Today I attempted to install a dedicated GPS puck
for my VHF radio
. The plan was to tap the radio
power wire after the fuse to power the DC-DC converter (5V) for the puck
. After about an hour of frustration punctuated by very expressive language, I finally managed to reveal most of the power wire (2 feet) to the radio. It runs from the switch panel (VHF switch) directly to the radio. The in-line fuse that originally was part of the power wire is nowhere to be seen. There are a number of in-line fuses
on the back of the power panel for various unknown other items so the previous owner seemed to be aware that fuses
are a good thing. BTW, this is a 2005 or thereabouts boat and the electrics are pretty clean looking. I assume the radio was one of the first things installed which is why it took so long to expose the wires - a lot of other stuff had to be removed or discombobulated (technical talk) before I could get to the wires in question.
Looking at the power panel, I see that a few (very few) of the switches have current
ratings which to me implies they are breakers. The VHF
switch does not.
Is it standard practice to use straight switches in the power panel rather than a fused switch? There are an awful number of straight switches and there are a lot of in-line fuses all over the boat. Without tracing each wire, I have no idea if a particular line has a fuse anywhere. Heaven help me if a fuse actually blows someplace - since they are not in one standard location, any repair involves trying to trace wires in order to hopefully locate a fuse someplace. Is this standard procedure ? If so, what the heck is the justification?
What protects the wiring
if the fuse is located close to the device being powered - for example, my heating
fans have fuses very close to them. What happens if the power wires chafe as they go through a bulkhead and a short circuit happens? The way it looks to me is that the boat burns down. Surely this can't be normal procedure? BTW, I have no doubt that all the wiring
in this boat was installed by professionals. The radio may be an exception.
Yes there are fuses by the battery
but I would think that thin wires will light up and generate a fire before the high amperage battery
fuses would blow.
Many questions I know but maybe I am just missing something very obvious in the philosophy of wiring boats .....