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Author Topic:   shocking experience
specktrout posted 01-16-2002 02:32 PM ET (US)   Profile for specktrout   Send Email to specktrout  
I have an 89 montauk and have noted that at times when steering with one hand on the stainless-steel wheel and the other on the metal area of thethrottle arm- I get a mild jolt from the electrical system. This has been going on intermittently for several months and seems related to how wet the deck is, but I'm not really sure. I am writing now because on my last trip, I actually got quite a zap. I was wearing waders at the time and perhaps my feet were too insulated. I have looked under the console and can't seem to find any loose connections or obviously shorted wires from the battery. The throttle unit appears well sealed. Has this happened to anyone else out there? I would appreciate any suggestions for tracking down the short. My battery holds a charge for many weeks between trips at times and does not appear to be draining. The battery itself is in the original whaler battery box, but is not grounded to anything in the boat. Any suggestions would be very appreciated. Thanks-
Bigshot posted 01-16-2002 03:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
battery wires run through the tunnel, might be in there.
TightPenny posted 01-16-2002 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for TightPenny  Send Email to TightPenny     
Kinda reminds me of my buddy's old 26' Shamrock. Put the wipers on, and energize the windshield frame. NO problem except that the windshield was all you could hold onto when coming in the inlet or other rough waters.

Some choice getting knocked on your butt, or getting jolted by the windshield. Oh the fun of fishing.

george nagy posted 01-16-2002 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
check all ground connections even on the motor.
witness posted 01-16-2002 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for witness  Send Email to witness     
We were checking our bait traps last august in a friends non-whaler with a mariner on the back, and he had the same problem, except that it was worsened when the throttle was put down. It also seemed that even though the shock was coming from the wheel, its source was the throttle box, and he was completing the curcuit from the throttle to the wheel by putting his hands on both. The wheel must have been acting as a ground and we are pretty sure the short is inside the throttle box, but it is very possible that it is in the tunnel under the tunnel under the deck. He still hasn't fixed it, formally, but its not bothing him that much now that he has to wear gloves. He is due to fix it "anyday" and has been since august, I'll see what he finds...
Eagleman posted 01-16-2002 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
I had a similiar situation on a O.M.C 1985 control. Id get electrical shocks when operating the trim /tilt button. After taking the control apart I noticed that the a wire was pinched and when you'd engage the trim /tilt switch and be holdig the s/s wheel you'd get zapped. I'd check the control for a pinched wire to ground. Good luck!
Dr T posted 01-16-2002 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
I would tend to volt--er, vote--for the cotrol box PTT switch wiring. Another possibility: If the key for the ignition is in the throttle control box, check the wiring on the ignition switch.


newboater posted 01-16-2002 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for newboater  Send Email to newboater     
I'm kind surprised to hear you can really get such a jolt from 12-14V. You can put both hands across a battery and not feel a thing.

Why is that?

Dave S.

Jerry Townsend posted 01-16-2002 11:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Specktrout - consider trying to isolate the problem by using a multimeter and connecting one lead to the wheel and the other lead to the rail. Then try different conditions --ignition switch off, ignition switch on, engine running, engine being trimmed, etc - and see what conditions give a voltage indication. Identifying the conditions that give the voltage indication will help locate the problem. One interesting item - neither the rail or the wheel should have power or ground connections and to get a shock between the wheel and the rail says that you have a positive connection on one and a negative connection on the other. ---- Jerry/Idaho
jimh posted 01-17-2002 12:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I would be surprised if the current being sensed by touching the wheel and throttle is being generated by just 12-volts. Perhaps there is some spark leakage in the high-tension wiring of the engine which is being carried to the console in the wiring harness.

Often the "kill" switch is wired into the spark generating electronics of the engine. Some of this voltage may be leaking and giving you the shock sensation.

Alternating current seems to be more prone to being sensed by human touch.

Direct current flow is used medically to apply anesthesia. Once I had an out-patient procedure on my ear drum, and the area was anesthetized by controlled application of a small DC current introduced between an electrode (in conductive fluid) in my ear and a patch on my neck. The current was small (0.001A) and was applied for about ten minutes. There was no sensation of electrical "shock."

Another source of higher voltage may be from an intermittent connection in the battery circuit. When the flow of current is interrupted in a circuit containing some inductance, the energy stored in the inductive field collapses and creates a voltage spike which is often much greater than the steady-state voltage in the circuit. This could cause a voltage high enough to be felt. Look for something loose and making intermittent connection, particularly a circuit with something inductive like a motor winding associated with it. Even a small relay coil can create a very big shock when the field collapses.

triblet posted 01-17-2002 01:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
You can get a bit of a jolt from 12V. I've
had it happen working on a car when the
engine wasn't running. I don't remember the
details except that I noted that I had a
really good connection: sweaty head on the
floor mounted dimmer switch (Mmmm, that means
it had to be my mom's 1960 Mercury Vomit)
and sweaty hands to 12V. I could feel it
on the back of my head but not on my hands.

The SS wheel will be grounded through the
steering cables, so the +12 is at the
throttle arm.

Pull the throttle assembly off the console
and check things out. It's not a bad
connection, it's something putting 12V
on the throttle arm. Mmm, before you pull
the throttle assembly off, check voltages
with a digital volt meter.

Somebody suggested it might be the kill
switch. That's easy to check -- pull the
connector off the kill switch and jumper
it (simulating a closed kill switch). See
if the bug goes away.

Is this a zap each time as you make the
connection, or intermittently while holding
the connection?


Bigshot posted 01-17-2002 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
drop a car battery ion the tub with and get back to us:) 12V can shock.
Bigshot posted 01-17-2002 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
It would help if I could spell!
where2 posted 01-17-2002 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Bigshot, the car battery in the tub will do nothing without water in the tub. If the water in the tub was pure, it still wouldn't do anything (pure water is an insulator). Once you put some salt or other dissolved minerals in the water, then it would be a problem...

I concur, the problem is a loose +12v lead in the control box or PTT wiring.

For those who think 12V is too low to feel, drink some gatorade and play with a 9V transistor radio battery on your tongue. That's 3v less! It still hurts!!

Bigshot posted 01-17-2002 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Thanks for clarifying that....hate to see everyone chipping their porcelin tubs. I remember that from physics class where deionized water conducts NO electricity. Salt water is a good conductor but mineral water was the best if I remember correctly but hell I can't even spell.
triblet posted 01-17-2002 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
You don't need the gatorade. That's a good
quick way to check a 9V battery. If it
tingles, it's good.


Duncan posted 01-17-2002 03:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Duncan  Send Email to Duncan     
A 12V deep cycle lets its juice out slowly
a 12V starting battery will land you on you tucas!
ain't the volts that get's the amps
andygere posted 01-17-2002 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Another thought: The throttle and shift cables could be transmitting current from a motor ignition source like a failing plug wire. Pull the motor hood and look for any worn insulators on the ignition wires.
ratherwhalering posted 01-17-2002 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
I had exactly the same experience, but I had a wet, salty dog lying on my feet. Every time I had contact with the wheel and the throttle, I'd get an infrequent, mild shock. After the dog got up, the problem stopped, and has not reappeared.
specktrout posted 01-18-2002 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for specktrout  Send Email to specktrout     
Thank you for all the ideas- Looks like I have plenty to check out this weekend.
maverick posted 01-18-2002 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for maverick  Send Email to maverick     
I had the exact same shocking experience on both of my Montauks, especially and usually when I got out of the saltwater after a dive. Zap, zing, ouch!! Now I let my dog drive. heh heh. Mav

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