Sunday, December 09, 2007
Small Solace in Being Right
What a day. It began with working on various small mysteries with the oil pressure, oil buzzer and charging system. All seems well with minor mysteries remaining. Then I worked at constructing a better snubber line by splicing a clip onto a sturdy hunk of 5/8 inch dock line. My marlinspike seamanship skills are woefully lacking but after some swearing and sweating I got it on. To replace the existing snubber I need to haul it up and in this wind that means engine on and a little forward gear to be able to haul up some chain. No problem here and the new one was clipped on but on trying to lower it there was a problem. The windlass wouldn't turn. It would try and then get stuck. Then no going up nor down. Well the rest of the chain was lowered by hand and now I have a new project in front of me.
Last time I had trouble with the windlass I assumed (ok I HOPED) that it was mechanical and took it all apart only to find I really have to take the V-berth apart because the problem is electrical and that is where the relay is. I'm going to be smart this time. I'll take the V-berth apart first (do we all see where this is going?). Yep all is well there so I guess something is physically blocking the motion of the windlass.
Back topsides I remove the many screws to open up the gear train. I'm now hoping for something obvious logdged in the gear train (like a sandal) that I can remove and all will be well. But no. I remove the first gear so now the motor shaft is free from the gear train. I try the switch. No. Oh damn. . . it is the motor itself that is jammed. What the . . . . ?
Well, it's already broken so no danger in dissesembling the motor itself. As I'm doing this I'm noticing how well it is all sealed up. What the hell could be jammed? the brushes? Or what if a magnet had shattered. I mean let's face it, there is nothing in a motor but coils of wire and magnets! I finally get the armature removed and peer inside. What do I see by 7 nice magnets. . . and one shattered one! I'm sad that the motor is busted but elated that I thought of what might be wrong. Feynman called this fixing stuff by thinking about it!
Now then. . . will this motor work with 7 of its 8 magnets? I clean out all the shards and dust and reassemble the whole thing. IT WORKS! Probably at 7/8 it's old power but it works. I'll be calling the company tomorrow to see if I can get a replacement motor but they'll probably want to sell me the entire windlass which I don't want. With a new motor I can keep this 7/8 motor as back up! We'll see.