Where is my sailboats Main Accessories Switch? You have one in your car key switch!

1911tex

Sustaining Member
Previously with main house batteries master switch “off”…ALL 100% DC boat wiring was always “off” (indicated by “off” green “service” light) including all cabin DC accessories. Visa Versa was true.
Bothered me that selectable cabin accessories (water pressure, exterior/interior lights, stereo, etc) could not be switched hot UNLESS the main house batteries Master Switch was pointing to Batt 1, 2, or 1+2…at the same time "making the cockpit engine panel hot as indicated by live Voltmeter and ultimately all the sailboat wiring potentially HOT from bow to stern”….There was no actionable isolated main “ACCESSORIES SWITCH".

Picture #1: Notice my first finger and thumb with new added HD12V toggle main accessories switch for DC now “off" with big red main House batteries switch OFF (no Green service light)! That means 100% DC will be shut off bow to stern on the sailboat. (example: When leaving sailboat).

Picture #2: Now with toggle “on” thus the green service light is “on” and big red house batteries master switch is still “off”, all cockpit engine panel switches/voltmeter and multiple wires from distribution panel to cockpit and back are now inactive…only chosen cabin switches are hot (water pressure, exterior/interior lights, stereo, etc). NOW I HAVE A MAIN ACCESSORIES SWITCH !

When the new HD toggle switch is “ON”, service light is on and big red master house battery switch is pointing to Battery 1, Battery 2, or 1+2; then all 100% DC wires, bow to stern are HOT including engine (with key on), cockpit engine panel/voltmeter, all selected 12V distribution panel switches for instruments, interior/exterior lights/water pressure stereo, etc. are selectable.

NOTE: BILGE PUMP IS PROPRIETARY WIRED DIRECT TO HOUSE BATTERY BANK…ALWAYS ON.
Maybe you folks are more knowledgeable on this subject than I am and I went through this maneuver for naught!
 

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Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Tex,
I'm a little lost as I don't know what you wired to the HD toggle switch ? Is the whole 12v panel hot(+) bus wired to that switch ? Did you bypass the battery selector switch ?
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Sounds like you are saying that the cockpit's engine panel used to stay powered on even with the BATT selector to OFF. That would not be factory wiring, and it sounds like a bad idea. Factory wiring takes the Red #10 ga wire for the cockpit engine panel from the starter solenoid (ie, it is only powered when the large "battery cable" to the starter is powered (which, from the factory, requires the BATT selector to be placed to BATT 1 or BATT 2).

Sounds like your Red #10 ga wire was wired directly to one of the BATT posts on the BATT selector. Also sounds like you located this Red #10 ga wire behind your DC panel and added a switch to it. That is an improvement, as long as the switch you added is rated for the 30A load that the Red #10 ga wire normally carries (it is usually protected by a 30A inline fuse behind the cockpit engine panel).

Might have been easier (if I understand your logistics) to just move the power lug for the Red #10 ga wire from one of the battery posts on the BATT selector (it must have been previously connected to either the BATT 1 or BATT 2 post since the cockpit engine panel stayed powered with the BATT selector OFF) to the 'OUTPUT' post of the BATT selector. Or, you could move the Red #10 ga wire back down to the starter solenoid as the factory originally did. Or, I could be completely misunderstanding your situation.
 
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1911tex

Sustaining Member
Tex,
I'm a little lost as I don't know what you wired to the HD toggle switch ? Is the whole 12v panel hot(+) bus wired to that switch ? Did you bypass the battery selector switch ?
Just as Kenneth K stated in his second paragraph. The red #10 wire split, spliced and connected to the toggle. The toggle switch is rated at 20 amps..it is a Fastronix SPST On-Off Heavy Duty DC Toggle. There is a 30amp inline fuse behind the cockpit engine panel. Perhaps the 20 amp toggle may not be adequate...we shall see. So far with several engine runs (winds have been calm) and a few trials at the dock using the toggle for evening cabin and deck lighting, all seems positive. We shall see over time.

Ken: No the engine panel was powered as it should with the master switch in battery position only. In master switch off position, the voltmeter was in-op. I might also add that a local marine electrician approved of the toggle install...simple as it was. Yes Ken...used only 10 ga wire. That is only a good and the techs capability !

Per Ken's suggestion (any other suggestions Ken?), I will replace the toggle with this GAMA Electronics 30 Amp Toggle Switch SPST On-Off:
 

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Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
The only way that engine panel circuit gets close to 30A is with the glow plugs on (something like 6-7A per plug, + 3-4A for starter solenoid, + a few for fuel pump, lights, gauges, blower if you have one).

If your glow plugs are still wired directly through the engine panel, I'd probably put in a 30A switch. If the glow plug circuit instead only powers a relay (allowing the glow plugs to be energized directly from the starter post), then you're probably ok with the 20A switch.

