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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Predicting Damage Caused By Improper Connection of Boat Wiring to Boat Battery
|Author||Topic: Predicting Damage Caused By Improper Connection of Boat Wiring to Boat Battery|
posted 04-12-2010 11:24 PM ET (US)
I hired someone to help me get my boat clean and ready for the boating season. He wanted to do such a good job cleaning that he removed the battery from the boat. When he re-connected the battery he put both the positive and negative leads from the engine onto the positive side of the battery. He also put the positive accessory line onto the negative side of the battery. It stayed this way for about an hour. At that point I came home, saw what he had done, and straightened out the wires. Should I be worried? How will I know if damage has been done?
posted 04-13-2010 09:00 AM ET (US)
Make darn sure he knows NOW what he did, and that you hold him
responsible for any damage.
Did you catch it before turning on the ignition or Acc
If no, It's really hard to guess what might be damaged. The
There's a pretty good chance you came out of this clean.
posted 04-13-2010 09:36 AM ET (US)
That is reassuring. Thanks. The ignition was not turned on while the wires were in the wrong places. And no accessories were connected.
posted 04-13-2010 10:45 AM ET (US)
You are just fine - even if you turned a switch on - because with both connectors/wires connected to either the positive or negative post on the battery, there is no current flow. ---- Jerry/Idaho
posted 04-13-2010 11:14 AM ET (US)
Note that the accessories were wired with reverse polarity. The only reason you did not sustain damage to the accessories is that you did not have them connected. May the "force" continue to be with you !!
posted 04-13-2010 11:50 AM ET (US)
If I read the original post correctly, David said both starter leads were wired to the same post but the accessory leads were wired positive to negative and negative to positive of the battery.
If this is the case refer to Chucks answer.
posted 04-13-2010 01:02 PM ET (US)
The only wires connected to the positive side of the battery were the two big cables coming from the engine. All of the other (smaller) wires were connected to the negative side of the battery.
posted 04-13-2010 02:01 PM ET (US)
Did he have his green card?
posted 04-13-2010 06:26 PM ET (US)
This makes a good case for having a battery switch that you habitually leave in the OFF position.
posted 04-13-2010 06:39 PM ET (US)
Jerry is correct, If what you said is the way it was connected you lucked out, there was no current going through the electrical system unless you have another ground somewhere...
posted 04-14-2010 09:04 PM ET (US)
Interpreting the narrative of the connection problems, I conclude:
The primary positive and negative distribution circuits were both connected to the battery positive terminal.
A secondary positive distribution circuit was connected to the battery negative.
The effect of this would be:
--for devices whose source of electrical current was the primary distribution circuit, there was 0-volts of electrical potential, and no current would flow;
--for devices whose source of electrical current was the secondary distribution circuit connected accidently to the battery negative, there was -12-volts of electrical potential--the opposite polarity from normal. Depending on what devices were connected to this circuit, how those devices are configured, and how any over-current protection is provided, it is possible that a large reverse current could flow, possibly blowing a fuse or other over-current protection device. Without knowing the details of all the devices connected to this circuit, it is impossible to assess the damage potential.
posted 04-17-2010 10:15 AM ET (US)
Damage to electrical circuits which results from a polarity reversal in the power supplied to them generally takes the form of excessive current flow in portions of the circuit or in devices in the circuit where the reverse-bias on rectifiers creates an unusual current path. Detection of damage from high current can often be made by:
--noting effects of the high temperatures created by the high current, such as discoloration, melting, or other distortion of the conductors and devices;
--finding a permanent opening of the circuit where conductors have melted or where semiconductors have been destroyed and failed into open circuits;
--finding a permanent short in the circuit where conductor have melted and created new circuit paths or where semiconductors have been destroyed and failed into a short circuit
--noting unusual smells from some devices where high temperatures have caused combustion or burning of the plastic materials associated with the devices
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