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help rewiring a boat for gps/chartplotter, VHF, bilge & lights

Old 07-16-2013, 02:30 PM
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Default help rewiring a boat for gps/chartplotter, VHF, bilge & lights

So, from what i can tell...the boat has 3 switches & breakers. lights, bilge & aerator. these were connected to a set of hot wires ran direct to the battery.

I want to run a pos & neg from the battery to the console where it will connect to a busbar, here, I will run the gps/chartplotter wires & the VHF wires. the switches for the lights & pumps will draw power from the busbar.


does this sound right to you guys??
Old 07-16-2013, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 4kings View Post
So, from what i can tell...the boat has 3 switches & breakers. lights, bilge & aerator. these were connected to a set of hot wires ran direct to the battery.

I want to run a pos & neg from the battery to the console where it will connect to a busbar, here, I will run the gps/chartplotter wires & the VHF wires. the switches for the lights & pumps will draw power from the busbar.


does this sound right to you guys??

What you are describing can work....but I would suggest this:

Bus bar is fine for the ground side.

A fuse block (or circuit breaker panel) should be used for the positive POWER side.

The heavy power wire from the battery to the FUSE BLOCK needs to be properly fused to protect the heavy wire. Ideally within 7 inches of the pos batt post.

the fuse block will allow you to properly fuse and label each item (vhf, gps, etc)

Some people do use a bus bar for positive, you wouldnt be the only one. But a FUSE BLOCK (or circuit breaker panel if you have the desire and money) is the better way in my opinion.
Old 07-16-2013, 04:08 PM
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just realized something, if you run power direct from the batt, the lines will be energized 24/7. Are you installing a switch at some point in this "new wire" you are running ?
Old 07-16-2013, 11:40 PM
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I do have a fuse block....a 12 station fuse block. I was going to tie this into the 2 battery switch.

so, a hot lead from the guest ( 2 batt. switch) to the fuse block. then run all lights, electronics & aerator to the fuse block.

I think the bilge will be on a separate switch/breaker....
Old 07-17-2013, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 4kings View Post
I do have a fuse block....a 12 station fuse block. I was going to tie this into the 2 battery switch.

so, a hot lead from the guest ( 2 batt. switch) to the fuse block. then run all lights, electronics & aerator to the fuse block.

I think the bilge will be on a separate switch/breaker....
sounds good

that hot lead you are running forward, should be protected with an ANL Fuse, or a Circuit breaker. Depending on the size of the wire. Always error on the safe side.
Old 07-17-2013, 07:05 PM
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i have a circuit breaker on my pos lead running to my Blue seas fuse box. Its by far the cleanest set up. Each wire to each unit labeled and easy to TS what the problem is.
Old 07-18-2013, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Rico2 View Post
sounds good

that hot lead you are running forward, should be protected with an ANL Fuse, or a Circuit breaker. Depending on the size of the wire. Always error on the safe side.
1) why does the inline fuse for the fuse block have to be so close to the battery?? is it to prevent melting of the wire/insulation in case there is a short?? if she takes on water, the fuse will be under water, corrosion & more headaches.

2) what does ANL stand for??

I'll check wire size in the morning. I bought most of these parts last summer.....but, as the summer ran out, i opted for a quick fix....that meant bilge & engine controls, lol

The dual battery switch was originally placed in the bilge about 3-4 inches above the bottom of the bilge. as you can imagine, it has been submerged more than once. I am toying with the idea of attaching it to the underside of the deck hatch lid.
1) it will be higher than the tops of the batteries!!!
2) when I open the hatch there it is, easy access!!!!!
3) I bought a blue seas dual battery switch this time....one of the benefits were different cutouts on the switch body to allow me to secure it to the underside of the lid.

I think the auto bilge pump will be run to its original switch & breaker to allow it to function regardless of the battery switch. ( i have replacement breakers)

Aerator: I think the wires will be run to the fuse block & switch. ( do I need to use the breaker now that it is connected to the fuse block??)

Nav Lights: original switch, anchor & running ( 3way) then ran to the fuse block. AGAIN, do I need to use the breaker here??

GPS/Chartplotter: Lowrance LCX 28 C HD: wired to the fuse block....if I remember correctly, this also needs an additional inline fuse.

VHF, Standard Horizon Matrix 5000 with ram + mic this also gets an additional inline fuse, wired to the gps and linked to the fuse block.

