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Author Topic:   Richie Compass Illumination
home Aside posted 07-05-2015 05:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for home Aside   Send Email to home Aside  
A while ago my flush mount Richie Compass FN-201 gave up the ghost, leaked all over the place, I removed it, marked the compass light wires(on the boat side) with a piece of tape. Before I could get my compass off to the repair facility, the open box got knocked off the table, and it was destroyed beyond repair. So I got a new Richie Compass FN-201 for Christmas. I'm installing the compass, and I thought I was up for wiring the lights--I must admit I'm no Ready Kilowatt00only to find that the wires on the compass are RED and BLACK insulation, and the wires on the Revenge are GRAY and BLUE insulation. The BLUE wire goes to the NAV LTS switch. The GRAY wire goes to the fuse block and is hard-wired with no fuse at that junction.

So do I connect the RED wire from the compass to the GRAY wire and the fuse block and move the connection to one the junctions in the block that takes a fuse? And the BLACK wire from the compass goes to the BLUE wire to the switch?

The directions on the compass say it should be wired to an appropriately fused circuit (e.g., running lights) and allot 1-Ampere for the compass.

I did find the attached thread, but still a little confused

jimh posted 07-05-2015 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The wires on the compass, the RED and BLACK, are possibly polarized, and the RED should be the positive circuit while the BLACK is the negative. If the lamp in the compass is an incandescent lightbulb, there really won't be any polarity. The lamp may use an LED bulb, and, if that is the case, the circuit will require polarity to be observed.

The BLUE lead you describe as coming from the NAV LTS switch is the positive circuit. If you use this circuit to power the compass illumination you will have to turn on the navigation lighting to illuminate the compass.

The GRAY lead you describe as being wired right to the fuse block is very likely the negative lead. If you have the original secondary power distribution panel or "fuse block" that Boston Whaler installed in the Revenge, that wiring accessory has both the positive circuit, available on six fuses, and the negative circuit, available on a bus bar with about six or more terminals. I think if you look more closely you will see that the lead you describe as GRAY will be wired to a negative bus bar terminal.

Also, if you look very closely, I think you will find that the lead you describe as having GRAY insulation will actually have GRAY with BLACK STRIPE marked insulation. That represents the negative circuit of the navigation lighting circuit.

Usually on a Boston Whaler Revenge there are three pull switches on the small electrical panel at the helm. One is wired for the navigation lamps, and it is an OFF-ON1-ON2 type switch. The other two are also pull switches but are just OFF-ON. If you haven't already used those circuits for something else, you could use one of them for the COMPASS LTS circuit. My boat is also wired that way.

In addition to using that second switch for the compass, I use the COMPASS LTS circuit as the instrument panel gauge illumination circuit, too. At night, if I want to illuminate all the gauges (and the compass), I turn that circuit to ON.

ASIDE: I got a smile from your use of the old 1950's electric utility character READY-KILOWATT. That brought back memories. My father worked for Detroit Edison, and we had plenty of Ready-Kilowatt branded stuff around the house when I was kid.

jimh posted 07-05-2015 06:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is the fuse block that Boston Whaler typically would have used in a c.1988 Revenge:

Photo: Fuse block from c.1990 Boston Whaler

The copper bus bar at the bottom (which has been painted black with a top coating) is the negative bus. There are six binder-head screws. The taller single terminal post is where the negative circuit from the battery distribution connects. It may be easier to see how the wiring works when there are not a lot of loads wired to the block.

home Aside posted 07-05-2015 06:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Thanks, Jim. I had my Revenge re-wired a couple of years ago at Lockeman's. Prior to the compass fiasco, I had a new fuse block installed that uses the flat fuses.

I'm away from the boat at the moment, I'll have to go retrace the wire. One other thing I believe: the gauge of the wire in the Revenge is different gauge than what is on the compass. The old compass was also set up so it plugged into the wire from the boat. I kind of like that, I would like to try and duplicate that.

Here is a link to the fuse block I had installed at Lockeman's ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436135118&sr=8-1&keywords=marine+fuse+block

jimh posted 07-06-2015 07:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
That BLUE SEA SYSTEMS distribution panel is a good one. I actually installed that same type in my boat when I re-did the electrical power distribution at the helm. The negative bus is at the top of that panel.
jimh posted 07-07-2015 05:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If a disconnect is desired for the illumination circuit of the compass, and considering there are only two wires, a set of two bullet connectors could be used. You can get them just about anywhere. One source that seems convenient is

This vendor has the bullet connectors with the flexible clear plastic sheaths that provide some protection to water intrusion. I haven't seen that sort of bullet connector in hardware stores, but you might find them there, too.

jimh posted 07-07-2015 06:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You could also use the SAE-style connectors (sometimes called "trailer" connectors). The same vendor sells them, and I recommend these connectors with 5-foot long attached wiring so you do not have to splice these connectors into existing circuit wiring; you can just use the red and black wiring on the pre-formed connectors to replace the existing circuit wiring.


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