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Old 02-08-2010, 18:22   #1
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Question Rewiring Relay Circuit Boards

I have 5 different circuit boards scattered around the boat with relays that turn loads off & on. A stroke of lightning last night has put 4 of 5 of them out of business. I need help coming up with a way to replace them with something simple.

These boards are made by Amiot (France) and I don't want to replace with the same boards even if I could find them. Their function is unusual and I think more complex than necessary. At the main switch panel there are little push buttons to turn on loads and they connect to the relay circuit boards via "ribbons" with multiple tiny wires in them. The relay boards consist of printed circuits, relays, fuses and heavy 12 V DC feed wires. When the button on the panel is pushed it activates a relay which powers the load via the heavy feed wire. I believe this design's purpose is to save long distance wire runs from hull to hull.

So here's the question: What's available with a group of relays to remotely control load circuits? Any other ideas to solve this wiring issue? I believe I can put in a new DC panel to directly rewire 2 or 3 of these boards, but some will be much easier to do with relays. I need something with relays and some kind of fuses or breakers.

Pics show existing relay board and push button panel. OBTW, the little buttons are a pain. I have to push some button 3 or 4 times to engage the relay.
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Old 02-08-2010, 19:48   #2
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hi...you might try the magnetic latching relays from blue sea systems, such as the ML7700....no power usage when latched, and have mechanical overrides if your pushbutton switches fail...you could probably wire some heavy duty circuit breakers in series with them also...we are using a ML7620 charge relay which works beautifully...

fair winds,

George
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:16   #3
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bummer Greg, did the lightning get anything else? WHere's Alan when you need him
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:57   #4
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Greg,

Holger Christiansen, HQ in Suwanee GA, build high quality mini relays in just about any function mode you can imagine, fused and un-fused.
I have wired them in to do everything from monitoring the back-up fuel pump on Porsche 996's and 7's, to switching on regulator current on marine house alternators.
The configurations are many.
I don't have an interest in the company but swear by their product.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:26   #5
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bummer Greg, did the lightning get anything else? WHere's Alan when you need him
Hey Denny,

Yeah, Alan is vacationing at Cape Cod while I'm crawling around the bilges trying to figure out how to fix my boat.

I think we were very lucky that we didn't get a direct strike. So far all the wiring checks out OK and all my mast lights still work. All our expensive stuff is still working. The problem is all these relay boards scattered around the boat that don't work anymore. They were made in France and all the labels are French short-hand. I have to power up all the wires going into these relays to figure out what they do. Then I have to figure out how to make or buy new relay circuit boards. I will probably have to buy new DC distribution panels so that will take some boat bucks, but it could have been a lot worse.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:30   #6
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Greg,

Holger Christiansen, HQ in Suwanee GA, build high quality mini relays in just about any function mode you can imagine, fused and un-fused.
I have wired them in to do everything from monitoring the back-up fuel pump on Porsche 996's and 7's, to switching on regulator current on marine house alternators.
The configurations are many.
I don't have an interest in the company but swear by their product.
Thanks. I'll give them a call. I found a source of relays on Ebay, but wiring it all together in a small package would be a real challenge. A completed relay board would save me lots of work.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:58   #7
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The boards don't look overly complex from the photos. You got what?-- tri-color, steaming, and anchor, which are probably 10A single acting relays.
Cant read what the others are.
Bases can be had to match the relays, which are about an inch square. Other components are visible on the boards, are these ATO fuses, or other current control components.
The ribbon cable is convenient, but I prefer to trust small gauge pairs, such as masthead component cable, up to 12 pairs available, for the control initiation switching.
An interesting challenge. Good luck
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Old 03-08-2010, 16:16   #8
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The boards don't look overly complex from the photos. You got what?-- tri-color, steaming, and anchor, which are probably 10A single acting relays.
Cant read what the others are.
Bases can be had to match the relays, which are about an inch square. Other components are visible on the boards, are these ATO fuses, or other current control components.
The ribbon cable is convenient, but I prefer to trust small gauge pairs, such as masthead component cable, up to 12 pairs available, for the control initiation switching.
An interesting challenge. Good luck
Blue Stocking,

You have it figured out right. The anchor, tri-color, steaming and deck lights are switched and there are a couple other circuits that are directly connected, but not switched. I haven't tracked them all down yet. The fuses are ATO type fuses, but they are like mini breakers since they can be reset by pushing in a little red button. Standard ATO fuses would be just fine for me. I like the idea of using small gauge pairs for control wires. The ribbon was scorched and may not work anyway.

