What is a chain counter (rode counter)?

A chain counter or rode counter is an instrument that records the length of anchor rode deployed when using the windlass and displays this information on the LCD or the onboard computer.

Why should I fit a chain counter (rode counter) to my windlass?

When anchoring it is very important to deploy the correct length of anchor rode for the conditions. Using a chain counter means you have the security in knowing how much anchor rode has been deployed. A chain counter is especially valuable if anchoring after dark when it is difficult to see markers on the anchor rode.

Some of the AutoAnchor chain counters have additional features such as a safety lock to avoid unwanted windlass operation and “one touch” automatic operation to deploy and retrieve a preset amount of anchor rode. All AutoAnchor models beep to warn the skipper when the anchor is within a predetermined distance of docking thus avoiding damage to the boat during retrieval.

Basically an AutoAnchor chain counter or rode counter takes the stress out of anchoring and it is a lot easier than painting or marking the rode each season.

Can I fit a chain counter (rodecounter) to my windlass?

AutoAnchor chain counters or rode counters can be fitted to almost any size and type of windlass – electric, hydraulic or AC powered and using either rope/chain or all-chain rodes. Check with your windlass supplier or contact AutoAnchor direct for specific information.

Does a chain counter (rode counter) work with a rope/chain combination rode?

Yes – AutoAnchor chain counters are designed to work with either rope/chain combination or all-chain rode.

How does a chain counter (rode counter) work?

The AutoAnchor kit includes a console display unit plus a magnet and a sensor. The magnet is fitted into the chainwheel of the windlass and the sensor is fitted into the deckplate. The magnet and sensor are aligned so that every time the windlass rotates the magnet passes over the sensor. This information is then sent to the console unit. To work properly the AutoAnchor must be calibrated for the windlass and rode on the boat

Can AutoAnchors be fitted to multiple stations on the boat?

Yes – At least 2, and sometimes, 3 stations can be fitted on a boat. The AutoAnchor 560, 150 and 601 can all be linked together for multiple stations.

Can AutoAnchor products be used with freefall windlasses?

Yes – All AutoAnchor products will count accurately with a free fall windlass. Please note, however, that the windlass must be stopped manually if using free fall. This means the Automatic preset stop function on the AA500 series products (AA500C, AA550 and AA560) and the AA710 will not operate with a free fall windlass.

Does AutoAnchor work with freefall winches?


Does AutoAnchor count effectively on drum winches?

Yes, our latest software (post 2015) works on drum winches with all models excluding the AA150.