That covers the main stuff.....The only other thing I could add is an electric horn....I have it but I can do with the canister air horn till next summer.


QUESTION: do i run wires to the switch first, then to the fuse block or fuse block, then to the switch???


one day, after I get a T-Top, I have an LRA - 1500 to install. I think thats about 2 years out tho.....


thanx for taking the time to lend a hand here guys....very much appreciated!!!
Old 07-18-2013, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 4kings View Post
1) why does the inline fuse for the fuse block have to be so close to the battery?? is it to prevent melting of the wire/insulation in case there is a short?? if she takes on water, the fuse will be under water, corrosion & more headaches.

2) what does ANL stand for??

I'll check wire size in the morning. I bought most of these parts last summer.....but, as the summer ran out, i opted for a quick fix....that meant bilge & engine controls, lol

The dual battery switch was originally placed in the bilge about 3-4 inches above the bottom of the bilge. as you can imagine, it has been submerged more than once. I am toying with the idea of attaching it to the underside of the deck hatch lid.
1) it will be higher than the tops of the batteries!!!
2) when I open the hatch there it is, easy access!!!!!
3) I bought a blue seas dual battery switch this time....one of the benefits were different cutouts on the switch body to allow me to secure it to the underside of the lid.

I think the auto bilge pump will be run to its original switch & breaker to allow it to function regardless of the battery switch. ( i have replacement breakers)

Aerator: I think the wires will be run to the fuse block & switch. ( do I need to use the breaker now that it is connected to the fuse block??)

Nav Lights: original switch, anchor & running ( 3way) then ran to the fuse block. AGAIN, do I need to use the breaker here??

GPS/Chartplotter: Lowrance LCX 28 C HD: wired to the fuse block....if I remember correctly, this also needs an additional inline fuse.

VHF, Standard Horizon Matrix 5000 with ram + mic this also gets an additional inline fuse, wired to the gps and linked to the fuse block.

That covers the main stuff.....The only other thing I could add is an electric horn....I have it but I can do with the canister air horn till next summer.


QUESTION: do i run wires to the switch first, then to the fuse block or fuse block, then to the switch???


one day, after I get a T-Top, I have an LRA - 1500 to install. I think thats about 2 years out tho.....


thanx for taking the time to lend a hand here guys....very much appreciated!!!
My pleasure.

The guideline for "fusing within 7 inches of the source" is , yes, to protect the wire should it be subjected to a "dead short", by accident, or any other reason. You want the fuse to blow, otherwise, that entire run of heavy wire becomes a giant glowing red ignitor and can turn your boat into a roman candle.

ANL...not sure what it stands for, but if you google it you will see just how appropriate its application is to your goal of "fuse within 7 inches", etc.

here is an example. Most marine stores sell a quality version.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...L._SL1000_.jpg

Yes...move the battery switch to a higher and more convenient location. I did this mod a few years ago. Well worth the time and effort.

Once your items are fused at the fuse block, with the correct size fuse, I would remove the "in-line" fuse holders, those are a joke, cumbersome, and simply a "guick and cheap" way to protect the wire/item. Once you have a high quality fuse box, ditch the in-lines... Many items (not all) have internal fuses to "self protect" the item, and the fuses we are discussing in the fuse block are there to protect against shorts in the wiring.

As long as the lines are not energized, (batt switch in the off postion), it does not matter which end of the wire you connect first.

FIRST...make sure the fuse block, battery switch, and item(gps, etc) are mounted in the correct locations, and then lay out the wire, terminate one end...usually the one that's harder to access....connect it....and then secure the wire..moving towards the other end....and then, carefully, using a sharpie (no, this is not spam) mark the wire at the correct length, cut the wire, and terminate the other end. (when in doubt about length of wire, LEAVE IT LONG, you can always go back later and shorten it)

Last edited by Rico2; 07-20-2013 at 08:04 AM. Reason: clarity
Old 07-19-2013, 10:58 PM
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question: Am i using the breakers for the 3 switches in the dash or bypassing them???
Old 07-19-2013, 11:22 PM
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Default lcx 28c hd & vhf nmea2000 ISSUES

cant get my lcx 28c hd * galaxy 5000 to communicate AIS position.....any ideas??
Old 07-20-2013, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 4kings View Post
question: Am i using the breakers for the 3 switches in the dash or bypassing them???
without seeing (or knowing) your exact situation, I hesitate to answer this....

So three switchs on the dash each have their own breaker ? Is that correct ?

