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Old 03-05-2014, 10:58 AM   #1
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Gauge installation

I'm headed back to the boat today to try to install gauges. It seems the p/o was in the process of redoing the FB and getting ready to do the varnish work when he sold the boat - actually, he's deceased and the estate sold the boat. All the gauges are out and in a box with the wiring labeled (sort of). I'm trying to figure it out. Seems very straightforward but there's a bunch of wires under there that belong to other stuff. It's like a jigsaw puzzle without the final picture and that may be missing a few pieces.

Looks like the ground runs in some type of a loop and several of my lower helm gauges aren't working either - my water temp gauge on my starboard engine pegs to max as soon as it is energized. I'm hoping they're related and will start working when I hook up the top ones if the sensor wire is somehow grounded (or open, whichever is opposite of what the gauge is looking for). Has anyone else seen this or are they two separate problems?

Also, none of the oil pressure alarms are sounding. Is there any relation to the gauge being out of the boat or is this a separate issue?

Any suggestions will be graciously accepted.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:34 AM   #2
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A wiring diagram would be a big help about now. There is some standardization with instruments but.......Good Luck
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:23 PM   #3
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Most of your gauges will have a power lead, a ground lead, a lead that goes to its sensor and a light lead.

The power is usually red, ground black or yellow but probably black, and the light medium blue. The post that's left is the sensor...most gauges I've worked with are labeled and the hot and ground as well as the lights can be jumpered between each gauge but many have undersized wire.

Things like horns or voltmeters may not have a light or sensor...but they are still labeled.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:36 PM   #4
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Matt, I sent you a PM with my cell number. I'm on the boat for a couple of days replacing my fuel shutoff valves. Call me and we can walk through my wiring in case yours is similar. BTW, mine is a 1977 Marshall boat, built in California.

Here are shots of my FB gages:



The rest of these are STBD side only:




It's ugly behind in the console, but it works! This was apparently redone by a previous owner with substandard terminals, but I've never had the time or inclination to tackle an upgrade since it's still working.







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Old 03-06-2014, 01:07 AM   #5
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Al,

I got your pm too late to give you a call but I'll give you a ring either tomorrow or Friday. I started to work on the gauges but realized that I was missing some marine (tinned) wire so I had to make a run to the store, plus the PO seems to have lost or misplaced some of the nuts that hold the wires onto the back of the gauges.

Thanks for the photos. My gauge layout is different but the substandard wiring appears about the same -complete with cheap butt splices and electrical tape. Also, some of the colors/connections are similar. Yours makes me feel a little better...I thought everyone here had electrical systems with individually labeled wires that were neatly tucked into looms and ties.

This part makes me miss my motor home. Newer Itasca/Winnebago motor homes have one of the greatest systems around. Since they are so large, I think they make their own wire. You can print up a list and it will tell you that the purple wire with 123 printed on it belongs to the water pump, the green wire with 42 belongs to the oven fan, etc... And each wire is printed with the info every few inches. Makes troubleshooting much simpler as you can tell which wire goes to what at any point on the line.

Matt
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:35 AM   #6
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The ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) recommends the following color standards for marine wiring of boat engines and accessories. This would provide a starting point for new wiring and perhaps help you identify the existing wiring.

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Old 03-06-2014, 01:48 AM   #7
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Al,

Yours makes me feel a little better...I thought everyone here had electrical systems with individually labeled wires that were neatly tucked into looms and ties.

Matt
Oh...I've got pictures that will make you feel a WHOLE lot better. I'm just too embarrassed to post them here.

Maybe we should start a thread with bird nests of wires and vote on who has the worst. I bet I could reach the final five.

But the beauty of it is that most everything works! The sync lights failed, but who cares. She's got warts, but I love her.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:05 AM   #8
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Some rainy day when you feel like standing on your head , you might take each wire loose , give it a wipe with a scotch brite pad and replace it.

One at a time is recommended.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:10 PM   #9
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The reason your lower helm gauges are "crazy" is because with dual gauge senders, you need both gauges hooked up to get a correct reading on either gauge.

I wouldn't turn anything on till you get things sorted out above.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bustlebomb View Post
I'm headed back to the boat today to try to install gauges. It seems the p/o was in the process of redoing the FB and getting ready to do the varnish work when he sold the boat - actually, he's deceased and the estate sold the boat. All the gauges are out and in a box with the wiring labeled (sort of). I'm trying to figure it out. Seems very straightforward but there's a bunch of wires under there that belong to other stuff. It's like a jigsaw puzzle without the final picture and that may be missing a few pieces.

Looks like the ground runs in some type of a loop and several of my lower helm gauges aren't working either - my water temp gauge on my starboard engine pegs to max as soon as it is energized. I'm hoping they're related and will start working when I hook up the top ones if the sensor wire is somehow grounded (or open, whichever is opposite of what the gauge is looking for). Has anyone else seen this or are they two separate problems?

Also, none of the oil pressure alarms are sounding. Is there any relation to the gauge being out of the boat or is this a separate issue?

Any suggestions will be graciously accepted.

Thanks,

Matt
Hard to tell without being there but generally the manufacturers daisy chain all of the gauge negative terminal together. Miss one and several gauges wont work right.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:10 PM   #11
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Al, It was great talking to you tonight. I might take you up on the "birds nest" challenge. I'll consider taking a photo on Sunday when I get back to the boat...if I'm not too embarrassed.

FF - I'm pretty busy but if you've got some extra head standing time, I'll provide the scotch brite and adult beverages... There's a lot of wires. I just wish the PO would have followed your "one at a time" advice...

Brooksie, that might explain some of the erratic readings I am getting. On dual-gauge senders, is there usually only one wire from the sender (with the gauges wired in series) or are there two wires coming off the sender?

High Wire, that makes sense with what I'm seeing. I think they also daisy chained some of the positive leads as well.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:57 PM   #12
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The senders typically have one wire, the color code posted may be very useful depending on the age of the boat and manufacturer. I went thru a similar project last year helping a friend on a 44' 1975 aluminium Kings craft houseboat. The problem was the work done on the system by previous owners who couldn't even spell electrician much less do the work. If it had been my boat I would of started over and re-wired it, but we were over 500 miles away from home and trying to get it ready to bring downriver. The reason my friend bought the boat so cheap is the SB 6.354 Perkins lost all the oil and the alarm didn't go off because the owner had cut the wires because he didn't like listening to the alarm when starting the engines. Good luck on your project take your time and do it right and you'll not have to do it again.
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