Wiring/lighting for my boat - issue got me stumped!

Discussion in 'Boat Repair Help' started by dixiedrifter, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    Ok I'm wiring up my night lights on the boat.

    This is a DIY job, and I figured it would be best to rig up my circuit so that everything is in series like this:

    POS Battery >>>>>All Around Light>>>>>>Switch>>>>>>>Navigation Light>>>> NEG Battery

    Now then here is the part that has me stumped. If I leave out the navigation light, the all around light works. If I connect the navigation light to the circuit, it works, but the all around light doesn't.

    WTF is going on with it?

    Why don't both lights work, especially considering the navigation light is wired in first?

    I guess I might just have to add on another switch and make it all paralel.

    :confused:
     
  2. JRS

    JRS New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    Lufkin,Texas
    I can't quite picture what you are doing but it sounds as if you have a grounding problem. Either of your lights are compleating the circut but not both at the same time. Electricty is like water, it has to run from the + side back to the - side without interuptions for it to work.
     

  3. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    Positive battery should supply power to a switch where both lights draw from then both lights to a ground or negative side

    Your breaking the positive with the switch to both or supplying power to both while both are still connected to ground/negative.
     
  4. dademoss

    dademoss Member

    Messages:
    524
    State:
    Ohio
    Here is a diagram for 2 pumps and 2 lights, all individually switched.
     
  5. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    Yeah, that's what I said.

    You do need a switch that'll turn on your all around light/anchor light/stern light, by itself. Either a 3 way switch designed for that purpose or a seporate switch , if your anchored at night.
     
  6. waterwalker

    waterwalker New Member

    Messages:
    604
    State:
    Louisville Ohio
    If I understand, you are wiring additional lighting to an existing running light circuit. I would discourage you from doing this, running lights should
    be on their own circuit for the simple reason of safety. Never wire lights
    in a series because if you lose one, they all go out, like the old christmas
    strings. Make all your connections using crimped connectors, and most
    important keep eveything above ground, never use the boat as ground.
     
  7. catseeman

    catseeman New Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    State:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Jared, electricty takes he path of least resistance. connect your lights in paralle.like in privous tread. you can also run wire frpm + batt to one sidde of switch then from other terminal of switch to each light. connect other wire from each light to - post of bat. This puts the switch in series with both lights. hope i help ..other questions PM me iam an electrician . good luck
     
  8. Doyle

    Doyle New Member

    Messages:
    582
    State:
    Illinois
    It sounds like you really do have the lights in series....you can't do that. You want them in Parallel.
     
  9. trnsmsn

    trnsmsn New Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    State:
    Missouri Originally Now I
    They Make A 3 Position Pull Switch Specifically For That Purpose, First Position Is Off Of Course, Next Position Is For Your Navigational Light, Last Position Is For Your Anchoring Light.

    It Is Made Of Brass With An O-Ring In It So It's Waterproof, HTH, Elliot
     
  10. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    Well I went ahead and added in another switch and circuit for the navigation lights.

    They work!

    I still have lots more to do... add on some running lights and get the wiring set up for the trolling motor. That will be another thread though.
     
  11. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    This is how I did it. 2 wires to the front and 2 to the back on a double postion switch. 1st postion I wire to run stern and 2 to run both.
    Bill:)
     
  12. APD1146

    APD1146 New Member

    Messages:
    176
    State:
    New York
    Well I bought a used alum. boat that had been owned by several others before me. Hole in the water that you put money into? Who said that? It had about 400 feet of wire most of it going no place. I should say thats how much I took out of the boat. One guy had electric downriggers switched to the dash for raising and lowering. Those no longer on the boat. Wires left any way. Not an electrical item worked except the ignition switch. It has taken me 2 full months to straighten it out so far. The blower, bilge pump, horn, lights, everything did not work. Not even the tilt & trim. Every one before me just ran wires any place at all and none of them went anyplace. No reason for most of them, so I rewired all the harness's and fuse boxes to suit me and right. Most is done except I have to buy a new horn, and two light I want to install, one on each side of the boat for fishing at night and being able to see to rig up. Them cats can hurt when you can't see them. I want flush mount lights so ther are out of the way.
    Almost ready to head to Santee- Cooper. All 900 plus miles of it.
    I really hope to see some of the brothers and sisters down there. Tight lines to all.
    John
     
