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The Pros and Cons of Wiring a Boat for 12 or 24 Volts

If weight is a major concern on your boat, or if the vessel size requires long cable runs, there is always the option of wiring your boat for 24 volts. With a higher voltage, the currents pulled by the various electronics are much smaller and hence the cables only need to be...

Your Chassis Ground Connection: NOT Your Negative Connection

This article demonstrates the risks of doing DC wiring aboard a boat without understanding how the whole DC and AC electrical system work together. In particular, let us examine the chassis ground connection. Knowing about these situations is important so you can maintain your boat properly and also for your personal safety.

Protecting Your Boat From Galvanic Corrosion

Protecting your boat from various external elements is crucial in the long run. Our boats are made of many processed materials that want to return to their normal state by undergoing electrochemical processes - in other words, these materials want to corrode. Galvanic corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals, for example copper and steel, are connected and submersed in an electrolyte (water) - this creates an electric charge.

Does your Reverse Polarity Light Work?

Reverse polarity indicators on the AC panel are a safety device. They can tell you if the dock power has been wired correctly or backwards. By the ABYC code (American Boat and Yacht Council), every boat should have one unless all your breakers are double pole (most are single).

Is Your Boat Wired to Melt?

On a client's boat recently, we saw that the wiring was chaotic to say the least. But take a closer look at the two 3 conductor 14 AWG AC wires which go up to the main DC distribution panel.

Is Your Charger Switch Properly Wired?

I was recently on a boat that had a battery switch near the house battery bank. The battery bank, inverter, and house feed wire were all going to the battery switch. For about five minutes I couldn't even figure out what it did, until I pulled it off the wall and looked where the wires were leading.

Little Mistakes, Big Problems

Sometimes the quality of a manufacturer's vessel is only as good as its workers. Let us look at some mistakes that must be corrected as soon as possible so that your boating experience is not disturbed by unnecessary problems.

Using an Automotive Circuit Tester? Remember This

An automotive circuit tester looks like a pointed screwdriver with a wire and battery clamp on the end. The idea is that you clamp the wire to the battery ground and use the sharp point of the screwdriver to pierce a wire to see if it has 12 volts, which causes the handle to light up.

The Importance of Proper Wire Colours

The other day PYS was sent to troubleshoot a boat that had recently changed marinas. At the new marina, the dockside shore power breaker tripped every time the boat was plugged in; however, they had had no problems at the past marina. The vessel was a small sailboat with only 3 AC circuits so there wasn't a lot to troubleshoot.

Bad Connections: Too Many Ring Terminals

How are elementary school jokes related to marine electrical? Let's find out! Q: "How many feet are in a yard?" A: "It depends on how many people are standing in it." Or, in this case, "how many connectors can I put on a battery stud?" Your answer to this second question should not be "as many as will fit."

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