Boat Electrical Problem

Discussion in 'Power it up with Electronics' started by restlesswoodie, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    I have an issue that I can't seem to figure out. I have a 1999 Pathfinder 17t that i took out this weekend and realized that when i was in the water and touched the metal or anything attached to the metal on the boat I would get shocked. I pulled fuses out one by one to tryand figure out what was causing the electricity to run through the boat with no luck, the only way it would stop was to shut off the battery. Any ideas where else to start looking?
     
  2. jms

    jms don't let common sense get in your way

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    check battery cabling to the motor - you're stating if you turn off the battery switch off,it stops,right ?
    "everything metal" - i'm guessing you mean,helm(steering wheel,throttle) ?

    odds are,there's a small break in the cabling to the motor - may be under the cowl on the motor - water's a great conductor of electricty...
     

  3. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    Yes, when i turn the battery switch off it stops the shock. It's happening on the steering wheel and metal gas cap and cleat up in the front of the boat. I'll check out the battery cable to the motor, would it be better to just replace it with a new one?
     
  4. swaddict

    swaddict Thread Killer

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    You're getting shocked when you touch the gas cap? Is this happening when the boat is dry or just wet? Check to see if a ground going to the fuse panel got switched with a power wire. Has the boat been rewired or still have the original factory wiring? Those skiffs have very simple wiring, start off by following the power and negative wires (from the switch) that go to the power posts mounted in the rear hatch. Make sure no nicks or cuts exist. Repeat for wires leaving the fuse panel.
     
  5. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    It's only happening when the boat is wet or damp. I'll try tracking the wires and see if there are any knicks. There has been some new wiring installed (rear navigation light which shouldnt matter which wire is positive or negative, and a radio installed), but nothing else. Not sure why it is doing this.
     
  6. fsae99

    fsae99 I Love microskiff.com!

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    Does it steadily shock your or is it like a static electricity shock?
     
  7. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    It is a constant shock, it has never happened before but i just got the boat a couple months ago and took it to 10000 islands this weekend where it was constantly wet and thats where it started. Not all the time would it shock, but if it was moist it would, especially up front on the gas cap and front cleat, the steering wheel started later. its driving me nuts.
     
  8. Creek Runner

    Creek Runner Well-Known Member

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    Okay 1st don't use the boat till it's fixed or you will be sorry!

    Here is how to determine your issue.
    On the batter switch you should have a your hot battery wire, your engine hot wire, hot wire for your switch panel, and the hot wire for the automatic bilge. (If you have one)

    We need to isolate the systems that has the short, before we just go looking for a nicked wire. (Could take for ever) disconnect all the wire mentioned above (also any others you may have) and if you have anything directly wired to the battery. Back the boat into the water leaving it on the trailer hook up 1 wire (1 system) at a time when the shock happens that is your shorted system. Then you can chase the problem down in a manageable way!

    Let me know if you need any further assistance.
     
  9. fsae99

    fsae99 I Love microskiff.com!

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    Okay 1st don't use the boat till it's fixed or you will be sorry! X2 on this.

    Were you in a marina or just anywhere out on open water when it would shock you? Were you barefooted or wearing shoes? Does it shock you with the motor off and battery switch on?

    I know I'm asking several questions but the front cleat shocking you makes this a difficult problem. Fiberglass does not conduct electricity, electricity can flow along its surface if a sufficient coating of salt is present. Unless the cleat is electrically bonded there is no way for it to shock you. But it is shocking you so this means that you are completing a circuit between the cleat and the boat/water (=ground) if it is a dc shock. This means that a connection to the positive side of the battery exists when it should not. If this only happens when the engine is running then it possible for it to be an AC shock that originates from the alternator on the motor.

    Following Creeks advice will tell you which circuit is causing the issue but you will need to investigate which side of that circuit is bad. I'd take a volt meter and wet floor of boat put positive lead to cleat and negative lead to floor and see what the voltage is.
     
  10. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    It would shock while running in open water, motor off in open water, beached on a sandbar, didnt matter. The boat had been wet for a couple of days as we took a weekend trip down to 10,000 islands and camped out on the water.

    When the battery switch was on it would shock, off it would not, didnt matter if the motor was running.

    I pulled the fuses at the fuse panel one by one to determine the problem on the water but even with them all pulled it still shocked, i'm assuming it is either the depthfinder/gps or trim tabs due to them not being hooked to the fuse panel, possibly the power to the automatic bilge.

    Somewhere it is completing the circuit when the battery switch is on, it also shocked on the steering wheel. It is going to be hard to replicate the shock as it has never happened before.

    I'll try this afternoon with the volt meter.
     
  11. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    What will happen if i run the boat while this is going on, i live on a lake and have taken it out multiple times without an issue, i think it has something to do with the saltwater environment and the fact that the boat stayed pretty much wet all weekend while we were on it.
     
  12. fsae99

    fsae99 I Love microskiff.com!

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    We are concerned with the shock happening at the gas cap, this could ignite the gas vapor. Also especially in Salt Water galvanic corrosion would be highly accelerated.
     
  13. restlesswoodie

    restlesswoodie I Love microskiff.com!

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    I thought that might be a problem....So i took a look at the electrical tonight and saw no visual problems, only 2 power sources going to the battery switch, one for motor and one to run the electronics, etc...I tested the current with the motor on the trailer and had no voltage through any of the surfaces, i did notice that the power block and "ground Block" screwed onto the boat in the back compartment had a lot of corrosion, especially on the groundwire side, would this create a problem?

    None of the power wires from the fuse panel seem to be going to the wrong place, they are all good.
     
  14. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    I agree, sounds like resistance has built up in a connection.
    Either a ground wire going bad or the connector itself making incomplete ground.
    Circuit wants to be closed so juice is traveling back any way it can to the battery.
    Probably grounding through the steering cable back to the console.
    This is where a volt-ohm meter shines. Checking resistance in the connections
    to find the location of the blockage or corrosion that is limiting but not stopping current flow.

    I better not find out you're using wing nuts on your battery terminals!  ;)

    Wing nuts bad! :mad:
     
  15. cutrunner

    cutrunner Cert. Yamaha technician

    Imo I would love to give you advice but I think your better off taking it to a Good shop and having it fixed. You dont wanna end up on the 10 oclock news.
     
  16. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

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    Disconnect and remove the battery.