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Old 27-06-2016, 16:10   #1
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Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

I have my new to me boat and the first thing I noticed is the bilge pump stopped working as had the stereo.

Both had worked when inspected so this frustrated me slightly as everything else worked exactly like it should.

After a few hours over two days of checking wires, fuses and other miscellaneous crevices I went to start the engine and flicked to the starter battery, engine started I flicked back to house battery (after I had charged up the starter) as I did I went through both on the battery switch and my hand slipped and bingo both the stereo and the bilge pump fired up!

Neither work on battery one or two but on both they work a treat.

Putting to one side that the bilge pump should be wired directly to the battery (it is on my list) I am more than a little confused.

I am the first to admit I am not especially wise when it comes to electricity of the 12 volt variety (or any other for that matter) and I still think of it as water in pipes so go easy on me but

Is this likely to be a problem?

I am concerned about running down my engine battery ( I don't have access to shore power or atm, solar), by leaving the bilge pump on.

How difficult would it be to rewire the bilge pump to only run on house power?

The bilge pump is a rule 3000 (not sure of the number) and a rule float switch.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-06-2016, 02:41   #2
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Any thoughts?
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Old 28-06-2016, 02:57   #3
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Sounds like the bilge pump and radio are wired to the house, and your house batteries are dead. Switching to "both" supplies juice from the starter battery. Find out why the house bank is dead. (Is the fridge on?)
Don't rewire until you know what the setup is, understand it, and actually have a better idea.
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Old 28-06-2016, 03:36   #4
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Thanks for that, as I read it, it makes perfect sense. I will have to go through it with a fine tooth comb. Thanks for the input, much appreciated.
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Old 28-06-2016, 04:53   #5
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Unless you trace out the wires, it's hard to tell where they go. There are better ways to wire it than direct to battery.
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Old 28-06-2016, 05:37   #6
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

It's not uncommon to wire bilge pumps direct to batteries, so they'll run even when switches or breakers are OFF.


Some stereos have memories, so it's possible the stereo was wired direct to preserve that. Not necessarily a big deal except in our neck of the woods (for example) where that needs to be addressed during winterization (so the stereo memory doesn't drain the batteries while on the hard).


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Old 28-06-2016, 10:45   #7
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Your bilge pump is wired to your house battery. That's why it only works when you turn to 'both'. Your house bank is dead. The first thing to do is recharge it and see if it holds the charge. If the pump is on when the engine is running and you switched to house then the charger is charging the house bank. If not you might have a bad cell and need a new battery. Pull it and take it to an auto place to check. If the battery is good and did not need a lot of recharging I would relax. If charging time was long you need to start searching for a short or other problem. Stereos draw significant current. Leaving yours on could be the whole problem.
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Old 28-06-2016, 11:12   #8
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Some incorrect information and some assumptions that you need to verify to find the full solution.

The most common way for 1-2-Both-OFF switches to be wired below. However it can be wired in other, very different configurations.

The most common way:

As inputs to the switch
House battery bank - 1
Starting battery bank - 2
Output terminal from the switch - to electric panel and the starter.

Assuming all batteries are charged then 1 will power everything from the House bank, 2 will power everything from the starter battery, Both will power everything from both battery banks at the same time.

If your system is wired this way AND the items you test are wired to the output from the switch AND none of the switches or parts are malfunctioning AND there are no weird connections or bypasses in your wiring then if something won't work when batteries are switched to either 1 or 2 then it cannot work when switched to Both. This test is not telling you that your house bank is dead.

Since your bilge pump doesn't work when the switch is turned to 1 or 2 but it does when switched to Both then something weird is going on. First step, you need to trace the cables from 1, 2 and Out on the battery switch and see where the large cables go. Note that these switches can work both ways. That is you can hook different batteries to 1 and 2 to supply power to the output OR you can hook one battery to the output terminal on the switch and supply power out of 1 or 2 or both to supply two different circuits from one battery.

