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Author Topic:   Need help wiring lights........
compounder posted 04-16-2001 10:47 AM ET (US)   Profile for compounder   Send Email to compounder  
About 5 years after purchasing my 1981 Montauk (new) I had a weak moment and sold it to an aquaintance. Shortly thereafter, I had seller's remorse and was able to buy it back and have had it since.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the guy had in the meantime disconnected all the wiring in the console except for the ignition and the tachometer, including removing and discarding the switches, teak panels and teak trim.

I have replaced everything now and re-wired with the exception of the lighting circuit. Here is where I need help.

There are 3 wires coming from the back of the boat, white, green, and black. They are attached to a block on the port gunwale near the transom and appear to run into the hull (I presume to lead to the bow light) and are attached to a connector for the stern light.
I have a push/pull (off-on-on) switch with 3 unmarked terminals. How do I know which wire to attach to which terminal? Which terminals should connect to the positive and negative wires. What size fuse should be used on this circuit?


compounder posted 04-16-2001 10:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Sorry, just realized I wasn't in the Repairs/Mods section.

Will re-post there if no response here.


carlz posted 04-16-2001 04:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for carlz  Send Email to carlz     
If when you hold all three leads together and both lights go on you are in good shape; just put the switch to the first "on" position and connect the two leads to the two terminals that cause the stern light to go on. There are not too many possible combinations. Then connect the remaining wire to the remaining post and verify that the second "on" position gives you both lights.

If when you hold the three wires together the lights don't go on you need to trace the paths with a voltmeter starting from the battery and working toward the lights in order to find where the circuit drops off.

triblet posted 04-16-2001 05:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Holding all three wires together won't work.
There's no power source. If you can make
that work, let's go into business and sell
power to PG&E.

The three wires will be ground, running lite
hot and anchor lite hot. Black is probably
ground. Put a fused (5A) 12V across black
and green. Lets say the running lights come
on. Put it across black and white. The
anchor lite should come on.

Attach black to ground permanently.

On the switch, fused 12V will go to one
terminal (A), white and green to the other two (W & G). Your job is to figure out which
is which.
Assuming you have an all round anchor/running
white light and no stern light, the switch
will connect nothing in one position
(all the way in), A to W in another position,
and A to W&G in the other position.
Get an ohm meter and figure out which
terminals are which. Then hook things up.

If you get it wrong, you blow the fuse,
no biggy.


kamml posted 04-16-2001 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamml  Send Email to kamml     
What is the difference between the anchor light and the running lights. I thought when the running lights were on the anchor light (white rear light) was on as well. My anchor light has two leads (+ & -). How can I wire them independently (running and anchor) to have an anchor light only, at anchor and light up with the bow running light as well?
carlz posted 04-16-2001 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for carlz  Send Email to carlz     
It is hard to find the consistency or sense in Triblet's wiring plan. But let's start with the empirical fact that when I hold together the three wires that come up to the switch (original factory wiring, I believe) both lights come on without violating any laws of physics.

How does that happen? Let's follow the electrons:
1. A positive lead (hot) and negative (ground) lead in a single jacket come from the battery up to seperate posts on the stern junction block.
2. A three wire jacketed cable goes from the junction box to the helm switch. One of the three leads, in my case the red one, is attached to the same post as the positive lead from the battery. Right before it attaches to the switch there is a fuse. If you have the same switch as mine, a cole hearsee push pull off-on-on, and you hold the switch with the know toward you and the connection points facing up, the hot lead goes to the connection point on the right. the other 2 leads, in my case white and black, go ont the other posts.
3. The white and black coming from the swithc are connected to separate posts back at the stern junction box. To those posts is connected one other wire, the supply for either the bow or stern light.
4. The other wires from the two lights both connect back to the same post as negative lead coming from the battery, thus completing the curcuits.

Black will not be ground unless the circuit is run backwards, that is, hot to the lights, then on to the switch and then back to the battery. This only makes sense in automotive wiring where you can use the car body as a ground and save on wiring.

triblet posted 04-17-2001 12:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Since he says all three leading into the
hull, it's unlikely that black is the hot

Black will quite happily be ground without
running the circuit backwards. Consider:
12V to fuse and thence to switch via some
wire that wasn't mentioned (and probably
needs to be created given all the old
wiring was tossed). Switch to white to
anchor light to black to ground.

Which is exactly what I suggested.


whaler22 posted 04-17-2001 12:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for whaler22  Send Email to whaler22     
This site is great! I too am working out an electrical mess. The only switch on the panel that does work is the master c/breaker and the running lights. So, from there. I have 2 more switches. It looks like one goes to the the windshield wiper and one.....not connected. What about the light on my windshield(22 revenge)or the Qbeam mounted on the console. Shouldn't both(stern light and windshield light)of these lights come on together on one switch? How about the panel lights? Should these come on with the running lights? Or does it matter? I also have my fuel tank gauge tied to a switch. Any comments.....? Where can I get a wiring diagram for what and how it should be done? Thanks guys.
carlz posted 04-17-2001 04:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for carlz  Send Email to carlz     
There is only one three wire grouping for the lighting system and it runs between the stern block and the helm through the tunnel. If one of those leads of the three wire grouping happens to be black, it is still not the ground. There are only two wires each to the battery, the light on the prow and the stern light, not three. Going into the hull at the block is the hot for the front light and its return, which connects the same post as the negative (ground) of the battery.

I recall from when I did this myself that you cannot see the actual wiring count going into the hull until you pull the block off.

The approach I would suggest is loosening the block, so you can see clearly what is attached where, and mapping out the circuit on a piece of paper, if that will help. Compare it to the the connection scheme I lay out above, which will work, and fill in the missing gaps.

compounder posted 04-17-2001 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Thanks for the help guys!

Maybe I'm a little dense when it comes to electrical circuits, but I have to admit I'm still a little confused.

I'm going to play around with the circuit tester and see if I can sort it out.

Thanks again,

kamml posted 04-17-2001 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamml  Send Email to kamml     
Thanks for the input. As I no longer have any of the original wiring or switches I now see I need the double contact pull switch to have both anchor light and running lights operate independently.

Wow, electrons sure can be fun when they don't kill yah.

compounder posted 05-19-2001 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
My lights are now working like I think they should. Turned out to be a little simpler than I initially thought.

The black wire was, of course, ground and this I connected to the ground post of the tachometer. The green wire was for the bow light and was connected to one of the side posts of the off-on-on switch. The hot wire from the fuse block was connected to the other side terminal of the switch. The white wire was for the stern/anchor light and was connected to the end terminal on the switch.

Pulling the switch knob up to the first stop activates the anchor light and pulling up the rest of the way activates the bow/running lights as well.

I also ran a jumper wire from the switch terminal that has the white wire connected to it to the "light" terminal on the tach so that the tach is lighted when the other lights are activated.

What really got me past my original mental stumbling block was a neighbor telling me that even though the terminals on the switch were un-marked, that I should attach the hot wire to either of the side terminals and then I could figure out easily whether the green or the white would be attached to the other two.

Finally, I installed a Cole-Hersee waterproof switch between the hot wire coming to the console from the battery and the fuse block. I just feel better knowing that I can easily cut off all power to the console if I need too.

It's a real pleasure now to have everything fully functional and to look under the console and see neatly bundled and routed wires rather than the "rat's nest" I formerly had.

Thanks for everyone's input!


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