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Author Topic:   NAUSET: Primary Wiring
SpeedBump posted 07-21-2005 09:58 PM ET (US)   Profile for SpeedBump   Send Email to SpeedBump  
First, I want to say this new area on electrical is great.

I have a 1970 Nauset with a 70-HP Nissan motor. The boat had no power distribution system to speak of, that is, fuse block or breaker box when acquired and had only running lights a tach and trim guage. The tach and trim guage are all part of the engine wiring harness and are not a concern to this article. I carry one 600-amp marine dual purpose battery at the transom in a battery box.

In my several years of ownership I have redone the running lights and have added a 25W VFH transceiver, Humminbird SONAR, Garmin 76S GPS with external battery hook up to the boat battery and interface with the SONAR and DSC on the VHF, a 1500-GPH pump in the transom sump.

The electrical loads are not demanding, but I did individually fused homeruns on the wiring from the battery for each of the added electronics and now find my tunnel to be very crowded indeed. I would like to improve the electrical distribution by thinning out these various home runs reducing the individual wires in the tunnel.

I would like to add a distribution panel of some type in the upper section of my consol with breakers that I can run a single set of line cables to from the battery. From the distribution panel I would individually wire the various loads/ electronics, each having its own power source and fuse/breaker from the panel.

Any recomendations on the wire size to the panel from the battery and also recomendations on distribution panels to use, preferably with breakers.

Chuck Tribolet posted 07-21-2005 10:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The electronics are going to run about 7 amperes when transmitting,
about 1 amp when receiving. Check the manufacturer's spec
on the bilge pump. Add it together. I'm going to guess
it will come in around 10 amps. Double that to 20 amps to
be conservative and allow for future equipment. Figure
a round trip of 30', and the graph in the West Marine
catalog says 12 ga wire. Get the Ancor boat cable (think
marine grade stranded Romex). Put a 20 amp fuse right at
the battery and run it to a distribution panel on the

I'd use a Blue Sea Systems waterproof panel (page 637 in the
west catalog), but I don't know that I'd use a separate
circuit for each device. I'd certainly put the bilge pump
on a separate circuit, and the lights on one, and probably
the rest on another (Accessory). If you replace the switch with a DPDT
center-off, you can use the switch on the panel to run your
lights. On the other hand, the Nauset pull switch for the
lights is pretty cool.

You'll need a bus bar for ground, and probably one
for the hot side of accessory for all the various devices.
Get on with some extra screws for future expansion. The
Blue Sea Systems Dual Bus Plus 150A puts both sides on
one unit with a nice plastic cover, but only has five
screws. Do some homework to see if there's a longer
version -- you need six screws right now (five devices plus
the runs to the battery/fuse panels. I'd be looking for
eight screws.


SpeedBump posted 07-22-2005 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for SpeedBump  Send Email to SpeedBump     
Chuck- Thanks for the suggestions. I have read other posts about the Blue sea dist panels and people seem to be very happy with them I couldn't remember the name of the manufacturer though.

I do want to keep my dash panel switches, I currently use a three gang set of waterproof rockers that fit very well and look really nice. they have been in service for three years w/o failure for the bilge pump, lights and an auxillary that currently is not in service. I gave up on the chrome pull switch for lights as they always failed after a season or two on my 13, I do miss the classic look of that switch though.

I curretly use anchor marine multicable for runs through the tunnel and four point "Marinco Battery Direct" connectors on the battery for the home runs. It is functional but just too messy with a Spaghetti like approach to wiring.

Thanks again for the advise.


Chesapeake posted 07-22-2005 12:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Chuck is right.

I took his advice three years ago when I completely rewired a 69 Nauset. The blue sea panel with the clear cover was perfect for the job. It also gave me the incentive to build new dash panels and insert new switches for bilge, lights and accessories.

It was a very satisfying project, not to mention very worthwhile.

LHG posted 07-22-2005 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I just rewired the similarly designed teak console on my 1971 21 Outrage. Here is what I did, and it is code compliant and quite simple for these older boat consoles:

As Chuck mentioned, you need a master breaker (or fuse) near the battery, in the positive lead. I used a Blue Sea 20 amp breaker, since there was a place to conceal it under the full transom design of this hull. For a Nauset, I would recommend the in-line 20 amp fuse, which will be in the battery box.

I used #10 anchor cable, through the tunnel up to the console.

Now, here is an important detail for these old consoles, I think. At the bottom rear (actually front) of the top section, just behind the shelf access hole, I installed a terminal block so that ALL wires running up from the tunnel can be disconnected at the shelf height for console removal and/or refinishing, etc. From this block, installed horizontally, all wiring is run up to the top, and around the upper corners to the switch panel(s). Buy a block with as many circuits as you need.

Once the main feed is into the console, it terminates at a Blue Sea 6 gang combination fuse block with plastic cover (about $30 at West Marine), mounted on the left inside of the upper console, easily accessible. From here individually fused power is distributed to your appliances and switches. If you need more than 6 fused circuits, you can also use a few inline fuse holders additionally (usually a radio already has this, and sometimes sonar does too). To save a location, I put the compass light on the nav light circuit.