I looked at the problem again and I will probably only need two boards with relays/fuses and I can direct-wire the other three to a new DC distribution panel. I installed small Blue Sea panel in the port hull and really apprecitate the quality. I will need a panel for at least 16 breakers to replace the Amiot push buttons. That will set me back a few "boat bucks."

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:10   #9
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I have a new plan to solve my electrical system problem caused by lightning strike, but I have another question about common grounds.

I'm going to replace the main DC distribution panel with a 21 circuit Blue Sea circuit breaker panel. I'm also going to eliminate all the relay/circuit boards and rewire circuits directly to main panel and a branch panel already installed on port side.

After I "mapped" all the circuits going into the rely/circuit boards, I realized that need for "remote controlled" circuits was really small. Many of the circuits were not on relays, but just fuses. I'm going to install two fuse blocks to take care of those circuits (mostly interior lights). I do need two switched circuits in the port hull, but I have two breakers available in the branch DC panel.... easy fix. The mast wiring circuits require switches, but they are only about 7ft from the main DC panel. I'll have enough breakers on the new main panel to handle all the mast lights, but I will have to run new wire. That brings up a question. I have a #10 AWG ground wire that connected to the old relay/circuit board. I would like to use that wire as a common ground for the tricolor, anchor, steaming, and deck light and attach all to a ground bus under the forward berth. Then I will only have to run the positive wires from the main breaker panel. Any disadvantages for wiring this way? The #10 ground should be able to handle the load of all lights at once even though that should never happen. This plan will make it easier to snake wire through some tight spots and save about 30ft of wire. note: anchor light is LED, but all others are incandescent.
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Old 11-08-2010, 13:16   #10
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Greg:
I'd be VERY reluctant to use a common ground, such as you propose.
Notwithstanding:
What are trhe wattages of each lighting cct?
What is the round-trip circuit distance to the masthead & back?
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Old 11-08-2010, 13:35   #11
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I use buss grounds along the port and starboard sides of my hull. They handle the lighting and fan loads - small loads - however the wire is sized to handle the total load if all the items were turned on at the same time. You only need to be sure that the wire size is correct for the total of all the loads you are going to attach to it. For combining the grounds of large loads, the wire size would be rather huge and it would be more economical to run smaller proper sized wires for each load.
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Old 20-08-2010, 17:24   #12
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Greg:
I'd be VERY reluctant to use a common ground, such as you propose.
Notwithstanding:
What are trhe wattages of each lighting cct?
What is the round-trip circuit distance to the masthead & back?
Gord, I'm really not changing the ground system for all the mast lighting. Instead of grounding through the burned out relay/circuit board, I'll use a bus bar to connect them. One number 10 wire with a run of only 7' should not have any capacity problem for 4 lights. The only change will be new positive wires for each light that will be switched by breakers on new main panel. Last winter I rewired the mast lights with heavier gauge wire based on 3% loss and length of circuit so that equation won't change. I'm just wondering if there are any potential issues with wiring 4 lights with a common ground?
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Old 25-08-2010, 06:46   #13
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Greg,
Being new on cruisersforum (1 day), you amazed me with two problems I had myself as well with my 37. The rudders problem, 5 years ago, I had to solve as well, and now also your amoit 1610 card problem after a lightning hit somewhere in the harbor.
Relay number 5 has burned out and it is very doubtful if I can repair the card (see pictures).
The wharf didn't help me at all, like with the rudders, with any suggestions. When I return to Spain I shall drive by and have a unpleasant talk with them.
Although Dutch is my native language, I do not care if it is in French or English.
Back to the problem. I brought the card to an electrical shop and they shall have a look at it but they looked very painful, but that's may be part of the job.
I looked at your suggestions, but couldn't yet understand the functions of the ml7700 and the ml7620. Did you generate a complete new wiring diagram with the switches and relays? Plse give me a part list.

