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  Adding Fuse Block to Center Console of 17-footer

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Author Topic:   Adding Fuse Block to Center Console of 17-footer
endus posted 07-30-2014 12:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for endus   Send Email to endus  
[Moved to SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL.]

I searched around and I have seen some of the threads re the Blue Sea fuse block mounted in older Boston Whaler Montauk center console boats. Has anyone added a Blue Sea Systems fuse block to the center console of a Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK? Where was it mounted?

My inclination is to install the new fuse block on the wall of the center console that faces the stern since it will be (somewhat) easy to get to it there. How to mount it is another question. The plan right now is to attach a piece of epoxy-covered wood to the console and screw the new fuse block to that, also allowing us to do some wire management at the block. as well. My first thought was to glass-in the piece of wood, but it would be difficult to accomplish this in the center console. We also thought of using two screws and 3M5200 to put it in. I don't love the idea of adding screws to the console, though. Are there any opinions on whether the 5200 would be enough by itself?

Finally, has anyone relocated anything such as the battery switch, pump, dc main block, VHF, etc. up higher to keep them drier? The VHF, in particular, was not working when we bought the boat because the wires had corroded. The way the VHF is mounted, the wires are heading straight down towards the deck and corrosion is pretty much inevitable.

Too much 12-Volt wiring at the sailing place I worked at in my youth has lead me to want to basically rewire the entire center console! I'm not satisfied with how the stereo was wired in, relying on inline fuses, having a difficult time identifying where wiring problems are because things are not labeled, etc.

endus posted 08-13-2014 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for endus  Send Email to endus     
For the record: I installed the second battery and fuse block this weekend. I wound up remounting both batteries at the forward end of the center console without the covers to save space. I don't believe the covers add any value inside the center console, and they take up much more space and make battery mounting more difficult.

Wired the second battery to the (existing) three-pole Blue Sea Systems switch with 4-AWG wire and solder-on connectors, and a 4-AWG run between the negative terminals of the two batteries.

For the panel, we wound up mounting it with screws to the aft end of the center console. Not exactly what I wanted, but it looks fine and in the end was a better idea. We used a piece of KING StarBoard that is about as big as I could fit between the two existing speakers. The block was wired to a 125-Ampere marine circuit breaker and then to the common output of the three-way switch with 6-AWG wiring and solder-on connectors. The battery negative circuit from the block was wired to the second battery, with 6-AWG.

I moved the VHF so that its mounted above the center console door, which is a perfect place for it. Much better than the existing location in every way.

Ran new wiring to the VHF eliminating the existing in-line fuse. Wired the chart plotter to the block eliminating the in-line fuse.

NMEA wires are currently disconnected until I do some more work in there, but I wasn't aware of any functionality they were providing anyway. I also pulled out the harness for the stereo head unit as the speakers had broken terminals and bad wire. I'd like to replace the whole system with an Alpine unit, but unfortunately the existing Jensen unit isn't a standard 1-DIN size. We'll see--next year's problem.

Navigation lamps should probably be wired to the block as should the horn and possibly the bilge pump (which is not currently working, and I don't know why). There are two small deck lamps the previous owner put in which also need to be connected to the block.

Wire runs to the stern for a live well, but I am going to pull that and leave some messenger lines in place. I need to pull out and replace the speaker wires once I decide on the stereo situation too.

All in all this took about 11 hours to complete. Everything was straightforward, but took time. Definitely a very worthwhile project and I feel a lot more comfortable trusting the boat now. The bilge pump is the one major electrical gremlin I still need to fix.

I will try and post pictures. Hopefully this helps someone out!

jimh posted 08-18-2014 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Moved to SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL.]
jimh posted 08-18-2014 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the narrative of your electrical system overhaul on the Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK.

I have used a wood sub-base to create a mounting surface for electrical components. I have fastened the wood sub-base to the fiberglass laminate with two screws, at diagonal corners. I use oval-head screws and add finish washers on the exterior side. This dresses up the screws and matches them to other fasteners found on the boat.

