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Author Topic:   Battery Selector Switch on the Fritz
george nagy posted 04-30-2015 03:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for george nagy   Send Email to george nagy  
A number of years ago I rewired my 19 outrage with all new wiring and equipment and everything was in working order before being in storage for over 4 years. The boat has since been in use for almost two years and last week while putting the boat away I noticed that the batter selector switch is NOT working. The switch is a good quality blue sea 1-2-all-off switch that seems to allow electricity from the battery/batteries to power the boat with the switch in any position. While i haven't dug into any deeper does anyone know if there is a fail safe all on mode with such switch?
george nagy posted 04-30-2015 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
In the previous post I have incorrectly described the switch. The switch is a BEP as shown in the following:
jimh posted 04-30-2015 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am not familiar with the internal construction of the BEP battery switch, but, since it is a rotary switch, I would expect that its contacts would make a wiping action when making or breaking. A wiping action ought to help keep the contacts free of corrosion, and, as I have often remarked, in a 12-Volt system the flow of current can be stopped by just a very thin layer of any type of non-conductive material.

I suggest you approach the diagnosis and repair with this procedure:

--connect the negative lead of a reliable digital voltmeter to the battery negative circuit in a way that it is going to be a reliable connection, that is, you don't have to hold it in place with your hand;

--on the positive lead of to the DVM use a probe with a sharp point;

--measure the voltage at a number of locations, in each case using the sharp point probe and pushing it into the conductor firmly so it penetrates through any insulating layer; the locations are:

--the battery positive terminal;

--the battery switch common terminal; and

--the battery switch output terminal.

The goal of these measurements is to determine if the battery switch is getting power from the battery. When you check a connection point, check both on the ring terminal and on the post. You might find that, although the connection looks mechanically good, there can be an electrical stoppage in current flow between the ring terminal and the post.

If something looks odd, also check the connection between the conductor and the ring terminal by pushing the tip of the voltmeter probe onto the actual copper of the wire. Sometimes a crimp terminal can look good but not make electrical connection due to internal corrosion you cannot see.

george nagy posted 04-30-2015 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Jim, thanks for the advise but I think you missread my post. everything electronic works when the switch is is any and all of it's positions. This is a very strange thing which I'm sure wasn't the case when I first installed everything nearly ten years prior. I think the switch has a disc which insures that connection isn't broken when switching from 1 and 2 in order to protect the alternator. If this is the case it may be possible the disc has dislodged and is making connection in all settings including the off position. I will have to dig into it but it is getting awfully hot here and the boat is outside on a lift.
fno posted 04-30-2015 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
George, go buy a new switch and replace the messed up one you have now. You aren't going to fix the one you have so don't waste time, get a new one and install it. If there is something better than a Blue Sea out there, replace it with that brand. Diagnosing and attempting to repair a simple battery selector switch is a waste of time, money and fishing opportunities....
jimh posted 04-30-2015 11:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
George--You are right--I didn't read far enough into your narrative, stopping at the phrase "is not working." I think your situation is the first time I've heard of a switch not working by working all the time. That could be dangerous.

Disconnect the feed to the switch at the battery, then remove the switch. It is probably not repairable.

You might want to perform a postmortem examination of the switch once you have removed it. Maybe the switch contacts became welded together, and the actuator mechanism broke away.

george nagy posted 05-01-2015 09:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Yes I think I will remove the switch, the problem is I made it integral to the console instrument panel accessible from outside the console. I might not want to replace it with the same product as it has seemingly failed.

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