Typical wiring schematic/diagram

Discussion in 'Electrical Systems' started by MCDUNK, May 28, 2006.

  1. MCDUNK
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: Penna.

    MCDUNK New Member

    Hi all, this is my first posting and am amased at the vast amount af solid info on this site!
    My particular challenge is to replace the wiring system the former, "owner and spaghetti - pack-rat", left behind!
    What a mess. The boat is an 18', 1975 Arrow Glass Tri-Hull, with a 1973 85HP Johnson. She is in real fine shape for her age, and worthy of the attention to a new day on the lake. I am able to do this task from my auto mechanic days but this being our first boat, is all new to me and needs to be done right. Any info on where to locate a basic lighting and accy. drawing or diagram would be very helpfull. Engine wiring is intact.
    Thanks in advance
    Mcdunk
     
  2. Corpus Skipper
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    Corpus Skipper Hopeless Boataholic

    OK, I'll bite. This stuff is all very simple, and there isn't really a "standard diagram". Basically all small boats just run a heavy (6 AWG should be more than sufficient, 30 amps for 23 ft.) positive and negative cable from the battery to a fuse panel/ terminal strip. Everything else is wired from there. It's all the same as automotive 12 volt wiring, with the exception of having to run all grounds back to the battery via the above mentioned terminal strip. Most boats simply use red for positive and black for negative for each accessory. Color coding only comes into play for engines and instrumentation, until you get into the newer big yachts. You'll probably only need a 6 circuit panel for nav/ anchor lights, instruments, bilge pump, and whatever accessories you install.
     
  3. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Personally, I would run the engine starter motor (assuming it has one) from a relay, rather than the panel directly, this allows you to use thinner wire to the panel and should save you both weight and money.

    The panel itself obviously needs to serve Nav Lights, Interior Lights, Wipers, Horns, Stereos, Pumps and anything else you want to put on the boat.

    All your devices will have a current requirement, and assuming (for simplicity) that they all run on 12VDC, you then need to run adequate cable (based on current, not voltage) between the panel and battery. The maximum curent which may be drawn from the battery will be the sum of all the current requirements for all the equipment.

    Most marine switch panels are simply a fuse, a switch and a 12 Volt LED (ie. LED with integral 680 Ohm resistor). Often they will have a battery test feature with a moving coil meter. Alternatively, a digital meter like the one at
    http://www.anders.co.uk/meters_products.asp?prodFamID=1136
    would be just as good.

    You really need to look for a good book on electronics, and go from there.

    Tim B.
     
  4. Corpus Skipper
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    Corpus Skipper Hopeless Boataholic

    The engine, a Johnson outboard in this case, has it's own wiring harness. The starter is fed current via a solenoid. I was just describing the wiring for the rest of the boat.
     
  5. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    Go to your local Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Hastings, or other book store, or your local library. Look for one of the following books.

    Boating Magazine's Powerboater's Guide to Electrical Systems by Ed Sherman
    Boatowner's Illustrated Handbook of Wiring, by Charlie Wing
    Your Boat's Electrical System, by Conrad Miller and E. S. Maloney
    Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, by Nigel Calder
    The 12 Volt Bible, by Miner K Brotherton and Ed Sherman

    All of these can also be purchased on line, or you might be able to find them at a used book store. They can be obtained through the American Boat and Yacht Council at www.abycinc.org.

    They all have simple basic wiring diagrams for 12 volt systems.
     
  6. MCDUNK
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    MCDUNK New Member

    Thanks to all that responded. The info was helpfull and am quite pleased with the end result. She's completely rewired from stem to stern and working fine.:)
    Also, for any one interested, I found the electric panels at fisheriessupply.com out of Seatle Washington. Good quality & best price found.

    Keep your props spinnin,
    MCDUNK
     
  7. Corpus Skipper
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    Corpus Skipper Hopeless Boataholic

    Congratulations, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.
     
