Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-20-2012
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Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat

Just last week I bought a beautiful '77 North American 23. The hull is great, it's been well kept, recently gel-coated on the sides of the hull and also the bottom has some kind of "Trinidad" blue paint that's sandpaper rough to keep growth off, interior is in good condition, but... I went to replace the battery and hook up the positive and negative terminals and flip the master switch on and...wait for it...NOTHING happened!! No red light next to the master switch. I know just enough about electrical wiring to be dangerous but am competent and willing to buy a ten dollar multimeter and get to work figuring out the problem and possibly rewiring the whole boat if it isn't terribly hard or pain in the butt. Can anyone steer me in the correct direction on where to even start? I'm just going to start with the battery cables and work my way up to the master switch and go from there. Is there anything I should be looking out for or checking?
Thanks in advance!
North American 23 - sailboat
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat

First go buy a test light, or better a $25 multimeter. Make sure the battery isn't just dead.

While you're out try to pick up a copy of "the 12v bible" or "the 12v doctor's handbook" or a similar guide to 12v power systems for boaters. Easier to get a picture of the whole thing that way, than to get bits and pieces online. And not very expensive.
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Old 04-20-2012
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Re: Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat

Sorry, I guess I should have added I tried one battery that was used but in good condition and after I found it not to work, the guy in the slip next to me loaned me his brand new battery that works on his boat and it also did nothing for the master switch. Red to positive, black to negative lol So I guess I'll be out getting that 12v bible and a multimeter.

Last edited by nemoralis; 04-20-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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Re: Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat

Ordering online, it won't ship till Monday, odds are you'll lose a week compared to just picking it up at any chandlery. Time or money, your choice.

Could just be a connection, or a blown fuse between the battery and master switch. It usually is something simple--in a location where you can't see or feel it.
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Old 06-03-2012
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Re: Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat

Wiring is pretty simple to figure out... just follow the wire with the multimeter. The master switch could be corroded or fuse holder as well. I've take all the switches off my panel & cleaned & lubed all the contacts. Don't forget to check your ground wires as well.
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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Master switch doesn't work, thinking of rewiring the boat

Rewiring the boat is a chore and a half. Do what windyway said and check the fuses. Stick your head behind the panel (or pull it off) and see if there is corrosion or loose wires. The electrical systems in these boats are very simple and not much can go wrong. I would vote for bad fuse, switch, or loose wire
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