Very Basic DC Wiring Question - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 04-15-2010
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Question Very Basic DC Wiring Question

As the new owner of a 30 year old Vagabond 17, I decided to try getting the long dormant electrical system to work. After looking through the masses of wiring (all black), corroded connectors, and occasional lamp wire connections, I figured a complete rewire is necessary and not too difficult on that size boat. All that is involved is a marine battery, 6 fuse panel, nav lights, bilge pumps, etc. BTW - I use an electric trolling motor for alt propulsion.

My question (finally) is: considering the simplicity of the system and my extremely limited understanding of electricity, is there any need for a "ground" or will the battery's negative terminal be all I need? The negative terminal is connected to the negative bus on the panel so all electrical items will be hooked directed to battery negative.

My brother is telling me I need to have a green "ground" wire connected to the keel or something similar. Thoughts from all of you much more experienced in this? Thanks in advance...
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Old 04-15-2010
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Ignore your brother. Get Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual and read the electrical section.

You will want to get the following:

A battery or two, depending if you want a house bank or not—I'd recommend having one for the lights/bilge pump and one for the motor.

A main battery switch—I'd suggest a BlueSea Dual Circuit Plus type switch so that you can turn on the electric trolling motor and the house bank for the lights at the same time.

Nav lights—preferably LED to keep the electrical draw down.

Bilge pumps

A six-switch Blue Sea WeatherDeck fused switch panel

Two primary fuse holders, one for each battery.

Marine grade wiring—I'd recommend ordering from Genuinedealz.com as they will crimp the battery terminals onto the wiring for you.

I would also recommend you read Maine Sail's post on terminating marine wiring. Located here.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djnestrick View Post

My brother is telling me I need to have a green "ground" wire connected to the keel or something similar. Thoughts from all of you much more experienced in this? Thanks in advance...
I'm sure brothers can be very useful but in this case a book would be better.
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Keep it simple: no inboard engine, then your battery negative IS the ground you're looking for. It's the ONLY one you have for 12V DC. Green ground is for AC power. Keep your brother, stop listening to him about boat wiring...
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I love clear, concise answers tyvm!
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Old 04-29-2010
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Me too. I'm still struggling with boat electrical. I'm ordering Nigel's book. Already have Don's.
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