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Author Topic:   Boston Whaler Electrical Panel for Trolling Motor
ktm3ten posted 06-05-2012 10:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for ktm3ten   Send Email to ktm3ten  
I have a 24V MinnKota Riptide ST trolling motor mounted on the bow of my 2008 Montauk 170. I have the factory trolling motor panel. This panel also has what is listed as a 12V DC socket in addition to the trolling motor plug.
Here's the situation:

I want to add a bow mount GPS/Depth Finder and need a source of 12V to power the unit. I will be using a trolling motor mounted transducer and there is a internal GPS receiver so if there is 12V at the panel, no additional wiring will have to be run to the console through the front rigging tube.

Since my trolling motor is a 24V system, is that "cigarette lighter" style 12V socket actually have 12V or will it have 24V begin that is the system powering the trolling motor? Are there two "+" wires going to the console, one for the 24V system and a separate one going to the starting battery's 12V system? If not, I guess I will have to run a separate power wire to the console.

Here's a photo of the panel and trolling motor installed. Any advice from someone who has done this will be great. Thanks!

Mr T posted 06-05-2012 11:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mr T  Send Email to Mr T     
I would expect it to have a 12V output, but frankly I don't know that wiring diagram to say plug electronics in there and find out.

Find a multimeter and test it to be sure, it's cheap insurance...

Chuck Tribolet posted 06-06-2012 01:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
What Mr. T said. There's no substitute for a real

If it does turn out to be 24V, there are DC-DC converters that
will step it down to 12V (or more like 13.2V would be a better

Is that 12V socket a cigarette lighter socket? I wouldn't use
that but would pick up the wiring behind it and hard wire,
or use water proof plugs.


jimh posted 06-06-2012 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For a recent model Boston Whaler boat you can find the wiring diagram on-line at WHALERPARTS.COM. For a 2008 170 MONTAUK with the trolling motor option the wiring should be shown in

The above diagram shows only 12-Volts wired to the panel at the bow. Note that the wiring to the 12-Volt receptacle is entirely separate from the trolling motor plug. The two circuits have separate fuses.

The diagram does not show 24-Volt wiring. Perhaps that was something modified by a dealer. It is always good advice to check the actual wiring and installation on your particular boat. It may no longer conform to the diagram.

jimh posted 06-06-2012 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It would be extremely bad practice to wire a cigar lighter power receptacle to deliver 24-Volts. I cannot imagine that Boston Whaler would manufacture a boat wired that way.
ktm3ten posted 06-06-2012 07:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for ktm3ten  Send Email to ktm3ten     
Since I have a 24V trolling motor, the wiring for the trolling motor receptacle was wired into a 2 battery, 24V system.

I should mention that this boat actually didn't come from the factory with the trolling motor panel, but we figured out that from '08 on (not necessarily true with earlier years, the rigging tube is present in all hulls. My dealer simply cut the access and installed the panel and ran the wiring. Since the wiring diagram shows a separate wire, I'm going to guess that there's a separate, dedicated wire to the cigar lighter that's attached to the 12V system (here's to hoping the dealer has followed factory plans!!).

I will definitely check it, but if there is a separate wiring to the 12V system, I will likely just remove those connections and utilize them to run the depth finder.

I will take photos as things progress.

Thank you all for your help.

jimh posted 06-06-2012 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the clarification that the electrical panel you are asking about and its wiring was not installed by Boston Whaler. Now that we know that important fact, we can know that the schematic diagram of Boston Whaler electrical wiring is not applicable.

There is no way to know or learn how the panel is wired by your narrative description of it. You will have to disassemble the panel, mark the wires, and trace their circuitry. Then you can tell us how the panel is wired. We cannot tell you.

ktm3ten posted 06-06-2012 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for ktm3ten  Send Email to ktm3ten     
Since it was a Boston Whaler part and was installed on a new Boston Whaler by an authorized dealer, my assumption was that it would be wired exactly as if it was installed by the factory and this was the goal of my question which you aptly answered with the wiring diagram. If the dealer deviated significantly, of course there would be no way to know that.

I'll follow up upon removal with photos and explanation in case anyone in the future is installing a bow mount depth finder on a Montauk 170 with a 24V trolling motor.


jimh posted 06-06-2012 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Let me offer an important caution:

Since we don't know precisely how your panel is wired, you must use care in checking the voltages. You should connect the negative lead of your voltmeter to the negative terminal of the main engine cranking battery. This establishes the reference voltage or 0-Volts on your boat. Then use the positive lead of the voltmeter to measure the various voltages found on the connectors on your panel.

In a 24-Volt system you will have two batteries connected in series. It is easy to become confused about the reference voltage. If you find "12-Volts" on the panel, you want to make sure it is the same potential as your engine cranking battery.

Also--the world of trolling motor connectors seems to be a bit loose with wiring and connector standards. In the Boston Whaler diagram (linked above) the trolling motor connector is shown as a four-pole connector with only two poles in use. You should investigate your panel to see how that connector is wired. Perhaps all four poles are used, and there are two batteries, each connected to an isolated set of two poles.

