Wiring up a new breaker panel

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by PhotoBoatGuy, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. PhotoBoatGuy
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    Location: Redmond, WA

    PhotoBoatGuy Rhino fanatic

    I bought a new panel from West Marine. The wiring diagram is very simple. In fact, a little too simple as far as I can see. My knowledge of electricity is pretty non-existent, but I think something is missing.


    I see where to plug the hot leads from each component, but there is no indication where to plug in the negative wire from each.

    Any ideas?
  2. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    Negative returns

    Hey mate,

    The diagram is very simplistic, but actually OK.
    The negative wire shown from the battery does in fact go where it is shown, but before it gets from the battery to the board, pop in a negative bus bar.
    That is a brass section of say 10 units for attachment of wires, via a screw fitting. The battery negative goes to one end, the panel continues on from the other end, and all the return negative wires connect to the screws, they do NOT actually connect anywhere near the panel, they can be mounted whereever it suits you, which may be near the panel or may be just inside a cabinet near the panel.
  3. PhotoBoatGuy
    Joined: Feb 2004
    Posts: 24
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    Location: Redmond, WA

    PhotoBoatGuy Rhino fanatic

    Ok, now that makes sense. Thanks.

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

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Inside the panel there are two "buses" a positive, which the breakers or fuses are attached and a negative, which is common to all circuits.

    Once the negative is wired to the battery, all other negative legs "return" to this bus. They aren't involved with any switches or breakers, they just provide a "leg" back to the negative side of the battery.

    The positive side is where most of the work takes place. This is what gets turned on or off. This is fairly easy, once you get your head around the process. There are several books available on the subject, you might want to check the book store here.
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