Boat Wiring Help and Advice

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For your reference, we offer boat wiring information about everything from shorepower installation to wire gauge calculations to standard boat wiring colors. To find the info that you need, just use the search box.

Or, if you need more specific information about a project, we offer free boat wiring help from Kevin Hannula, one of the industry’s most respected marine electrical geeks nerds authorities.

If you aren’t able to find the information that you need, please send an email to info@boatwiring.org

Lingering Light

Boat Wiring Guys,

I put in new VHF radio into my sailboat. The installation seemed to be successful except...

Now when I turn off the marine electrical panel switch for the VHF, the green light from the breaker goes out but not right away, slowly turning off in about half a second.

Is there any problem with this? Did I screw something up?

Thanks

Hi,

It is not a problem.

The light in the switch gets power when the output side of the switch has power. The residual light is caused by a capacitive charge that is in the VHF radio. This capacitor in the radio helps with noise and voltage spikes but will give the appearance of voltage on the power wire which makes the light stay on.

Hope this helps

Accessory Assessment

Hey guys,

The guys at Manitou gave me your contact info last year for a boat wiring question. You solution worked out perfectly. Now I have another question that I'm hoping you can answer for me.

2005 Manitou pontoon boat

On my 2006 Manitou Aurora, I have a switch that is wired up and it says Acc on it.

My question is...

Is this switch basically just a spare switch that I can use or does it do something with the panel that I'm not aware of? I would like to wire up my depth sounder to it but I want to make sure I don't screw anything up first.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.

Hi,

The options that the switch could control would be very obvious: livewell pump, courtesy lights, etc. It probably does nothing and is just a blank.

The easiest way to answer this question is to look at the back of the switch. There should be 3 terminals on it.

  • Top right - ground for light inside of switch
  • Middle left - power into switch
  • Lower left - power to item
If the lower left terminal is open or has a short wire that leads to an open connector, then you should be all set to connect your depth sounder here.

Hope this helps,

Kevin

Finding Fuses

Kevin,

Thank you for all of the great pontoon boat wiring info that you publish. It makes for great reading and a lot better understanding of how to keep these wonderful boats running.

My question is probably too simple for you to answer, but I could really use your help...

Tahoe Pontoon Boat

Where is the fuse box on a 2003 23 foot Tahoe pontoon boat? I have searched and searched, but can't find the thing!

Thanks again.

Hi,

Thank you for the kind words. It's really gratifying to hear that I am able to help.

As for your question. On most pontoons, the fuse panel is inside the helm station.

Good luck,

Kevin

Dead Outlet

Kevin,

Pontoon boat wiring is definitely not my strong suit. Could you please help me sort this one out?

Marine electrical 12 volt outlet

I was using the 12 volt outlet in my pontoon boat to power a Dc to AC power inverter.

I turned it on, then plugged in a small string of LED strip lights, and it worked fine. Then tried a larger set, my inverter beeped and then the lights went out. With a different power supply, the lights still work, but the 12 volt accessory outlet is dead.

What can I do to make the 12 volt outlet work again? What went wrong?

Thank you for your time,

Harold.

Hi Harold,

It sounds like you blew the fuse for the 12 volt receptacle. Check the fuse panel and you will find the problem

Kevin