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Electrical issue on a boat with So little electric......-gctid404101

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    Electrical issue on a boat with So little electric......-gctid404101

    Hi all,

    I got a new to me 2001 Capri 160 last week. Had a 2560 convertible that I sold for a 38' Pacemaker that was too big and required too much of my time. Sold the Pacemaker two years ago and wanted something simple to take the kids and wife out for a few hours every once in a while. The 160 with the OB 70 hp Mercury was as simple as I could find.

    The boat runs and handles well and is just what I wanted. Only problem is that none of the switches on the helm work (nav lights, anchor light, manual bilge, and horn). I cleaned all contacts with electronics cleaner ans light sandpaper and reinstalled all connections with di-electric grease. Using a multimeter, i verified that all connections were good. Still no action on the switches. I noticed that there is a switch coming off of the positive on the battery that leads to a 30 amp fuse. I connected the multimeter positive on the battery side of the fuse and connected the negative end of the multimeter to the negative post on the battery and got a full 12 volts. I flicked one of the switches on the dash and it went to 0. Looked as if something was grounding out the entire boat.

    I downloaded the wiring diagram and decided to check to make sure all off the wiring went to the right place. I found that the heavy gauge wire coming from the 30 amp fuse and the battery switch was connected to the wrong breaker in the helm. Per the diagram, it was to be connected to the 15 amp breaker that seemed to feed the engine circuit power. Instead it was connected to the 6 amp breaker that is pigtailed together with the other breakers that feed the switche on the dash.

    A smaller gauge engine circuit power wire was connected to the 15 amp breaker.

    I switched the two and, go figure, the switches all worked, but no ignition now. Then I thought, what about the kill switch on the shifter? I hit that and boom! Had everything for about 30 seconds. Then nothing.

    I was really hot, sweaty, and frustrated so I put it all back the way it was thinking that "at least the boat will run, screw those switches". But after I cooled down and got off the boat, I returned to my desire to have everything work, especially the manual bilge switch.

    I think it may be the neutral safety switch stuck or something.

    I am thinking about running a new hot from the battery to the Breakers that serve the switches and leave the engine circuit power on the 15 amp breaker. Does anyone see why that wouldn't work or any potential problems that may cause. I'm no electrician, just a hard working do it yourselfer (can occasionally do more harm that good, especially with electric)

    How can a boat with so little wire in it be so tough to decipher?

    #2
    I am no expert but it sounds like you need to keep troubleshooting what you have. My guess would be the PO had the same issue you have now and hacked the electrical to get the boat running but sacrificed all the helm function. It could be your lanyard kill switch, the outboard neutral switch, or linkage out of whack.

    Comment


      #3
      I connected the multimeter positive on the battery side of the fuse and connected the negative end of the multimeter to the negative post on the battery and got a full 12 volts. I flicked one of the switches on the dash and it went to 0.
      There is a high resistance (probably due to corrosion) somewhere between that spot and the battery. With no load you are measuring the battery voltage, as soon as you put a load on it the resistance is too high and it measures 0 volts. Try traceing the cable, checking voltage along the way.

      Comment


        #4
        A few years ago, I was having similar (weird) issues with my 2655 (1985 model). It drove me crazy. So here's what I did: This took a while, even now (several years later), it is still working perfectly and is super easy to troubleshoot. I recently added a new switch and circuit for a washdown pump - - super simple to add stuff to it.

        I ripped out ALL of the "non-engine wiring". Every last scrap. One I verfied that the engine would run properly, kill switch enabled, etc, I installed a series of new switch panels (with circuit breakers and LED indicators) to the dash and ran one big heavy wire from the MBSS to the back of the panel. Also ran a big heavy ground wire up to a BUS bar. Then, every single circuit (e.g., anchor lights, fridge, macerator pump, bilge pump, freshwater pump, in-cabin heater fan, vhf/gps, etc.) has it's own circuit and switch and has it's own (new) wiring home-run - - - negative to the BUS and positive to the back of the panel/switch.

        Yep, it took a while, but it's pretty much trouble free and EASY to trouble-shoot if necessary. My batteries are clean and have one single wire to each!!! no "rat's nest".

        I stacked three of these switch panels on my dash: http://www.amazon.com/Price-SeaSense.../dp/B000W32ME2

        Bottom line - - - verify the engine running wiring, rip out ALL of the other electrical stuff, set it up right and re-wire all of the other electrical stuff. I believe this will take less time (money) overall than trying to troubleshoot and cobbled together system.

        ~markb

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the feedback. I'll try looking for corrosion first, if that doesn't work, try to run one hot lead to the breakers that are pigtailed together, if that doesn't work, try the complete replacement of all switches and non engine wiring as Bratzcpa did. I checked out the link. Looks like a nice set up but a bit of work. Maybe during the off season.......

          Thanks again for the suggestions.

          Comment


            #6
            mightaswell wrote:
            ... I connected the multimeter positive on the battery side of the fuse and connected the negative end of the multimeter to the negative post on the battery and got a full 12 volts....
            I am not understanding that. You would use the Ohm setting to test continuity through the fuse, to make sure it is not blown. Then, you need to verify power is making its way to the power feed on the switch panel. There, you would use your volt reading with the red lead on the hot wire and the black lead of the meter connected to a negative/return wire (you can't use a piece of metal on a boat like you can a car). The voltage should read within about 1 volt of your battery voltage.

            Comment


              #7
              ... I connected the multimeter positive on the battery side of the fuse and connected the negative end of the multimeter to the negative post on the battery and got a full 12 volts....
              This makes sense to me. He verified 12V power, but when he applied a load, he lost the 12V. High impedience in the circuit. The meter only needs to flow a miliamp to register the 12v, this is possible even thru a high impedience connection.

              Comment


                #8
                Interesting. There is a cheap "battery switch" installed between the battery and the 30 amp fuse. It looks factory but it doesn't show on the wiring diagram. It is bolted through a half wall in a tough to get to spot by the transom. When I looked at the backside with a mirror where the actual connections are, there is a good amount of corrosion on the posts. I wonder if this is where there is resistance.

                The wire to the switch is twice the gauge of the wire from the switch to the fuse.

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                  #9
                  I believe you might have found the problem.

                  Comment

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