Author Topic: Rewiring project  (Read 4492 times)

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Offline ak-angler

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Rewiring project
« on: May 13, 2012, 10:38:32 PM »
Well, in conjunction with my repower, I decided to upgrade the wiring in my SR17. When I bought the boat 5 years ago, the wiring was... adequate, at best. After adding electrical goodies here and there over the years, it was becoming... well, less than adequate. Everything was hooked to a single battery in the starboard lazarette, next to the oil tank for the main motor. When I got the boat, it had a 2-stroke kicker, and I carried a six gallon tank of pre-mix on the port side. After I swapped the kicker for a 4-stroke, I got rid of the pre-mix tank and carried a spare battery there. But, except for the Webasto heater, everything was still wired in to the main battery. And, for the last couple of years, I would get low voltage alarms on my electronics whenever I cranked the motor over.

So, after getting rid of the oil tank during the repower, I decided to move the "spare" battery to the starboard side and wire it in as a legit house battery, to separate the electrical load and also give me a dedicated starting battery. And, while I was looking at what I needed to do to make that happen, I decided that the house wiring really needed to be upgraded.

The first thing I decided to do was to replace the simple ON/OFF battery switch with a OFF/ON/COMBINE switch and a Blue Sea ACR. This way, I still have only one main switch to worry about, and the ACR can handle all the decisions regarding charging. (I'll post pics later.)

Next, I decided to upgrade the main wires that powered everything in the boat except the shrimp pot puller and the Webasto heater. I had replaced the factory automotive-grade wires with tinned marine-grade 12ga wires years ago, but they obviously didn't provide enough capacity to run everything without getting voltage drops. So, out they came, and in went new 6ga wires. Yeah, I know I could have gone with 8- or even 10ga wires. But, I'm still toying with the idea of installing a windlass one day, and the 6ga will be needed if that ever happens. I really don't want to have to upgrade the wiring again.

After deciding to upgrade the main wiring, I took a long, hard look at the wiring behind the helm. There were all kinds of wires, of various thicknesses and lengths, some with old butt-connector repairs, all zip-tied in big ol' clumps of utterly chaotic mess. And, not a one of 'em was labeled. There was even an old style fuse block that never had a cover. So, when I realized that I was going to actually have to get into that mess to install the gauges for the new motor, it didn't take long to come to the conclusion that it really wouldn't do me any good to go through the trouble of setting up the start/house battery system, running new main wires, and hooking up the new gauges, if I didn't actually do something about that birds nest. And thus began a weekend hunkered down in the v-berth with wire cutters, a sharp knife, circuit labels, terminals, various sizes of tinned wire, a bunch of ty-wraps, and a whole lot of patience.

Here's what I started with, after I had cut a few ty-wraps to remove the old gauges and motor wiring harness. It was at this point that I knew something had to be done.



And here's what I ended up with. It's definitely a lot better than where I started. All the wires are cut to length, properly terminated, labled, and neatly routed and bundled. Now, if I have to service something, or add a new electrical gizmo, all I have to do is clip a few strategic ty-wraps, do whatever work I need to do, and re-bundle what I took apart. And, with everything bundled and supported, there's a lot less chance of damage due to vibration or pounding in the chop. (I still have to label the fuse block and replace the bottom switch in the switch panel. It broke while I was working on it.)

1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline GoodDays

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 06:39:26 AM »
Clean, Very Clean !!!  Looks great !


GoodDays Greg

Online GregE

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 10:15:31 AM »
Clean, neat wiring makes you feel good.   :applause: :biggrin:

http://arimaboatownersgroup.com/index.php?topic=693.0



Greg
Osprey 26 LC Kodak;  Arima SR 19 HT; SL 22 Honda 225
http://www.sagecreekforums.com/phpforum/index.php
Sold:  Arima SE 16 WeeBait; SH 15 WeeBoat;
SR 21 NoBait;  SL 22 ReBait

Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 11:32:42 AM »
Yup. I'm feeling pretty good about the wiring. But my back is aching from spending two days bent over in a cramped v-berth.  :hoboy:

I already picked up a switch today to replace the broken one. It should only take about 2 minutes to snap into place when I get home tonight. Then, after labeling the fuse panel, I've got to button everything up by the batteries and I'll be all done with the wiring.

