Rocker panels keep going bad?

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by jconna, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. jconna

    jconna New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    PA
    Any idea what would cause my rocker panels to quit working? I've installed two panels from bass pro on my jon boat console. They work initially and are really only controlling my anchor and running lights. It also has a cigarette lighter which I will connect a portable radio or such. First one lasted a week and went bad. I figured bad switch maybe? Replaced it and the second one lasted a week or so. I can't figure it out? The switch is mounted flush in a panel but it's not exactly waterproof. I thought of rigging up some type of casing to protect the rear (connections) from any possible water but I don't even know if that's an issue? They are made for boats! Anyone ever run into something like this? For 35 bucks a pop, I can't afford to keep killing them.
     
  2. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Have you checked the switches with a meter? Have you checked your grounds at the devices you're running? Have you checked the wire feeding the panel? Is it a fuse panel or a breaker panel?

    Sorry for all the questions, but there are several things it could be and tough to tell without troubleshooting it with a meter. You can buy a cheap meter with AC, DC, and resistance readings for about half (or less) of what a new switchpanel costs to help you check it out :wink: Good luck with it~

    Branden
     

  3. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    Agreed, It's hard to surmise your problem without some basic troubleshooting first.

    If the switch contacts are indeed burning up (verify this) then you need to look at the amp rating of these switches, then use a meter in series with the circuit to check your actual draw.

    A little more in-depth symptoms and some folks can guide you along.

    Thanks!

    What leaps to mind initially is the motorized anchor winch, I'd think it might be pulling some amperage, don't know nothing about them though. More details please.
     
  4. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    I have experienced more problems with those cotton pickin cigarette lighters. That got to have something like a number 10 wire to carry the load. You may be burning up the panels with those lighters.
     
  5. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I agree with all of the above but let me add, just because it says marine doesn't make it gold instead of junk.
    There is plenty of items labeled for marine use not worth carrying home and definately not worth what you paid for them.
     
  6. catfishcrazy256

    catfishcrazy256 New Member

    Messages:
    2,648
    State:
    Indiana
    I have had the cig. lighter problem also
     
  7. smhmc6

    smhmc6 Member

    Messages:
    744
    State:
    Kansas
    I bought one of those rocker pannels from bps last spring... same thing. Quit working after my first fishing trip. I thought it was bad connections, but it is actually up in the switch. They didn't make them very well. I remember reading about those switches somewhere and there are a lot of people that had the same problem. I won't be buying switches from them again.
     
  8. ouachita

    ouachita New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    Texas
    Read some of the reviews on this product at BPS. Lot of the same problems with the switches.
     
  9. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    I would put the plug on its on power supply. Plug in a spot light and it will kill those switches.
    Also look in CAbalas, They have some that are better.
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...&QueryText=switches&Ntx=matchall&N=4887&Nty=1
    But if you take the anchor off the ones you have. They will last. Look at the amps your putting on that set of switches. You will have to buy a switch that is made for the anchors.
    Or you will never get the rocker switches to last. Over loading any of them will kill them in only a few minutes.
    There made for running lights and pumps. Not something that pulls more amps they the while switch is built to stand.
    Pete
     
  10. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
  11. Grimpuppy

    Grimpuppy New Member

    Messages:
    3,556
    State:
    Concordia, KS
    If your are burning them up by pulling to much power through them, you can add a relay. That should keep you from burning the switch up.
     
  12. brewfish

    brewfish New Member

    Messages:
    61
    State:
    fl
    In regards to the cigarette lighter outlet here is a simple solution. I know that it's not as aesthetically pleasing as cigarette lighter style outlet but it works flawlessly and is a cheap fix, not to mention that you can have what ever gauge wires that you want wired to it. I use a regular old house receptacle. The only thing you would have to change would be the ends of all your various appliances like your radio and what not to use a standard 3 prong plug in. Not as sexy as the other but it's always worked like a champ for me and even better it's not going to break the bank.
     
  13. jconna

    jconna New Member

    Messages:
    154
    State:
    PA
    Thanks everyone for the advice. Maybe I didn't word it correctly and I'm sorry, but the anchor was meant to mean my rear lights. In PA here, we call the front the running lights and the rear our anchor lights. I apologize for that. My boat is still covered but I wanted to check for advice now so that I can have some sort of plan on that to do. I def didn't want to spend another 35 bucks on the junk I had. (and I now do believe they are junk) I can't promise this, but I beleive that I checked continuity from the pos to hot side last fall and got nothing. I'm trying to remember exactly, but I believe I had the rockers controlling my lights only, but the cigarette lighter was also on that same panel. I had a 110v power converter that I was running a radio on, and spotlight, etc....I got sick of my rocker panels going bad and have since ran a seperate power source to the a new cig lighter. Maybe I'm doing something wrong with my wiring, but I don't see how? I will research the information that I was given, as well as products. Thanks again. I have one other question on boat modification but I'll start a new thread on that one.
     
  14. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Cigarette lighters are, well, cigarette lighters, but they're not much good for anything else.

    One solution is a two-lead, shielded plug, similar to the four-lead plugs used on trailer lights. These are cheap (NAPA), always work, and never go bad. They can hang up under the console, out of sight, and out of the weather.

    Just make sure that you use the half of the plug set that has the pos lead shielded for the hot side of the connection, and the other half for your spotlight, or whatever.
     
  15. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    FuzzFace and I have installed four of those Bass Pro panels in our boats. We have no problems with them at all. We have also installed cigarette lighters, but not through the panel. Those seem to be awfully small wires to hold the current drawn by a lighter. I'd not run one through the panel. Think its like cutting your throat - just not a good idea.
     
  16. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    If your boat is aluminum take the time to really get a handle on boat wiring.
    Bad wiring will eat aluminum up.
    Use a DC voltage drop chart. With AC you can get away with the bank on voltage drop before you take a big hit.
    DC is a 1000 times less forgiving.

    A crappy wiring job on a boat sucks. I've given up on the knotted mess in more then a few boats and ripped it all out and started over.
    Seen atrocious dealer and factory wiring which I've posted on here and also seen owner wiring that didnt make any sense at all.You dont have companies like GE and Eagle Electric making these small thumb switches anymore so they dont last 40 years anymore.