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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 04-20-2012
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What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

Hi, I'm in the process of figuring out all the wiring on my boat, tracing wires, checking connections etc. But I have a few questions. The starboard locker in which my battery belongs has two connectors for the positive and negative terminals, obviously, but I'm curious about something...each connector has two wires connected, the negative connector has a black and white wire, and the positive connector has a red and green wire, out of curiosity, why is this so and what purpose does it serve having two wires per terminal ?

This leads me to my next question, those four wires (black, white, & red, green) all lead from the battery, under the cockpit and to the port side locker to a small unit mounted inside the locker wall (pictured). As you can see, the aforementioned wires all connect to this "splitter" looking device on the left side of the unit (the top most grey wire is spliced to the red wire). On the right side of the said "splitter" are seperate wires that run ahead to the cabin and are split between a D/c outlet and the fuse box. My question is, what is that "splitters" purpose and why do the wires lead to it, before they run to the cabin ?
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

Looks like a simple terminal block to me.. perhaps misused as it has AC labeling (L1/L2) that would be meaningless if indeed attached to your 12VDC batteries.

I'd say it's just a wiring junction, the wrong wire colours have been used, and it was intended for another application (doesn't mean it won't 'work')
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

hmm, is there any reason someone would send the wires from the starboard side to port just so they can be junctioned before leading to the cabin ? You said "misused", but is there any reason to feel it is unsafe ?
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

some one used an AC terminal block for sure. The reason (guessing) they ran 2 sets of wires is to get away from running one large wire. what it was used for? anyone's guess. Maybe a 12 volt refrigerator? External batter charger? What ever it was, it's worthless and potentially dangerous since someone may think it's 120 volt and do something really stupid.
Gotta love the taped wires too! NOT!
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

Black, white, and green are the three usual colors in US 120V AC wiring. Green for ground, black for hot, white for neutral.

And if it is part of the AC wiring it shouldn't be running to the battery.

You might want to double check that and see where the other ends run to. It they are not connected to anything--clean it all out. If they DO connect to something...that might help puzzle it out.
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

My electrical system is exclusively 12V. Once those four wires are led to the cabin they connect to a terminal block. Two wires go directly to a 12V outlet, the other two go to the battery switch and then to another terminal block before going to the fuse panel. I'm starting to get nervous about this system, shouldn't the 12V outlet have a fuse connected to it ? Thankfully I've only plugged a 100W inverter to this outlet with its own built in fuse, but I've heard they don't always work properly.
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

While what you have is not an example of good practice, at 12v it's not likely to be too dangerous - esp if this is just a re-purposed terminal block. The labeling is confusing, but that could be changed.

Ideally, however, this could/should be replaced with proper marine wiring and equipment; and one has to wonder if that particular junction is even necessary?
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

You could just peel the label off... there really is no difference between a 12v DC and 110vAC "terminal block"...
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

12v outlets should be fused, ;like anything else. But from the handy terminal block and the household AC wiring, I'd guess the PO grabbed what was handy.

Nervous...well, if it didn't burn down yet and you don't overload anything, it should be OK. At least until you can trace things out and do them up to a higher standard.

12v "cigar" lighter sockets come in a wide range of quality, some work very well. You can replace the wire with a proper run of red/black duplex wire (actually, yellow/red these days) and an inline fuse, or run things through a panel, as suits.
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Re: What is the purpose of this unit (picture) on my boat ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
12v outlets should be fused, ;like anything else. But from the handy terminal block and the household AC wiring, I'd guess the PO grabbed what was handy.

Nervous...well, if it didn't burn down yet and you don't overload anything, it should be OK. At least until you can trace things out and do them up to a higher standard.

12v "cigar" lighter sockets come in a wide range of quality, some work very well. You can replace the wire with a proper run of red/black duplex wire (actually, yellow/red these days) and an inline fuse, or run things through a panel, as suits.
The first thing I'd like to do, as you say, is run the duplex to the 12V socket with a fuse inline, as I see that link being the weakest of weak links in my electrical system. While I'm at it I'm going to get a new higher quality socket. Is there a standard maximum draw these cigar lighter sockets supply, or does it depend on the make ? Some quick research keeps showing me 15a at 12v.
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