It might also be worth the time to call Boston Whaler customer service and talk to Chuck Bennett about their handling of 24-volt motors. I don't know enough about recent Whaler boats to know if they have delivered a 24-Volt option or not.

jimh posted 06-07-2012 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In the Boston Whaler diagram, the wiring of the trolling motor power panel appears to be connected to an isolated battery, but the drawing is a bit ambiguous on this point. It calls the trolling motor battery "Battery #1." If there is only one battery on the boat, I would assume everything is wired to that battery. If there are two batteries, perhaps the trolling motor is kept isolated.
jimh posted 06-07-2012 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Even as recently as model year 2012, Boston Whaler does not show a 24-Volt trolling motor option for a 170 MONTAUK. For the much larger 210 MONTAUK there is a 24-Volt trolling motor option. You can see the wiring used by Boston Whaler in the owner's manual: OwnersManuals/270171_ombrochure.pdf

ASIDE: After c.2010 it looks like Boston Whaler stopped posting drawings to WHALERPARTS.COM, and they are now producing rather complete and sophisticated owner's manuals for each boat model. Drawings that previously were available on WHALERPARTS.COM are now incorporated into the owner's manual and can be downloaded from WHALER.COM.

ktm3ten posted 06-09-2012 10:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for ktm3ten  Send Email to ktm3ten     
Ok...So I've had a few days to take some things apart and figure out what my options are.

First, a correction. Jimh notes that starting 2010 the wiring diagrams, etc seem to be in the owners manuals. I think this might extend back further because in my (2008) Owners manual, there is the wiring and other diagrams as well as they are located on the website.

I have learned some about the Boston Whaler Trolling Motor Panel at least to how it relates to the 2008 Montauk 170 though by looking at wiring and other diagrams, many boats and years appear to be similar.

There are two sockets:

1. On the port side of the boat, a 4 pin trolling motor socket. This port has 4 posts and sockets and the plug has 4 pins. There are 3 wires coming off that plug, though only 2 are used. The lid states M-G Electronics, a manufacturer with little info on their website. According to the Boston Whaler owners manual, this socket is capable of motors from 12-36 Volts.

2. On the starboard side of the boat, what appears to be a 'cigar lighter' style of 12V DC socket. This socket caries a smaller gauge wire run from the console that is separate from the trolling motor wiring. Both wires are stamped with numbers that match the wiring schematics available on the website. Of note, this socket is not a standard 12V socket. It's manufactured by Marinco and the item is called the Sealink. It's pretty interesting in that it allows a slight twist to lock the plug in the socket which is nice for an environment with significant vibration. It also has a water proof connection for the wiring. Kudos to Boston Whaler for using this novel product as OEM.

The panel wiring upon removal looks like this:

This facilitates the use of a 24V or 36V trolling motors AND 12V bow mounted electronics such as depth finders or GPS or combo units.

As a separate item of note:

-The cavity behind this panel is approximately 12 inches across and V shaped with the apex of the V toward the bow of the boat. While the diagram on the website seems to indicate the rigging tube is on the port side of boat, on my boat, the small exit of the rigging tube is on the starboard side of this cavity. Here's a photo of the tube's exit:

Additionally, on my boat, this cavity had approximately 1.5 inches of water in the bottom of it. Fortunately, that rigging tube sits up about 3 inches from the bottom, near the top of the cavity to prevent water intrusion into the tube. I attribute this intrusion to the fact that the cover panel did not have any sealant behind it. It's simply attached with 6 screws that have a definite "bottom" and it doesn't seal well.

The water had been in there long enough, some of the exposed fiberglass I could see had been damaged by this water and was thickened due to what appears to be an intrusion of water into the material.

Tomorrow I hope to finish the installation of two Humminbird depth finders including side imaging and I will post that install and their info as I progress.

jimh posted 06-10-2012 07:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
First, a correction. Jimh notes that starting 2010 the wiring diagrams, etc seem to be in the owners manuals...

What I said was, "After c.2010 it looks like Boston Whaler stopped posting drawings to WHALERPARTS.COM..." As far as I can tell, this is correct. There are no listings on WHALERPARTS.COM for boats newer than 2010.

ASIDE: I don't know how one would get drawings for a particular model year other than the current model year for boats newer than 2010. There does not seem to be an archive site.

jimh posted 06-10-2012 08:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What voltage did you measure at the trolling motor connector?

From the image (linked above) it appears to be wired with RED and BLACK conductors. If that RED conductor is something other than 12-Volts DC, I would consider it a bad practice. If the RED conductor is 24-Volts, it probably should be ORANGE (to conform to the OEM wiring practice).

It would be interesting to know if there is a standard practice for wiring the four-pole connector regarding voltage. Perhaps the fourth pole is used for 36-Volt circuits, suggesting that the wiring is according to this scheme:

Circuit or pole 1 = 0-Volts
Circuit or pole 2 = 12-Volts
Circuit or pole 3 = 24-Volts
Circuit or pole 4 = 36-Volts

In the narrative describing the wiring of the four-pole plug, the connections are described as follows:

"This port has 4 posts and sockets and the plug has 4 pins. There are 3 wires coming off that plug, though only 2 are used..."

In the linked image, I only see two conductors attached to the plug. Where is the third "wire" mentioned in the narrative? Perhaps the three wires are on the device that connects to the plug. I only see two in the photograph of the connector on the panel.

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