Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion - SailNet Community
 
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Question Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

Hi Folks,

Last fall I purchased a 1991 Pearson 27 and while getting it ready to go in the water this year, I decided to try to understand how the battery system is connected. While going through everything I ran into a bit of an issue that I don't understand and I am hoping someone here could shed some light on it.

Firstly some background:
1. The boat has a Westerbeke 12B Two marine diesel. The Westerbeke website has the technical manual for the engine that includes a wiring schematic. I would post the link but I don't yet have enough posts on the site.
2. Everything appears to work fine. The engine starts and during the purchase I had it out on the water for several hours.
3. I don't have very much experiance with electrical systems so please excuse my ignorance.

I have attached a diagram of the system as I see it and two pictures showing the battery switch and what is visible of the starter.

Finally, the problem.

It appears that the wire from the common post on the battery switch is connected to the negative post on the casing of the starter. While there is another wire that is connected from the positive (near the solenoid) post on the starter to the negative on battery 1.

In the starter picture, you can see a thick red wire attaching to the starter near the alternator. This wire comes in from the battery switch as can be seen in the switch picture. In that picture you see a thick red wire going through the opening into the engine compartment. In the starter picture you can also see 3 wires connected to what looks like the solenoid part of the starter. The wires are green, brown and a thick black one underneath them. This thick black wire is connected to the negative post on battery 1.

My questions are:
1. If this is the correct way of wiring the system what am I missing? It is very difficult to see the starter so am making the wrong assumptions in terms of the posts? I have not been able to see a picture of the starter anywhere. When I look at the schematic it appears that the positive post is near the solenoid while the negative post (battery return on the schematic) is off on its own attached to the casing of the starter. Is the alternator involved in this somehow that I am not seeing?

2. If this is not the correct way why does everything appear to work correctly?

Thank you for your time.

Will
Attached Thumbnails
dc_electrical_system.jpg   battery_switch.jpg   starter.jpg  

Last edited by thron; 04-08-2013 at 10:24 PM. Reason: spacing
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-08-2013
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Re: Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

Welcome to sailnut by the way.

If it starts, runs, does not catch on fire and the alternator still works then your engine wiring is likely just fine. You must have the pos/neg terminals on the starter reversed somehow.

Components external to the engine block (water pump, alt., starter motor, heat exchanger etc.) can vary somewhat to what might be shown in your Westerbleak manual.

Since you are interested in the wiring, do you feel it needs to be re-wired in a more organized fashion?

Most previous owner wiring modifications create a bit of a mess of spaghetti, if there are enough components in all the circuits.

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post #3 of 7 Old 04-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

Hi,

The plan is to eventually add a starting battery and properly configure the system to use a Off/On/Combined switch with an ACR. I don't like having my house bank also be the starting bank.

The previous owner didn't do any cruising and I think spent a total of 1 night on the hook in the 7 years that he owned the boat.

My plan is to spend up to several weeks cruising the North Channel.

I think I will tackle that upgrade in the fall to get ready for next year.

I'll try to get a much better look at the starter when I am up this weekend.

Thanks,

W
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by thron View Post
Hi,

The plan is to eventually add a starting battery and properly configure the system to use a Off/On/Combined switch with an ACR. I don't like having my house bank also be the starting bank.

The previous owner didn't do any cruising and I think spent a total of 1 night on the hook in the 7 years that he owned the boat.

My plan is to spend up to several weeks cruising the North Channel.

I think I will tackle that upgrade in the fall to get ready for next year.

I'll try to get a much better look at the starter when I am up this weekend.

Thanks,

W
This thread may be of some help to you..

1/2/Both Switch Thoughts & Musings

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-Maine Sail / CS-36T


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post #5 of 7 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

And these, too

OEM 1-2-B Switch Wiring History Alternator/Batteries & "The Basic" 1-2-B Switch BEST Wiring Diagrams

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings - SailboatOwners.com

The last one may be a repeat of MS's last post.

Stu Jackson, C34, 1986, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

Considering it is a Westerbeke, and WB painted everything red after final assembly, do not presume that any red cable or red terminal is in fact a positive terminal or cable. It might just be "Westerbeked".

Your diagram looks pretty typical, so I'd suggest go back, take a slow look, get a little inspection mirror if you can't see under something, and also a $20 multimeter which will let you actually confirm where power is going, and whether it is positive or negative.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-13-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Westerbeke 12B Battery/Starter Wiring Confusion

Hi,

I'd like to report some good news. After going up to the boat today I took a much closer look at what is going on with that wire and it appears to be wired correctly. I had to do a lot of acrobatics to get a good look but all is well.

Yes, I am not sure what the benefit of everything being painted red is.

Also it was very depressing having to close my companionway hatch because it was snowing so hard! Is it ever going to warm up!?

Thanks for all the links and advice.

W
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