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Old 14-09-2020, 07:13   #1
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Rewire 12V How To

Can someone recommend a "how to" book, website or video on how to rewire a 12V system on a boat?
Not looking for theory or a wire size diagram handbook, for example.
Would like to know how to organize a panel, when to use what terminal blocks, connectors, soldering, liquid tape, How to avoid a bunch of wires you don't know where they were snaked, etc.
Right now I have a clump of wires, one clump blue and the other yellow coming from the direction of the bow. The wires where exposed are even painted over so very difficult to trace. There should be labels of some sort but whoever wired it didn't care about me, lol. Whoever did rewiring jobs in the past seems to also have used whatever color was on hand so a blue wire might end up as yellow.
I have Nigel Calder's electrical manual but it's not "hands on" "how to" enough for me.
I would rather not rewire my panel several times before I get it right.
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Old 14-09-2020, 07:20   #2
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

No "How to" book, but buy a tone generator to trace the existing cabling.
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Old 14-09-2020, 07:30   #3
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

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No "How to" book, but buy a tone generator to trace the existing cabling.
Good idea. Harbor Freight has a cable tracker for $24.
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Old 14-09-2020, 07:44   #4
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Not all that difficult. You can get shrink tubing of several different colours, but red and black will be an adequate selection for this job.

Disconnecting ONE wire only from it's terminal at one end of the cable run and mark it with a little ring of shrink tubing. Then, using a multimeter check each wire at the far end of the cable run for continuity without disconnecting it. When you find the open circuit disconnect that wire only and mark it with a little ring of shrink tubing of the same colour that you used on the near end of the wire. and reconnect it. Reconnect the wire at the near end before you proceed to the next wire. Now it won't matter to you if two (or more) different colours of wire were spliced together along the run. The markers tell you all you need to know.

You you have the following marking options:

1 ring: R - R and B -B
2 rings: RB - RB; BR - BR, BB - BB and RR -RR
3 rings: RBR - RBR; BRB - BRB; RRB - RRB; BBR - BBR

So far you have ten distinct unique marking configurations. You are not likely to need more than that for any wire bundle. If you do, start a pattern with four rings. You will never need more than that :-)!

Once you know what goes where, you will, of course, draw a wiring diagram and include it in the "ship's documentation"

I know of no tags or anything like that, that will make a neater marker for a wire. But obviously, the system needs to work hand in hand with a proper wiring diagram that is peculiar to your boat. The diagram needs to make note of the marking patterns for each circuit.

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Old 14-09-2020, 08:25   #5
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Wow! Thanks so much for that post, Sailormed. I didn't know that cable trackers existed, and have I got a mess of wires for them to work on! Amazon has a reallyy nice one for about the same cost as the Harbor Freight model:

https://www.amazon.com/ELEGIANT-Mult...s%2C178&sr=8-3
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Old 14-09-2020, 09:07   #6
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Glad it is of use to you. That tracker device on A....zon looks a bit to specifically geared to RJ11/RJ45 network connections to me.
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Old 14-09-2020, 09:22   #7
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

You've got a point there, although the "Questions Answered" says you can do it with the alligator clips. Complicated tool for a simple job. Maybe this one is better for simply following 12v wiring.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 14-09-2020, 09:24   #8
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

I got one of these to label my wiring- I love it!
https://www.imagesupply.com/products...ant=1013483975

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Old 14-09-2020, 09:25   #9
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

On your specific question about useful books, here are three:
Mike Westin, Don Casey (at least two) and Charlie Wing. I have all in hardcover but believe at least Westin's is available in Kindle version, which you can keep handy in your iPad. I did a total rewiring to ABYC standards, including installation of new panels, all LED lights, etc., about four years ago. Happy hunting.
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Old 14-09-2020, 10:35   #10
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
You've got a point there, although the "Questions Answered" says you can do it with the alligator clips. Complicated tool for a simple job. Maybe this one is better for simply following 12v wiring.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
In the electronics business we called that a fox and hound.
Always worked great for me for chasing wires around inside a building. Donít see any reason why it wouldnít work in a boat.

Al, S/V Finlandia
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Old 14-09-2020, 10:55   #11
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

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.......Complicated tool for a simple job. Maybe this one is better for simply following 12v wiring.
Looks a lot like this one I just ordered myself on fleebay.
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Old 14-09-2020, 10:56   #12
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Best tip I've heard is use of a back-plane instead of wiring direct to breakers. Allows each wire run to stay organized and straight, and easily tagged. Terminal blocks in the back of the panel provide the base.

There are a lot of small tips and tricks that vary by application - rather than using the inline fuse common on many electronics, you can wire an "Electronics" circuit and install a fuse panel near all electronics with proper sized fuses for each instrument.

Peter

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Old 14-09-2020, 12:21   #13
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Label makers are cheap and effective in putting tags on wires. Have a Brother P Touch that works okay but be careful if you change tape cassettes as it can ruin the cassette by fusing the clear and marker tape together. They make a special cassette for labelling with thinner more playable tape that makes bending tape around wire easier. Biggest problem is single tape cassette cost at office supply store is almost as much you can buy a new label maker with two tapes from Costco.

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/best-label-makers-4163992 I've got the Brother portable model which has survived boat, house, and airline abuse.
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Old 14-09-2020, 13:08   #14
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Pole View Post
On your specific question about useful books, here are three:
Mike Westin, Don Casey (at least two) and Charlie Wing. I have all in hardcover but believe at least Westin's is available in Kindle version, which you can keep handy in your iPad. I did a total rewiring to ABYC standards, including installation of new panels, all LED lights, etc., about four years ago. Happy hunting.
Casey's book is also available on Kindle. It's pretty good. Safety and basic theory up front, then sections on batteries, wire, circuits and troubleshooting. The section on circuits includes mapping but some of the suggestions in this post go into more detail. His proposal for a continuity tester is a D batter, a flashlight bulb, two alligator clips, some some wire and some tape... probably < $5.00.
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Old 14-09-2020, 13:42   #15
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Re: Rewire 12V How To

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Not all that difficult. You can get shrink tubing of several different colours, but red and black will be an adequate selection for this job.

Disconnecting ONE wire only from it's terminal at one end of the cable run and mark it with a little ring of shrink tubing. Then, using a multimeter check each wire at the far end of the cable run for continuity without disconnecting it. When you find the open circuit disconnect that wire only and mark it with a little ring of shrink tubing of the same colour that you used on the near end of the wire. and reconnect it. Reconnect the wire at the near end before you proceed to the next wire. Now it won't matter to you if two (or more) different colours of wire were spliced together along the run. The markers tell you all you need to know.

You you have the following marking options:

1 ring: R - R and B -B
2 rings: RB - RB; BR - BR, BB - BB and RR -RR
3 rings: RBR - RBR; BRB - BRB; RRB - RRB; BBR - BBR

So far you have ten distinct unique marking configurations. You are not likely to need more than that for any wire bundle. If you do, start a pattern with four rings. You will never need more than that :-)!

TrentePieds

Add BBB - BBB and RRR - RRR and you have 12
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