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Today I was the village idiot - Boat Maintenance

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Today I was the village idiot - Boat Maintenance

Old 01-21-2020, 01:21 PM
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Default Today I was the village idiot - Boat Maintenance

It's a simple enough job for an qualified experienced shade tree mechanic like me. Change out two starting and one house battery - hold my beer I got this. I carefully marked each wire, what battery it went to, and zip tied them together. Next I slap the new batteries in and start rewiring following the same sequence as before. Man I'm good at this..

Take one final look at my job well done. While I'm patting myself on the back, turn the house battery on. Holy crap! smoke pouring out of the console, flames shooting out of the switch and fuses popping like corn everywhere. WTF - I'm a self appointed THT pro at boat maintenance, how could this be.

I wait 10 minutes for all the smoke to dissipate; the entire time thinking I'll need to replace thousands of dollars of electronics. When smoke cleared I look to find I reversed the polarity... DUH I'm so stupid.

I got to spend the better part of 2 hours tracing every wire and replacing fuse, after fuse, after fuse, positive wire was completely fried and needed replacement also. Luckily the fuses did their job and all electronics will live on, no thanks to my ignorance.

So my 20 minute job turned into a 2+ hours of crawling through a stinky console and a couple trips to parts store.
I'm an idiot, I hope this story can make you feel better about your mindless moments in boat maintenance.
Old 01-21-2020, 01:24 PM
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Made my day at the office better. Can happen to anyone, taking a picture helps me most of the time.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:26 PM
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shit happens

Old 01-21-2020, 01:27 PM
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I did that too on an old Grady Tournament. Blew several modules on the Yamaha outboard. I would never have the balls to admit it on THT until you made it ok.
Thank you.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:28 PM
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We have all been there in some capacity
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:32 PM
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Welcome to the club. Did pretty much the same thing once. I still can't
figure out how I F'ed up such a routine task.
Old 01-21-2020, 01:38 PM
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Your not the only one--and got off lucky. A friend set fire to his RV twice doing this....fire depart and $20,000 worth of damage each time. Same RV--once on house and once on the start.set. Always double check the posts and look for that little + and - signs....

If there is any question in my mind, I take photos of the "Before". And put red tape by the positive terminal, especially if the battery is in a difficult place to access.
Old 01-21-2020, 01:53 PM
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We’ve all been there in some capacity!!
glad all is basically ok.
i almost did something similar to my tacoma
using a spare 24 boat battery, truck battery was dead
so I thought hey this marine battery fits
put on negative then just as I was about to
put on positive looked at symbols on battery
and luckily noticed posts are opposite of truck
battery!
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:59 PM
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The other day I'm getting ready to install a RADAR wedge. I go below and undo wiring to pull it...
WAIT!!! WTH???
The cables have TWO ends, Einstein.
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Old 01-21-2020, 02:11 PM
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Left my $1,000.00 shotgun in the parking lot this year
Old 01-21-2020, 02:15 PM
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Think we all did something like that at one time. I have an old 1955 Ford with positive ground. Hate touching the cables, it is so backwards
Old 01-21-2020, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by craigwill View Post
Left my $1,000.00 shotgun in the parking lot this year
Been there. Mine was rod and reel.
Old 01-21-2020, 02:26 PM
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forgot the drain plug once....just once
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Old 01-21-2020, 02:30 PM
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All the "experts" here especially including yours truly acquired most of their experience during their days of being the Village Idiot. Which, by the way, is a life-long pursuit.
OP gets a pass though for owning up to it publicly
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Old 01-21-2020, 02:31 PM
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Put the wires on the wrong lugs on an alternator once. Same kind of thing happened, a bunch of sizzling and some smoke, although I managed to turn it off at the battery switch right away and everything was Ok.
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Old 01-21-2020, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by lazyboi1212 View Post
It's a simple enough job for an qualified experienced shade tree mechanic like me. Change out two starting and one house battery - hold my beer I got this. I carefully marked each wire, what battery it went to, and zip tied them together. Next I slap the new batteries in and start rewiring following the same sequence as before. Man I'm good at this..

Take one final look at my job well done. While I'm patting myself on the back, turn the house battery on. Holy crap! smoke pouring out of the console, flames shooting out of the switch and fuses popping like corn everywhere. WTF - I'm a self appointed THT pro at boat maintenance, how could this be.

I wait 10 minutes for all the smoke to dissipate; the entire time thinking I'll need to replace thousands of dollars of electronics. When smoke cleared I look to find I reversed the polarity... DUH I'm so stupid.

I got to spend the better part of 2 hours tracing every wire and replacing fuse, after fuse, after fuse, positive wire was completely fried and needed replacement also. Luckily the fuses did their job and all electronics will live on, no thanks to my ignorance.

So my 20 minute job turned into a 2+ hours of crawling through a stinky console and a couple trips to parts store.
I'm an idiot, I hope this story can make you feel better about your mindless moments in boat maintenance.

Did you try starting your engine?

Last edited by Mpellet; 01-21-2020 at 05:02 PM.
Old 01-21-2020, 02:38 PM
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After doing a fine job of installing Racors while reconnecting batteries to one of my Optis, reversed polarity. Turned switch on and my son asked why was smoke coming from cowling. Melted harness and smoked ECM. So much for fuse protection. $3,500 lighter, a new wiring harness and ECM and I was back on the water. No lingering effects. Reversed polarity hath no mercy.
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Old 01-21-2020, 02:58 PM
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Not on the boat, but we changed out the granite tops in our kitchen in Vermont. After that, I decided the appliances didn't match so I surprised the wife with new SS appliances. Then she decides that the backsplash no longer matches so we replace that. Then I decided that the beige outlets and switches look bad and switched them out with white ones. There was an old woman who swallowed a fly . . .

Somehow I messed up the wires on the last outlet which blew the breaker. All this on December 23rd in rural Vermont when I have 14 people scheduled to come up on the 27th through New Years. I was lucky to find an electrician that was willing to come out on the morning of the 24th and replace the breaker. I will do small electric jobs (maybe I shouldn't) but I am not messing with the panel and the breakers.
Old 01-21-2020, 02:59 PM
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Buddy did this on his Edgewater .Blew a bunch of fuses Thought he got everything replaced. His brother borrowed the boat to go camping on an island. Marine Patrol stopped by campsite and asked who’s boat was that with the engines half submerged.
He had not replaced the bilge pump fuse . Luckily he was able to save it .
Old 01-21-2020, 03:21 PM
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Once you let the magic smoke out.... Lol thank you, I'll remember this as I rewire my boat in the upcoming weeks.
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