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Wire Gauge Question

Old 03-17-2007, 04:38 PM
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Default Wire Gauge Question

I'm going to run a dedicated set of wires from the back electronics battery to the center console to power a Pioneer radio/cd player.

What's the recommended guage of wire for this application? 12, 14, 16 ? (It's probably about a 12-14' run)

Thanks,
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Old 03-17-2007, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

14 gauge would be plenty for that run
Old 03-17-2007, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

Similar question for me: I want to run a second circuit breaker panel to my flybridge. I'm going to run the following:
Furuno Navnet (10") (2kwRadar)
Raymarine E120 (2kwRadar)
Icom 602
Robertson Autopilot
Heading sensor
Echopilot FLS Sonar

That should be about it.

I was thinking of using a couple of Blue Sea weatherdeck panels (2x6 pos). 6-8 gauge wire?
The run will likely be up to 20' from the battery switch (not sure exactly how I'll run it).

Old 03-17-2007, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

NauticalSmiles - 3/17/2007 6:38 PM

Similar question for me: I want to run a second circuit breaker panel to my flybridge. I'm going to run the following:
Furuno Navnet (10") (2kwRadar)
Raymarine E120 (2kwRadar)
Icom 602
Robertson Autopilot
Heading sensor
Echopilot FLS Sonar

That should be about it.

I was thinking of using a couple of Blue Sea weatherdeck panels (2x6 pos). 6-8 gauge wire?
The run will likely be up to 20' from the battery switch (not sure exactly how I'll run it).
The Raymarine stuff is overly voltage sensitive as I am sure you have read over and over on this board. I have a complete Raymarine network and never experienced a problem. I believe the key to my success is all in the power supply wiring. My electronics guy ran 4 gauge wires from a third, dedicated, electronics battery up to the helm area. The power then feeds a Paneltronics waterproof breaker panel.....with each component having its own breaker. All the connectors are crimped then shrink wrapped. Take your time and do it right and you will be way happier in the long run......You already spent a bundle on your electronics. the 4 gauge wire and breaker panel are a bit more money relatively speaking, but hey............................you asked for suggestions..................
Old 03-18-2007, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

About 3/4 of the way down the page is a good wire size calculator

http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
Old 03-18-2007, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

While #14 would be OK for Slade, just running a stereo, I would go with at least #10, and add a small fuse block (I like the Bluesea Products), sure as god made little green Marines, as at some point, someone will be adding more load to the leg.

Brian's advice to NS is, as always, excellent, But I'd give some thought to throwing a group 31 battery and an ACR under the helm as well. Nothing makes voltage issues go away like a dedicated bridge Battery. You'll still need amply sized leads to the battery.
Old 03-18-2007, 10:34 AM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

prodigalson - 3/18/2007 9:57 AM

While #14 would be OK for Slade, just running a stereo, I would go with at least #10, and add a small fuse block (I like the Bluesea Products), sure as god made little green Marines, as at some point, someone will be adding more load to the leg.

Brian's advice to NS is, as always, excellent, But I'd give some thought to throwing a group 31 battery and an ACR under the helm as well. Nothing makes voltage issues go away like a dedicated bridge Battery. You'll still need amply sized leads to the battery.
Solves all" current " and future electrical needs
Old 03-18-2007, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

You can download a program named WireSizer which is a marine wire sizing program from this site:

Wire Sizer

Look on the left for the program. It comes in handy when needed.


Old 03-18-2007, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

Okay, so I'll run 4ga wire to the bridge. I'm trying to figure to to run the wire.

Should I run the 4ga wire right from the batteries?

I was thinking of running the 4ga wire from the main panel (putting an appropriate size breaker there), up to a 12 block fuse block (or 2 6blocks, which I have), then run the electronics off of each post of the fuse block.

Does this make sense? I'm getting a bit beyond myself here.
Old 03-18-2007, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

Makes sense to me.

Depending on the access and existing cabling of the panel, you should be fine running from the panel. If it's easier to go stright to the batts, that would be ok- just make sure you put a disconnect switch in the leg.

What make/model/year boat do you have?
Old 03-18-2007, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

1988 47' Tradewinds.

Old 03-18-2007, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

Damn- I was hoping for something I knew well enough to give you some tips. Doesn't ring any bells, sorry.
Old 03-18-2007, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

NauticalSmiles - 3/18/2007 1:14 PM

Should I run the 4ga wire right from the batteries?

I was thinking of running the 4ga wire from the main panel (putting an appropriate size breaker there), up to a 12 block fuse block (or 2 6blocks, which I have), then run the electronics off of each post of the fuse block.
If you run a circuit from the 12VDC panel I would be concerned about overloading the feed to that panel by adding the load that you describe

I would be more inclined to connect to the battery and protect the circuit with a stand-alone circuit breaker. As stated earlier a battery on the bridge would be the best solution.

A fuse panel on the bridge is the way to go. I like the BSS plug-in fuse panels
Old 03-18-2007, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

I've got lots of room to run wire, so it shouldn't be a problem getting wires where I want them.

I'm also wiring an inverter in here. a Xantrex MS3000.

The cost of wires alone is killing me!
Old 03-18-2007, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

Thanks for help guys. I'll go with #10 for future expansion.
Old 03-18-2007, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

I don't want to put a battery on the bridge because charging it would be a pain in the butt.

I'll run directly from the starting bank. I guess I'll have to put a switch someplace to disconnect power because I'm bypassing the circuit panel. Maybe a second battery on/off switch?
Old 03-19-2007, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

Surface Mount Breaker
50 Amps
$40.69Part# ESM-50
Click to enlarge

Surface mounts breakers provides high amperage circuit protection where panel mounting can be difficult. Surface mount breakers combine manual switching and reliable circuit protection into one unit. “Trip-free” and Vapor proof (conforming to SAE J1171) they are safe installation aboard gas powered boats. Surface mount breakers maintain functionality not found in other panel mounts or manual reset breakers.
Old 03-19-2007, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

NauticalSmiles - 3/18/2007 11:57 PM

I don't want to put a battery on the bridge because charging it would be a pain in the butt.

I'll run directly from the starting bank. I guess I'll have to put a switch someplace to disconnect power because I'm bypassing the circuit panel. Maybe a second battery on/off switch?
The battery will be charged by the whatever charges the battery it is connected to (in parallel with). The batts should be the same type, size, age

If you decide to connect to the starting batt, you should definitely have a "bridge" batt connected via an ACR to prevent accidental discahrge of the starting batt

This device provides the function of switch & circuit breaker





Old 03-19-2007, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

If I add a battery to the bridge, I'll either need really heavy wires to connect it to another battery in the bank down below, or less heavy, but still heavy wires to run it to the charger.

My house bank is likely to be 10-12 GC batteries, so I think the electronics are safe running from that.
Old 03-19-2007, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Wire Gauge Question

If you add a smaller 12 volt battery on the bridge to give you a low impedance source for running the electronics, etc., then all you need would be a 10 gauge charging line though a Combiner100 to the starting battery. You only need the heavy gauge cables to minimize voltage drop when being supplied over a distance from the starting battery. This heavy cable requirement is not necessary for a charging line to the bridge battery. The Combiner100 will supply charging current as it becomes available from the outboard alternator but make sure the electronics runs off its own battery when the engine is not running.

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