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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well title states it. I have decided to start the rewire on the little 16 shadowcast. All wiring that is on the boat is a mess. ( absolutely nothing more frustrating to look at, let alone try and figure out what the hell belongs to what) I was going to try and “clean it up” but I can’t even begin to try and figure out what’s going on. I have some type of loose/weak connection somewhere being that my bow and anchor lights come and go as they please. The previous owner has everything directly connected to the battery. Like 7 different connections with wires connected to other wires..... so my question is would it be easier to just start from scratch and do it all over myself? What will be wired is a small 6 switch panel that controls Jack Plate, nav lights, anchor lights, cockpit lights and a bilge. Would installing a small buss bar or fuse panel help clean up all the wires? I’m trying to simplify everything to make it easier for diagnosing problems in the future. ANY HELP would be gratefully appreciated!!!
 

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I am redoing a small boat as well. I have bought a 6panel switch along with a fuse block. My intentions are to come off the switch go to the fuse block and then off to the lights or whatever. This should help keep it organized and safe. This seems like the best way to do it.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
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1,820 Posts
I would definitely advise starting fresh and re-wiring everything. It's one of the best decisions I made on the Hewes. These boats are relatively simple, and it makes any future work/troubleshooting so much easier. Don't skimp on the quality of the wire and connectors either, or you will still have issues down the road.

A basic list to get started:
Ancor duplex wire (tinned)
Waterproof (with adhesive-lined heat shrink) connectors
Extra adhesive-lined heat shrink
Fuse Block (Blue Seas has several options)
Switches
Decent crimping tool
Clear heat shrink to put over labels (easily identifiable wires are so helpful when routing and troubleshooting)

I think I got my wire from amazon or wal-mart or something, and I got most other components from New Wire Marine. I also had them make any of my heavy gauge cables. I got a little more in-depth with some stuff and made a waterproof junction box in the bilge to help troubleshooting and repair/replacement of pumps, but you can really do it fairly simply.
 

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'04 HB Devilray Merc 25 HP
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I'd start by recognizing all your different systems you want to power and then grab a fuse block (marine kind) and draw up a wiring diagram. Then figure out where you want to locate it on the boat. Cable management only works if you commit to it! I would also recommend a battery main switch to kill all systems on the boat and I would also keep the charger off the boat if you can!

I am sure there is a right way to wire a boat but the way I wired mine was 12V + first goes to the fuse block then to switches and back to component and then back to 12V - or ground on the same fuse block. May be the wrong way but at least this way I know that the system is mostly safe and will always pop a fuse before anything else.

Also just like bryson said, use heat shrink (glue kind) on all connections and try to keep them down as saltwater likes to eat everything. I had one No. 4 size cable completely corroded through, and wondered why I couldn't run the trim tabs and the GPS at the same time. After cleaning everything I have no electrical grimlans after the re-wire.
 

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Brandon, FL
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@bryson summed it up nicely.

The only change I would make is to use wire that is different colors for every piece of electrical equipment. If you ever have a gremlin show up it is so easy to trace back or even replace.
 

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I rewired my previous skiff and kept a thread as I went. It includes a link to some wiring diagrams I developed. Note that some kind folks pointed out some issues with my plan along the way and the final outcome was great. No more gremlins.

https://www.microskiff.com/threads/rewire-project-05-ranger-phantom-and-wiring-diagrams.46562/

The best source I found for wiring, terminals, and heat shrink, was TinnedMarineWire.com

https://tinnedmarinewire.com/wire/

Double adhesive heat shrink over heat shrink terminals worked great. Get the right tools, too. Good ratcheting crimpers made the job so much easier.

