switch panel wiring help

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by madiaz, May 6, 2008.

  1. madiaz

    madiaz New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    kalamazoo, michigan U.S.A
    greetings,

    would someone please be so kind as to indicate how i'm supposed to wire the lights and stuff to the switch panel and then the panel to the battery?


    is it that all of the positives get wired to the switch posts (six of them) and then the positive from the battery connects to the single post on the breakers and every component ground to the battery directly or via a negative distribution block.

    the picture attached is what i'm looking at.

    thank you,
    regards,
    m.ad.
     

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  2. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    When I did mine I ran 8 gauge wires from the battery to the switch panel.One from the positive side of the battery to the positive side of the panel. Did the same for the negative side. Wired all of my accessories, both positive and ground, to the swith panel bus bar.For the ground I attached small alligator clips that clip onto the negative bus bar. For the positive wire I used male and female connectors. That way I can remove the panel easily.I color coded the wires for easy identification.Here is a picture of my "mess".:smile2:You may need to add a buss bar that connects all of your terminals. I cant really tell form the pic.It looks a little different than mine.Good luck!
     

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  3. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    And still another solution. FuzzFace and I have installed similar panels into most of our boats...at least four of them...LOL. We fastened an eight post bus bar (available at radio shack) in an easily accessible, out of the way location near the switch panel. We then ran positive and negative 10 guage wires from the battery to the bus bar, making one of the bars "hot", the other ground. We then ran a 10 gauge wire from the negative bus bar to the panel, using electrical clips. The positive is a little different. We ran a separate wire from the positive bus bar to the panel fixture. If it required the key to be on to operate (as in the red/green running lights) we ran a separate bus bar from a wire in the wiring harness. Then we ran the wire from the key switch bus bar to the running lights. Did the same thing for items that would not run through the panel (compass lights, altimeter gauge light, etc). Items like the anchor light, we ran the wire from the hot bus bar to the panel, same for the bilge pump. Everything is on separate circuit, except the leads from the battery, and we probably should have put a fuse in these wires.
     
  4. madiaz

    madiaz New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    kalamazoo, michigan U.S.A
    thank you gentlemen,

    arkrivercatman, the way you are describing the connection is what i had pictured. however this switch panel doesn't show postive or negative anywhere. i called Cabelas and they confirmed that the 6 posts connect to the positive wires on the accesories, (spotlights, navigation etc) and the one lonely post goes to the positive on the battery. i went to 3 stores today and none of them has a female quick connect clip that accepts 8 gauge. i've sodered and shrink wrapped everything so far but i may just use male and female clips or maybe alligators at the end.

    leaving me only with grounding everything. i think i'm going to run one of these blocks with 8 gauge and then split it to every component. thank you for the picture though. i know labeling the wires is extremely helpful.

    AwShucks, are you guys wiring space shuttles?:0a5: altimeters and compasses? that's a bit to complicated for me right now but thank you,

    regards,
    m.a.d.
     

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  5. Grimpuppy

    Grimpuppy New Member

    Messages:
    3,556
    State:
    Concordia, KS
    I would get a marine grade bus bar or terminal block that is tin coated. The one you have pictured can corrode pretty quick in a damp environment. You don't want to be chasing down bad connections in 6 months. I have used the ones from Blue Sea and they are really nice. So nice in fact I used their fuse panel and bus bar on my race car. Their 10 gang bus bar is only about $15 if you get the cover also, which is probably cheaper than that one from street wires.
     
  6. madiaz

    madiaz New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    kalamazoo, michigan U.S.A
    thanks for the tip Grimpuppy,

    the location of both the switch and the distribution block is inbetween inches and inches of insulation foam on a rear bench. the only way it will get wet is if the boat fills up about halfway to the top with water at which point i'm pretty sure i'll be worried about something else like maybe drowning :crazy:.

    i went to several local places including the boat shop and they really were not all that helpful. it's a pretty simple sistem but if i do encounter any problems i will take the advise and get some marine grade stuff. i found a place that sells the blue sea and some other stuff that was so super expensive it must be made of platinum or plutonium or something to warrant the crazy prices. i do know when i get my next river boat i will bite the bullet and get the good stuff. point well taken.

    everything is working well i just need to clean up some stuff and then how do you guys say go get slimed post haste.

    regards,
    m.a.d.
     

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  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    If it's an aluminum boat the biggest worry you have is keeping your gronds isolated from the hull.
    Electrical current whether AC or DC is a quick death for an aluminum boat.

    On the marine block issue some are good some aren't worth the packaging they are in. It's like anything else you buy. You have to be a smart shopper.

    I can take a regular buss bar and make it last a good long time in a boat with a little care at installation.
    First is a bottle of NOALOX. Run all the set screws completely out and coat the threads before running them back in.
    Coat any wire before landing it on the bar.
    Put a dab of noalox in every hole you aren't using.
    Dont get carried away though. The viscosity changes with temperature.
    If you put a big blob on something and it gets hot in the summer time, you'll get a nasty drip.
    For the record. Even if I use a high grade bus bar it gets an antioxidant treatment with noalox.

    For saltwater use I go several steps further in landing wires. You cant build in enough protection in a saltwater enviroment.