If correct...what are those switches powering ? windlass, bait pump, ?????etc etc?

Are they high quality breakers, mounted well, easy to check should they trip ?

If yes......you may consider keeping them..
Old 07-20-2013, 09:41 AM
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3 switches, each with their own breakers. all 3 are mounted right below their respective switch with rubber caps to reset. I replaced them all a few years ago w/ either blue sea or seachoice breakers.

the switches power nav/anchor lights, bilge pump & live well pump.

fairly easy access, mounted on a dash plate, unscrew, tilt & test.
Old 07-20-2013, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 4kings View Post
3 switches, each with their own breakers. all 3 are mounted right below their respective switch with rubber caps to reset. I replaced them all a few years ago w/ either blue sea or seachoice breakers.

the switches power nav/anchor lights, bilge pump & live well pump.

fairly easy access, mounted on a dash plate, unscrew, tilt & test.
Okay..very interesting.

If we remember that a fuse or breaker is there to protect what follows (comes after it).....then we know that those three breakers are protecting the switch, and the wiring after the switch....en route to the device. Question: What amp rating are the breakers, 5, 10,15 ?
As long as they are a proper size (small enough) to protect ALL THAT COMES AFTER, I would leave them.

Looking back towards the supply wiring that is feeding the three breakers...is all of that wiring properly protected by a fuse...BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE....THAT IS THE DETERMINING factor as to weather or not you are good to go, or not.

Remember the rule. ALL wiring needs to be protected, with a PROPERLY sized fuse.
Old 07-21-2013, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Rico2 View Post
Okay..very interesting.

If we remember that a fuse or breaker is there to protect what follows (comes after it).....then we know that those three breakers are protecting the switch, and the wiring after the switch....en route to the device. Question: What amp rating are the breakers, 5, 10,15 ?
As long as they are a proper size (small enough) to protect ALL THAT COMES AFTER, I would leave them.

Looking back towards the supply wiring that is feeding the three breakers...is all of that wiring properly protected by a fuse...BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE....THAT IS THE DETERMINING factor as to weather or not you are good to go, or not.

Remember the rule. ALL wiring needs to be protected, with a PROPERLY sized fuse.
I dont think the main wiring is protected anymore...it used to have a "waterproof" inline fuse....but, they are never waterproof, has since corroded & I didnt replace last year when I rigged just the outboard & bilge. I'll pull the dash apart & take some pics....

curious how to wire the fuse block now with the breakers still inline. the breakers were either 10 or 15 or COMBO 10 & 15
Old 07-21-2013, 12:38 AM
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i wound up replacing breakers a fe years ago bc I couldnt figure out why i had power to the pump, the wires in the bilge, switch worked but ultimately the breaker was broken & that was the problem!!!
Old 07-27-2013, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rico2 View Post
Okay..very interesting.

If we remember that a fuse or breaker is there to protect what follows (comes after it).....then we know that those three breakers are protecting the switch, and the wiring after the switch....en route to the device. Question: What amp rating are the breakers, 5, 10,15 ?
As long as they are a proper size (small enough) to protect ALL THAT COMES AFTER, I would leave them.

Looking back towards the supply wiring that is feeding the three breakers...is all of that wiring properly protected by a fuse...BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE....THAT IS THE DETERMINING factor as to weather or not you are good to go, or not.

Remember the rule. ALL wiring needs to be protected, with a PROPERLY sized fuse.
hey, the switches are each wired to their respective components. then jumped to the breaker, which is jumped to the hot feed. As i dive deeper into this.....it looks like some sort of marine wire harness package.....suzuki 115, guages ( RPM, speedo, fuel/oil) & nav lights, bilge & aerator. all these wires meet under the console to a large plug, which unfortunately has some corrosion on it

I have now run two separate pos/neg leads wrapped in insulation.....one set to the fuse block & Im still deciding what to do with the other set...may not need it.....i may have to run 3 separate sets of wires up to the console. bilge, aerator, anchor light to the fuse block, then to their switches & breakers.

if someone could let me know what they think of this setup, id really appreciate it!!!!
Old 07-27-2013, 10:20 AM
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oh, there used to be an inline fuse on what i think is the main harness hot lead...has since corroded & I didnt replace last year. corrosion on all switches & breakers...I replaced one breaker today....got a small amount of power to the radio, but not enough to turn on....switches all need to be replaced & the aerator pos wire was hot after i replaced the breaker....

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