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  #1  
Old 03-28-2010
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Two switches for the same device???

Hi All...

This is the spring that the boat gets rewired, which is desperately needed. The batteries are from WalMart, there is no charger, there are two DC panels, one with fuses and the other breakers and worst of all, wires just run every which way like a giant rats nest.

I'm fairly handy with electrical, although I know nothing about marine electrical. I can get this done myself, with a little advice here and there ;-)

One thing I would like to do is to have a small panel of six switches in the cockpit for controlling important things that need to be switched while underway. For example, during evening races in the fall at some point, you have to switch the running lights on, and sending a crew member below is a pain. I would like these same things also controlled from the master panel down below. And, I would like the current meter on that master panel to account for all the current through both panels.

Off the top of my head I can think of two ways to accomplish this in most situations.

First, simply put two switches in parallel. This has two disadvantages I can think of. Both switches need to be off for the device to go off. Second, this would add a second breaker in parallel with the first, doubling the rating. So if there are two breakers in parallel and each is 15A, then I think I have now a 30A circuit. Not sure if that is really an issue.

Second, I could use SPDT switches to create a "three way" system like many of us have in our houses. Like in your living room, which might have a light switch at each door opposite each other that control the same light. What I am wondering is if this can be done so that the indicator light on the panel still works properly, and also, what about the second breaker?

I ordered a Blue Sea A series panel, because I saw on their web site that they have a variety of DPST, SPDT and I think even a DPDT switch available for those panels.

Of course there is then the complication of controlling the OGM masthead light, but I'll tackle that later :-(

Any ideas are appreciated, thank you!
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Old 03-28-2010
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Sounds overly complicated to me for something that not that big a "pain".
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Old 03-28-2010
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you could do the 3 way system pretty easy. and making the light work at one end would be easy but both end could be done its just more wires.

in the boat put in a single pole double throw switch at both ends. in the boat a positive wire to the common, then run a 3 conductor wire to the cockpit switch. then in the cockpit put another spdt switch with the common going to the lights or what ever you want to run. the 3 wires running back and forth are simple, 2 connect to the other contacts on the switches at both ends. the third wire is the ground to the light, then run a 2 wire from the cockpit switch to the light. the indicator light will connect to the ground and the common of the cockpit switch.

this will give you a functioning 3 way system with indicator in the cockpit. but its a lot of wiring.

if you want an indicator at both ends you will need to run a 4 th wire back to the inside panel.

so now every light has 4 wires going back and forth, and the lights all have to be rewired to come from the cockpit.

what i would do is to put a "running" light panel in the cockpit, being feed from the stock panel in the boat. anytime the cockpit panel has power the indicator on the inside panel would be lit. then you just control each light from the cockpit, with a "master" on and off inside
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Old 03-29-2010
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It's possible but way too complicated. You would need a waterproof switch panel in the cockpit as well. I would install the switches just inside the companionway to port where they can be reached from the cockpit. Less money, less wire, less to go wrong.
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Old 03-29-2010
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Thanks everyone...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
you could do the 3 way system pretty easy. and making the light work at one end would be easy but both end could be done its just more wires.
Actually, the watertight panel for the cockpit has no indicator lights, so that part of the problem is easily solved ;-) I'm not super concerned about this, since everything I want to control from the cockpit is easily seen on deck. well, okay, not in broad daylight I guess, but still, I can live without indicator lights in the cockpit.

Here is the panel I ordered:

Product Documents for WeatherDeck™ Water Resistant Circuit Breaker Panel 6 Position - White - PN 4386 - Blue Sea Systems

Still, I would prefer to find a water tight panel that has just switches, no breakers or fuses, that I can mount the switches in. I'll look more tomorrow.

I'm not concerned about the wiring, since the main panel won't be far from the cockpit panel. Almost everything being controlled is a LED, so most of the wire need be only light gauge.

