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Old 05-15-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
High Life
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Default Boat Wiring and Lights

Anyone know of any boat electricians in the mid valley(salem,albany,corvallis)?My navigation lights aren't working and have a couple other small things that aren't working that I would like to get fixed.I have tried all the simple things(fuses,grounds) but think it must be something alittle more than that.

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

Give hot wire a call. Really knows his stuff and will come to you!
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

Personally I would exhaust all efforts before I call in the professionals! I always have more time than money though. I would double check everything once more.....you have already found out what it "isn't"! If the fuses are ok....then you have power(assuming you have power "TO" the fuse).....if grounds are ok....then you should have a good circuit! Assuming you do not have broken wires, about the only thing left is contact corrosion. Remove the bulbs and sandpaper the contact points. I lost my nav lights last year ..I had a single bow light that had one bulb with little pointed ends which get easily corroded...touched up those ends with sandpaper and been fine ever since. Only suggestions....good luck!!!
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

I blow the fuses everytime I try and turn the lights on and voltage drops to under 10 then flips the breaker.With the ground being good I would imagine this being a bad wire somewhere.How the boat is rigged there are wires going from one switch to the next so it is a complete nightmare for someone who is unexperience in this sort of thing.Can anyone verify my theory on it being a bad wire?
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

Since you blow fuses etc when you turn your lights on it certainly sounds like a short somewhere. A broken wire would not necessarily blow the circuits...the lights just wouldn't work....a shorted wire should/would blow your fuses etc. Sounds like a hot wire is getting grounded somewhere....hot wire grounded to boat...or possibly a hot and ground wire fused together somewhere. Any hot spots...melted areas?
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

And after you run the short down and already have somebody fixing the issue; It's a great time to add a battery disconnect switch that will eliminate or greatly reduce any corrosion or electrolysis issues in the future. Cheap Insurace !
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

no hot spots or melted areas around the switch itself and haven't dug too far into the boat to see if anything else has melted or gotten hot.If it was as simple as 2 wires for the lights going to the battery it would be a no brainer but since the wires go from one switch to another I don't feel like running the risk of tearing into it and making everything else including my lights not work!
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

I completely understand...wiring can be a PIA for sure. I assume that your light switch might also control your anchor light? Flip one way for anchor light...other way for navigation??? I would assume that the wires that go from switch to switch are your power in lines. The "out" side of each switch would power whatever it goes to.....I would be curious if you could dis-connect the "out" line on your navigation switch and see what happens. It would not hurt anything else. That switch would probably have 2 "out" leads...one for front navigation....other for your rear anchor light" If you could issolate the 2 and disconnect one at a time it should help issolate the problem. If you disconnect the line at the switch leading to the front nav lights and flip the switch and all is well....it would sure point to a bad hot wire running to your front light. If it blows a fuse with the front nav light unhooked....it would point to a bad wire running to your anchor light. Again....good luck!!!
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:52 PM   #9
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Do you have a handy friend? Sounds like an issue a 6 pack of soda/beer and pizza could resolve.

What type and age of boat?
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

If I flip the switch to the nav light setting I don't get any voltage decline or blow the fuse only when I flip the switch to the anchor position.I will have to monkey around with it alittle more tonight and see if I cant get one or the other to come on.

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Old 05-15-2013, 03:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

You might just pull the anchor light recepticle out and examine it. If it is the original fixture the base could totally rusted away by now....or at least severely deteriorated. Certainly a likely candidate for a short for sure!!!!
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:39 PM   #12
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Make sure you check the bow panel switch for the lights.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:54 AM   #13
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Default Re: Boat Wiring and Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by High Life View Post
no hot spots or melted areas around the switch itself and haven't dug too far into the boat to see if anything else has melted or gotten hot.If it was as simple as 2 wires for the lights going to the battery it would be a no brainer but since the wires go from one switch to another I don't feel like running the risk of tearing into it and making everything else including my lights not work!
High Life, I am willing to help you over the phone with troubleshooting this issue, just PM to arrange time.

Hopefully my post wont confuse you,
That is normal to jump the connection from one gauge to another.


Every device, light, house light, Nav light or any "switched" accessory will be wired as follow:
Device will have 2 posts *** and NEG (or ground)
1- The Ground goes directly to a ground post in your panel or fuse ground bus/block
2- The positive will go the one side of your switch at the helm.
Your switch at the helm will have 2 wires:
3- The wire that is coming directly from your nav light positive post.
4- Wire that is going to your fuse box positive
Once you flip the switch that closes the circuit and Blip you have light.
To troubleshoot your NAV light issue....
Easiest way to do, is get 2 long wires, one end of the wires plug them directly to your positive and negative. The other side, touch them to your positive and negative side of your NAV light base.
No light then it's your light base or bulb, or corrosion etc.
Get light then keep on going with troubleshooting steps below
- Start at the light end.
1- Turn the battery switch on
2- Make sure you have power (test the horn for example to confirm)
3- Turn the NAV light switch in question to ON
4- Go to the NAV light and With voltmeter test that you have power there (should get reading of 12v ) by touching the black post of ur tester to the (-) side of the NAV light base and the red post of ur tester to the (+) side of the NAV light Base.

If you get reading (or volts) then it must be a bad bulb or lose NAV light base or corroded etc.
If you don't get reading "volts", now the fun begins..
You need to identify which part that is not working..You have:
1- The ground and hot (or positive) wire from your light to the switch
2- You have the wire from your switch to the fuse box.
3- You have the Fuse
4- You have the switch itself.

To test #1 above you will need to get 2 long wires , start with positive plug the red wire into your switch (the knob at the helm), turn the switch to ON, then touch the red to the base of your NAV light and Ground
Get light, great then u know what to do.
No Light, then use your long wire, connect it to a good ground post in your panel that u know it works...then touch it to the back of your negative side of your NAV light base..
Light?? good then you know what's at fault.
No light,
Then you validated that your wiring from the switch to your NAV light is good.
Now you can test the switch (knob) and your fuse, by perhaps swapping them with good ones that you know are working.
Check this out may help explain more:
Standard Boat Wiring Diagram
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Last edited by Isaac_Michael; 05-16-2013 at 06:56 AM.
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