Melting AC

Hi Kevin

I purchased an old 1989 cruiser, a Regal 280 Commodore, and tripped the 20 amp dockside breaker while using a hatch a/c unit and an electric kettle. I have 30 amp service in the boat.

I reset the breaker and then the AC electric system worked for a few minutes and then went dead. Neither the dockside breaker nor onboard breaker tripped, but we smelled a burning smell. I immediately unplugged the AC system and looked behind the AC panel.

At the main breaker switch where the shore power comes in, I found the white wires melted and melting damage to the black wires. I can fix all the wires, but there is also some sort of capacitor that was wired as a jumper between the green and white wires and it is not in the wiring diagram of the boat. It looks like it has been burned out. I want to know what to replace it with, and then if this overall problem is something that points to the result of another problem or if it may have been some old wires getting warm and then touching.

I can replace everything as it was once I know what to put between the black and green wires, but don’t want to do that and then plug it in if there may be other issues that need addressing.

Thanks for your help.


The only connection in your panel between the neutral and ground would be a reverse polarity indicator. Instead of a light, some boats have an alarm. Some of the piezoelectric alarms look like capacitors.

Hope this helps


Dead Outlet


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,


Hi Harold,

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


Neutra Salt Installation

Hi Kevin,

I bought a used Volvo Penta Neutra Salt system. It did not come with instructions for the boat wiring.

It seems fairly easy to hookup, but I’m wondering the best way to hook up to a power source. The + wire has an inline fuse, with a round connector on the end – looks like to hook up to the ignition switch? This system only needs to work with the engine running, so that’s why I’m thinking it goes to the ignition switch. I can’t find any info anywhere as to how to hookup…any help would be appreciated.

Thank you


Here is a .pdf of the installation instructions. There seem to be loads of discussions about this system on the web. You may want to check some of them out.


Can’t Stop This Thing


I have a Crusader engine that was built in 2000 with an odd problem. The boat’s key switch will not shut off the engine and the main boat battery switch will also not shut it off.

The key swtich has been changed three times but the problem remains. I have disconnected all boat wiring add-ons. The manufacturer says check all grounds.

Will a new alternator solve the problem? The alternator has a large orange wire and a small black wire and it seems to charge properly

Thank you for any help.


Hi Stephan,

It is possible that the alternator is bad, but before replacing it, I would check for an accidental short between the ignition feed wire (usually red/purple) and the ignition wire (usually purple). The purple wire supplies power to the ignition system on the engine.

  • With the key switch off, check for 12v power on the Ignition post on the key switch.
  • Chase down the purple wire through the boat harness to the engine harness.

It is also possible that the alternator sense wire (purple ignition power) is either touching the alternator output or something has happened internally to the alternator and these to posts are internally connected.

Good luck,


Pontoon Boat Trailer Wiring


I am confused about rewiring my pontoon boat trailer.

There are four wires on a 50 foot roll, brown/white/green/yellow.

If you split the wiring and run green and yellow down the right side then the brown and white down the left side…

  • Green wire is the stop-turn signal wire
  • Boat trailer connector

  • Yellow is the left turn & stop
  • Brown is supposed to be for markers that wire is down the right side
  • How about the left side markers and where do they go? Across to the brown on the other side.
  • If white is supposed to be ground, why not a ground on the right side?

Sorry these trailers have me confused.

Please help.


Hi John,

Some trailer wiring harnesses are more “V” shaped. The base of the V is at the plug. The right leg of the V has the green and brown wire and the left left has the yellow and a second brown. The white usually connects at the tongue of the trailer and the trailer frame is used as a ground.

Your 50′ reel will require some splicing to make it work. Keep in mind that your previous wiring probably failed at the connection points so multiple connections into this one will probably have the same result in a couple years.

I would consider running the four leads down the right side of the trailer.

  • At the right tail light, connect the green directly
  • Cut the brown and connect it to the tail light along with the brown in the four wire harness and the brown for the right side light, and cut the wire and connect it to the tail light ground along with the white wire in the four wire harness.
  • Continue running the four wire (now 3) to the left tail light.
  • At the left light, connect the yellow and white wires directly then connect the brown with tail light and the left side light wire.

If you want to ensure a good ground for the side lights, you may want to run a ground from them to the grounds at the tail lights. Use heat shrink butt connectors. If they are not available, crimp the connections and then cover them with adhesive lined shrink tube.

The connections are the points where the wiring will fail. If you keep them to a minimum and make a quality connection, it should last.

Hope this helps,