Help: Rewiring

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by PortStar, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. PortStar
    Joined: Apr 2012
    Posts: 3
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    Location: Oklahoma

    PortStar New Member

    Hello All,
    I freely admit I am the reason the "For Dummies" books were written. In fact, I said everything I know about electronics when I typed the subject line of this thread.
    I have just purchased a 1988 Port Star bass boat with an 88 HP Johnson outboard. On the bow of this boat is a plate with a trolling motor plug, a toggle for charging the battery or using the battery. a toggle for interior lighting, and a toggle for a live well. One of the toggles is broken so I took the plate off to see what the part number was so I could replace it. When I took the cover off, wires came off of pins and I saw a speghetti of wires and connectors, some connecting in loops from one post to another on the same switch. In addition, the dash gauges aren't functioning either. I am completely lost and out of my element. I went to a boat repair shop and they said it would be about $1000 to rewire it. I don't make that kind of money.
    I purchased a 75lb thrust trolling motor and two twelve volt batteries (in addition to the one already in the boat.
    Now, I said all that to say this. Does someone like me with zero electical ability and limited mechanical ability stand a chance of doing this on my own? If so, is there somewhere to find how these wires should go and how to make the motor charge all three batteries and such, without any confusing electronic symbols. Kind of like a kindergarden electronic reading level? Thank you all!
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    [​IMG]

    You can find this as well as others in the book store here or your favorite book seller.
     
  3. Tim B
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: Southern England

    Tim B Senior Member

    Don't panic. Electrics have a few, fairly simple, rules. There is chapter and verse about this subject, but your basic circuit will (should) boil down to a battery, a fuse, a switch, and some kind of load (eg. light, starter motor, trolling motor etc.). The complexity comes in:

    A. How neatly you wire everything.
    B. How clever the switch is.

    There should be little cause to worry about B.

    So take your time and be careful and neat. You'll be fine.

    Tim B.
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In his case, relays and careful protection is in order, not to mention voltage drop and a few other issues.
     
  5. sdowney717
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    Location: Newport News VA

    sdowney717 Senior Member

    $1000 !
    I dont know how people survive without skills. They just have to payup or DIY.
    Your system sounds fairly uncomplicated.
    Since it is a boat and sounds exposed to weather, being a bass boat, consider using good quality tinned marine multistrand wire.
    This is less of a problem if only fresh water exposure. I have lots of wire in my old boat and some of it is still romex solid copper which has not failed in 45 years.

    Something like this you basically have to either rip it all out and start over, or carefully go over every circuit and wire fixing things one at a time. Works ok if you like puzzles. Label things, create a wiring diagram schematic and make the wires look neater like in laid out rows and segregated bundles with wire ties helps make sense of it.
    I replaced all the old DC breakers and added more.
    I got them from drill spot for good prices. Like these
    http://www.drillspot.com/products/158374/Carlingswitch_CMB-153-27G3N-W-A_15_Thermal_Circuit_Breaker
    You need good insulated terminals which cover the lugs and a good crimper that is a real crimper.
    Not every wire be bad. I have a lot of wires on my 1970 Eggharbor 37. I replaced most all the AC wiring last year, taking out solid romex and replacing with mutistrand 12 gauge from an extension cord. From what I have seen, when the boat was built, little or none of the wire is marine tinned. Most of it is standard multistrand type wire you would find inside a car. And really it has held up ok for 45 years in salt water. I have had the usual repairs to lights and switch and breakers and clearing out rats nests of wiring.
    I may have an advantage as most of my wires are out of the sun and water inside the salon. My worst wire exposure is up on the flybridge.
    I do things in stages when needed. This past winter I rebuilt the port engine.
     
  6. PortStar
    Joined: Apr 2012
    Posts: 3
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    Location: Oklahoma

    PortStar New Member

    Thank you all very much

    Thank you very much everyone. Some very good replies that make me think that I'm going to tackle this on my own. I think I will be following the suggestions of going through and replacing all wiring. I admit I'm nervous because right now I have a working boat albeit with only 1/10th of the electronics working. Once I start tearing things out, well... I'm hoping for the best. If it all works out there will not only be alot more functions available on the boat for me, the pride of doing it on my own will be great :). (Saving a grand goes along way too).
    Thanks again everyone.
     