I've still got to figure out what to do with the grounds for the transom light, bilge pump, and fresh water pump. They don't run forward to the helm. Instead, they're all terminated with spade connectors that attach to a cheesy buss connected to the ground terminal of the battery. It's a kind of a hokey system, and I really want to get rid of it while I'm upgrading the rest of the wiring. I guess I need to either run ground wires all the way back to the helm, or install a real grounding block and run a jumper to the house battery. I'm leaning toward the latter for its simplicity.
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline vxhatch

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 10:50:12 PM »
Looks good!  :beerchug:     Looking forward to doing mine.... NOT!
2001 22' SeaSport Sportsman

Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2012, 03:45:45 PM »
Well, I tried to install the new switch in place of the broken one in the switch panel at the helm. But when I snapped it into place, one of the retaining ears broke off. So, I headed back to the store and exchanged it for another one... which promptly broke a retaining ear when I was installing it. :doh: I don't know what's going on with these switches. But two failures is enough for me. I ended up going to another store and buying a different brand. I'll see if I can get this one to snap into place without it breaking.  :hoboy:

And, after doing a little research, I decided to order a BlueSea SafetyHub 150 to finish off the wiring by the batteries. It looks like it will be able to do everything I need in one convenient block. It has MIDI fuses for the 6ga house wiring, as well as ATO/ATC fuses for my pot puller and Webasto heater so I don't have to run any new wiring to the helm. And, it has a built in ground block so I can easily terminate the transom light, bilge pump, and fresh water pump ground circuits. Again, no messing with extending them to the ground buss at the helm. Plus, I'll have access to several spare fused circuits at the transom if I ever decide to add a raw water washdown, baitwell aerator, disco ball, or whatever. It should be here in a couple of days, so I should be up and running before the weekend. :dance:
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline Markshoreline

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2012, 06:56:40 PM »
Really smart choices and a tidy installation.

Mine doesn't have labels so I have to wiggle wires to see where they go!

Looks Great!

Mark
2002 Sea Ranger HT 21, Yamaha 150, Yamaha 9.9

Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 01:07:23 AM »
That's funny Mark. I always dreaded tracing circuits in the boat, having to wiggle wires and guess which one goes where. Hopefully, I got it all organized enough that I won't have to suffer through that process any more.  :biggrin:

Had a little scare tonight. I finally replaced the broken switch and made one last check of the new helm wiring to make sure I didn't miss anything. All seemed OK, so I shifted gears. After bundling and securing all the wires and cables under the gunnel, I hooked up the batteries to check everything out.

Instrument lights... check.
GPS... check.
VHF... check.
12-volt outlet... check.
Wipers... check.
Horn... check.
Trim tabs... check.
Bilge pump... ummm... no bilge pump?
Nav lights... what?... no nav lights, either. And no anchor light.

Everything else checked out OK, but I was a little freaked out about the bilge pump and exterior lights. I really wasn't looking forward to clipping a bunch of ty-wraps and breaking out the multi-meter to figure out what I did wrong. :hoboy:

So, for the next hour or so, all I did was distract myself with other projects so I didn't have to think about electrical gremlins. And then it hit me... After all the changes I made to the wiring, I pulled a couple of now mis-sized fuses, with the understanding that I would replace them with the correct ones before I buttoned everything up. Well, obviously I didn't do that. :doh:

But, I'm actually glad I did pull those fuses, even if it meant causing myself a little unneeded stress. I would rather have pulled them and forgotten, than not pulled them and forgot they were the wrong size. That could have caused a situation really worth panicking about. :bigshock:

And yeah, it was a stupid mistake. But, at least I didn't tear all my wiring apart before I realized it. :jester:
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 01:06:35 AM »
The SafetyHub 150 came in today, and I got it installed. I was a little surprised by how big it was, but it still fit where I had planned. Now, the only things I have left are cleaning the boat, installing fuses in the SafetyHub, and re-installing the batteries. And, once I get the batteries in place, I have to cut one ground wire to a more appropriate length and terminate it (it's way to long right now, and I didn't want to chance cutting it off too short). I'll post one more picture tomorrow when I have the batteries installed, and the project is finally done.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 09:44:14 AM by ak-angler »
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Online GregE

