Quick Chain Sensor Install

Installing a Quick Chain Counter Sensor on a Lofrans Tigres Windlass

The Quick chain counter and windlass controller uses a small magnetic sensor to count the number of revolutions of the windlass chain gypsy so it can calculate the amount of anchor chain deployed.  This sensor is integrated into the Quick brand windlasses, but has to be retrofitted to other brands.  The Quick manual can not really go into details about how to install the sensor on EVERY other brand and style of windlass.  They present a few ideas, and basically say, “Go figure it out.”

Presented here is on solution for mounting the sensor on a Lofrans Tigres Windlass.  This is not necessarily the only, or even the best, way to do it, but it works on our boat.

We started with a small piece of aluminum, about 1/8″ (3mm) thick.  You could easily use a piece of hard, UV resistant plastic as well if that was easier to come by.  It was cut to make a close fit to the gypsy, while being held in place by the bolts that secure the chain stripper.



Here you can see the aluminum plate under the chain stripper. The actual sensor is on the back side of the plate in this photo, secured by the two small bolts. The larger bolts secure the chain stripper and the aluminum sensor holder to the windlass body.


Here the bolts securing the chain stripper and the sensor plate have been removed so you can see the back of the sensor plate.

Quick has made two versions of this sensor.  The older one was a small black box with two mounting holes.  The current version is a plastic cylinder that is mounted using a square plastic clamp.  If you look closely in the above photo, you will see the round end of the sensor sticking out from under the clamp.


Magnet positions in the gypsy.

The sensor requires magnets to work.  Those magnets need to be mounted in the gypsy so the sensor can count the number of times it goes round, and then calculate the amount of chain dropped.  It requires at least one magnet, and can have up to six.  The previous owner of our boat installed three.  Each revolution of this gypsy drops 1.6 feet of chain.  If you use one magnet you count chain to the nearest 1.6 feet; 2 magnets, 0.8 feet; 3 magnets, 0.5 feet; etc.  For any kind of anchoring I do, knowing the chain used to within 2 feet would be perfectly acceptable.

The magnets are installed in small holes drilled in the gypsy.  It is made of bronze, and is easy to machine. When the magnets are in the hole, the hole(s) are filled with epoxy.


Here you can see how the magnet is positioned in the thickest part of the gypsy.


Looking from the front of the windlass back, you can see the relationship of the chain stripper, the sensor plate, the sensor and the gypsy.  It is important to have the sensor as close to the magnets as possible without rubbing on the rotating gypsy.  You can see the chain stripper is displaced from the center of the gypsy by the thickness of the sensor plate, but this hasn’t been a problem for us.  It still does its job perfectly.

The sensor wire is led under the body of the windlass through a small hole drilled for that purpose.  It is connected to the two-conductor wire under the gypsy, and the hole is sealed with silicone or other sealant of your choice.  A small cable tie secures the wire leads so they don’t chafe.