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Old 20-11-2016, 00:31   #1
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Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Greets all,

I'm trying to find accurate info on typical power consumption of variuos boat devices. Basically a list of all the common things on a boat and what they use. I'm also in need of a wire colour code chart for boat systems. I've searched on here and the net in general. Found some stuff but it doesn't seem complete. Could anyone help with lists or links please?

Cheers
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Old 20-11-2016, 01:47   #2
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-Zim View Post
Greets all,

I'm trying to find accurate info on typical power consumption of variuos boat devices. Basically a list of all the common things on a boat and what they use. I'm also in need of a wire colour code chart for boat systems. I've searched on here and the net in general. Found some stuff but it doesn't seem complete. Could anyone help with lists or links please?

Cheers
Consumption information normally on the device or tech literature.
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Old 20-11-2016, 02:29   #3
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Traditionally for DC black is negative and red is positive. All components have a black wire and a red wire. All black wires go to a shared bus. This means that you don't have to take all of the black wires back to the battery but can share connections as long as the predicted maximum load is not greater than the load the wire is designed to take. Usually, electricians will run one black wire to all lighting and then have a few black wires going to high load devices. Red wires can also be shared but for the sake of clarity can be one wire per device, Red wires return to a fuse or circuit breaker calculated to open the circuit if there is an overload or short circuit. Some systems will use a range of colours instead of red to assist in tracking the wire if something goes wrong. It's not essential but handy. When power is applied to a red wire, the devices attached to it will begin to operate. All switches are on the red wire. As far as I know there is not a special rule about coloured wires and the devices they should attach to at least not what all boatbuilders share although one builder might have a common code across all boats.

The high voltage AC system is similar but the base colours vary from DC and from country to country. You cannot connect any high voltage AC wire to the low voltage DC system unless it passes through a transformer and rectifier. Almost all systems use the AC to charge batteries and then the DC is taken off the batteries. the AC is also used to operate other components such as lights, hot water services, microwaves, washing machines, These might also be operated by an inverter off the 12v DC system, but they must be switched so that no part of each system connects to the other. A double pole double throw switch will do this, Some inverters will accept both AC and DC sources and give priority to AC when it's available.

This is the beginning of a very long story, but basically it really is common sense. Just remember, no direct connection between high voltage and low voltage. All switching on the positive (red in DC) or active (usually brown on AC, but it can vary)
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Old 20-11-2016, 02:31   #4
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Power budgets have been discussed numerous times here and several people have posted their spreadsheets.

Here's some I found with a quick forum search:

Amp Hour Load Calculator - Did I Miss Anything?

or here
Solar Size

or here:
Energy consumption & generation calculation

or here:
The nightmare begins!! Where to start power consumption calcs?

or here:
The nightmare begins!! Where to start power consumption calcs?
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Old 20-11-2016, 08:44   #5
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

If you are starting over... make your DC negative wire 'yellow'... it's the 'new' ABYC code. Makes sense because you really don't want to ever confuse DC negative and hot wire of 120v & 220v wiring.

Regarding amp ratings of common electrical items... don't be alarmed by a mental addition of what will be a very number. Most of us manage our real-time load by 'scheduling' (turning off certain loads) to make capacity fir what you need to have on now. Wait until wife is done hair dryer before turning on coffee maker. You might not be able to have toaster on, coffee maker, AND microwave. After we're done showers/ cleaning up... the electric water heater breaker gets turned off. Plenty of hot water still left to do dishes. At night the water heater get turned on again after meal prep, microwave, ... use so there is enough juice for the electric heater (Winter/ dock). You'll quickly get the hang of it. It only takes a few trips to the dock breaker/ or your breaker panel to figure what you can/ can't have on together!