The only other cable you need in the tunnel is a three wire type, one for bow light +, one for stern light +, and one for bilge pump + (if you have one). The grounds for these connect to the Whaler 4 gang terminal block on the inside hull near the battery, with a short ground back into the battery. This eliminates having to run three additional ground wires in the tunnel.

I have a complete set of easy-to-read drawings for this installation, if interested.

SpeedBump posted 07-25-2005 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for SpeedBump  Send Email to SpeedBump     
LHG - thanks for the detailed response. would you be good enough to email your electrical drawings for this arrangement to the e-mail in my profile, it would be much appreciated. I especially like the idea of the disconnect at the upper consol section. one question regarding grounds, are common grounds like those referenced in your discussion as good or better than home run grounds? I have always preferred distinct wiring for both positive(+) and ground (-)connections to the power supply.
SpeedBump posted 08-22-2005 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for SpeedBump  Send Email to SpeedBump     
LHG - I received the wiring diagrams this past weekend. Thank you very much for the detailed drawings, your work is exemplary and much appreciated. Rewiring the Nauset will be a breeze with these diagrams. I just purchased a new bow and stern light from CaptReils this weekend that will finish off the work in restoring my Nauset. Your complementary wiring diagram is all I needed to do the work correctly.

Thanks again!

LHG posted 08-24-2005 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Terrific, Speed. Let me know if I can be of assistance in explaining any of the diagrams. There may be items there that you will not be installing, like the courtesy lights.
The self-switched dome light in the console top is very handy I have discovered.
jimh posted 08-26-2005 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Changed TOPIC as part of a general overhaul of TOPICs in this area.]
LHG posted 08-29-2005 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
No problem, Speed. Thank for your help. I am happy to see my work going to good use. If anybody has any questions, post here.

The basic elements of the re-wiring are a 20 amp circuit breaker (which on a 16 might be better replaced with a 20 amp in-line fuse in the battery box, utilization of BW's nav light terminal block (where wires exit inside of blue hull), addition of a bilge pump connection to this expanded post terminal block, an under-console horn and push button, an under-console dome light, console base mounted courtesey lights by Guest, and compass light, radio and combined sonar/GPS unit wiring. There are two under-bowdeck cabin lights shown, with integral toggle switches, but those would not be applicable to the open-bow 16's.

The longer terminal block shown at the front of the top console inside, is so all wiring can be diconnected there for console removal and/or refinishing, etc. Wiring enterng and leaving the console top all terminates at a Blue Sea 6 fuse block, on left side of top console.

On the left consle dash panel, besides 2 small engine gauges, square hour meter and key swiich, there are three push-pull Cole Hersey switches (two position Nav, which includes compass light on running circuit, courtesey lights, bilge pump on-off ("chip" auto 500 GPh Rule pump), and horn button. Right instrument panel has only the large tach and speedo gauges. I used Teleflex Amega domed gauges.

GTL posted 11-19-2005 05:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for GTL  Send Email to GTL     
Been trying to wire my 16 foot bare hull all summer. Always found some thing else to take my time. Hopefully the diagram will get me going. Don't plan on any thing fancy, assuming I can run the Tack, fuel gauge and light for these gauges and the compass off the three wire pigtail from the motor harness. But have to consider how to do the running lights, radio, depth finder, etc.
jimh posted 11-29-2005 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Sorry but the links I posted here are all now dead. I will try to find some good schematic diagrams of primary battery distribution wiring.--jimh]
LHG posted 11-30-2005 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
If I can answer any questions from those who have the drawings, please post here.

I have found the system to perform flawlessly for me for the last six months. Basically, this house wiring system is designed for the teak console of the 1971-72 Outrage 21, and is applicable to the mahogany console of the 1961-1975 Nauset/Sakonnets.

The concept is simple, yet effective and uncluttered with unnecessary equipment, which these boats don't have room for. It is also based on use of a single combination starting/deep cycle battery, which is important since this type of battery can tolerate the repeated limited draw down and re-charging needed from house power requirements.

The theory is simple. Circuit breaker or fuse protected main power is run to the console from a stern mounted battery, to a BlueSeas terminal/fuse block. From there, individually fused power is delivered to the dash mounted switches, which in these Whalers were the Cole Hersey push-pull (only brand worth buying) variety. Power can also be distributed to electronics from this fuse block.

Here is a photo of the switch panel on the boat. Switches are 3 way navigation lights (which includes compass light),
courtesy lights, auto bilge pump on/off override, and horn. current=DSCN1355.jpg

Engine gauges and hourmeter (under the key float) are not related to this system, and instead are powered off the engine ignition harness.

jimh posted 06-16-2008 07:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Sorry--LHG's diagram of his wiring, which is specific to his early 1970's Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 21, not to a NAUSET, is apparently not posted anywhere publicly available. Perhaps Larry will add the drawings to his picture website so they can be more easily obtained.
screamin whaler posted 05-26-2009 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for screamin whaler  Send Email to screamin whaler     
Revived this discussion in order to change the topic. Please begin a new discussion if you wish to change the topic. The information you are seeking is a FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION, and if your read the FAQ you will find the answer.--jimh]

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