Join Date: Feb 2013
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Rewiring a 16' Hewescraft
My boat's wiring has been getting flakier and flakier so I decided to change things out. The mains switch was routed just to the engine. It took a hot lead from each battery in and the common out of the main switch went to the hot lead to the engine. The negative engine lead went to one battery ground and the grounds of both batteries were tied together.
That setup worked pretty well for the engine, but power for everything else was taken off just one of the batteries positive leads. That resulted in no ability to turn off everything and made all my accessory power being dependent on just that one battery. Another issue was where the switch was mounted. It was on the deck, underfoot... that positioned the connectors very close to the deck. I never saw issues when there was water on the deck, but it just never seemed like a good idea. I've found a new location for the switch. Up under cover and mounted to a side wall in the bilge.
My plan now is to route the accessory power off the mains switch common out. I bought a new mains switch yesterday, along with a 15' length of marine grade 8 gauge wire, some liquid tape, and a bunch of connectors.
So the only issue now is the ground that I supply to the front. I’m a little confused about how to do that. Currently, there is one 12 or 14 gauge hot wire that ran from the positive terminal of one battery and there were 3 smaller (14 or 16 gauge) wires connected to the negative terminal.
A friend suggested that I use the boat hull as ground. If I grok right, that would mean just running a wire that attaches to one of the major hunks of metal (probably a threaded stud and a ring connector would be pretty secure). But I’m confused about the circuit path at that point.
How are my batteries grounded in that scenario? I get the circuit path where current flows from the positive terminal, to a device, and back to the negative terminal. To complete the circuit I’ve described above, wouldn’t I have to connect my two negative battery terminals to the hull in order to complete the circuit? That seems like an odd way to do it to me; maybe dangerous, I'm in a little over my head at this point and looking for some "best practice" advice.
Looking forward to reliable power…. Soon