Regarding the bilge pump, YES it should be wired directly to a battery so it isn't accidentally switched off. BUT make sure the wire to the pump is fused inline very close to where it connects to the battery.
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Old 28-06-2016, 11:15   #9
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave22q View Post
Your bilge pump is wired to your house battery. That's why it only works when you turn to 'both'. Your house bank is dead. The first thing to do is recharge it and see if it holds the charge. If the pump is on when the engine is running and you switched to house then the charger is charging the house bank. If not you might have a bad cell and need a new battery. Pull it and take it to an auto place to check. If the battery is good and did not need a lot of recharging I would relax. If charging time was long you need to start searching for a short or other problem. Stereos draw significant current. Leaving yours on could be the whole problem.
Excellent. This is very likely the explanation for the OPs problem.
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Old 28-06-2016, 11:17   #10
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

One of the responders said "there are better ways than wiring direct to the battery".


Some of my devices --- refrigerator, windlass, (and one or 2 others) demand (according to directions) to be wired direct to the battery. In the case of the refer-- they state that this results in the least voltage drop. I forget the others' reasons). Of course when you do this then you have to also install inline fuses, which is a pain.


Do you folks agree-- or do you just hook all devices to the panel???


Thanks a lot--- Rick
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Old 28-06-2016, 11:32   #11
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Folie View Post
One of the responders said "there are better ways than wiring direct to the battery".


Some of my devices --- refrigerator, windlass, (and one or 2 others) demand (according to directions) to be wired direct to the battery. In the case of the refer-- they state that this results in the least voltage drop. I forget the others' reasons). Of course when you do this then you have to also install inline fuses, which is a pain.


Do you folks agree-- or do you just hook all devices to the panel???


Thanks a lot--- Rick
My system which may not be the system for everyone but I like it.

1. Always on. I have two things wired directly to the house battery bank with inline fuses on the wires. The first bilge pump including an alarm and a small LED over the DC panel.

2. Windlass. I run the cable directly from battery switch connected to the house bank to a dedicated switch/breaker. I think having a switch in the windlass system is important in case the foot switch jams and you need an emergency stop.

3. Fridge. Yes the manual said run it from the battery but I just don't love that idea so wired it to a dedicated switch on the DC panel and no problems. I did run a new, larger main supply wire to the panel from the battery and have minimum voltage drop to the panel. Also used, new over-sized wire to the fridge.
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Old 28-06-2016, 12:45   #12
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Some incorrect information and some assumptions that you need to verify to find the full solution.

The most common way for 1-2-Both-OFF switches to be wired below. However it can be wired in other, very different configurations.

The most common way:

As inputs to the switch
House battery bank - 1
Starting battery bank - 2
Output terminal from the switch - to electric panel and the starter.

Assuming all batteries are charged then 1 will power everything from the House bank, 2 will power everything from the starter battery, Both will power everything from both battery banks at the same time.

If you are wired in the way described above get somebody to rewire it. the whole purpose of a starter battery separate from the house bank is that you do not want your on board appliances to drain all batteries leaving you dead in the water. An exception is the windlass which may be direct wired to the starter battery as it uses a lot of amps but for short, infrequent periods. In my limited experience bilge pumps are direct wired to the house bank more often than the starter battery but I see no reason for a preference.
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Old 28-06-2016, 13:42   #13
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Johnathon123, We have a bilge pump switch on our switch panel that arms 3 bilge pumps controlled by 2 float switches (salon & engine) and a toggle switch (shower). This is a nice feature for working on the pumps, replacing the pumps or electrical fire. All pumps are also individually inline fused. One man's method. George
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Old 28-06-2016, 13:56   #14
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Folie View Post

Do you folks agree-- or do you just hook all devices to the panel???


Thanks a lot--- Rick
The only load I have wired directly to my batteries is the bilge pump. Everything else is wired off individual breakers on the main DC panel. If you are getting too much voltage drop to something by wiring it to the breaker panel the problem is your wiring from the battery to the panel!Fix that or you are just going to have problems.

You start wiring everything to the battery with a fuse you end up with a a spaghetti mess of wires and no easy way to down off the power to loads.
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Old 28-06-2016, 13:57   #15
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Re: Battery and wiring (i suspect) conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave22q View Post
If you are wired in the way described above get somebody to rewire it. the whole purpose of a starter battery separate from the house bank is that you do not want your on board appliances to drain all batteries leaving you dead in the water.
Oh completely agree but based on the context of the original question I think rewiring for the OP might be a bit much to bite off for now.

However, good to make him aware of the potential, said by one that's been there, done that and more than once (I must be a slow learner).
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