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Old 05-08-2007, 10:32 AM   #1
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Default Problem with Newmar Electrical Distribution Panel

I am having a problem with one of the electrical panels in the center console that is connected to the house bank of my boat (two deep cycle 12 volt batteries). None of the accessories off this panel are working. The house bank appears fully charged reading 13.7 V DC. The other panels fed by the house bank such as the port and starboard dash panels are working fine. DC panel in cabin is working fine. All equipment on these other panels is working normally.

What is strange is that if you put a multimeter on the positive bus and negative bus of the panel and turn on the main panel breaker you get 13.7 Volts. Put as soon as you turn on any of the equipment breakers the voltage drops to just less than 1 volt, some times lower. This is the same scenario measured between the negative on the panel and load side of each individual equipment breaker. At a loss here and need some help.

Could it be main breaker? (50 amp, single switch, with 4 terminals) It’s as old as the boat 12 plus years. Removed from panel and continuity checked OK

Could it be a bad ground, we just rewired all main grounds at the stern and panel worked for last 4 weeks. Panel was operational for 4 days straight over Easter.

Could it be a single bad individual breaker killing the whole panel?

Could it be that all the equipment breakers on that panel have gone bad at once - unlikely?

Need some advice as where to start looking

Thanks

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Old 05-08-2007, 10:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Problem with Newmar Electrical Distribution Panel

it sounds like a loose connection or corrosion. trace the main feed back to its source and clean up/tighten every connection along the way.
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Old 05-08-2007, 12:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Problem with Newmar Electrical Distribution Panel

All the symptoms you describe point to a bad ground connection. Diagnose it by running a temporary jumper from the panel ground directly back to the battery. If everything starts working then you have a bad ground connection.
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Old 05-08-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Problem with Newmar Electrical Distribution Panel

Thanks very much. I will try your sugguestions tonight. And report back
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:55 PM   #5
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Default RE: Problem with Newmar Electrical Distribution Panel

OK I finally found the culprit after two weekends digging around in bilge and rigging tubes. Never would have thought it but this is what we found:



A 60 amp glass fuse on the positive leg, in the rigging tube, INLINE with the 50 amp breaker on the Newmar Panel! Guess this is what happens when one technician/owner goes behind another without following any code or best practices! I purchased this new to me boat about 3 years ago now and still do not have a handle on all the “wiring” & “plumbing”. How long does it take to become familiar with “previously repaired by another owner”?

Anyway the glass fuse passed a continuity test with multimeter. But when slight twisting pressure was applied to the metal ends…..



The fuse crumbled & this was the source of all my electrical problems.

So here is what I learned……

Never assume anything related to marine wiring has been done according to best practices by a previous owner. Yes I know stupid me but I did get a survey before purchasing.

Also leant that a long pair of automotive jumper cables are very useful for energizing panels/equipment from a known good DC source.

Hope I can save a fellow THT some aggravation as this fix caused me plenty!
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:34 PM   #6
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Default RE: Problem with Newmar Electrical Distribution Panel

Quote:
Windward - 5/30/2007 6:55 PM

How long does it take to become familiar with “previously repaired by another owner”?

Never, not until you have re-done it all yourself and know the way it is. This goes for new boats as well as used. Some manufacturers do things "wildly" different from others.
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