The interconnection of your VHF Marine Band radio and a GPS receiver is very important, if you have a Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radio. The GPS receiver should be sending position data to the radio. In the event of an emergency, the DSC radio can initiate a DSC Distress Alert transmission that will include the present position of your boat as determined by the GPS receiver.

It can also be very useful to connect the DSC radio to a chart plotter so that data from the radio can be sent to the chart plotter for display. Typically a DSC radio will output the position data it receives from other boats, either in routine position request calls, or in Distress Alert transmissions. Immediately plotting the position of other vessels on your chart plotter can be very useful.

The interconnection of the VHF Marine Band radio, the GPS receiver, and the chart plotter is typically accomplished using NMEA-0183 protocol and wiring, or, if you happen to have all components with NMEA-2000 support, via a NMEA-2000 network backbone.

Your mounting of the battery or batteries in the console without "covers" may represent a considerable hazard. Lead-acid flooded cell batteries should be kept in battery boxes to contain any acid that could leak from them. The battery terminals should always be covered and insulated against any accidental contact with other electrical conductors.

endus posted 08-18-2014 03:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for endus  Send Email to endus     
Thanks for the reply! I had the feeling that the NMEA connection should provide the functionality you mention, but it did not appear, at least, to be working when I got the boat. I will work on getting that reconnected, though. The boat has been at our marina the last couple weeks, and I have been trying to get time to bring it home so I can address that issue. The idea of upgrading some of the electronics is also possible...I am not 100% confident in the VHF at the moment and we've been carrying a spare handheld as a result. (Not that I wouldn't do that anyway with a radio I was more confident in, but still.)

For the batteries, they are still in boxes to contain any spillage, just without the lids on the boxes. I should have been more clear about that for sure! I agree with you as far as protecting the terminals from contact with any other electrical conductors and I have been careful about how I routed the wires in there. I think I am comfortable with it, but I will have another think about it. I do wish I had the covers on the boxes, but they take up an inordinate amount of space and make wire routing more difficult. It also seemed like they were going to be really difficult to get on and off the batteries when they were mounted, no matter where I wound up mounting them.

jimh posted 08-18-2014 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Make certain to carefully protect the positive battery terminals with some sort of secure insulation material so there is no possibility of any accidental contact with them.

Use something like these:

http://www.google.com/search?q=battery+terminal+insulator+boots& client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X& ei=t2HyU_W5OoWdygTF94KoCg&ved=0CFUQsAQ&biw=1135&bih=788

kwik_wurk posted 08-18-2014 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for kwik_wurk  Send Email to kwik_wurk     
I redid the wiring on one of the Montauks (classic) using a 8-inch x 14-inch KING StarBoard bonded to the starboard side of the console with 3M5200. The board was roughed up with 40 grit to provide a better mechanical bonding surface.

The key was to pre-mount as much as possible to the Starboard, then bond the board on.

It is wired for two batteries, but so far my use mode has been fine with one battery.

After several seasons, everything looks fine, won't budge a bit. As for moisture and corrosion, the boat is on a buoy most of the summer, gets put away wet, so louvered doors are key. However this is not a high humidity are, aside from rain. Making sure the console is vented (but not leaking) is important.

The two mistakes made: not providing enough wiring length to make drip loops going into the fuse box, and deliberately not providing a main high-Ampere fuse from the battery to selector switch.

If you want I can send you a picture, or maybe jimh will be kind enough to post it in the discussion.

endus posted 08-19-2014 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for endus  Send Email to endus     
jimh - Thanks, that's a very good idea, I will add those for sure.

kwik wurk - The drip loops are one thing I didn't think of! The way the wires are run and the box is mounted, it may not be an issue for the main connections to the box, but the equipment connectors should definitely have that. I believe I left enough slack to do that, though. Very good call!

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