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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1987 FourWinns 195 Sundowner. Ski boat, dual battery set-up. Engine cranks. Everything at the helm (dash) has power (12.5v) getting there (switches for lights, accessory switches, radio, fuses etc...). Power is delivered in all battery switch positions. Nothing works.
I know I am missing something simple but am stumped. I used my test light and multi meter and am certain I am getting power to everything up front.
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Copy that. I'm an idiot. I didn't think about completing the circuit with the test light. Voltmeter would read voltage but I think it was erroneous because it wouldn't stabilize.
Ok Ill look for that ground that's hanging out somewhere. Sorry for the stupid question....:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I teach complex Avionics systems to 18-19 year old Marines fresh out of basic training. That statement is debatable ;)
Yeah I have several Airmen ask me stupid questions everyday.

I feel dumb because I didn't slow down and think about it. I got ahead of myself, frustrated then confused...to NC Angler I go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
At the risk of asking another stupid question. I looked and looked for a wire that wasn't connected to battery and found none. So, basically couldn't find anything else that would give me a ground. My--most likely stupid question is--if I check power to a two position switch (bilge blower or accessory switch for example) and get power (with test light) to powers side of switch and when switch is turned to ON position I get power to both sides of switch. This tells me switch is working but would it still mean that my test light could be completing the circuit? Also, while checking stern/anchor light, I even checked at bulb and have power indicated by test light....just the stern light doesn't come on.
I went in the v-berth and removed an access panel behind dash...I saw 3 power or ground strips, I couldn't tell which is which. I couldn't get any good reading with the multimeter and didn't figure using test light was of use...plus the wire wouldn't reach.

Please tell me I am still missing something obvious. This is a 1987 boat but was kept covered indoors its whole life and the previous owner was the original owner and kept it professionally maintained. So, from what I can tell it is unmolested i.e. no shoddy shade tree wiring.

Thanks for your patience all.
 

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Once in a while someone will run the ground side through a hidden switch to keep someone from running down the battery if someone monkeys around with the boat when no one is around, if it has ever been kept in a wet slip. You may want to contact the previous owner and ask, they are usually hidden under the console, but I have seen them by the engine in I/O boats....

Fishscalz
 

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Chances are the negative side of your battery goes to a grounding post on the boat and the distribution panel has a wire going to that same post as well. Then all of your electronics receive their ground from the distribution panel. Since nothing at all is working I suspect the problem to be from the battery to distribution panel or internal to the panel itself.
 

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You could have a wire corroded in two inside the jacket itself. And crimping. People just put a stakon on it and crimp and it's done. You might can get away with some of that in freshwater but not salt. Not for long. It's a simple trouble shoot. Run a jumper from the point of ground over to the fuse box. Disconnect the old and connect the test jumper. If it works, you know you got a problem in the existing wire either in the wire itself , the terminals, or connections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok so I did find a few strips behind instrument/switch panel but...I still haven't located a fuse block/box. There are fuses in the dash near the switches and they are all good. I know where the two 50A fuses are and they are good. I also didn't see where there would be a common ground back there BUT, I understand it may be...well, anywhere. I am guessing near the battery and engine. If it helps give more information, when I checked with my test light for power...EVERYTHING had power except on the accessory side of a switch. I put the lead on the back of the battery case and it lit it up. I didn't think it would be possible for voltage to get to that point.
Ill keep hunting around. I might even run a jumper straight from behind dash/guage cluster to battery NEG.
Thanks gents...
I look around for what may be a ground post and Ill also check for continuity.
 

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Sometimes its just better to rewire. Run a new NEG from the battery and tie it in to all the circuits via a bus bar or similar. And if you still have issue I would do a new POS as well, add a simple fuse block and rewire all the switches from the power in side.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ended up taking DR and Drops advice after further trouble shooting not figuring it out.
I spoke to the previous owner he had no additions as far as hidden switches or additional grounds.

I ran a COUPLE new grounds from different spots (one behind instrument cluser and other behind switch panel) and now Ive got good power up front.
Thank you all for the help.
 
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