By the way, said this on many posts... our favorite cruising 'modern' convenience is our microwave oven. Even with a modest inverter/ battery you can do so much meal, soup, coffee, tea... with this versatile appliance. Yes it draws 100+ amps while cooking... but only for 15 seconds to a minute or two. So the actual watt-hours or amp- hours is very manageable.
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Old 20-11-2016, 08:54   #6
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-Zim View Post
Greets all,

I'm trying to find accurate info on typical power consumption of variuos boat devices. Basically a list of all the common things on a boat and what they use. I'm also in need of a wire colour code chart for boat systems. I've searched on here and the net in general. Found some stuff but it doesn't seem complete. Could anyone help with lists or links please?

Cheers
I am afraid there are difference color (colour) codes in difference places. The same as spelling.
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Old 20-11-2016, 09:19   #7
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

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I am afraid there are difference color (colour) codes in difference places. The same as spelling.
Yep, lots of different stuff used on boats. But the black/red is fairly common.
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Old 20-11-2016, 09:30   #8
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yep, lots of different stuff used on boats. But the black/red is fairly common.
One area you might run into divergence from this "standard" is in your mast wiring. You may have triplex and quad wires running your your mast, depending on what you have up there, and the wire colors may include brown, yellow, black, white, and green and not be the same as the corresponding wire coming from the panel.

It's common for these wires to run to a terminal strip to make disconnection easy for when you pull your stick.

When you have wires "meeting" at a terminal bar, particularly if they are of different colors, it's a huge help if you add wire marker labels, if you don't already have them. You affix numbers for the wires on each side of the terminal for easy hookup later. The wire marker labels are available at HD for $8 for a booklet that will probably last a lifetime:

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Old 20-11-2016, 11:34   #9
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Red for the +12V has been obsolete for many years, although it is still occasionally seen. The red was replaced by white. But now there is a completely different scheme in the ABYC specs. If you are going to totally re-wire the boat's DC then go for the new color codes; otherwise avoid confusion by sticking with white/black (or red/black if you can find it). The reason to move away from the old scheme is simple: for 12VDC black means Battery- or ground (in the commonly used negative ground system) while for the US 120VAC black means the hot lead - it wouldn't do to cross connect these.

The US has different standards than the EU, so first decide whose standards you want to comply with.

Greg
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Old 20-11-2016, 11:40   #10
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

north america standards

https://www.defender.com/pdf/abyc-wire-color-chart.pdf
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Old 20-11-2016, 12:03   #11
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

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I stand corrected: we are back to red for 12VDC+, along with the yellow for 12VDC-. (There is no approved use of white for 12VDC wiring.) But there is an awful lot of white/black cable installed... It is a better standard now but I'm not re-wiring again.

Greg
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Old 20-11-2016, 12:57   #12
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

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Red for the +12V has been obsolete for many years, although it is still occasionally seen. The red was replaced by white. .............
We learn some really amazing things on boating forums.
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Old 20-11-2016, 13:28   #13
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

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I stand corrected: we are back to red for 12VDC+, along with the yellow for 12VDC-. (There is no approved use of white for 12VDC wiring.) But there is an awful lot of white/black cable installed... It is a better standard now but I'm not re-wiring again.

Greg
Why post rubbish? I haven't seen a white wire on my 32 yr old boat or on any whites leads supplied with equipment I have purchased over the years. Google is your friend... Use it!
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Old 20-11-2016, 13:44   #14
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Next time I'm out to the boat I can take lots of photos for you.

Greg

[edit: 38 years old boat]
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Old 20-11-2016, 15:16   #15
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Re: Electrical consumption and wire colour codes?

Hi Dave-Sim
I use a colour code system which is made up of six different coloured very small
cable ties. all of my positive leads are of one colour say red and the same for the negative leads say black. I start of with one single cable tie of each colour which will identify 6+ve &
6-ve leads.Then I go onto two colours for each lead, after that three colours
for each lead.an example of the 3 colour ties on a lead are.
y-yellow, w-white, b-blue, bk-black, r-red, g-green.
yyy; yyw; yyb; yybk; yyr; yyg
ywy; yww; ywb; ywbk; ywr; ywg
I use the same code for the +ve & -ve leads
When you are designing your colour codes make sure that they can only make sense in one direction e.g.; you cannot have both yyg & gyy.
I hope you can make sense of all this.
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