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Author Topic: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD  (Read 33942 times)

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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2014, 10:05:08 AM »

Ken,

Wanna tell us how you really feel?   :cry4`  :D

Unless I am mistaken (been known to happen regularly), the wiki & the Critical Upgrades pretty much nailed the details, and Ron has often mentioned hard-wiring the ends anyway.

Look, the issues are simple:  it was a 1970s solution to 1990s electrical needs, compounded by the ammeter in the cockpit panel.  Since no one knows what and how an ammeter works, it was hocus-pocus for years.  

We've tried hard to explain it.



Stu,

I am too passionate when I see owners wasting their money?  :-)

If it's a knowledgeable owner, ok - it's their issue to waste money and not fix all the problems.  
However when it's a newbie, then it really spins my head seeing CD and Sw taking their cash for a substandard product.  This is the 2000's -- and a 2000's solution to a 70's mistake should be sold to owners, not smoke and mirrors.  

If I had an outlet, I would do what I do for CTY and CS owners on a larger scale and same 'em a lot of cash!!

Cheers,
Ken
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 10:21:06 AM by KWKloeber »
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2014, 10:19:01 AM »

A minor detail, Noah.  You might want to add post protectors (rubber boots) to your batteries.  This is to protect the circuit if somthing metallic falls into the battery locker.  The Coast Guard Auxillary told me  that this is a Coast Guard requirement.  Great job on the wiring work - including the diagram.

Scotty,  Noah is completely compliant because;

1. USCG electrical standards pertain to ONLY gasoline-powered vessels.
even with that,

"(b) Each battery [on gasoline-powered boats -kk] must be installed so
that metallic objects cannot come in
contact with the ungrounded battery
terminals."

They are installed that way - in their own, covered compartment.

2. And ABYC recommends (interpretation of USGS regs and applying to all electrical systems):

"10.7.7 To prevent accidental contact of the ungrounded battery connection to ground, each battery shall be protected so that metallic objects cannot come into contact with the ungrounded battery terminal and uninsulated cell straps. This may be accomplished by means such as;

10.7.7.1 covering the ungrounded battery terminal with a boot or non-conductive shield, or
10.7.7.2 installing the battery in a covered battery box, or
10.7.7.3 installing the battery in a compartment specially designed only for the battery(s)."


If USCG Aux courtesy inspection or a surveyor tells you otherwise, they're either uninformed, misinterpreting, or overreaching.

cheers,
-kk
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
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Noah

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #47 on: July 10, 2014, 11:33:44 AM »

 :shock:
Gee Ken, you are apparently way more passionate about this then I am.  I replaced my wiring harness with the "new" long harness from Catalina Direct and am satisfied. I took the advice of fellow Forum members and wired directly to the panel and engine/components with heat shrink ring terminals, bypassing the supplied terminal blocks. I also enclosed the harness in flexible conduit and secured it appropriately the entire run. It gives me comfort to know that I have new, adequate gauge, tinned wire, replacing 24-year old stuff. The long length also works well for me as I have enough slack to pull the panel out into the cockpit if need be, to get easy access.  I did change thing up a bit recently with the install of my new electrical/charging/distribution upgrade.  I have now run the the alternator output from my new 90 amp alternator directly to my new house bank with an echo charger feeding my new start bank.  I also added a Balmer 614 MaxCharge regulator with battery and alternator temp sensors.

Over the past six months I have owned my boat,  I have purchased several items from Catalina Direct and they have always treated me well and given good customer service and free advice.  Price? While I am always looking for a bargain, fortunately I am at a point in my life where I am not opposed to paying a bit more to save time and aggravation.
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2014, 04:32:19 PM »


Stu,

I am too passionate when I see owners wasting their money?  :-)

If it's a knowledgeable owner, ok - it's their issue to waste money and not fix all the problems.  
However when it's a newbie, then it really spins my head seeing CD and Sw taking their cash for a substandard product.  This is the 2000's -- and a 2000's solution to a 70's mistake should be sold to owners, not smoke and mirrors.  

If I had an outlet, I would do what I do for CTY and CS owners on a larger scale and same 'em a lot of cash!!

