Tech Tips For Boaters
Tech Tips For Addressing Electrical Problems On Your Boat…
This month I’m going to take a side-step and address an issue almost every boater face. Your electrical system on board your boat. It doesn’t matter if you have a 16-foot skiff or a 50 yacht, electrical problems can not only ruin your day on the water, it could burn down your boat. That in mind here are just a few things to look for on your boat.
First tech tip is to check battery connections to be sure they are tight, clean and free from corrosion. I recommend getting them tested once a year or so, just to be ahead of the game. If you’re running a single battery for motor and all accessories, you should consider adding a second battery. My suggested set up is having one battery dedicated to the motor while the other is used to power all accessories (house battery). These should be wired into a selector switch that gives you the option to turn then on individually and combine them in the case one gets weak.
Most equipment failures are due to failure at the place they tie into the system. Look at splices between wires. Are they heat shrink connections? Do they have corrosion or discoloration? Wire twisted together and wrapped in electrical tape is not ok. Anchor Marine makes heat shrink splices in several sizes that are simple to install. Be sure you do not break the seal while crimping though! I recommend using crimpers designed for insulated connections or contacting a local professional.
My second tip is to look at the back of switches, breakers, connections at fuse panel, anywhere a run of wire ends. Are these connections clean and tight? Is the wire supported within 12” of the connection? Many times, unsupported wires will bounce while running can come loose or break over time.
This tip seems odd to think about for many people. How many times have you had an issue and opened the door to your console just to have a squirrel’s nest of wires staring at you? Are you able to identify what wire goes to what? If your bilge was not working and you were taking on water would you be able to find it and trouble shoot it? Take the time while at house to access what you have going on with your wiring system and do some organization.
Hope these tips help you have a better day on the boat. If you need more information or would like to have your boat looked at, call or email me. We specialize in electrical instillation, trouble shooting, and full rewires. Winter is a great time for boat projects, lets get yours on the roster today.
Captain John Swanson
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