I bought all other components from Blue Sea Systems. Fuse blocks, busbars, battery switch, rocker switches, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Damn thanks fellas! I making it out to be way harder than it seems you guys have explained it nicely. I am a bit of a perfectionist and not being educated on simple electrical setups gets me frustrated so spent the entire day yesterday researching and educating myself. I have narrowed the issues I was having down to simply weak connections. Although now my anchor light won’t come on at all after I’ve replaced the connection to the switch and to the wire meeting at the light wires itself. Frustrating. I’m just trying to get it going to use for the time being while I order what I want to replace everything with. It was working until I started messing with everything and was fading in and out which led me to believe it was a weak connection somewhere but now I can’t get any life out of her. Something stupid I’m sure. I will mess with it again today.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
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The only change I would make is to use wire that is different colors for every piece of electrical equipment. If you ever have a gremlin show up it is so easy to trace back or even replace.
Agreed. The only reason I bought the duplex wire (red/black) in bulk was the cost. Using different colored wire is definitely the best way to go if you are willing to drop the coin.

If you do use the bulk wire (all red/black) you need to take the time to do labels, or else you'll be swearing at yourself every time you have an issue.
 

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Brandon, FL
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10,959 Posts
Agreed. The only reason I bought the duplex wire (red/black) in bulk was the cost. Using different colored wire is definitely the best way to go if you are willing to drop the coin.

If you do use the bulk wire (all red/black) you need to take the time to do labels, or else you'll be swearing at yourself every time you have an issue.
Check this out

https://adiwire.com/products/bonded-wire/

"All of our bonded wire is custom made to your order, sometimes we have over runs which we keep in stock. Just need a small piece? Give us a call we may have what you need available now."

Much less coin - they have lots of color combinations as long as you don't care about the color. If you have to have a specific color then you need to drop the coin.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
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1,820 Posts
Check this out

https://adiwire.com/products/bonded-wire/

"All of our bonded wire is custom made to your order, sometimes we have over runs which we keep in stock. Just need a small piece? Give us a call we may have what you need available now."

Much less coin - they have lots of color combinations as long as you don't care about the color. If you have to have a specific color then you need to drop the coin.
That's pretty sweet -- will definitely bookmark that page for the future, thanks.
 

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Brandon, FL
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10,959 Posts
Last time I bought some I just needed like 25' of 6 different colors. He spooled up like 25-30 feet of various colors and if I recall it was like $30 delivered.

Now- pay attention. The bonded wires are not tinned. So what I do is get them in the shape I need if I need to shape them and then I coat with solder any wire exposed to air. Then I use as normal (ie: rubber coating and heat shrink). I have wire connectors 20+ years old - so old I had to replace the rotted out bus bar. You will never have a problem with the wire as long as the vinyl coating is intact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Epic fellas thank you!! Quick question, I’m gonna our a new fold down anchor light on. It has a perko led on it but I can’t find another one available anywhere gonna start completely fresh with lights too. So I know exactly what I have. Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quick synopsis, since I live 20 mins from ankona. I called them up and good ole Rory took care of me set me up with what light they use on the skiff. Once again the family down at ankona never ceases to amaze me at customer service. I think next time I might show up with a 6 pack and shoot the shit. After hours of course. Don’t want anybody’s build disrupted on my part. Btw someone has a very very sexy Heron being finished up. One day..
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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I'll second www.tinnedmarinewire.com for your wire and heat shrink terminals. Their shrink terminals are better than any others I've found...store bought 'weatherproof' connectors are garbage compared to these.

One think not mentioned. Use heavier gauge wire than required. I would't go any smaller than 15 ga. I don't care if its an LED pulling a 1/4 amp...the bigger wire makes for a stronger connection to the terminals, is easier to cut, and will resist wear or breakage due to constant running vibration.

I'll second the Blue Seas Fuse blocks...they are a must. When it comes to rocker switches...I've had good luck with the A-Marine LED rockers and the metal DC Distribution switch panels available on amazon.
 

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Quick synopsis, since I live 20 mins from ankona. I called them up and good ole Rory took care of me set me up with what light they use on the skiff. Once again the family down at ankona never ceases to amaze me at customer service. I think next time I might show up with a 6 pack and shoot the shit. After hours of course. Don’t want anybody’s build disrupted on my part. Btw someone has a very very sexy Heron being finished up. One day..
That heron was pretty sweet! Saw it when I picked up my boat.
 
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