Shock Absorber


I’ve heard in the past and as recently as last night that “dc won’t shock you”.

Well, I’ve grabbed a plug wire at the plug and can report to you that the DC electrical system is standing tall. I had a brain fart prior to grabbing that wire.

Electrical shock hazard

But as to the truism, maybe I am missing something? What are these people talking about?

Please explain.



As you proved through your careful experimentation, DC can shock you. The determining factor is whether or not the voltage is high enough.

Boats run on 12 volts (some at 24 volts). Your internal resistance is too high to allow for a noticeable discharge through your body. But, on an ignition system, the DC voltage can be as high as 30,000 volts. (2,500 times as high as your normal boat wiring). It is easy to discharge 30,000 volts DC or AC through a body.

Hope this helps to clear things up.


Trolling Plug Work Around


I am in need of your help with my boat's 24 volt trolling motor wiring.

I have a problem using my 70 lb. trolling motor at full power. It shuts down and I cannot use it.

Marinco trolling motor plug

The motor is wired using a Marinco 24 volt plug and receptacle. I talked with Marinco at one time and they told me the jumper in the plug was under sized but they had no corrective parts.

Any ideas of what has happened or what I can do to get this system running again?

Thanks for your help!


One option is to use only two of the terminals in the Marinco plug and do the 12/24 jump at the battery.

Basically, there is a wire from the plug to the negative of Battery 1 for the ground and a wire from the plug to the positive of Battery 2 for the 24v positive connection. This lead has circuit protection at the battery. A jumper between the positive of Battery 1 and the negative of Battery 2 is added to create the 12/24 system. This wire should be made from the same size wire as the long trolling motor leads.

Hope this helps,


Manitou Pontoon Boat Wiring


I am working on a 2005 22" Manitou Osprey Pro. Is there any source for obtaining a boat wiring diagram for this pontoon?

I just recently purchased this and have been trying to fix some electrical issues. Some are relatively straightforward.

Manitou Pontoon Boat

The pontoon's stereo speaker color codes matched the vendors color codes directly, but the stereo's power hookup did not - both yellow and red leads from the stereo were tied to a the pontoon's solid red wire. There was also a red wire with a yellow tracer in the same (stereo) wiring bundle of the pontoon but it was just clipped. Is one of the these a direct battery connection and the other one an on/accessory connection? The stereo wiring diagram shows two positive connections one labeled battery and the other labeled ignition - I don't want the stereo on all the time. The sun has faded all the indications of position for the ignition switch and all the switch/breaker functions. I don't even know if the ignition switch has an accessory function/position.

I don't know if the 5 function switch panel is a standard wiring. Is there a standard layout for the switches? Since the stereo speakers and power seem to follow the standard color codes for front -rear and power, is it safe to assume all the lights, horn and other accessories follow some standard of wiring? If so what are those standards and where can I find a standard schematic or wiring diagram for those standards?

I can't wait to get out fishing on this pontoon - it has an installation for a trolling motor battery in the console with direct wiring to an outlet mounted at the bow for the trolling motor (no battery installed yet) - there doesn't seem like a way to charge this battery from the engine's alternator/charger. Is there a way to connect this battery to the the engine's alternator but not allow the trolling motor battery to try to start the main engine? I don't what to run the higher gauge wiring for that. I just want to use the trolling motor battery for the trolling motor and accessories when the main engine is not running if that is possible.

I would like to develop a wiring diagram for this pontoon but I would hate to have to start from scratch and trace out the circuits by trail and error.

Any help would be really appreciated.


It sounds like a previous owner was doing some wiring modifications. We know the Manitou crew very well, and it is not like them to have hidden wires clipped off in their harnesses.

The key switch accessory position question is based on the brand of the engine on your boat. The easiest way to tell is to turn the key switch. It will either have 3 positions (OFF-ON-START) or 4 position (ACC-OFF-ON-START). If the key has an accessory position, it will have an A or ACC on a tab on back of the key.

There is not a standard layout for the switches on your helm. I would consider calling Manitou in Lansing MI to see if they have replacement panels for your boat that would have the proper labeling for the panels.

Here is the common boat wiring color code used by most OEM boat builders, including Manitou. You should be able to use this to trace down any wires on the boat.

If you want to charge the trolling motor battery while the engine is running, you will need to run some larger wires between the starting battery and the trolling motor battery. This wire size is based on the size of the alternator on your engine. Most VSR smart battery switch systems are capable of handling 125+ amps but the limit is the size of your alternator. If you alternator is less than 20 amp, the VSR is almost a waste of money. You will need to run your outboard at full alternator output for nearly 3 hours to replace what the trolling motor can draw in less than 1 hour.

Hope this helps,


Sled Boat Wiring


I have a basic 16.5 aluminum open river sled with a single engine. Currently the motor runs off one 12v battery with a manual bilge pump switch hooked up.

Koffler River Boat

I would like to add a second battery for:

  • Electric trolling motor
  • Navigation lights, to be installed
  • Bilge pump to this battery
  • Fish finder
In addition I would like to add a 12 volt two bank marine electrical boat battery charger for both batteries. I will add a 6 position fuse panel to the mix.

My questions or concerns:

Any interaction between the 12vdc system and the 120v battery charger to insure that I don’t get a ground fault. Would adding a battery switch assist with this potential problem or will a bus bar be necessary?

Thank you for any input,


Since your system is 12 volt only, I would connect all of your grounds together, including your batteries, at a common bus.

You will only trip a ground fault outlet if there is a fault from ac hot to boat ground and the boat is connected to earth ground.

If this happens it will not matter if you have a battery switch or not.

Hope this helps.