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Author Topic:   fuses
compounder posted 04-01-2001 05:57 PM ET (US)   Profile for compounder   Send Email to compounder  
I'm in the process of re-wiring everything running to the console on my Montauk, using a new fuse block mounted within the console.

What is the best way to determine the proper capacity fuse for:
a. lighting circuit?
b. bilge pump?
c. power point/chart light?
d. hour meter?
e. depth finder?

Is 16 ga. marine wire sufficent for all of the above items?

Any other tips or suggestions?


triblet posted 04-01-2001 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
To figure out size fuse and wire you need,
figure out from the manufacturer's specs
what the current draw is, then about double
it. For example, my VHF pulls 6A when
transmitting. It's fused for 10A, and
wired for a good bit more.

If it's very far from the battery to the fuse
panel (more than a foot or two), put a fuse
big enough for the total nonstarter load on
that wire right at the battery.

There's a nice table of wire sizes vs load
vs distance in the West Marine catalog.
Be conservative about wire sizes -- the
replacement gizmo next year may draw more current.
I wouldn't use 18 ga for anything. Too

Figure 10 amps for the power point. You may
want to plug in a bad boy spotlight sometime.

Blue Sea systems makes a really nice fuse
block. Get the flavor with a built in buss
bar. Be sure to put it close to the door.

Use marine grade stuff. If it came from the
hardware store or autoparts store, it doesn't
belong on a boat.

The Ancor glue line heat shrink is cool.
The hot melt glue melts when you shrink the
tubing and glues it to the wire.

Plan for a couple of spare circuits at the
fuse block.


Dick posted 04-01-2001 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Think about using an ATC/ATO type fuse panel rather than glass type fuses.
Much easier to get in and out.
dfmcintyre posted 04-01-2001 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Joe -

I'd also recommend Chucks comments regarding the Blue Sea hardware.

I took it one step further, during my rebuild, and replace all the push/pull switches with a Blue Sea circuit breaker panel, mounted on the side of the console, in a flush mounted splashproof clear plastic housing. I've never been a fan of the push/pull and glass fuse combo, and wonder how Whaler used it as long as they did (are they still?)

If your interested in leaning in that direction, I'll email you some photos of the setup, and address where I got the housing.


triblet posted 04-01-2001 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
That Blue Sea Systems fuse block I mentioned
has a little lever for each glass tube fuse.
Push the lever, out comes the fuse. Really
slick. And it has a nice clear plastic
cover, and Blue Sea has darn near every
label you could want on their website:
$.50 per label plus $.50 shipping.

The ATC/ATO type fuses are nice, but I
haven't seen a panel for them yet that's as
nice as the Blue Sea panel for glass tubes.
The Blue Sea panel p/n is 5015.

Whaler doesn't use the push pull switches
any more, at least on Montauks. Mine has
Cole Hersee sealed rocker switches. BTW,
C-H makes these in a lot more configurations
than West Marine caries.


triblet posted 04-01-2001 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Oh, and my Montauk came with circuit breakers
rather than fuses. Three CBs: running
lights, bilge pump, and Aux.
compounder posted 04-02-2001 10:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Thanks guys!
dreid posted 04-02-2001 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for dreid  Send Email to dreid     
For what it's worth, a few years ago I stopped having problems with the old-style push-pull switches and glass fuses. My annual maintenance includes a drop or two of WD-40 into all the switch plungers and a quick removal and finger swipe of vasaline on the ends of every fuse. Works for me.
triblet posted 04-02-2001 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Vaseline will migrate, esp. in hot weather.

Dow-Corning #111 or #4(I think that's the
number - the electical one) silicone grease
would be better. It will stay put.


Chesapeake posted 04-02-2001 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Hey Chuck: Timely post. Thanks.

I am just starting the re-wire of my Nauset. All switches have to mount in the two 6x9 panels on either side of the steering wheel. I want to use the newer Cole Hersee Contura switches. I noticed on page 585 of the West catalog that they have a waterproof distribution panel with the switches and fuse holders included.

Given that I am starting from scratch, would this be a better way to go than purchasing the 5015 like you (and mounting under console)and then mounting separate switches in the "dash" cutouts? Should would appreciate your advice and anyonce else that has re-wired.

Bob (Chesapeake - Chicago)

stagalv posted 04-02-2001 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for stagalv  Send Email to stagalv     
Bob, I just bought the Hella 6 switch "splashproof" panel which has the inline fuses behind it. I am putting this in the "dash" of my Montauk and the whole boat is being rewired. I am also using dielectric grease/silicone on every connection and using heatshrink as well. The heatshrink is not cheap but I am sure it is well worth it.
One thing I would appreciate comments on is how to run the wires from my stern light and bow light into the tunnel. How do you make this look clean besides using spiral wrap? Rex
Chesapeake posted 04-02-2001 06:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
What is dielectric grease/silicone? Why do I need it?

Rex: I am sure that you have seen the tiedowns that you can buy for corrugated tube, yes? It will keep the tubing in one spot. They secure into the gelcoat / fiberglass with screws and use wire ties to keep the tubing attached. I bought them from Whaler only to find out that West has them in stock.