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 08:57:16 AM »
I looked up the Safety Hub and that is similar to what i have.   http://bluesea.com/category/81/21/productline/overview/431

What is the block in the back with the red wires?
Greg
Osprey 26 LC Kodak;  Arima SR 19 HT; SL 22 Honda 225
http://www.sagecreekforums.com/phpforum/index.php
Sold:  Arima SE 16 WeeBait; SH 15 WeeBoat;
SR 21 NoBait;  SL 22 ReBait

Online Threeweight

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 09:28:22 AM »
Automatic charging relay, can split some of the juice coming from the motor's alternator to charge the house battery once the starting battery is full.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
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Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 09:35:59 AM »
Yup, that's the Automatic Charging Relay. The red wires go to the house and start batteries - yellow is ground - white is the Start Isolation circuit (it goes to the cranking circuit on the motor).
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 09:39:16 AM by ak-angler »
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline Chuck Jones

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 06:23:31 PM »
that is SO slick....great job of making order out of spaghetti!!  I love to see nice bundled wiring that reeks of meticulous attention....this is a project that I need to do, but it will be something that will take some time......I have to label every dogone connection and draw up a diagram to make sure I get things back where they belong.

On another note, this is a good time to trace down which fuses go to what device.  I noticed uner my helm and transom area that there are inline fuses that go to....????   I do have the same sort of online charger that splits the shore or onboard charging from the motors, but I didn't do the install, I contracted it out.  It works well BUT..... Were the downriggers to quit, or some pump or washdown system go dead, I wouldn't have a clue as to which fuse went to which device, and there's nothing more frustrating than to be out on the water wiggling wires and pulling fuses in the hopes you find the right one....THEN have to look in your tool kit to see if you happen to have just the right fuse...some are blades, some are glass.  I did manage to get a Perko installed that splits systems so that I can run off one, the other, or both batteries in the event of a hard start.  Did you label your wiring or have a diagram that provides you with the essential info?  Very nice job indeed.....my compliments.
(91) 19' Sea Ranger HT....SOLD 5/2013
(07) 21' Sea Ranger HT.....SOLD 3/2014
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Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 08:24:38 PM »
I know how frustrating that can be Chuck. When I started, I was in the same boat as you (pun intended). There were no labels, a few in-line fuses, and several wires just randomly spliced into other wires. And, there was no way of knowing what size fuses were actually needed, because I couldn't tell what all they were feeding. It was a real mess.

I didn't have any wiring diagrams, so I had to figure it all out as I went. After I got everything loose, I would bundle related wires together with ty-wraps, label them, and then get them routed where I wanted. Then, I would land them, and secure them in place. Then I would add another bundle into the "harness", and another, and so on, clipping redundant ty-wraps as I went. In fact, I ended up using about three or four times the amount of temporary ty-wraps as I ended up using for the permanent install. It seems like a waste, but it really helped keep everything together as I was building the new harness.

If you're thinking about your own re-wiring project, you'll want to have plenty of extra supplies on hand. Like ty-wraps, various types and sizes of terminals, and heat-shrink tubing. And, of course you'll want plenty of good marine grade wire. Buy more of everything than you think you'll need. You can always return unused inventory if you don't open the packages. But running to the store a couple of times for another package this, or that, really can waste a lot of time (don't ask how I know  :hoboy:). And, if you don't own one, buy (or borrow) a heat gun for the heat-shrink tubing. A lighter will work, but it's not ideal. And, for as much shrinking as I did, it was well worth it.


As a side note, my new SafetyHub takes blade style fuses. But the fuse box at the helm takes glass fuses, as does my switch panel. So, since I ran out of room in the helm fuse box and had to stack a couple of circuits, I'm eventually going to replace it with a bigger box that takes blade fuses. That's a project for another day. But, when that day comes, it shouldn't be too bad, since everything is now properly labeled. :biggrin:
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline StreamFixer

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 08:38:57 PM »
I have a plastic box in the cuddy with nothing but boxes of fuses in it.  Buy the fuses in boxes of five and don't mix them.  One of Murphy's principals.  If you have replacement fuses for everything, you won't need them.  And the corollary is: the one fuse you don't have a spare for will blow when needed most.

