Wiring a boat switch panel

Hi expert people:

Last year, I purchased one of the fully-wired switch panels from EzAcDc, but I still haven’t gotten around to installing it and find that I have some questions:Boat wiring

  1. I have two wires from the green and red bow light and two wires from the white stern light. Are these the navigation lights? And how do these four wires attach to the switch panel?
  2. I have two halogen head lamps with two wires from each. Where do these wires attach?
  3. I have two sealed beam cabin lights with two wires from each. Where do these wires attach?
  4. I have an on/off bilge pump with two wires. Where do these two wires attach?
  5. I have an air horn with two male blades on the pump and a little black box with four male blades and a hieroglyphic on the side with the numbers 85,87,86 and 30 & 12V 30A–no wires. How do these attach to my horn switch at the switch panel?
  6. I would like to add a stereo to the panel since there are two existing speakers mounted in the cab. How and where do I hook this up?
  7. The boat has an existing ground bar which I have wired to the battery switch and a fuse bar which I have wired to the battery switch positive pole.
  8. I have 10 AWG wires from the two batteries to the battery switch and 10 AWG wires from the battery switch which attach to the negative. bar and the fuse bar. The exception is the two engine wires which appear to be 4 AWG. Will this work OK?
  9. There does not appear to be any empty blades at any of the switches so I don’t know how to wire the switches to the wires which come from the lights, horn, bilge and other yet to be purchased accessories etc.
  10. What is the purpose of the voltmeter?
  11. I have attempted to remove a wire from the back of one of the switches but it wont budge. Is this a malfunction or are these wires not meant to be removed?

I have read all the posts on your website as well as numerous other posts on many other boat wiring websites but still want to make sure that I am doing this correctly.

These must be boring, inane questions to someone like yourself who obviously knows electricity and components, but I need help.

Thanks,

Ken

Hi Ken,

The easiest way to connect your boat’s components to your new panel is by using the 6″ long adaptor harness that you should have received from our partners at Ez. It has a large white 12 position plug that connects directly to your panel and the blue butt connectors connect to your boat’s components.

The adaptor wires follow standard boat wiring colors. That is…

  • Black – Ground – Must go to battery or negative buss
  • Brown/Orange – Aerator
  • RED – 12v power
  • Gray/Black – Docking Lights
  • Gray/Blue – Anchor/Stern Light
  • Gray/Green – Navigation/Bow Light
  • Orange/White – Horn
  • Brown – Bilge Manual
  • Blue – Courtesy Light
  • Brown/Red – Bilge Auto

Here is what you will want to do:

  • One wire from each of the red and green navigation lights will connect to the gray/green wire in the adaptor. The other wire from each of the lights will connect to DC ground.
  • One wire from your white stern light will connect to the gray/blue wire in the adapt0r. The other wire from your light will connect to DC ground.
  • One wire from each of your head lights will connect to the gray/black wire in the adaptor. The other wire from each of the lights will connect to the DC ground.
  • One wire from each of your cabin lights will connect to the blue wire in the adaptor. The other wire from each of the lights will connect to the DC ground.
  • The brown wire from your bilge pump will connect to the brown wire in the adaptor. The other wire from your pump will connect to DC ground.
  • Your air horn is more complex. The orange/white wire will connect to 86 on the relay. Here is a link to complete your horn wiring.

Having said all that, a simpler solution to all of this would be to purchase one of the EzAcDc Snap Together boat wiring harness.

Any of these harnesses contain all of the wires required to connect your red/green/white navigation lights, your head light/docking lights, your courtesy lights, and your bilge pump. There is a 12 position connector on the harness that will plug directly into your panel. They also include the power wire (with circuit protection) and ground wire required by your panel.

Your stereo can connect to one of the 3 position accessory plugs on the panel. Use the black for ground and the red for your positive.

Here is a schematic that shows how I recommend wiring a battery switch. Note the battery cable sizes. If your engine battery cables are connected to your ground bus and battery switch, your 10 AWG wire will overheat when you try to start your engine.

When you push the voltage button, the voltmeter will show you the current voltage of your battery and how much “fun time” you have left until your battery is dead.

If you use the adaptor, there is no need to remove wires from the back of the switches. In the event that you would like to remove a wire from one of the switches, I recommend using a flat screw driver. All of the switch terminals are .250 faston connectors. The back of the switch has .250 tabs on the back similar to the ones on the horn relay.

I hope that this is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

Kevin





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