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Old 07-30-2007
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Charging system questions

Hi everyone -

I am just getting started rebuilding my charging system after last week when I accidentally tried to charge both batteries at once and let the "magic smoke" out of my alternator and regulator.

The wires weren't up to spec with the length they were running, so I am gutting it all and replacing everything.

The engine is a johnson sail drive, 1978, with 15hp, model 15BEL I think. I have found a replacment alternator, but there are no wiring diagrams for my ship, and everything is grey, white, and one wire in there is red... (ARGH) another reason for re-wiring. Lucky me, everything is now located within 5 feet of the inboard engine, besides the two runs to battery banks now that I have pulled the engine electricals and consolidated them in one spot, so I don't have to disturb the crew sleeping if I were to have an emergency or electrical breakdown while out to sea.

My questions -

On the wiring - Can't I just have my alternator with a switch like the "on" terminal on the ignition to provide the 12V to the engine and field coil? The rest of the ship runs from the Battery Select switch to a large breaker panel.

After the alternator, is there a way I can get rid of the old regulator with relays in it (it is a wiring MESS!!!) and use a digital one?

Is there any forseeable problems wiring the Ground directly from the batteries to the engine/saildrive aithout going through a switch?

I've drawn up my own wiring diagrams for the ship, which I could attach if anyone is interested and it would help figure out how to wire up the new charging system.

My focus is to color code and simplify. There must be 100 extra wires in there running to and from old gauge panels, switches, breakers that are not there anymore, etc. This makes it really hard to find how to re-wire the old regulator back in, while holding a tester and stuffed into one of the rear berths in the summer heat. It's going to be basic - Battery switch to a "+" distribution block and then off to the various few components (one to the breaker panel, one to the starter switch, one to the bilge pump and radio), then finally splitting at the ignition switch off to the starter, engine gauges, alternator field coil, and cd player / stereo...

Thanks for any help with the regulator problem and any advice on how to wire in my new charging system!


Last edited by Lancer28; 07-30-2007 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 07-30-2007
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I was under the impression that charging the batteries on "ALL" was fine, although if one battery is older and holds less of a charge then the newer battery might not get fully charged.

What is the danger to systems, if at all, in charging on the "ALL" position?
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Old 07-30-2007
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"What is the danger to systems, if at all, in charging on the "ALL" position?"
None in particular. It sounds like Robert's system simply failed from old age while it was trying to put out full power, i.e. into the larger battery bank.

Robert, I would suggest contacting Johnson to see if they can locate some schematics for you. First to confirm if that is a generator, or an alternator, and then to find out what type. Once you know that you can wire it to an external regulator appropriately. (Yes, something modern that doesn't rely on a 1960's car did.) And determine how it can be wired up.
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