At this time I too have a mix of glass and blade fuses (there are even two sizes of blade fuses to make matters even worse).  And I have an original 'hidden' fuse panel on the back of the wall holding the helm, none of which is labeled.   Pull a fuse, what doesn't work now?  Did it work before I pulled the fuse?   I have a Blue Sea fuse panel and new 6 switch panel as well as the original 6 glass fuse panel on the helm wall.  Plenty of capacity to clean things up, just have to take the time to do it.

I was surprised to learn Arima saved the pennies on wire and did not install marine grade wiring.

This will be one of my winter projects.

StreamFixer
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Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2012, 11:09:20 PM »
As promised, here's a pic of the transom wiring with the batteries installed. For now, they're in boxes with no lids. I haven't decided if I'm going to leave them like this, put the lids on, or replace the boxes with trays. The bait well drain always made the lids a pain to deal with. But, the 90-degree fittings definitely provide a lot more room for the batteries. :shrug9:


I thought I was going to get everything wrapped up tonight, but... alas, no. Turns out I need a 20 amp glass fuse for the wiper trim tabs, and a 30-amp blade fuse for the pot puller, neither of which I have on hand. (Do these seem really big to anybody, given that the pot puller is wired in with the recommended 12ga wire, and I think the wiper has 16 ga wire? I thought the largest recommended fuse for 12ga wire was 20 amps...?) So, I'll have to pick them up on the way to the lake tomorrow.

And, yeah, the use of automotive wire in a boat is disappointing. I've upgraded a lot of mine to tinned marine wire, but there's still plenty of it left. I think everything installed between the hull and carpet lining is still auto grade stuff, and I'm not going to mess with that unless I really have to.

EDIT: I just checked my list. The wiper fuse is 5 amps. The 20 amp glass fuse I need is for the trim tabs, which (I think) have 12ga power/ground wires. So, that should be OK.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 12:54:37 AM by ak-angler »
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline ak-angler

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Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2012, 12:10:06 AM »
And for the curious, here's a rough estimate of the time it took (I didn't deduct for short breaks or the occasional phone call):

Saturday - 10+ hours - planning, separating/tracing helm circuits, install new battery switch and ACR, remove house feed
Sunday - 10 hours - rewire helm
Monday - 2.5 hours - replace house feed, start organizing battery compartment
Tuesday - 1.5 hours - secure wires under gunnel, test/diagnose circuits
Wednesday - 2.5 hours - work on battery compartment, connect ACR to start circuit in motor
Thursday -  3.5 hours - install SafetyHub, add wiring for pot puller and Webasto heater, finalize cable routing
Friday - 2.5 hours - install batteries and fuses, add fuses in ACR circuits, final clean up

Grand Total - 32.5+ hours, not including a few parts runs. It was definitely a lot of work, but I think the increase in safety and convenience is worth it.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 12:50:54 AM by ak-angler »
1985 Sea Ranger 17 Skiff Top with 2012 Suzuki DF90A

2007 Cape Cruiser Marinaut 26 with twin 2006 Honda BF90's

Offline Chuck Jones

Re: Rewiring project
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2012, 11:11:55 AM »
Although of paramount importance....safety aside....just opening that back compartment, or looking behind the helm and seeing all that wiring bundled  and bifurcated so neat, organized, labeled, and set with the correct fuses so you can find them....is almost orgasmic....(is that a real word?)  I don't know if my knees and back could handle almost a week's worth of time, effort, and bending and reaching into small recesses, nooks and crannies like you did.  I think I'm going to bring up your pictures once in a while, stare at them,  and vicariously admire "my work".  It's going to fall into the category of ....One of these days I'm going to.......

One thing I am going to do as suggested...is pull the fuses I can find and make up a box with all the various amps, sizes, and configurations so that if one does blow, I at least have a replacement.  Now finding WHICH ONE blew is another matter.  eventually making up a list or diagram of what you can find and what it goes to (pull it and see what doesn't work) is a worthy enterprise.  I didn't know that these boats didn't have marine wiring.....very surprising given the great build and reputation they have.
(91) 19' Sea Ranger HT....SOLD 5/2013
(07) 21' Sea Ranger HT.....SOLD 3/2014
(05) 21' Design Concepts ...4/20/14

I often have silent thoughts in my head, but sometimes I worry about what they're thinking