  8. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    I stress this is a Generic diagram. Non specific. One change I'm told is that "black" is no longer a color to be used as ground. I'm told it has been changed to yellow. (something to do with black being used as a "hot" wire on some outboards)
     

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  9. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

  10. luckettg
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    luckettg Junior Member

    It is an ABYC standard that calls for DC common to be yellow. It is because shore power or VAC power on the boat uses black as the L1 lead. This has caused for many errors over the years. I do not know anything about the outboard motor wiring issue causing this change. Incidently, this color code standard went into effect several years ago. I have had a lot of trouble finding wiring bigger than 10 gauge in the yellow and have had to use black from the batteries to the common buss bars. I wrap yellow tape at the wire ends and anywhere it goes through bulkheads too, if I use black for DC common.
    Greg Luckett
     
  11. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    What was wrong with the old imperial system, where red, yellow and blue were mains phases, and black was neutral?

    In DC this then became Red positive, black negative and anything else was signal. (multi-core cables just used different colours, red & black were still +V and GND). Blue was often used for -V if the situation required it.

    Often it's reasonably easy to spot the mains cable... it's the big one with three of five cores in it (single or 3 phase).

    The Europeans now want a bizzare new colour code. I still can't see what's wrong with the one we had.

    Tim B.
     
  12. luckettg
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    luckettg Junior Member

    Just a guess to answer your question: I spent a career as a Controls Engineer. IEC was used as much as NEC here in the USA the last 10 years or so. UK is just getting around to realizing that Europe is different (I am guessing) and that they need to join with the larger group standards that are recognized across the globe. The old standards were only standard in small geographic spots, which was fine if that is the only place you build anything, which was also a problem here in the USA. Standards varying by industry, locatione, etc., and weren't really standard at all. IEEE, ISA, ABYC, NFPA/NEC, IEC, CSA, etc. have been working for years to reach consensus.

    Heck, here in the USA, we still have a horrible mix mash of metric and English systems. An example is a Dodge being worked on the other day, had some metric and some English (SAE) threaded fasteners in the wheel well area. I work on small appliances now, which are all metric, but I build test fixtures using the English nuts and bolts. Recipes volume conversions are another big mess.

    Someday standards will be the same, but not just yet.
    Greg Luckett
     
  13. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Luckett you're partially right. Yellow may be used but the ABYC standard specifies both black and yellow for DC negative. I am on the ABYC Electrical committee and we have been working for several years on harmonizing with ISO standards. So is everyone else since most of the world now uses ISO and the US needs to get in line. But 99 percent of E-11, Elctrical Systems is already the same as the ISO. The UK now use the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) which is straight out of the ISO recreational craft standards. If you go back up to my post and look at the color code table, that table is straight out of ABYC E-11. Negative is black or yellow (I've seen black with a yellow stripe) and DC Positive is still Red.

    But as you said here in the USA there are a lot of older boats around that didn't follow the color codes, or followed some other color code, so you'll see darn near every color in the rainbow.
     
  14. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Just to answer part of Tim's question "red, yellow and blue were mains phases, and black was neutral"

    Most of the recreational boats made in the world are made here in the USA. Probably 20% or more are sold elsewhere. But to sell in the European Union countries they have to be CE certified, and to do that they have to meet the ISO standards. It is not cost effective to build boats for sale elsewhere to one standard, and those for sale in the US to another standard, so the industry wants a harmonized standard. What's that got to do with your question? ISO over the last 10-15 years came up with a color code chart that everyone in Europe could agree on. (Now that was a minor miracle, the French, Germans, English, Finns, Poles, Swedes, Norwegans, Italians, etc... all agreeing on something!!!) So everybody chucked out their old color codes and adopted the ISO chart so they could sell their products across borders without any barriers. Oh yeah, the US had several representatives on that committee too.

    So basically there was nothing wrong with the old way, it just didn't agree with what everyone else was doing.
     

  15. carlh
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    carlh New Member

    European 240V wiring colours

    Hi,

    Stumbled on this thread and thought you may like to know why Europe changed from live - red to brown, neutral - black to blue and earth - green to green/yellow. The answer is quite simple - colour blindness. Aparantley peeps with the most common type of colour blindness have trouble distinguishing between red and green - hence the change.

    Carlh
     
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