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Author Topic:   DPDT Switch For Control of Navigation Lamps
jb14326 posted 05-10-2006 09:43 PM ET (US)   Profile for jb14326   Send Email to jb14326  
I'm looking for instructions or a diagram on how to wire [the sidelight lamp] and [white all-around lamp] with a single on-off-on switch, so that first ON position illuminates the anchor light and the second ON position illuminates the running lights.

[Since this discussion took place, a new article has been added to the REFERENCE section which shows in detail how to wire navigation lamps. Please refer to the article for more advice on this topic--jimh.]

jimh posted 05-10-2006 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Use a two-pole switch. Wire the white all-around light to one pole. Wire the sidelights to the other pole.

A switch suitable for this purpose is very commonly available wherever marine electrical supplies are sold. The usual arrangement of the switch is to have an OFF-ON-ON configuration. You wire each pole separately to obtain the results you desire.

jb14326 posted 05-10-2006 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jb14326  Send Email to jb14326     

Thanks for the reply, any chance you know where I can find a diagram of such a set up?

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-11-2006 12:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
You can do it with a double-pole, double-throw, center-off

The switch will have six terminals. Two at the top, two
in the middle, two at the bottom. When you flip the switch
up, the middle terminals are connected to the corresponding
top terminal. When you flip the switch down, the middle
terminals are connected to the corresponding bottom terminal.

The usual setup is to have red green and white on when the
switch is up, just the all round light when the switch is

Wire +12V to the two middle terminals. Wire the white all
round light to both top and bottom on one side. Wire the
the red green nav lights to the top terminal on the other
side. If the switch has a pilot light, there will be a
seventh terminal for ground, and you should wire the white
light on the side that the pilot light is wired to.


jimh posted 05-11-2006 07:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I found this page of diagrams of switch wiring configurations using GOOGLE.COM:

The search terms were "DPDT switch diagram navigation light". See diagram #6.

jimh posted 05-11-2006 07:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
ASIDE: I was aboard a USCG 41-foot boat several years ago and had a chance to take a good look at the helm station and how their navigation lamps were wired and controlled. The 41-footer is equipped with the usual navigation lamps for a vessel of its size, that is sidelights, masthead lights, and stern lights, but it also has additional lamps for showing the proper lights for towing. These are all wired to a large multi-pole rotary switch which is labeled with designators that describe the situation appropriate for the lights shown. In other words, the switch has labels like:

--At Anchor
--Underway Towing Astern
--Underway Towing Alongside

and perhaps a couple more that I cannot recall. It thought this was quite interesting. Rather than depend upon the commanding officer to recall the precise combination of lights to show in each situation, the switch incorporated all of the rules of navigation into its wiring. The rules of the navigation lighting were literally hard-wired into the switch. To show the proper navigation lights, you just set the big rotary switch to the appropriate setting.

Robob2003 posted 05-11-2006 10:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Robob2003  Send Email to Robob2003     

The inexpensive pull type off/on/on switch I got was specifically for navigation lights and came with a simple diagram for wiring so the first position is the white anchor light and the second all nav. lights.

Happy nightime boating:-)

Bob on Tampa Bay

4whaler posted 08-07-2007 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for 4whaler  Send Email to 4whaler     
How would you wire up a Carling rocker double throw double pole switch (On-Off-On)with two LEDs. The one in my switch panel has 8 terminal tabs. Two at one end look like they are used to illuminate the LEDs when the switch is on. There is a blue wire to them with a ground jumper.

I want it to illuminate ONLY the anchor light and the switch LED in one ON position and illuminate the bow (red/green), anchor, switch panel and insturment lights in the other ON position. Anyone got a wiring diagram on how to lash this up?

The link at
is real close if you look at circuit diagram #15.

The switch panel LED blue wire for all the switchs in the panel is going to have to be attached to one of the terminals that turns on the bow lights Id guess along with the dash and compass lights?

The switch back is configured like below with each number representing a spade terminal sticking up out of the plastic body.

[3] [2] [1] [8]

[6] [5] [4] [7]

4whaler posted 08-07-2007 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for 4whaler  Send Email to 4whaler     
Found some good stuff on the Blue Sea's web site. They make some really good electronic componets too.

and for other applications like bilge, horns, stero,

still haven't run down the place to put the switch light blue wire and the dash and compass light loads but I think it has to be the bicolor lights terminal, at least for my application.

george nagy posted 08-07-2007 05:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
4whaler, Are you talking about wiring the twin bulb masthead light on the center console along with the stern and bow navigation lamps?

jb14326, You need to wire the stern all-around light and the bow red/green light so that they are switched to be on at the same time while running at night and also so that when at anchor the white all-around light can be illuminated by itself.

george nagy posted 08-07-2007 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Here is a diagram I just worked up showing the way I rewired my 19' outrage. I will be posting an expose including photos on my total rewire job as soon as I get a break in the action!


4whaler posted 08-07-2007 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for 4whaler  Send Email to 4whaler     
George thats the switch configuration I have. I counted a one to many it has 7 terminals like yours. The eight has the slot but no terminal tab sticking up.

I want a all round 360 degree anchor on one side of the switch and it, the green/red bow light, the dash, switchs and compass light on the other on postion.

[3] [2] [1] []empty slot

[6] [5] [4] [7]

george nagy posted 08-08-2007 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
4whaler, You need to have a rear navigation light lit while underway. My 15' had a red/green bow light and a rear 360d white light both were on while running and only the 360d was on while at anchor.
4whaler posted 08-09-2007 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for 4whaler  Send Email to 4whaler     
Yep thats what I need. The white all around running light is the anchor light. Ive been playing with the switch in question and found its a dptp ON-OFF-ON but not a standard one.
The 1 and 3 terminals are internally jumpered/connected in the switch to each other so they both are hot when the rocker is moved from the middle off position to either up or down also they are connected to the #7 terminal too.

The 4 and 6 terminals on the other side are not connected/jumpered to each other and only one is hot when the switch is moved from the off postion.

The two little lights in the switch appear to be wired to the #1 and #3 postion thru to #7 where the red wire comes in to the switch from the 15 Amp circit breaker.

I'm going to hook the white anchor/running light up to the #1 and the red/green bow light to #4. The #3 is used by the ground for the switch lights and the #6 is used by the blue switch light wire.

All very confusing especially with the two lights in the switch in the circuit, but I have discovered that my GLS II 15 ft'rs nav lights are wired to a dpdt switch just like this one from what I can tell. Im going to pull it out and look at what wires go where. It works fine with the insturment light on the digital engine guage comming on only in the Nav light postion and staying off in the anchor position.

4whaler posted 08-09-2007 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for 4whaler  Send Email to 4whaler     
With more thought and looking at the Carling Tech switch diagrams the reason I think that terminal #1 & #3 have continuity with each other and #7 is the light circuit, there is no jumper directly between then in the switch rather its through #7 terminal. Using a multimeter for continuities and a little 6V radio battery has shed some light on the matter but also makes it impossible to tell if your in the switching circuits or the switch lighting circuit, which are the same in some cases.

I think I have a "J" circuit DPDT switch with a E/5 or mabye D/4 lighting circuit, I don't know how you tell with out disassembly of the switch rocker and pulling the LEDs out to get to their contacts so you can put a mulimeter on them?

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