Thanks for the tips!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
It's possible but way too complicated. You would need a waterproof switch panel in the cockpit as well. I would install the switches just inside the companionway to port where they can be reached from the cockpit. Less money, less wire, less to go wrong.
Sorry to change the subject a bit, but that picture could easily be of my boat. If I still had my plaid cushions, I could easily mistake it for my boat. I checked your profile and I see you don't own a Scampi. Is this a picture of your boat? If so, Who made your boat?
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Last edited by jarcher; 03-29-2010 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 03-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
what i would do is to put a "running" light panel in the cockpit, being feed from the stock panel in the boat. anytime the cockpit panel has power the indicator on the inside panel would be lit. then you just control each light from the cockpit, with a "master" on and off inside
This is a great idea, maybe I'll just do it this way, thanks. That would also fix the complication with the OGM light at the masthead. Given this, perhaps I should get a cockpit panel with indicator lights ;-)
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Last edited by jarcher; 03-29-2010 at 01:04 AM.
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WeatherDeck™ Waterproof Fuse Panels - Blue Sea Systems

this is the blue sea water proof panel, it even has separate illumination back lighting. this could be used as the "indicator" that power is on that you can see from the cockpit, and each one lights separately, red off green on and no color for a blown fuse. you said ogm mast light, if that is a tri color they even sell double switches for that panel so you can set one switch to select anchor or tricolor, you just need to have a mast head main switch. if it is a steaming light with deck light ( steaming light by CG regs is called a mast head ) then its just 2 switchs

to size the feed just add up all the wattages on the leds and add 25 %. that panel does have blade type fuses but you would only need 5 amp fuses if everything is led.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
WeatherDeck™ Waterproof Fuse Panels - Blue Sea Systems

this is the blue sea water proof panel, it even has separate illumination back lighting. this could be used as the "indicator" that power is on that you can see from the cockpit, and each one lights separately, red off green on and no color for a blown fuse.
I ordered a 6 position, white, circuit breaker one of these earlier today.

Using the red vs green as an on/off indicator is a great idea. From reading the docs I thought I could choose red or green and that this was always on as a backlit label. Do I have to modify it to work with the color as an indicator or is it designed that way?

Quote:
you said ogm mast light, if that is a tri color they even sell double switches for that panel so you can set one switch to select anchor or tricolor,
My OGM is the tri color / anchor / strobe model. For anyone reading who does not know, it is fed by three wires, a common negative and two positives. If you power one of the positives, the tri-color goes on. If you power the other, the anchor goes on. If you power both at the same time, the strobe goes on.

Blue Sea has a SPDT on their web site for this panel, so I could push it one way for tri-color and the other way for anchor. I then need a second switch for the strobe that sends +12VDC up both wires at the same time. That turns off the tri-color and flashes the white anchor light.

I ordered a six switch panel, so I'll probably wire the OGM anchor and tri-color in teh cockpit, since they are the same switch. I'll put the least important part inside. That's the strobe ;-) Yeah, I know, I suppose I should make it easy to get to. But heck, the VHF with the big red panic button is below, so why not put the strobe below too!

Quote:
you just need to have a mast head main switch. if it is a steaming light with deck light ( steaming light by CG regs is called a mast head ) then its just 2 switchs
Yes, one switch each for mast head light and deck light.

I probably will have the following switches in the cockpit:

1 - Deck level running lights
2 - Tricolor at mast head / Anchor light
3 - Masthead (steaming) light
4 - Foredeck (spreader) light
5 - Instrument lights
6 - TBD (probably I'll save it for when I install cockpit lights)

If I ever need another switch, I'll just wire the instrument lights to always be on or move them below. They use so little power I might just wire them to always be on anyhow.

On a side note, I may just figure out a way to have the mast head light come on whenever the engine is running. There is no down side to this, since the engine will be making power. I would still have a switch, but then I can move it below since in theory i should never need to get to it.

Quote:
to size the feed just add up all the wattages on the leds and add 25 %. that panel does have blade type fuses but you would only need 5 amp fuses if everything is led.
The masthead and foredeck lights are halogen, I'll have to look up to see what their current draw is. Probably not much. The instrument lights in the displays and the compass are tiny. Everything else is LED.

The big panel inside comes with 15A breakers, that should be fine to feed this panel.

Thanks again!
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it looks like the fuse panel one definitely has the switch change the color, i dont think the breaker one does. you might want to check it out when you get it.

now sense most of your stuff is led and will pull way less than 15 amps you might want to think about using the fused panel. as it would be very pricey to change all the breakers to smaller ones, as you wont need any where near 15 amps for most of the light.

edit wire the instrument lights to the running lights, as when ever you need them you will need both
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