Cheers,
Ken

Ken, I do NOT disagree with you.  We have been writing about this issue since 1987!!!  Even then, as Maine Sail has mentioned, people still don't get it and still have ammeters in their cockpit panels, and I reported on one Ericson guy who asked about whether or not he should install the M25 engine alternator bracket!!!

We do what we can, and we try, as you have, to explain why.  Things, electrically on our boats, were a LOT different in 1987 than they are now.  For example, I'm sitting at anchor with my laptop and inverter.  The inverter/charger I installed when we bought the boat in 1998, the PIO only had his TV and a microwave usable at the dock.  We decided that it would be nice to get rid of the TV but use the microwave wherever we are.   :clap
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #49 on: July 10, 2014, 07:30:55 PM »


Ken, I do NOT disagree with you.  We have been writing about this issue since 1987!!!  Even then, as Maine Sail has mentioned, people still don't get it and still have ammeters in their cockpit panels, and I reported on one Ericson guy who asked about whether or not he should install the M25 engine alternator bracket!!!

We do what we can, and we try, as you have, to explain why.  Things, electrically on our boats, were a LOT different in 1987 than they are now.  For example, I'm sitting at anchor with my laptop and inverter.  The inverter/charger I installed when we bought the boat in 1998, the PIO only had his TV and a microwave usable at the dock.  We decided that it would be nice to get rid of the TV but use the microwave wherever we are.   :clap



Stu,  I KNOW you agree!  LOL

We and other responsible owners like Noah etc KNOW when we're being smoke and mirrored, and can compensate.  But there's those who and always be who just don't know better for whatever reason.  Maybe it's valid for their situation, but we can't understand why (passion?)

If there were products out there that made it foolproof -- for even those folks -- I wouldn't have my head exploding so much. LOL!  Unfortunately the CD/SW product isn't one in that category. :-((
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 09:39:13 PM by KWKloeber »
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #50 on: July 10, 2014, 07:51:39 PM »

Gee Ken, you are apparently way more passionate about this then I am.  

Back at yah, Noah,

Not less passionate at all -- you are an informed owner who didn't buy into the smoke/mirrors that the touted product cured the design/installation ills.   You found your own way to solve it.  Kudos!

I replaced my wiring harness with the "new" long harness from Catalina Direct and am satisfied. I took the advice of fellow Forum members and wired directly to the panel and engine/components with heat shrink ring terminals, bypassing the supplied terminal blocks. I also enclosed the harness in flexible conduit and secured it appropriately the entire run. It gives me comfort to know that I have new, adequate gauge, tinned wire, replacing 24-year old stuff. The long length also works well for me as I have enough slack to pull the panel out into the cockpit if need be, to get easy access.  

Ok we agree -- and you've reinforced my verbose ranting.  Here's what I understand that we agree on:

1. CD sells an over-priced product that some owners are willing to buy (18' feet of wire, 2 terminal strips, and 4 terminals totaling 180 boat bucks.)  

2. A conscientious installer such as yourself will:
    a. Throw away 32 boat bucks of CD's material (two $3.95 terminal strips and four 25-cent terminals.)
        (So far the wasted amount is at 32 boat bucks.)  
    b. Ignore the CD/Seaward's BS to clip the ends and sandwich in the new harness wire.
    c. Purchase the correct marine-grade, heat-shrink terminals plus sheathing for the harness.
    d. Install the new harness correctly, tying it down at least every 18"

3. In addition, to correct ills that the new CD/Seaward harness does not address, the conscientious installer will:
    e. Purchase and install a heavier cable for the Alt output (or run a separate charge wire straight to the batts as you did.)
    f. Purchase and install a heavy cable to ground the Alt frame.
    g. Fuse the #5 harness wire (power to panel.)


............... I have purchased several items from Catalina Direct and they have always treated me well and given good customer service and free advice.  Price? While I am always looking for a bargain, fortunately I am at a point in my life where I am not opposed to paying a bit more to save time and aggravation.

I'm haven't commented on CD's other products, customer service, etc.  I'm speaking about only this "upgrade kit."   So with this specific product -- let's see how CD helps us out...

Let's discount anything spent on the additional materials above -- the owner would do that anyway.  

