I feel pretty stupid right now please help

Discussion in 'Electrical Systems' started by Triscuit, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 477, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Brilliant DJ, now what kind of boat is that, who designed it and yeah, are they still in business and willing to offer plans. Maybe they can contact you for an illegally obtained set.

    Please ignore the voice behind the curtain folks. He's a bit testy about folks not liking him selling unauthorized boat plans. Interestingly enough, he can't understand why we're bothered by it, in spite of having it explained several times.

  2. kroberts
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 318
    Likes: 12, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 210
    Location: Chicago area

    kroberts Senior Member

    Regarding the politics, just search on posts of each individual and figure out for yourself who people trust more. It's pretty black and white IMO. PAR has personally answered a whole bunch of my questions with helpful, thoughtful answers.

    I'm a little less cautious than some here, for small boats. I saw the mess that was mine (not working when I got it BTW) and the general quality and state of the wires and decided I didn't want to pay too much attention to that.

    I'm what you would call a novice at boat wiring, but I could tell the guy before me had absolutely no idea how electricity works. The wires were all skinny, some of them literally had the insulation melted off of them, and they were tangled up in other crap that was in the boat. Whatever that guy had, I knew I could do better.

    First I looked for a wiring diagram, but the boat wasn't stock so it didn't match. If you can find your boat's wiring diagram then it makes sense to do that again.

    I looked at the dashboard, at the names on the switches. I traced the wires from each switch over to the part it controlled, so I knew where it went. Then I tore everything out which was not engine wiring and started over. Wiring from dash to engine WERE replaced.

    First thing, I ran PVC conduit to each place where wires go. I put the conduit well above the normal water line, and with a definite slant to make them drain easily. At least make absolutely sure they won't keep water standing in them. Conduit is great because it protects the wiring, makes replacement easier and cuts down on confusion: 7 wires going in, 7 wires coming out, nothing in the middle to worry about. The conduit openings should be easy to get at when you're bobbing around with the engine cover off, or your feet sticking out from under the dash.

    Second thing, I chose a wiring scheme that works for me, but keep in mind not everybody uses something that makes sense. This is what makes sense for me, and it's what I did:
    1. Red wire is unfused, going from battery to some point like the power end of a fuse block.
    2. Black wire is ground, and any wire going from a powered component to ground is black.
    3. Some other color is going from the fuse block to a switch, or from a switch to a load.
    4. Wire size (gauge) is chosen by the size of the fuse. I could figure out stock fuse size for all the components on my boat, so I was lucky that way. I googled the size of wire for that amperage, and from there it was easy.
    5. Unfortunately you only have a few color choices so you'll probably have to double or triple up on colors. Labels help here.
    6. Both ends of each wire have some sort of soldered connector, some electrical grease to prevent corrosion and then a heat shrink tube which covers up everything but the connector "business end" itself.
    7. Every connector is some sort of corrosion resistant connector.
    8. Every connector which is not protected from weather and water is some sort of waterproof connector.

    A few other things that help:
    1. The fuse block is in the driest spot on the boat where electricity is used (mine is under the dash except for some high current stuff in the engine compartment) and can be easily reached while bobbing up and down in the middle of the night with a broken boat.
    2. The complete boat wiring diagram is stuck to the boat in a way that you can easily see it while your feet are sticking out from under the dash, or whereever your fuse block is, while bobbing up and down in a broken boat.
    3. At each remote conduit point, you stick a diagram of all the wire coming from that conduit.
    4. I used a laminator to waterproof the page, and then literally glued the diagrams to the hull so I could see them when I crawled under there so they couldn't be lost.
    5. A copy of the full diagram is also laminated and stuck in the glove box.
    6. All these diagrams are not visible when the boat is in operation, but easily and obviously visible when you take the doghouse off the engine or crawl under the dash.
    7. Each end of the wire has a little bit of slack so you can make it all lay nicely, but not enough slack to get in the way. You want to be able to take a component off without messing with the wires, for example, but you don't want a bird's nest.
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