  7. Saildude
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

    Saildude Junior Member

    Please make a wiring diagram and put numbers on the wires - it will save you a lot of work down the line.

    A sketch of what you want to do BEFORE you start is also a good idea.
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The first thing you should do is take a screw driver and apply a bit of torque to each terminal. I'll bet half of the stuff pops back to life, just from this, assuming you've done continuity tests on all the fuses. Ripping it out sounds like a disaster, just waiting to happen. What I've found repeatedly, is there are those that have little difficulty understanding electrical and those that just can't get their head around it, in spite of well written books. Get a book, read it and then offer an honest answer to yourself about "having it" or not. Only with this answer, should you consider ripping it all out or not. Trust me on this, about once a year I get a guy in my yard that has done this, thinking "how hard could it be", usually just before he actually finds out. With some I've permitted them to "help" me to save costs. They end up being the one stuffed under the console, in space 80% of their own girth, with poor light, among bee's nests and spiders, trying to crimp and shrink a half dozen connections. At the end, they all understand why it cost so much.
     
  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Don't tear it out! Replace. Replace one wire at a time. I am presently doing this on a 1972 Sea Ray. As you saw when looking at the wiring, to the novice it looks like spaghetti. I have a long history with electrical and electronics, and even to me this looks daunting, mainly because when it was installed they did not do a good job of systematically planning the layout of the wiring.

    The secret is, take your time. Find a start point, trace the wire from one end to the other. Make a diagram of your boat and where the wire goes and what it is connected to. That wire has a matching wire. One is positive the other is the negative. Take the wire out and replace it with new.

    When replacing wires follow the accepted color codes. See http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/elect5.html

    Buy a lot of black wire and red wire. black is negative. red is positive.

    There are some things you need to know.

    Use good tinned marine wire (usually labelled UL 1426) It costs more than auto wire but it is made to a much more rigorous standard and will last far longer.

    Use good end terminals.

    Buy a good crimping tool, not the cheap one. Take some scrap wire and connectors and practice making good crimps that won't pull out.

    Buy some dielectric grease. Use it on all connections. It keeps the moisture out.

    Buy heat shrink tubing. Put it on the wire before crimping the connector and then cover the end of the terminal and shrink the tubing. It adds support (reduces the risk of the wire breaking) and keeps moisture out.

    Have you gathered by now that moisture is enemy number one?

    Did I say take your time?

    There is a lot more to learn before you get started.

    Take a look at 14 Steps to Wiring your boat. http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/electricity13.html
     
  10. PortStar
    Joined: Apr 2012
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    Location: Oklahoma

    PortStar New Member

    Thanks

    Thanks, Ike.
    My plan is just that. Take a wire, connect it to the new wire and pull it through one by one. Once one area is complete, put everything back together, move to the next.
    The trouble I'm facing with that though is the switches are mounted to a plate in the bow (light, live well, charge/draw from battery, and trolling motor plug). I removed the plate and the 3 toggles have six pins to slide on the wire connectors on. Most are connected but 2-3 were not attached leaving me scratching my head as to what goes where with them.
    That's the area I want to start in. Then I'll move back to the gauges on the dash.
     

  11. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Perhaps they were for options that were never installed, and so never wired up.

    Boat builders today offer options, just like cars, which you can select from a menu. The builders install the switches and fuse panels, buss bars etc, but if the option isn't purchased, don't put in the wiring for it. So you have a switch with several functions, but maybe only one or two work. That leaves unconnected pins on the back.

    Or maybe the previous owner just took them out.

    You might want to see if you can find an owners or service manual on the internet. (if they had one. Some builders simply did not have them. ) Sometimes you can get them through e-bay or amazon. I bought a service manual for my 1972 Sea Ray off of e-bay.
     
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