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Old 04-03-2019, 11:57 AM   #1
City: Sunnyvale, CA
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 6
Cruiser, wiring diagrams, twin engine

I find myself in a position of being able to rewire a 45' Owens, twin diesel, cruiser. The wiring is old, and dated. Lot of switches and wiring need replacement. Where can I find a suitable guide for modern wiring of something this size. Some wiring goes to battery, other to buss bar. What can I use as a good guide to modern instrument wiring and distribution? I have "The 12-volt Bible for Boats" and "Boatowner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook"; useful enough but I need some general design rules to follow. I already know how to trouble shoot and repair electronics (USAF). No manual on this boat.

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Old 04-03-2019, 12:24 PM   #2
RT Firefly's Avatar
City: Slicker?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,043
Mr. JH. MY electrical knowledge is 0. A couple of things I may suggest about the design part of your task are:


-Leave provision(s) for future wire/device access
-In areas that will have to be fished, make every attempt NOT to put wire ties every 3". Better none at all OR run conduit or a wire chase. IF conduit, run and label a pull chord inside.

That's all I can think of at the moment.


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Old 04-03-2019, 03:50 PM   #3
City: Solomons, MD
Vessel Name: Branwen
Vessel Model: Hatteras 48 LRC
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 645
I'm working on a long-term wiring project myself. The shorter-term approach which you'll see suggested often, is to rip it all out and start over to erase the years of mistakes, neglect, and corrosion. That's probably good advice, but I didn't want to commit to the boat being unusable for an unknown length of time. Here are some threads and other resources I've collected on the topic. Be sure to read enough of a thread to separate the wheat. In the end, do you what you think is best. Don't be the PO that leaves future owners scratching their heads.

Right here on TF.

Marine How To on Batteries (look for other articles here).

Marine How To on ACRs and System Diagrams

A thorough blow boater's discussion

Don't forget the ABYC requirements, but the books you have present those.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:01 PM   #4
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City: Wilmington, NC
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,042
I built my boat and wired it from scratch. A previous (very old) boat, I got so annoyed by glitchy elec systems that I stripped out every single wire and started over. My goal on both was to keep it as simple as possible. The old boat I only used about half the wire that came out. New boat kept pretty simple too. Both were (are) very reliable.

Not terribly complicated. A few things that I really like: AC and DC panels right next to lower helm. When operating boat you can turn systems on and off without going to a panel. Batts right next to engine so cables are short. Batt switch in galley cabinet straight over batts, again short cables and you can operate switch from pilot house. All cables run in overhead around edges of engine room. No cables in bilge. All cables in bundles held with zip ties, none of those annoying plastic snap together cable trays.

A few things to understand well that are not intuitive: Concept of single point negative connection and it's relation to bonding. You don't want DC current from operating equipment to impress a slight voltage onto bonded submerged hardware from normal cable voltage drop. Also gennie neutral connections. And AC shore power ground considerations. These things are covered in the books.

Otherwise, just hook up equipment.
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:09 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21,559
Get a Cole Hersee catalog as a source for switches (silver plated contacts) and other needed items in marine , not auto grade.

US or AU version

Heavy Duty Switches and Electrical Products - Cole Hersee
Cole Hersee are recognised as the leading manufacturer of heavy duty battery master, rocker and toggle switches and electrical products.‎Toggle SwitchesSolenoidsIgnition SwitchesConnectors and Electrical
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Old 04-04-2019, 07:27 AM   #6
City: Here
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,946
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I'll respond with a pdf of the ABYC Standards.
Note there are significant differences to airplanes or houses neither of which have electrical systems sitting in water.

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wiring diagram

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