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Author Topic: Electrical Panel Problems  (Read 6277 times)

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Steve S.

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Electrical Panel Problems
« on: June 01, 2008, 07:25:24 PM »

Got a problem with my electrical panel. I think I already know the answer but I'm gonna ask anyway.  I have the black engraved panel with the rocker switches and the push-in/push out breakers.  On the left side that has cabin, running, accessory, deck light, steaming, and anchor, in that order, only cabin (top) and anchor (bottom)  work.  There is no power to the middle four switches.  I checked by pulling out the connections and touching them to the exposed post on the fuse box, and then checking the line with a meter.  So, I guess the actual rocker switches are malfunctioning.  Before I go to Seward and see what I can replace, has anyone had this issue before?  Any suggestions?
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Steve S.
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Ken Juul

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2008, 09:22:40 AM »

It might be that the switches don't work because of lack of use.  You might want to spray some wd40 or contact cleaner into the switch and excercise it off and on a bit before you replace them.  Either pull the breaker of turn the battery switch off while you do it to prevent arcing which could also damage the switch and excessive cycles on the circuits.  You also might want to swap the suspected bad switches with the good ones to see if the problem follows the suspected bad switch.

If you have to replace them, the panel was made by Seaward, they should have replacements.
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Ken & Vicki Juul
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Ron Hill

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 07:19:06 PM »

Steve : Ken could be right, but I'd go to Radio Shack and get a can of "turner cleaner" and try it rather than WD40.  Most of those + wires are ganged into a circuit breaker in gangs of 3. It also could be the breakers?  Try bypassing the breakers and see if you have power.  A thought. 
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Steve S.

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 07:17:00 AM »

Thanks to you both.  Yes, I already bypassed the breakers and tested the lines with a meter, so I'm pretty sure its the rocker switches.  You're right Ron that the switches are in gangs of three.  One of them works in each gang (cabin in the upper, anchor in the lower).  So that clinches it for me that there are problems with the rockers.  I'll try the next step that you both suggested and let you know. 
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Steve S.
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2008, 01:36:34 AM »

See reply #5 here for the name and phone # of Seaward "good guys":  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4212.0.html
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Steve S.

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2008, 09:01:21 AM »

Thanks Stu,  I already called and left a message a couple of days ago, but no one has called me back.  Guess I'll try again.  You would think they would have an e-mail contact point.  After all, it's 2008.  Odd.
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Steve S.
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Jon Schneider

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2008, 09:44:51 AM »

They're impossible regarding return calls.  You have to call them everyday.  They'll return your call when they realize you're not going away, or you might get lucky enough to actually get someone live.  For them, it's 1962 all over again.
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Jon Schneider
s/v Atlantic Rose #1058 (1990)
Greenport, NY USA

Stu Jackson

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2008, 01:09:47 PM »

I guess everyone's experiences are different.  Based on earlier input from many for, for instance, Garhauer, calling in the morning, California time, works wonders.  When I called I got Dennis right away, no problem.  He was very helpful, explained the minimum $20 package and sent me four switches and two green DC panel lights.  Nice guy.  Try 8-9 a.m. California time, perhaps that will work better.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Jon Schneider

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2008, 01:16:50 PM »

Yeah, my experience with them has been fine when I actually have reached a live person.  I would say that out of perhaps six voicemails I've left over the last couple of years (three in this past week), only one has actually been returned, and that was after I left one every day for that last three days (just happened this week... I was actually shocked when Lonnie returned my call).  I would also say their documentation is often either non-existent or inaccurate.  It's great that they actually have replacement parts, but I wish it were another company.
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Jon Schneider
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Ken Krawford

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Not my experience
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2008, 10:20:12 AM »

Maybe I've just been lucky but my experience has been just the opposite.  I recently worked with Lonnie troubleshooting an oven problem.  I never connected each time I called but the call was always returned, usually the same day but always within 24 hrs.
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Ken Krawford
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Steve S.

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2008, 02:55:10 PM »

Ken, You clearly have more Karma than me.  Three calls, no one home, no call back.  No big deal as it is no rush.
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Steve S.
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Steve S.

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2008, 06:06:55 AM »

Finally got thru to Seaward.  No chance to buy replacement rocker switches as they no longer meet ABYC codes.  Only option provided by Seaward is a new panel, which is awfully expensive.

So, went and tried the contact cleaner.   No go.  There is clearly something internal in the rocker switch assembly that only allows the first rocker in the gang to work.

Need to sit back and think through options.   
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Steve S.
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2008, 07:49:06 AM »

Steve, I bought some from Seaward earlier this year, so I find it hard to understand your (or their) statement about ABYC.  I did a Google search for "rocker switches" and found these "snap-in" switches, which seem to be the right ones.  Next time you're at your boat, check the back of your existing switches and see if the brand and/or model # is visible and see if these will work.  Other searches on rocker switches might be helpful to you, too, since this was only the first of many from the Google search.  You could also ask Seaward what model switches they are and simply buy them elsewhere.

http://www.nkkswitches.com/series.aspx?stid=2&id=5044
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 09:51:10 AM by Stu Jackson »
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Steve S.

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2008, 11:40:29 AM »

All I know is what they told me. 

As usual, great ideas. I checked the back of the switches yesterday and there is nothing there.  However, if I can get accurate measurements, I beleive buying new rockers from a site like this may be the solution.  Thanks.
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Steve S.
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waterdog

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Re: Electrical Panel Problems
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2008, 02:00:37 PM »

Does anyone happen to know why our old style rocker switches wouldn't meet current ABYC code and if there is anything to be concerned about?

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Steve Dolling
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