Wiring a 1990 Bass Tracker 1800 TF

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by darkside87, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. darkside87
    Joined: Apr 2015
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: United States

    darkside87 New Member

    Hi everyone,

    Please allow me to first state that I'm new here and do not have very much experience with boating. However, I understand things very quickly and can follow directions to a tee. If I have posted this thread in the wrong spot, please feel free to move it where it needs to be. Also I appologize for the incoming wall of text.


    I have a 1990 bass tracker 1800 tf that I purchased a year ago and I want to rewire the entire boat. I'm not sure where the best place to start is so I'm hoping to get some direction. I've spent a ton of time searching without much luck on my boat.


    Idealy I'd like to replace my switch panel with all new switches and wires but not sure what I'll need. Since the boat is old, the switches are not readable so I'm not sure what I may need or how to figure out what I need. I plan to custom make a new board out of wood or some type of plastic as that is the easy part. Currently this boat is set up with 2 live wells that has individual arreators, bildge pump, navigation lights, interior light that is currently not working and a few other things that I can't remember off the top of my head. I can continue to list things and take pictures as needed.


    The end result that I'm trying to accomplish is to restore the whole boat as a project. I figured the wiring would be the best place to start and replace all instrument gages and switches. Last step would be to find a good process to revive the paint on the boat as it is still in good condition just needs some love.
     
  2. BertKu
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 2,480
    Likes: 43, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 223
    Location: South Africa Little Brak River

    BertKu Senior Member

    You have taken a massive task on your shoulder.
    First at all:
    1) make colour photo's, lots of them, from all wiring, connections, board etc. Just in case you disassembled something and need to find out what was what.
    2) make a list of all the items you have to rewire., lights, motors, batteries,
    pumps etc
    3) judge or find out what the current consumption is of each item
    4) make a mokup drawing of all switches you need to mount in the new environment. And make sure the switch can handle the current with a safety margin. example: bilge pump 6 Ampere >> 10 or 15 Ampere switch etc etc.
    5) get some "cable markers" i.e. water proof small labels to mark your wires on both ends. Color code your cables on both ends with color insulation tape.
    example cable blue and yellow/no 32 wire another cable red and yellow/no 12 etc.

    Maybe others can help you with some real time experience, on how they did it.

    Bert
     
  3. darkside87
    Joined: Apr 2015
    Posts: 2
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    Location: United States

    darkside87 New Member

    Thanks for the response bert. I'll start looking at the boat more this weekend. My battery cables and troll motor have already been replaced which minimizes what I have to do there. Now the rest of the wires appear to be 16 gauage. When I order wires for this with different colors. Should everything have their own set pair? Light blue and dark blue if I keep the dark color as ground and light as hot? ANy recommendations on this to keep it more organized? Or do you think it's better to just get a bunch of red and black then mark / color code the ends only?
     
  4. AndySGray
    Joined: Jun 2014
    Posts: 296
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    Location: Cayman

    AndySGray Senior Member

    The modern boat cable is Red and Yellow pair for DC - Larger boats with both AC and DC systems can be hazardous if Black is used as both the AC hot and the DC negative so as the AC black=hot convention has been established much longer DC -ve is now yellow.

    Get a good soldering iron and also a heat gun - the latter is for heat shrink tubing, which is a godsend for this sort of job. The crimp connectors with the plastic outers are useless (if they're the only thing available I warm the plastic and remove it, crimp in place bare, then solder and either brush on liquid insulating tape, or heat shrink (usually both).

    The switches are all the same rating - no need to use a smaller one for lower rated circuits - that is taken care of by the breaker or fuse.

    The 'logic' is +ve to Breaker (or fuse) - ideally close to Battery, to switch, to loads, then by yellow wire back to panel to a common -ve bus.

    For important circuits 'fan out' from the panel;-
    e.g. for Port, Stbd, Stern run three separate wires (pairs) to the lights, rather than daisy chaining one to the next to the third.
    If a wire breaks you still have 2 out of three lights and fault finding is a no brainer.

    For boats 'Murphys Law' is as important as 'Ohms Law'.

    Stuff WILL go wrong, so don't group loads together - Consider what would happen if you put the Stereo, VHF, GPS, Bilge pump, and Nav lights on a single breaker, and the wire to the stereo chafes through and shorts out. 5 switches and 5 breakers leaves 4 circuits intact

    Don't use wood for the switch panel - if it's thin enough it won't last.

    A very professional finish can be had cheaply using multilayer plastics which can be engraved through the top colour to reveal text in another colour below, some are semi-transparent so backlighting is possible and you can have e.g. the boat name included - many people have computer controlled routers and if it's a hobby might only cost a bottle of scotch and the price of the material ;).

    Wire things one at a time and remember that the old wire can make a good 'draw wire' to pull in the new one (gently).

    You can also use a 2 way switch for the Nav and Anchor light so that the Nav light OR the Anchor can be on but never both. Gets a little more involved if you have a Combo Anchor/Stern but not difficult (DPDT switch with both common to + (3 & 4), Stern to Both
    sides of one blade (e.g. 1 &5) Anchor to 6 and Nav lights to 2). This is a requirement in certain jurisdictions to comply with the collision regs. though an 18 footer might be exempt.
     

  5. BertKu
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 2,480
    Likes: 43, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 223
    Location: South Africa Little Brak River

    BertKu Senior Member

    Hi there, I see somebody else has helped you and is much more qualified in electrics for boats and yachts then myself. Maybe others can add and help you more to his excellent reply. I have done the wiring and still doing some upgrades to my own electric boat, which is somehow different then a normal yacht or boat. More sensors and batteries and measuring of voltages. Let us see who else can give you additional good advise.
    Bert
     
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