

We removed the unit and disconnected it as per Mohammad's instructions. 

We managed to remove (pop out) the bottom black end cap (wire end). It was not easy to say the least. For the top end, we are still very much struggling with it. We must be doing it the wrong way. We found those black end caps to be sealed with what looks like white sikaflex, between the white painted aluminium case and a groove in the black end cap. 
The inside of the housing was damp, with a few drops od salt water running out and a fair amount of salt cristals. 
The "wire end" of the motor stack has the 'brake', an electromagnetic friction disk that I suppose is there to block the rotation while not energised (correct me if I'm wrong). It was a bit rusty. 

There is a gear on that end of the shaft that connects to the brake element. That gear would not rotate freely, until I shaked it a bit and it freed up. Maybe a clue as to what's going on inside. 

Next is the motor itself and the wires going into it that I guess would be connected to the brushes. 

But to access the full motor block, i think we need to remove the top back end cap too and free the motor from the housing. The top black end cap is still resisting our efforts. I don't suppose there is another solution to access the brushes or to remove that end cap?

What is the seal that Amel recommend changing every couple of years? Is it between the end cap and the aluminium housing? Or the  bit between the shaft and the black end cap? On our motor it's very rusty (see picture in previous post) and I wouldn't be surprised it's the source of our damp problem. Does Amel provide you with an how-to to change it? I would be interested in any tips at this point. 

Thanks again,

Amel 54 #122
Tangier, Morocco 

On Mon, 16 Oct 2017 at 11:17, Garulfo sv <svgarulfo@...> wrote:
"Unscrew conventional way", You mean like a jar (black against white) or pop it out once the screws on the white covers are off?

On 16 Oct 2017, at 10:39, Peter Forbes ppsforbes@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:


The black end caps unscrew the conventional way.

Peter Forbes
Amel. 54#035

Sent from my iPhone

On 16 Oct 2017, at 10:26, Garulfo sv svgarulfo@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:


Thanks all for your input. 
We are onto removing the furler motor. 
Before we disconnect the electrics, any tips on how to remove the black end caps. 

Thank you
Fair winds

Amel 54 #122
Tangier, Morocco 

On 15 Oct 2017, at 09:36, simms@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:


Hi Thomas, I agree with those who suggest checking the brushes. In my experience they are this number one culprit. You have checked the breakers. I have found if I try to furl under too much load the breaker in the port forward locker in the forward cabin pops.
The brushes can stick because of accumulated carbon dust from wear. Remove them and give the motor a blow out with an air gun if available. The contact surface can get  very glossy and when they are out I give that area a quick rub with sand paper.
Danny SM 299 Ocean Pearl

Sent from my Vodafone Smart

On 15 Oct 2017 20:42, "SV Garulfo svgarulfo@... [amelyachtowners]" <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Hi all,

The main furler motor stopped working yesterday. We wanted to unfurl the dail and it wouldn't go. The outhaul is ok. 
Battery levels are fine (and the engine alternator was still running and producing amps at the time).
The command produces a click sound in what I think is the solenoid. 
The circuit breaker marked "mast" in the forward cabin above the centre bookshelf /wardrobe is on (as are the other breakers there for "boom", etc).

Any further advice before I tinker any further? I would check the motor itself but having never done it, I'd rather be cautious with little local help at hand. 


Fair winds

Amel 54 #122
Tangier, Morocco 

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