Added: And for safety/fire protection, that 30A circuit should be fused at the supply end (the DC panel) rather than the far end (engine panel, where the line is subject to 20+ feet of chaffing and overheating due to shorting). If you want to get fancy about it, you could put one of these small circuit breakers in behind the panel, next to your new switch: https://www.delcity.net/store/Carling-CLB-Thermal-Push-Button-Circuit-Breakers/p_915869.h_539678

CB.jpg
 
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Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Ok got it, yeah 20A switch may be risky as it could fry before fuse did. New switch above looks much better.
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
Added: And for safety/fire protection, that 30A circuit should be fused at the supply end (the DC panel) rather than the far end (engine panel, where the line is subject to 20+ feet of chaffing and overheating due to shorting). If you want to get fancy about it, you could put one of these small circuit breakers in behind the panel, next to your new switch:
Great idea Ken...Thank you! Will mount it just below the new toggle switch on the DC panel...great peace of mind! $6, free delivery, next day, Amazon. May also replace the fuse at the engine panel as well..mounted on the panel instead of behind it ! Easy reset, easy install, no spare fuses necessary......

Blue Sea Systems Push Button 30amp Reset-Only CLB Circuit Breakers with Screw Terminals:​

 

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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
This whole idea is puzzling to me.
When our master switch is "off", everything not wired directly to the battery is also off.

Only circuits we have directly wired, thru a Blue Seas fuse block at the positive terminal, are voltage sensing wires and our new furnace circuit. The later item is only there to guard against anyone arbitrarily powering it down while it's operating -- it needs to execute a shut-down cycle before shutting down all the way.
 
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Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
This whole idea is puzzling to me.
When our master switch is "off", everything not wired directly to the battery is also off.

Only circuits we have directly wired, thru a Blue Seas fuse block at the positive terminal, are voltage sensing wires and our new furnace circuit. The later item is only there to guard against anyone arbitrarily powering it down while it's operating -- it needs to execute a shut-down cycle before shutting down all the way.
How about your bilge pump?
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
Added comment about fusing the 30A circuit in post #5 above.
Ken:
Changed 12V accessories toggle from 20 amp to 30 amp and added recommended 30 amp fuse. New accessory toggle switch works perfect…got to the boat at dark 30 today, flipped the new accessory toggle, flipped cabin lights and the Ericson lit up without master battery switch ….now to use accessories on 12V panel, no hot wires 30’ and back to/from the cockpit console…Then turned large battery switch to Batt 1…..instant power to the cockpit console, pushed engine glow plugs/starter button and she lit up instantly…tried Batt 2….same. So happy!
 

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toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Now you’re getting closer to my main panel*... except I’ve got 8-gauge wire to the house. But no independent switch for the engine. Some people have one so that the alternator or starter can be serviced without turning off the rest of the boat.
There is more than one logic pattern that can be used -they just have to be internally consistent and obey the rules of amperage.

For example, I’ve never liked the bilge-pump hard-wired to a battery logic. If that battery were dead, I’d like to be able to switch it (and, say, the radio or the engine) to an alternate source. Of course, you could always grab a 1/2” wrench and swap cables around in a pinch. If you aren’t in a hurry.

*I’ve got a main hot buss supplied by fused battery cables, then high-amp breakers for the main branch circuits: House, Windlass, SSB radio, AC Inverter (some added since the linked pic). The fuses at the battery terminals protect the cable to the engine, so it doesn’t have anything else. Some Blue Seas panels have sufficient capacity that a separate “main” panel like mine isn’t needed. (Except the SSB doesn’t like to share.). I guess the moral of that story is that spending the big buck$ up front might avoid complications that can arise down stream if you build things piece-meal.

My main switch determines which bank is used. For everything. The high-amp breakers can disconnect branches that aren’t wanted on. Still trying to get my head around whether switches are needed to shut off the various power sources. Alternator, battery charger, solar panels, wind generator... all feed in to the main buss, though all have independent regulators. And then there are complications like charging relays, DC/DC chargers, etc.

Oh, and now that I’ve drunk the LiFePO4 cool-aid, even the batteries have their own controllers. And none of these controllers talk to one another, unless you go sole source and/or have a custom-made system. One hopes that some sort of industry standard specification will evolve to make things simple again.

Oops: Should have linked this post to show the wiring. The small wire in the box is the bilge pump circuit. It has its own breaker on a panel less than 12” away. But arguably, it might be better coming off an appropriate breaker of the house panel. Except that would mean a longer wire run.
 
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DaveE26

Junior Member
I re did everything. I have a engine starting battery and a house bank. The engine disconnect is on the left the house is on the right. the battery's are connected to the switches and no other leads on the battery's to jump the mains except a volt meter that has fused leads to check battery's volts. My main panel has a main switch on it the battery switch and the panel main have to be on just to have the bilge pump circuit energized its a bit anal but that's ok.
I did redo everything but I like tinkering and improving.
 

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Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
I re did everything. I have a engine starting battery and a house bank. The engine disconnect is on the left the house is on the right. the battery's are connected to the switches and no other leads on the battery's to jump the mains except a volt meter that has fused leads to check battery's volts. My main panel has a main switch on it the battery switch and the panel main have to be on just to have the bilge pump circuit energized its a bit anal but that's ok.
I did redo everything but I like tinkering and improving.
That is some really nice work, Dave.
 
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