12V Boat Wiring - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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12V Boat Wiring

I just bought a 14' V-bottom that I'm looking to fix up a little. It is currently set up with the battery in the middle of the boat and cables running to a terminal block in the back (no fuses). It is wired for the bow and transom lights and has some loose wires that used to go to a fish finder.

Long story short, I am going to upgrade the motor, put in a deck, and add a new fish finder, bilge pump, a few LED deck lights, a solar trickle charger, and a hookup for a trolling motor (possibly adding a livewell in the future).

I don't have a problem with doing the wiring...I just don't have a plan.

I would like to add a rocker switch panel to control the running lights, deck lights, and bilge pump.

Would it be safe to connect directly to the terminal block: trolling motor, fish finder, and switch panel?

Do I have to worry about the current running through the bilge pump, LED lights, and running lights? Do the fuses in the rocker switch panel take care of this or do they just protect against too much current through each device?

If I wire everything up the way it is now, it would be no different than if I were to connect each individual device directly to the battery terminals and run them.

I'd appreciate any insight from experience or scientific wild arse guesses. Thanks!

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 01:13 PM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

whatever you do install a MASTER disconnect switch ,,that will shut off ALL the power when your not using it ,,make sure it is for marine use ,The trolling motor probably should be run directly from battery ,,too much current for termonal block ,Fuse everything ,and always carry spares
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 02:06 PM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

If you are going to run wire under the deck make sure you get the marine grade terminal block etc. You don't want a spark, gas fumes go into the bilge, or in your case under the deck. You maight want to think about two batteries, one dedicated to the trollong motor with a battery switch that you can switch back and forth or use both.



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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:07 PM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

What other said, but with a little more detail. I'd wire direct to a separate battery for the trolling motor, you must have a fuse or a non-resettable circuit breaker. They make connectors with the CB/fuse built in. You might want to get a connector close to the motor so you can either remove the battery for charging by unplugging or get access to the batter through the connector for charging in the boat. You should use #6 wires at least for the motor. Try to use few connections/splices in the wire they cause voltage drops, heat-up and limit your top speed while using energy from your battery. Fuse should be about 25% higher than your motor running current (about 30-40 amps, check your motor specs). If the motor run is long, over 12 feet, go up in wire size. Use marine wire, so any gas in the boat will not harm the insulation. Sounds like you have an aluminum boat? Remember to support the wire so it doesn’t rub and short on the boat…it will blow a hole in your boat if it shorts to the hull with both + and-.

I like to use a piece of ˝ plastic pipe for the motor wires and a separate plastic pipe for the other stuff. Support the plastic again so it doesn’t fatigue the wiring, lots of vibration on a running boat.

I’d suggest a marine distribution panel. These have separate fuses and switches for each circuit running light/anchor light/bilge manual/sonar/accessories. I also add a cigarette plug, handy for a spotlight, aerator, etc.
The bilge pump should also have and automatic switch that by-passes the panel and goes to an automatic float switch; that circuit has a fuse (inline automotive type). Can be difficult to figure the wiring, but the float switch package has a diagram on it.

DO NOT use house wire nuts EVER. I solder all 12 volt connections then coat with marine grade silicone sealer. If you must use crimp-on connectors or terminals, coat with silicone to hold it together and avoid vibration fatigue.

Not a difficult job if you know a little about wiring, and take your time.

If you put a floor in your boat, you need to install an air inlet scoop on the front, facing forward with a flex pipe to duct the air under the floor. You also need a rear facing duct at the stern. This keeps fuel fumes from building up under the floor, where your wires are.

If the fuel tank is anywhere enclosed (above or below the floor), you need a 12 volt blower with a duct to take the air from the gas area to a vent at the rear of the boat (usually on the side of hull near the gunnel).

Remember a little extra time and money spend on rewiring it right NOW, means you will probably never have a wiring problem. Most folks take short cuts and then their boat is just like their boat trailer……wiring never works when you need it. And with gas, sparks can blow you out of the water.

Safety is always first in boats and boating. Enjoy you new boat.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:03 AM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

I have a 14ft fiberglass boat that has the trolling motor and one depth finder wired with fuses to the battery. Then I have a six switch fuse panel with reset breakers for my bow light, stearn light, bilge pump, aerator, and gps depth finder. You can combine the grounds for your accessories and run them to the battery. Then take the positive leads to the switch panel. Then the fuse panel has a positive and negative to the battery. Here is the panel that I have works great, well worth the money.It is very easy to wire the panel.

http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/...4A&merchID=4006

Steve

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

Thanks for all the responses guys!

OG, that's on of the answers I was looking for. I already have my plan for the deck and how everything will be set up, I'm just rusty on the circuitry. The gas cans and battery won't even be in the same part of the boat and all wires will carry the correct gauge for the load and all will be in conduit. (I think sleeping on it helped too)

And thanks for the recommendation on the panel!

I'll post pictures throughout. Thanks again guys!

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 01:07 AM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

[quote=Outdoor Guy]I have a 14ft fiberglass boat that has the trolling motor and one depth finder wired with fuses to the battery. Then I have a six switch fuse panel with reset breakers for my bow light, stearn light, bilge pump, aerator, and gps depth finder. You can combine the grounds for your accessories and run them to the battery. Then take the positive leads to the switch panel. Then the fuse panel has a positive and negative to the battery. Here is the panel that I have works great, well worth the money.It is very easy to wire the panel.

http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/...4A&merchID=4006



I used this switch in my boat. Great choice.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 10:50 PM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

In the Bellwood area , Surplus City was carrying wire that was good to use as an extension for a troller.
Only thing was the cost made it big $$$ to run 2 wires for mine 10feet
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 06:09 PM
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

Heavy wire guage is expensive. It is often cheaper and easier to get the extra battery close enough that the cabe with the motor reaches. If you don't use the havy wire siz $$$ then the motor will never get full torque or top speed.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 12V Boat Wiring

luckily this boat already has heavy ga running from the battery in the front to the board in the back. Still debating the second battery...all depends on whether I can trade my 9.9 for a 25 this weekend. Actually, the whole deck project depends on that...

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