So, to be succinct, -- the owner has:
1. Sent 88 boat bucks (plus shipping) to CD.
2. Thrown away 32 boat bucks of CD's product.  
3. 18-feet of 9-conductor harness wire left to use to improvise his/her own solution to the ills.

An owner can buy 18-feet of tinned, marine-grade, harness wire and fasten them together every couple feet like CD does, for 44 boat bucks (plus shipping.)

Ok, the math says, 188 boat bucks - 44 boat bucks = 144 boat bucks that could be spent on other upgrades, and the landfill wouldn't have the four terminal strips and four crimp terminals taking up space.  

My head is exploding trying to fathom WHY we buy CD's kit and how it benefits us?  And remember -- after wasting 144 boat bucks, the owner ends up with ONLY the wire to solve the problem and still has to go source and purchase the remainder of the materials!!)


Noah, I'm also not bashing your decision -- I'm truly just trying to understand from an owner who is conscientious and has also gone thru the install -- wy they chose the CD kit, and how it "saved aggravation"  -- because the product is substandard, you had to also go thru the additional steps anyway?   I guess one "aggravation factor" would have been to source the harness wire instead buying CD's ready cut?  I appreciate your commenting on this?  I admit that have an ulterior motive here for wanting to understand the thinking -- I want to develop a kit that solves the problems and offer it at a fair cost.

Noah, I just did a similar upgrade for an owner in Cali -- can I suggest the following (if you haven't already)?:

You have an 18-foot, "permanently" hot, power feed to the panel, #5 harness wire with no overcurrent protection per ABYC.  

I fix that this way:

1. Get an 8 AWG in-line weatherproof maxi fuse holder (I haven't found a 10 AWG holder.)
2. Crimp a non-insulated FTZ #8 x M8 post, Starter Lug or Power Lug onto the maxi holder.
3. Crimp the maxi holder to the panel feed wire using an FTZ 8 x 10 AWG non-insulated, step-down butt connector.
4. Heat shrink using heavy wall, not just double wall, HST (for better wire support.)

I use a maxi holder instead of an ATC because the latter is hard to find in 10 AWG/true "in-line", and I can also use a resettable maxi circuit breaker, rather than fuses.  With a glow plug slave relay installed, 20-a would be enough.  If not then 30-a.  Although the 14 AWGs in the new harness can take 30-a -- the lowest amp fuse on that wire the better because -- for panels that are non-compliant -- that fuse will also protect over current on the lighter panel wiring (lights, etc.)

Cheers,
Ken

Oh, PS:  I'm still trying to understand what it is that we do not agree on?
Is it that I said 'most harnesses extensions are okay (between the Gummy Bears) and can be kept in service'?  
I have no statistics -- only experience and my gut.  Maybe it is a low percentage, I don't have proof of that.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 06:49:49 AM by KWKloeber »
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

Noah

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #51 on: July 10, 2014, 08:26:23 PM »

Ken, i've got no ax to grind here. I am just a guy trying to fix up my boat the best I can and go sailing! I think you/I have exhausted this thread and I'm moving on.
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waterdog

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #52 on: July 10, 2014, 08:37:14 PM »

For what it is worth guys, an impassioned content-rich exchange like this is fantastic.   It leaves the whole issue well exposed and allows the new owner who joins this site a couple of years from now to be well informed, understand what they have, and be better educated to make the right decisions going forward - no matter which path they take.    It helps people figure out what to pay attention to.   

I think I should start another anchor thread... 



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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #53 on: July 10, 2014, 08:43:54 PM »

Ken, i've got no ax to grind here. I am just a guy trying to fix up my boat the best I can and go sailing! I think you/I have exhausted this thread and I'm moving on.

Roger on that -- understand and I have not taken issue with any of the great improvements you have done and are continuing on with.

You are doing it right (despite CD's "assistance" -- LOL). 

And I hope you haven't taken my quest to understand, with any attack on your work / upgrades, which are top 'o the line?

ken
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #54 on: July 12, 2014, 10:58:57 AM »

We have been writing about this issue since 1987!!!  Even then, as Maine Sail has mentioned, people still don't get it and still have ammeters in their cockpit panels, and I reported on one Ericson guy who asked about whether or not he should install the M25 engine alternator bracket!!!