If you are going to replace all your cards, please consider to sell the old cards to me.

Thanks, Kees
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Old 27-08-2010, 10:00   #14
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Greg,
Being new on cruisersforum (1 day), you amazed me with two problems I had myself as well with my 37. The rudders problem, 5 years ago, I had to solve as well, and now also your amoit 1610 card problem after a lightning hit somewhere in the harbor.
Relay number 5 has burned out and it is very doubtful if I can repair the card (see pictures).
The wharf didn't help me at all, like with the rudders, with any suggestions. When I return to Spain I shall drive by and have a unpleasant talk with them.
Although Dutch is my native language, I do not care if it is in French or English.
Back to the problem. I brought the card to an electrical shop and they shall have a look at it but they looked very painful, but that's may be part of the job.
I looked at your suggestions, but couldn't yet understand the functions of the ml7700 and the ml7620. Did you generate a complete new wiring diagram with the switches and relays? Plse give me a part list.

If you are going to replace all your cards, please consider to sell the old cards to me.

Thanks, Kees
Kees, It's nice to hear from another Privilege 37 owner. I just finished my rewiring job and I'll give you a brief description of my changes. I took pictures which I can post after I get a chance to upload them.

I eliminated all the Amiot push-buttons and all 5 relay circuit boards on the boat. I replaced with a traditional circuit breaker panel (Blue Sea 8379) and mounted it where the Amiot push-buttons were located. The three relay circuit boards located in starboard hull under the "push buttons" were relatively easy to rewire. The circuits on relays I moved to the new breaker panel, and the circuits that were on fuses, I installed an ATO fuse holder and located it in place of the the 3 relay circuit boards. I didn't use ml7700 and the ml7620 you mentioned. I know at least 3 of the circuit boards were damaged and one of the other two was just a fuse box (no relays). That leaves only one board that still worked so I'm not sure if that will help you.

The relay circuit board in the galley was a little more complicated. Fortunately, I only had 3 relays in use, so I moved those circuits to a branch DC circuit breaker panel in the galley (2 bilge pumps and fresh water pump). I had installed that panel 5 yrs ago and had 3 spare breakers. For the other circuits I mounted an ATO fuse holder in place of the relay circuit board (mostly lighting circuits).

For the relay circuit board under the forward berth, I ran new wires (positive side only) from the new DC panel to the positive side of all mast lighting (deck, anchor, tricolor, steaming) and running lights). For the negative side, I installed a negative bus bar and used the original negative ground for the relay circuit board. I also added one additional negative wire from the new breaker panel to support some additional loads. I attached all the negative leads from the lights to the bus bar. I tested all the lights last night and all worked fine. This part was the most difficult part of the job due to running 6 wires through cabinets and the main bulkhead. An existing passage through main bulkhead was large enough so I didn't need an additional hole.

It took me about a week to do all the rewiring. There are about 30 different circuits to move around, but I labeled them all before moving so it wasn't too difficult to relocate them. I used about 80 feet of AWG #12 wire for the mast lighting, but I didn't use much wire to relocate most of the other circuits.

Let me know if you need more detail on this job. I'll try to post the new pictures later today.
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Old 27-08-2010, 17:41   #15
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Pictures of Job

Here are some before & after pics of rewiring project. When mounting the new DC panel, it didn't cover all the holes from the old panels. To cover all the holes, I used a trick my son taught me... I made a plexiglass panel big enough to cover the holes and then cut out the pattern for the new DC panel in the middle of the plexi. I spray painted the back side of the plexiglass and then mounted everything together. The front side of the plexiglass looks very shiny and gives a nicer appearance than trying to match wood color with a wood patch.

The other pics show replacements for relay circuit boards in galley, near mast and under the new DC panel. In the galley I used a fuse holder for the light circuits and moved switched circuits to a branch DC panel in the galley. For the mast lighting/running lights I ran new wire from the new main panel for the positive side of lights and installed a negative bus for all the negatives. The 3 relay circuit boards under the main panel were replaced with one fuse holder and all the other circuits were wired into the new panel.

As far as I can tell, everything electric is working again. Sunday we will go for a sea trial to see what I forgot. (I did have 4 circuits leftover when I was finished and have no idea what they power...OOPs)
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