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Wiring a switch panel

Old 04-07-2016, 12:10 PM
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Default Wiring a switch panel

I currently have a 5 switch panel on my boat that only 2 of the 5 switches actually do something the others have been disconnected. I would like to utilize a few of the switches for various lights I am going to install. My problem is I have no idea how to get my positive and negative wires from the panel. It appears the switch is wired in a series but I don't know how to tap into it. I'd like to be able to just wire directly to each switch I am going to use. Any help is greatly appreciated I have attached pictures.

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Old 04-07-2016, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike716 View Post
I currently have a 5 switch panel on my boat that only 2 of the 5 switches actually do something the others have been disconnected. I would like to utilize a few of the switches for various lights I am going to install. My problem is I have no idea how to get my positive and negative wires from the panel. It appears the switch is wired in a series but I don't know how to tap into it. I'd like to be able to just wire directly to each switch I am going to use. Any help is greatly appreciated I have attached pictures.






A switch is between two positive wires. The negative wire goes from the device directly to a negative buss.
Old 04-07-2016, 01:03 PM
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Yeah, Catn TJ is right. You need some basic electrical understanding, but to start off:
In the first picture, you have a wire coming from the battery (and probably a main fuse somewhere else) into one of the fuse holders. Then another wire goes from the fuse holder to the switch protected by the fuse in the fuse holder. If the fuse isn't blown, the switch gets power.

When that switch is turned on, it makes a connection between the two wires hooked to the switch: (1) the power wire going IN to the switch and (2) the wire going from the switch to your device.

If you look at the second image, I just point out how the power is "daisy chained" from one fuse holder to the next. That's just a convenient way to run power to the fuses without having to make a separate run back to the battery for each fuse.

The third image is a very simple diagram of how you wire your devices. Hopefully it helps simplify and illustrate the method.

You may very well have a "ground bus" somewhere near your fuse/switch panel. If so, you can run a wire pair from the panel to your device. You'd hook the positive wire to whichever switch you wanted to control the device with. The negative (ground) wire would connect to the ground bus.

If you don't have a ground bus, you'll have to locate a good place to do your grounding. Best way to do that is to look at another device that's already wired & working. See where its ground wire is run. You can do the same thing with yours. For example, some folks with metal hulls will tie all ground wires right to the hull. Typically they'll just drill a hull, install a screw & wrap the wire around the screw & tighten it.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:32 PM
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It looks like the original panel probably came with the fuses wired in series, that's what all of the looped red wires do. From there, whoever did the wiring kind of made a mess of things.
I'd leave the looped wires from fuse to fuse intact and rewire whatever needed it from there.
Run a red wire from the other terminal of each fuse to the adjacent terminal of each switch. When you have done all five that way, all of the switches would have power being supplied through their own fuse.
Then run a red (hot) wire from the other terminal of each switch to whatever you want to power.
The ground wire for each unit being powered has to come from a ground bus or other source as mentioned above.
Old 04-07-2016, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TipDS View Post
Yeah, Catn TJ is right. You need some basic electrical understanding, but to start off:
In the first picture, you have a wire coming from the battery (and probably a main fuse somewhere else) into one of the fuse holders. Then another wire goes from the fuse holder to the switch protected by the fuse in the fuse holder. If the fuse isn't blown, the switch gets power.

When that switch is turned on, it makes a connection between the two wires hooked to the switch: (1) the power wire going IN to the switch and (2) the wire going from the switch to your device.

If you look at the second image, I just point out how the power is "daisy chained" from one fuse holder to the next. That's just a convenient way to run power to the fuses without having to make a separate run back to the battery for each fuse.

The third image is a very simple diagram of how you wire your devices. Hopefully it helps simplify and illustrate the method.

You may very well have a "ground bus" somewhere near your fuse/switch panel. If so, you can run a wire pair from the panel to your device. You'd hook the positive wire to whichever switch you wanted to control the device with. The negative (ground) wire would connect to the ground bus.

If you don't have a ground bus, you'll have to locate a good place to do your grounding. Best way to do that is to look at another device that's already wired & working. See where its ground wire is run. You can do the same thing with yours. For example, some folks with metal hulls will tie all ground wires right to the hull. Typically they'll just drill a hull, install a screw & wrap the wire around the screw & tighten it.

Thank you for this pictures are very helpful

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