We do what we can, and we try, as you have, to explain why.  

Stu,  You will appreciate this one....!

A CS-36T (Westerbeke W-30) owner who I'm currently doing a panel and harness job for, told me on the phone the other day.....

"OK, I think I know the connector you mean that the wires go to -- there's a plug on the engine, and more times than not I have to go below, remove the ladder, get the engine compartment cover off, wiggle the plug, put it all back together and see if she starts.  If not, do it all over again until she starts.  And, being 71, it's getting to the point I just don't wanna do it anymore."

HUH?  WHAT?  D'UHHHH?    What happened to 70, 69, 68, 67,......... 71-n ?

Sheesh,
Ken
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 11:03:05 AM by KWKloeber »
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

SPembleton

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #55 on: July 14, 2014, 04:40:54 PM »

I just replaced the harness today.  My boat has been a freshwater boat for almost all of its life.  We don't have the same corrosion issues that salt water boats have, but I thought I would share with everyone that when I inspected the trailer plugs, they were brittle and broken, but not corroded.  Despite what I had heard from others on the Great Lakes,  the trailer plug issue is NOT limited to saltwater boats.

I also wanted to share that purchasing the harness may have cost me a couple extra bucks, but I saved that extra cost with reduced mechanic fees.  Btw it took about 3.5 hrs for the mechanic to finish the job.
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2014, 05:12:54 PM »

they were brittle and broken, but not corroded.  Despite what I had heard from others on the Great Lakes,  the trailer plug issue is NOT limited to saltwater boats.

I also wanted to share that purchasing the harness may have cost me a couple extra bucks, but I saved that extra cost with reduced mechanic fees.  Btw it took about 3.5 hrs for the mechanic to finish the job.


Steve, You are SPOT on about that!  
See my Gummy Bear plug -- 100% freshwater Ontario/Erie.

[attachimg=#]

The cause is that CTY did not purchase the Universal harness extension -- instead fabricating the Gummy Bear plugs onto the harness wires.  The Universal/Westerbeke half of the connections hold up relatively well, but the result of saving a dime is that the engine heat destroys the fabricated Gummy Bears...  The cockpit end rarely disintegrate like the engine end does.

When I got her in '93, I cleaned up the pins/sockets and wrapped the connector with tape to seal from moisture.  A very good decision -- that's all that was between the terminals and possibly a fire until I unwrapped it again while doing some re-wiring 3 years ago.  

Steve, can I ask a couple questions....  I understand you got the CD/Seaward harness kit...

Did you use the longer, or standard-length harness?

Did the mechanic use the terminal strips at both ends?  
Or if not, how did s/he make the connections to the existing panel pig tails and/or engine-side pig tails?  

Or did s/he run the harness right to the panel gauges/switches and the engine components?


Cheers,
Ken
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 05:30:59 PM by KWKloeber »
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

SPembleton

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2014, 05:56:54 PM »

Ken
Your plugs look worse than mine, but not much better.

I bought the longer harness,  my mechanic said that he might route differently if he has the added length.  In the end I don't think he needed it, but it is hard to tell.

I also purchased the upgrade kit, but it seemed to just be 2 terminal strips. He did use both strips.  I eventally want to replace some of the gauges, so having the terminal strip will probably make it a little easier.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 05:58:58 PM by SPembleton »
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Steve Pembleton
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Ron Hill

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #58 on: July 16, 2014, 06:05:02 PM »

I first wrote about the wiring harness failures back in the early 1990's

Guess people just don't believe what has been written or are living in a cave!!!
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #59 on: July 16, 2014, 08:08:26 PM »

I bought the longer harness,  my mechanic said that he might route differently if he has the added length.  In the end I don't think he needed it, but it is hard to tell.

I also purchased the upgrade kit, but it seemed to just be 2 terminal strips. He did use both strips.  I eventally want to replace some of the gauges, so having the terminal strip will probably make it a little easier.

Thanks Steve,

That helps me understand the thinking a little better.  I won't rant on using or not using the terminal strips-- that's a personal decision that owners make.  i figure that if I can understand why owners buy what they do, I can put together a package that makes the most sense at the best dollar.

Thanks again,
Ken
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain
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