Chesapeake posted 04-02-2001 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Chuck: What do you mean when you say non-starter load in your post? Where would you put the fuse??


triblet posted 04-02-2001 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Dielectric grease is used to keep the salt
air (and salt water, maybe) out of electrical
connections a bit longer. It's actually an
electical insulator (hence the name,
"dielectic") so the connectors have to push
through it and make good contact with each
other (which they have to anyway).
Dielectric grease is generally a silcone
type. The standard stuff is Dow Corning
#4. I perfer the Dow #111 because it's
stiffer, and I it's speced for lubrication on
some of my dive gear.
has both, paeg 1895, search on
Dow Corning Paste.

What I meant by "nonstarter load" was
everything but the BIG cable to the starter,
which would blow any reasonable fuse.


You don't want to use plain heatshrink for
most applications on a boat. You want to use
the hot melt glue lined variety.

Chesapeake posted 04-02-2001 09:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     

Thanks for the info. I have been using the solderless connectors that have the built on sleeve with adhesive. When I change to your method, how does it work? Do I need to solder my connections or can I still use the tubes? Sorry for so many questions.


triblet posted 04-04-2001 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Just got a West Marine sale catalog today.
They ahve got the Blue Sea fuse block I like,
and what I think is the switch panel you
wanted, on sale. Not just in the catalog
at regular price (like most of the stuff
in the "sale" catalog), but really on sale.

The crimp on connectors with the adhesive
lined heat shrink are good. Solder what you
can (generally one wire to another) and
cover it with glue lined heat shrink. For
the ends of the wires, use the good crimps.
It's best to get a good crimp tool. They
aren't cheap, but they do a much nicer job.


KCarlsen posted 04-06-2001 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for KCarlsen  Send Email to KCarlsen     
I owe you a big Thanks. Like Bob, I am wiring my whaler top to bottom and needed a fuse panel. I almost bought a standard bus with open fuses until I read your post. I am now the owner of a BlueSea 5015. The block is exactly what I was looking for. The only painful part was forking over $10 for the labels. Ouch! Once again, this forum has helped with the restortaion of by whaler. Thanks.
triblet posted 04-06-2001 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Ouch. If you haven't opened the labels,
take them back. Labels are .50 each, .50
per order for shipping on the Blue Seas
website: [url][\url]

And they have zillions of different ones
that won't be in the set you bought.

Sorry I didn't post that the first time.


Chesapeake posted 04-06-2001 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
KCarlsen: What switches did you use?

I had wanted to use the Blue Sea panel with four contura switches. It is really beautifully built. Unfortunately, the guage panel cutouts on the old consoles (as you know) are not big enough to accomodate the Blue Sea panel plus a Yamaha ignition switch. Kinda stumped...

Am still trying to figure that one out, so would be interested in what you have done.


triblet posted 04-07-2001 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
> I wouldn't use 18 ga for anything. Too
> flimsy.

The ABYC agrees. From the Ancor catalog:
"Conductors shal be at least 16 AWG (except
18 AWG may be used as internal wiring in

BTW, you can order an Ancor catalog from
their website at



AZdave posted 04-09-2001 12:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
Joe, you might consider a breaker panel rather than a fuse panel. Overton's sold one last year for a few bucks more than the equivalent fused version. I live in the desert and run in fresh water. In a wetter climate or in salt water, I might worry about how water resistant these low end panels are. Mine has six breakers and switches. I only use four presently, but I'll find some use for the others I'm sure. My motivation for using breakers is related to Murphy's Law. I assume that when I blow a fuse it will be dark and windy and I won't be able to find my spares. The wire and connectors from Ancor are really high quality stuff - much heavier duty than parts from the automotive sources. It looks a lot more corrosion resistant too. Time will tell. Dave
triblet posted 04-09-2001 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The Blue Sea panel stores six spare fuses
in the lid.


Chesapeake posted 04-09-2001 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Chuck: Per your comment on 18 guage wire...

In speaking with the folks from whaler technical service, they recomended 18 guage wire for the bow light (in the chock) which I just replaced. I ran the wire inside the rub rail, but have not yet completed running through the tunnel and hooking it up.

Do you think the 18 guage is a mistake for this little light? Do I need to rewire again? Sure would appreciate your insight.


triblet posted 04-09-2001 08:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
My concern with 18 ga is that the vibration
is more likely to break it. With the
rubrail you may have a clear problem with
heavier wire though.

Be sure to stuff has much extra wire under
the bow chock as you can for future repairs.


compounder posted 05-19-2001 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Thanks to all of you the re-wiring project is now complete. I did use a standard, open-fuse block, primarily because I already had it on hand.

I used 14 ga Ancor marine-grade wire and terminals. The fuse block is pretty well protected inside the console, but I used di-electric grease on the fuses and sprayed all the connections with Quicksilver corrosion guard spray and will keep a close eye on everything for corrosion problems.

It may not perform any better, but I like having everything squared away under the console and now I feel I am thoroughly familiar with my boat's electrical system.


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