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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Adding Accessory Loads
|Author||Topic: Adding Accessory Loads|
posted 01-27-2009 06:26 AM ET (US)
Could someone tell me how to attach wires from my livewell to the accessory switch on a 2008 Montauk 170? I have looked at the bundles of wires inside the console and it seems to be a hopeless tangle of wires that all look alike.
Would the livewell wire attach to one wire buried in that tangle, or directly to the back of the switch? And how does one work inside the console when you are over 6' tall and kinda wide? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
posted 01-27-2009 09:09 AM ET (US)
"... tell me how to attach wires from my livewell to the accessory switch..."
In a marine electrical system, wires should be attached to terminals using terminal lugs. Only one wire should be under the fastener at each terminal. It is not a good idea to aggregate multiple terminal lugs under one fastener.
The Boston Whaler boat is constructed with electrical harnesses which are compliant with the recommended practice of the Coast Guard and also likely an industry association such as the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). I would not characterize them as as a "hopeless tangle of wires that all look alike." To anyone who is familiar with standard electrical practices, they are quite nicely arranged.
Boston Whaler provides an on-line host from which you can obtain a schematic diagram of the electrical system of your boat, if you do not already have one. With a few clicks I was able to obtain the electrical schematic diagram for the wiring of your 2008 Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK from
The website has a very simple hierarchical organization which allowed me to immediately navigate to the diagram itself:
The wiring diagram shows the following information about each wire in the wiring harness:
--the color of its insulation
After studying this diagram you will be able to look at the wiring harness as a beautifully organized system of electrical current distribution. You will no longer see it as a "hopeless tangle of wires that all look alike."
To add an accessory electrical load, you will wire its negative lead to the MAIN GROUND BUS. You will wire the accessory load positive lead to the ACCESSORY switch. Note that the schematic diagram already shows a live well pump wired to the ACCESSORY switch; this may be an optional accessory. In manufacturing, the electrical conductor is routed through a connector. This was done to facilitate manufacturing of the wiring harness in two component pieces. You do not need to route the lead for your new load through this connector.
At the switch itself I suspect that the conductor is attached using a terminal lug designed to press onto the terminal of the switch. You should use a similar terminal lug on your conductor.
The ACCESSORY switch is supplied with current through a fuse of 3-Amperes. If your load will require more than 3-Amperes, increase the rating of that fuse. Do not increase the fuse to more than 10-Amperes.
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