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Thread: Wiring

  1. #1

    Default Wiring

    Ok, I am confused......I am in the process of replacing my 2 nav lights......unhooked old installed new....I also wanted to add a set of docking lights......thought I had everything hooked up correctly.....new nav lights cam on....went to hit the switch for the new dock lights and nothing. So I undid both sets of lights and wanted to start from scratch. tried to hook up 1 nav light to the wires and it will not lite. Took the nav light to the console took my meter and found a molex plug that gave me 12v. Ok so I put the wires into the plug and nothing......if I put the same wires to the ign switch power terms it lights....WTH is going on!!.....why does it lite off the ign sw power and not off the other 12v source? HELP!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    281

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    Not sure exactly what you've got, but go back to first principles. Did the molex plug give you power with the ignition switch in both the "on" & "off" positions, or only when "on?" If it is hot in both positions, check your ground. My DC power system has a bus bar (where the fuses are) & a negative bar which is just a common gang where all the gauges & lighted switches on the panel get to ground, you may have a wire off there. Your nav & dock lights, being mounted far from the panel may not have a negative wire returning to the switches if they get grounded to the ship's frame/body, making a return negative wire unnecessary. You're just completing a circle: Pos to switch to light to Neg (Grd).

    Do one system at a time. Get the nav lights working first. Then go to the dock light switch. It has its own separate power wire, not just tapped off the same (+) wire as the nav lights, correct? Is that wire hot when the ign switch is Off? If no, find a different power source on the bus bar, one that is hot with the ign off & with a big enough fuse & use it. Then check the outlet side of the dock light switch for power. If good, check to be sure power is coming out of that wire where it runs to the light. If good, is there power coming out of the light itself? If yes, ground the light with a jumper wire to the ship's frame/body & the light should be on. Anywhere that should be Pos/hot but isn't means there's an open circuit immediately upstream. Use a jumper wire to bypass a suspected bad wire or switch to verify the wire, switch or connection is bad & there's your open. Basically you're just chasing a spark from the bus bar (+) to Grd (-), completing a circle. Hope this helps.
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

  3. #3

    Default

    That is great info!. I will run thru the diag steps and see what I get. It should not be that hard....just need to step back and do one thing at a time like you said. Thanks again!. I will post my results.

  4. #4

    Default

    Ok had about an hour to do some quick diags.
    So i grab a meter. Boat ignition off. I measure a red wire and black wire off the same female molex plug. I get 12v , So im thinking i am good. Not!
    I hook up a nav lite which i have in my hand and it does not lite...same connection i got the 12v won't lite the lite.
    So now i am totally stumped...so now i go straight to the back of the boat and hook up the lite right off the pos and neg terms and it lights! Am i losing my mind? Uggg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Denver, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,468

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    Are you trying to install LED lights? Try swapping the wires.
    Carl & Suzi
    Denver,NC
    2007 Bennington 2275rl tri-toon
    150 Honda 15x15p Enertia
    Power assisted steering
    Beautiful Lake Norman
    Pleiku Vietnam 1971
    Agent Orange

  6. #6

    Default

    No, just regular lights

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    281

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    It could be that the voltage you're getting at the plug is residual, like from a capacitor, the radio or something else & has almost no amperage. Just enough power to register voltage, but not enough to use. It could be coming from the ground wire (back-feeding), again as residual voltage with little power. Check the black wire at the plug to a known ground & see if that wire was giving you the voltage reading. Did you try the nav light on the 12v power at the plug, but using a known good ground, not the black wire on the plug? If the light does not light this way, that's low amperage (residual) voltage. Make sure you have a known ground, run a long jumper wire directly from the negative post of the ship's battery if you have to. On some electrical systems I've seen, a component might have useful voltage & the switch completes the circuit to ground. (Electrically that will work just as well, the only trouble is more of the circuit is always energized, leaving it more susceptible to a short in case something unforeseen should occur.)

    In an unrelated electrical matter, when removing or installing a battery, the negative terminal should be removed first & hooked up last. It's a good practice to fall into since if your wrench slips when removing or installing the positive cable & gets grounded (other than on the negative terminal/cable) you won't cause a really wicked spark. Like a spot-welding type spark.
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

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