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Boat Wiring

9/28/17 @ 7:53 AM
ORIGNAL POST
Jared
Jared
User since 7/22/01

Anyone got a source of someone who does boat wiring?

I was sitting in the boat at camp (in the water) on Sunday. All switches, electronics, etc were turned off.

All of a sudden I see smoke coming from under the dash. A big plastic connector/wires were melting.

I go to disconnect the battery and burned myself (lesson learned). I used a wet rag and it was sizzling on the battery terminal. I tried to unscrew the wing nut and it just fell apart. Brand new battery as well.  How it didn't catch fire, I have no idea.

Anyways, so I am in need of some serious wiring now, prime time musky time.

Got any leads? I'm in Neenah.


Thanks.

DISPLAYING 1 TO 10 OF 14 POSTS
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10/3/17 @ 2:55 PM
mendota
MEMBER since 12/19/01

I agree that the connector was a weak link, not the root cause.  I would not even attempt to replace it, just do as BM12 suggested, after fixing the fault and installing a fuse.

The "weak link" is what really prevented a fire, otherwise the current likely would have been high enough to actually get something burning with an open flame.  Get a fuse in there....


10/3/17 @ 12:42 PM
BigMusky12
BigMusky12
User since 12/22/04

Jared - I am going to make a guess that connector was not source of problem and just weak spot that failed.   You can verify this with some wire nuts.  Just reconnect each of the wires with a wire nut, verify everything works fine before you take time to reconnect another 12 pin connector. 

10/1/17 @ 2:26 PM
Jared
Jared
User since 7/22/01

mendota - I clipped the connector since it is junk anyways. See attached pic.

That happened within minutes (less than) of when I noticed smoke. As far as I can tell, not one fuse (inline or cylindrical) was blown.

BigMusky12 - Thanks for the tips. I am going to all lock nuts in the boat for the batteries and am going to have a breaker wired in (like the trolling motor) so I can turn everything off when the boat is sitting. At least that way I will have some peace of mind that it's not going to burn my house down.

Muskie nut - Thanks for the info as well, I'll look into it, but the boat is a '95 so I'm not holding my breath.

9/30/17 @ 6:07 PM
muskie nut
muskie nut
User since 6/26/01

I'm unsure what kind of boat you have , but you may be able to get an entire new wiring harness from the maker.

When I got my Tuffy I added a rear casting deck and I wanted to bring the gauges out from under the deck, where I could see them, I asked Tuffy and they sent me a harness for their counsel model which was way too long but I shorten it up and soldered the splices. 

9/29/17 @ 3:35 PM
BigMusky12
BigMusky12
User since 12/22/04

I dont use wing nuts and have gone to lock nuts.  if the wing nut loosens, especially on trolling motor that can create some problems.  

you may want to consider re settable break on batter terminal instead of a fuse.  From there you should have some main leads that go to fuse panel and then distributes to other items.  

if the issue was with your motor wiring harness - those are typically not fused and I am not sure the best way to even accomplish that.    

9/29/17 @ 11:20 AM
mendota
MEMBER since 12/19/01

Post pics of whatever you can behind the dash, I'm curious what kind of "connector" you found.

9/29/17 @ 10:33 AM
Jared
Jared
User since 7/22/01

Thanks for the input guys.

Island - the wing nut was tightened with a wrench, not sure if it came loose or what, but it was more than "finger tight". I burned myself in a hurry as to hopefully not have a fire.


Mendota - Thanks for the info, there is significant damage under the dash. I ended up clipping the connector (10-15 wires) in an attempt to stop the fire/melting. There is an inline fuse (10A)  for the depth finder, but nothing else. The large gauge wires run to a "junction" of about 6 or 7 fuses for the dash.


9/29/17 @ 8:45 AM
mendota
MEMBER since 12/19/01

There should be a fuse on the positive post of that battery, on a large-gauge wire going to your dash.  But there isn't, or this would not have happened.  Make sure you get one installed, of the appropriate rating for that wire.  I recommend automotive blade types, rather than the cylindrical types.

You have a dead short in your wiring up under the dash, likely due to a loose wire hitting the wrong spot.  It should be pretty easy to locate; it will be part of the melted mess.  Remove / fix that, then assess damages from there.  Once the positive lead from the battery is properly fused, and you have plenty of spare fuses, you can safely connect the battery and see what still works or not.....

9/28/17 @ 8:49 PM
Islandpoint69
Islandpoint69
User since 12/17/16
Jared the wing nut is a big problem,never use those because they come loose.use a regular nut and tighten it with a wrench.when you have a loose ground it creates super high resistance in the circuit.then you create a tremendous amount of heat or fire.did the outboard motor run after that happened?hopefully you only cooked some boat accessories wiring and not any mercury wiring harnesses.you might just get away with replacing that starting battery and a couple wires going to the fuse panel.if you get lucky hope you do if not hit me up on the interwebs.that boat will be OK to work on not to complicated.be careful turning things on because it could start a fire if you still have shorts or exposed wiring.keep a extinguisher on board.boats and fire and gas don't mix at all.be safe.

9/28/17 @ 5:43 PM
Jared
Jared
User since 7/22/01

BigMusky,

Everything has a fuse (as far as I know), that's what I don't understand. Never blew a single one. The whole dash has fuses on everything (bilge, livewell, horn, lights, etc) and there are inlines as well for the depth finder and what not. 

I don't know how it got to be that hot without blowing a single fuse.

Island, the wiring is all buried. It's a 1995 Starcraft 17' Deep V. Pic attached.

DISPLAYING 1 TO 10 OF 14 POSTS
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