Electrics & Electronics 

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Basic Electrics (Pub. No. 7739)

The electrical system of a boat is often regarded by owners as something to be avoided, especially if it involves messing around with a maze of wiring behind the control console. The do-it-yourselfer who tackles the construction of a trolling center for his fishing boat without hesitation may be reluctant to install an electronic depth sounder, because the last time he tried to fix a light switch at home it resulted in a shower of sparks, a blown fuse, and a screwdriver with a scorched tip,to say nothing of shaky nerves and a firm resolve to leave electrical repairs to someone who knows what must be done. Although this is excellent advice, it need not prevent a novice from replacing blown fuses, making simple installations of electrical equipment and accessories, or even checking out a boat’s electrical system, providing, of course, that he knows what he is doing. And, this is the purpose of this Data Sheet—to provide an easy step-by-step guide to Basic Electrics .

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Adding a Fused Terminal Block (Pub. No. 7740)

The electrical system of any boat should be protected with fused circuits. Most likely this protection already exists on newer boats with built-in electrical systems that service engine and non-engine instruments, lights, and accessories. Owners of older boats, or of craft that have inadequate wiring for the instruments or accessories that may be added, can update their boats’ electrical system by installing fused terminal blocks.

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Installing a Battery Selector Switch (Pub. No. 7741)

If you use two marine storage batteries to serve your boat’s electrical requirements, it is convenient to arrange them so that they both can be charged by the engine’s alternator or generator. Most likely, you will also want to use either battery as a standby for the other. This project suggests an arrangement that permits you to charge both batteries from a common source of power—the engine’s generator or alternator.

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Checking a 12-volt System (Pub. No. 7742)

If properly installed, the electrical system on your boat should not give you any trouble throughout the boating season. And, it can continue this unfailing service season after season provided it receives routine maintenance and a seasonal check-up. Maintenance of storage batteries is treated as a separate project but here, however, let us consider the circuits, connections, and other elements of the electric system.

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Care of Batteries (Pub. No. 7743)

The storage battery is one of the most abused components of an automobile, according to battery manufacturers. This is likely to be also true for the storage battery in a boat. The “normal” life of a battery in a car is three years, but few batteries lead the “normal” life. They are, to mention some abuses, overcharged or undercharged, lack proper fluid levels, are left unattended for long periods, and become corroded. With proper care, however, a marine battery should last longer than the automotive battery because of its heavier construction. And, five years is not unusual for the lifespan of a marine storage battery, providing it has received proper care.

4 page(s)

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Charging the Battery (Pub. No. 7744)

Charging the battery is automatically done on boats equipped with engines that have alternators or generators, but this does not automatically relieve the boat owner of problems associated with battery charging. If, for example, the craft is not operated frequently, or if the time of operation is so brief that the battery does not receive a full charge, sulfating of the battery’s plates can take place and considerably reduce the lifespan of the battery. This type of undercharging can produce a hard, coarse, crystalline-type of sulfate on the plates that does not readily convert to normal, active material. It also can set up strains on the plates that can produce buckling when the battery receives a sudden or prolonged charging, as on a long trip, or by an alternator or generator regulating system out of adjustment. The buckled plates can pinch the separators causing perforations and an internal short circuit.

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Installing a Sonar-Type Depth Sounder (Pub. No. 7745)

Being able to know what lies submerged beneath the surface of the water probably would have saved legions of sailors and their craft in the thousands of years man has been going to sea in ships. Submerged rocks, jagged reefs, treacherous sand bars—all have taken their toll of men and boats because skippers were not aware of such hazards to navigation until it was too late. Shoal waters are the graveyards of vessels that came to grief because they were off course with no instruments so those aboard could discover the error.

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Installing a Transom-Mounted Depth Transducer (Pub. No. 7746)

A transom mounted transducer for a sonar indicator or depth sounder is probably the most popular because it does not require cutting a hole in the boat’s hull, something many owners are reluctant to do since it could affect a future sale of the boat. The transom mount is efficient when properly installed, but it may not work quite as well at high cruising speeds as a through-hull mounted transducer. The procedure for installing the through-hull and inside-hull mounted transducers are outlined in Data Sheets, 7747 and 7752.

