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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-25-2012 01:12 AM
Re: Electrical system install

Use the terminal with a nut. Stack the terminals as you will only have 2 or 3 including bilge pump probably - up to 4 is considered ok. I like to keep it to one connection per post, going to a bus and from there branching out, but it is necessary on larger boats with more connections.

The other solution is to put the connections on a powerpost like below and run only one to each battery. They aren't very expensive and you only need a 1/4" one.
03-25-2012 01:00 AM
Re: Electrical system install

Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
If the panel you are buying is from Blue Seas they come with good instructions. Below is an example showing a 6 circuit Weatherdeck fuse panel.

As far as wire termination there is no better site than this: Marine Wire Termination Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at
Thanks man, you rock.
Another question. On deep cycle battery terminals, you have two spots to connect connectors on each terminal, a fat one like on a car battery and a small one to attach with a nut.
You have an incoming charging run, and an outgoing load run. Can both of these be on the same spot on the battery terminal, just stacked on top of one another, or is there any reason to separate them and put say the charging on the small bit and the load on the big one?
03-25-2012 12:17 AM
Re: Electrical system install

If the panel you are buying is from Blue Seas they come with good instructions. Below is an example showing a 6 circuit Weatherdeck fuse panel.

As far as wire termination there is no better site than this: Marine Wire Termination Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at
03-25-2012 12:04 AM
Re: Electrical system install

Ah okay. Thanks. That's good news.
Any idea of any web sites that lay the basic principles out dummy simple?
Scary thing...I actually have a degree in engineering. Just not the type that deals in electrical.
03-24-2012 11:33 PM
Re: Electrical system install

No, not the keel bolts. On an outboard powered boat the system floats, the battery negative is your ground point.

I would also float the AC system, and not connect the AC ground to the DC ground as it serves no purpose.
03-24-2012 11:26 PM
Re: Electrical system install

I appreciate everyone's input. I've started collecting components, read what I can find on the Internet which honestly isn't much for a person pretty ignorant to 12v.
Big question though, what can I ground the battery to? Or do I need to? Its a small fiberglass boat with no inboard so there is no big hunk of metal to ground to.
Keel bolts maybe?
03-17-2012 09:09 AM
Re: Electrical system install

I completely rewired my 28 footer with 14 circuits. I had never done any boat wiring before so I was VERY inefficient (slow and thoughtful) time-wise. I spent probably 12 hours on study, design and ordering parts & materials and another 37 hours actually on the job... I believe an experienced pro handed a firm plan (knowing exactly what is to go where) could probably have done my job in 10 hours. As an aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the project and was well-guided by Casey's "Electrics Simplified" book.

Consider you might want 6 DC circuits with easy wiring runs and a simple AC system and I'd guess you're looking at 5+/- hours from a pro plus materials. Knowing what I know now I bet I could do it in a day, and I'm still no pro. You've already gotten a good run-down on materials. Are you SURE you even want/need AC? If AC is mostly for charging, a 20-30 watt solar panel recharging while the boat is idle might serve better and be cheaper.

I am also one for simple and cheap. Consider a panel using fuses instead of one that uses circuit breakers. Considerably less $$ and performs the exact same function. Just stock some spare fuses in a baggie tho there's no reason a circuit should ever blow if it is wired right and has only the designed load. Use proper boat wire/cable and crimped heat-shrink terminals.

Try it yourself... its kinda fun and if you think you're over your head, then hire a pro.
03-17-2012 01:08 AM
Re: Electrical system install

If you get stuck with anything or are not sure just ask.
03-17-2012 01:00 AM
Re: Electrical system install

This is the OP. thanks everyone for all the input. I think I will tackle this job on my own, after hearing everyone saying that it's not all that big a deal.
Reason electrical has kept me shying away from it is I got shocked a few times as a kid, guess it turned into a sort of fear of electrical systems.
But hey, I was an explosives person in the army, a very good one actually. Rule there was that there is no danger until you connect the firing system to the actual explosive charge.
With electrical, I guess it must be the same, no danger until you finally hook up to the power source.
03-12-2012 12:22 PM
Re: Electrical system install

Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Do ya' think I'm really gonna' bother replacing them to save maybe a watt or two? "
If the actual power savings were that small, compared to your battery size, probably not. But if you, like the OP, wre trying to power everything off one battery with limited recharging (many small outboards have little or no ability to provide DC) then yes, it might make sense to save a watt. or two, or five or ten.
When you're trying to run off flea-power, every additional flea makes a difference. I'd expect that the difference between brute force and a fifty-cent regulator could mean a full 50% difference in power consumption for the lights. Dunno without seeing more numbers than I'd care to run right now.
Your response makes me wonder how we all got along before LED's became cheap and plentiful. I guess must have imagined it.

I think you need to "lighten up" a bit here. He just needs a basic electric system. It doesn't have to be THE most perfectly efficient, snazziest electrical system. Just about any LED will save energy over conventional bulbs.
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