  13. beeheck

    beeheck New Member

    Messages:
    631
    State:
    Iowa / Missouri
    I'm not sure if your adding lights or starting from scratch. But, sometimes it is easier to start from scratch. I had a 24' pontoon with faulty wiring and I tried to patch it for weeks, got PO'd and ripped it all out and threw it over the side. It was parked at my brother-in-law farm so it was his yard and no big deal but he did tell me later the mower found it. Sounded funny to me I thought he mowed his own lawn, next he'll tell me he has a gardener.lol Anyway, I took each item that needed to be wired in and only concerned myself with that circuit and it became very easy. I found that when I was looking at the entire wiring harness it was confusing and intimidating. I put in a positive (+) fused wiring terminal bar and brought power to it and then took power to toggle switches that let me turn items on or off when I needed to. I then put in a negative (-) terminal bar for the negative side and ran a negative wire directly to each item. What this did was let me turn each item on or off individually and if one thing burns out or shorts out every thing else still works as it only blew the fuse in that circuit. I did my two electric anchors individually, my docking lights together, my running lights individually so I could leave either one on or off as I wanted, my interior lights together, and my gauge lights on a separated circuit but all the gauge lights come on together, live well pump and light together and used the keyed switch for power to the electric start for the outboard and the horn. Problems, only one that I can think of and that was that if I turned on a light and didn't shut it off manually when I turned the key off to shut off the motor, that light stayed on and ran the battery down. I'm sure some of the guys on this site could draw you a wiring diagram if you drew them a picture of your boat and where every thing is located. Just a thought, I know how lost you can feel when you tackle a wiring job and have to work through it yourself.
     
  14. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    I'm pretty much starting from scratch.. my boat was originally built in 1984 and has seen a lot of neglect in the form of being subjected to years of weather and elements... its aluminum so it ain't gonna rust, but everything in it had pretty much rotted and deteriorated past the useful lifespan.

    Considering how much was wrong with it, I decided to go ahead and strip the boat all the way down the the bare hull... all the rotten seats and plywood yanked out along with all the old wiring and am putting in pretty much new everything.

    Even though it costs a lot of $$$ to do that, its still a whole lot cheaper than buying a new boat.
     
  15. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    Using the fuse blocks is the only way to go. This is a combination positive and negative type block. You can get seporate ones, or fuse blocks with the newer color coded, spade type fuses.
     

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  16. dixiedrifter

    dixiedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    Tennessee
    Sweet...

    Where do I go about finding one of those?
     
  17. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    They sell them in parts stores, or for the same thing at a higher price, any place that sells stuff for boats.

    Get an anti corrosive spray and coat it well when your done.
     
  18. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Go to the West Marine website and they have all those fuse blocks etc.Listen to Bobpaul, one of the best things you can invest in is a can of that corrosion preventer.Its expensive but it DOES work.I spray eveything electrical including battery terminals and never have a problem from corrosion etc.When are you coming to Santee?:)
     
  19. Hannibal Mike

    Hannibal Mike New Member

    Messages:
    1,454
    State:
    Hannibal, MO
    I, too, have a 2nd hand jon boat with wires everywhere. I am lucky that most seem to work, but it is a nightmare to add anything or understand what is what. The shop that installed my new troller said that it was tough. Anyway, before I start down the rewire road, I am curious about a few things. I have a large livewell with filler pump, aireator, running lights, 24V troller on bow, sonar front and center, tilt/trim, 2way radio, bilge pump, horn, and gauges on the center consol. 1. Do I need a fuse/breaker bar with enough slots to handle each of these or can I combine some? 2. Do I run the postive wire to the switch then to the lights etc? 3. Are the motor starter and tilt/trim on the same breaker or hooked into the fuse panel atall? I thought that I would like a battery OFF switch to ensure that nothing drains the battery if I leave it on (radio or aerator). I thought that I might mount the On/Off switch below the motor and over the starter battery. Where would you start?
    Hannibal Mike
     
  20. catseeman

    catseeman New Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    State:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    If you are going to start over ,I would take 1 item at a time and wire it to a fuse block. the battery switch sounda like a good idea.
    Fuses are a must. It is surprising how a small nick or pinched wire can mess up an outing. With fuses in the circuit , you know here to start the trouble shooting . Also the boat doesn't burn up. fuses are cheap insurance.
    I have rehabed 4 boats and i always rewire everthing.
    I don't know who wired ,what or how they did it . One boat had the trolling motor wired with # 12 solid wire. It should have been a # 6 strainded at min. It sure helped battery charge life to have bigger wire.
    If you need advise PM and I wiil try to help .
    good luck