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Installing a Through-Hull Mounted Depth Transducer (Pub. No. 7747)

Better high speed performance of the depth sounder is one important advantage of through-hull mounting. When mounted properly, there is less likelihood of bubbles or turbulent water flowing across the face of the transducer, causing inaccurate or confusing signals on the depth sounder indicator. Obviously, the throughhull mount is a permanent installation since it involves cutting a hole through the bottom of the boat. It also may require use of fairing blocks to compensate for the deadrise (angle of slope) of the hull bottom. So, the installation must be well planned beforehand.

4 page(s)

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Build a Proper Battery Box (Pub. No. 7748)

If a storage battery aboard a boat tips over in rough seas, the cables could tear loose, a dangerous situation if the battery is used to start the auxiliary engine. Or, even worse, the battery’s terminals might short out against nearby metal objects and start a fire. For safety, there are a number of important requirements for installing batteries aboard a boat. A battery should be installed in a battery box that has a tight-fitting lid to prevent metal objects from shorting the battery terminals. The box’s lid should be vented to allow hydrogen gas, a by-product of charging, to escape. The box should restrain the battery from moving more than 1 inch in any direction and be lined with a material that is impervious to battery acid. And, the box must allow the battery to be placed so that it is convenient to measure cell condition with a hydrometer. To construct a safe and convenient battery box that could be stored under the cockpit seat locker next to the cockpit or cabin bulkhead, follow these steps.

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Installing an Inside-Mounted Depth Transducer (Pub. No. 7752)

Theoretically, there are so many advantages to mounting a depth sounder transducer inside a hull that one wonders why all transducers are not mounted this way. For example, the inside-hull mount avoids the need to cut a hole in the bottom of the boat, and because nothing is hanging down from the transom, there is no drag or resistance in the water. But, there is a problem with the inside-hull mount. It will not work on some boats. To work satisfactorily, the inside-hull mount requires a boat that has a single-layer fiberglass or aluminum bottom. Few bigger boats have this. Double layers of fiberglass, foam cores, wood cores, or hollow cores in the bottom construction of a boat prevents the transducer’s sound waves from penetrating and returning to the transducer properly. A wood bottom also is unsuitable for this type of mount. There is, however, an easy way that you can check to see if your depth sounder will work and if it will, here are the instructions to mount it.

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Electric Remote Helmsman, An (Pub. No. 7790)

By Rolfe F. Schell

Remote-control steering lets you go up forward to pilot or scout for fish without giving up the helm.

What better use could there be for a salvaged convertible-top power unit than to provide an electrically-powered, remote steering control for your boat? Although hydraulic and electro-hydraulic units are available, the electric-powered units used on Chrysler products are the easiest to install. In addition to one of these, you’ll need a couple of heavy-duty relays of the same voltage as tice motor, a turnbuckle that extends from 12 to 18 in., an eye bolt, a few scraps of lumber, and a single-pole, double-throw switch.

2 page(s)

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Electric Power Aplenty for the Small Boat (Pub. No. 7873)

By William L. Hensley

Take a small boat like mine and add a radiotelephone, a spotlight, a cabin fan, an electric bilge pump, a depth finder, a few extra cabin lights, and you’ve got a problem: where to get the electricity to run them all. Sure, my boat’s engine has a conventional generator/storage-battery electrical system, but that was designed, primarily, to power standard electrical gear and supply current to the starter motor. It just can’t supply enough juice to keep all my electrical auxiliaries purring happily. Solutions? Two are obvious: Add an independent battery to power part of the equipment. The hitch here, of course, is that this battery must be carried ashore frequently for recharging. Or the existing electrical system must be beefed up by substituting a heftier generator, or—better yet—an alternator. But this is only a partial fix, since the improvement is effective only when the boat’s engine is running. Switch off the engine, and we are back where we started. The best solution (and the one I finally settled on) is to install a ship’s-generator system, driven by a small auxiliary engine. The unusual thing about mine (seen in the pictures), is that I built it myself mostly out of junk parts.

3 page(s)

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