I am an engineer, but definitively not electrical. If I look at wire, I get shocked.
I will try to be simple here.
I have a Jon boat, and the knucklehead before me has all of the boat wiring running to the battery. All of it. It’s so bad that I can’t even get the battery box lid on!
But, that isn’t the worst part. He used no switches at all. If you want to operate the bilge pump, find that bare wire and touch to the + terminal on the battery.
So, redoing the boat wiring is essential. I would like ignition cables plus 2 wires (+ and -) to go to the battery. I have looked at buses, fuse blocks, switches as well as switch panels to the point of total confusion, especially if you throw in the concept of a ground.
Which leads to the question, how the heck do you ground a boat? I mean specifically. Get this and put it there and attach to that, without which it is still a mystery.
Obviously, bilge pump, sonar, navigation lights, DC adapter socket, courtesy light, and livewell pump all have their own amp draws. Do I need to get a fuse block, insert the various amp fuses? As for the switches, I suspect the + goes from the fuse block to the switch to the device. Where does the – go? To a bus with a lead back to the battery? Where would a ground come in, since some instruments have ground connections?
Can you get a switch panel that does it all…with only the + and – from it to the battery? Also, I have seen switch panels with 10 amp breakers rather than fuses….if my sonar has an inline 6 amp fuse, wouldn’t it be best to stay with there proper sizes (of course I would not remove the inline fuse unless I went with a block and used a 6 amp).
Obviously I need help. So any you can provide would certainly be appreciated.
It sounds like you have a well engineered mess. I especially like that you need to “find the bare wire and touch to the + terminal” to make a device turn on.
My partners at EzAcDc have parts that should solve a lot of your problems. They have an eight switch marine electrical panel that includes a 12 volt outlet. It comes fully wired to control your navigation lights, bilge pump, courtesy lights, livewell pump, and provide power outputs for your sonar and other accessories.
The panel is built to plug directly into Ez’s 20′ boat wiring harness. This harness has one positive wire and one negative wire that connect to the battery. By using this harness, all other wires except your engine battery cables would be removed. It incorporates a ground block near the switch panel for future add ons.
Once plugged together, these two components will completely rewire the accessory system on your boat. If you need new components, Ez has navigation light kits, bilge pump kits, livewell pump kits, and even boat horns. All of these components simply plug together. A BS in electrical engineering is NOT a requirement to understand and install this system.
If you want to use your legacy parts, the harness includes adaptors to allow you to connect your old livewell pumps and navigation lights.
To connect additional DC components such as your sonar, Ez provides power cords off of the switch panel. They are protected by 5 amp circuit breakers. Each power cord has a ground, a constant power, and switched power wire (this is controlled by a switch of choice on the panel). I would recommend keeping your 6 amp in-line fuse with the sonar. If your sonar trips the 5 amp breaker, 10 amp breaker are included with the kit. Simply swap the 5 for a 10. Your sonar will still be protected by the 6 amp in-line fuse.
Hope this helps,
Kevin – future P.E.
(I missed getting my PE in Michigan by 2 questions. I plan to retake it in the near future.)