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Excessive wiring

Feb 17, 2006
4,874
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Do you have excessive wires running every which way in your boat? Seems I have too many wires that have been added over the years by PO and I have no idea where they go or what they do. They sure do not match the boat manual schematic.

Did you hunt down these wires and remove them or just let sleeping dogs lie? I think I am going to try and figure out where these wires are going and remove any that are no longer in use.
 
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Likes: rgranger
Jan 19, 2010
8,483
Hunter 26 Charleston
Good plan... I redid all of the wires on my boat and know where they go... but I still think I need to upgrade my wiring plan. I have maxed out the number of wires on my battery terminal and I have a few more toys I want to add to the boat ...so I'm now planning on adding bus bars to clean up the spaghetti at the battery terminal...and then run just one line from the bus to the terminal.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,784
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
A noble cause Brian. I clean mine up as I take on new projects but I still have wires I haven't sketched out or removed if needed.
I plan to remove the supply cable from the starter to the refrigeration and run heavier gauge to a Blue Sea fuse block.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,515
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Leave them! You never know when you'll need another wire or two from here to there.
 
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Likes: smokey73
Apr 8, 2010
1,350
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
If your boat is over XX years old, any 'old wiring' is likely way past being safe. Old insulation will crack and peel, and there may be old crappy splices hidden here and there.
Some years ago, friends of ours rebuilt an old Islander 32, that had been thru multiple owners. They started over to reformat the wiring, and wound up with a cardboard box full of every (!) kind of wire including ancient zip cord and household solid wire. :(

They started over with new tinned wiring, terminal strips, and a modern breaker panel, and then went cruising for a couple of years. :)

While your plans may be more modest, the fire danger posed by bad wiring is a risk you can mitigate. Good project for a patient DIY owner. Serious money to be saved, and satisfaction to be gained. You will have your own useful circuit diagram, as well.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,611
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Nope, not unless they are in the way.

My first boat had some wiring stupidity. I removed some of it where it was clear what it no longer did. The rest I fixed. It was a very simple system with no liner.

My last boat had a few stupids, but in fact the systems were merely complex and 98% of them did something. You may be surprised how many serve a function you don't understand (liners make that difficult).

My current boat certainly has some dead legs. And as Jviss suggested, I have have repurposed a few for new tasks. They were in good condition and it was a big time saver. Also very handy for pulling new cable.

Fat Olsen has a point. If it is true, it will be obvious. This is very dependent on construction quality and whether the boat is dry inside. Good wiring in dry conditions can last 40-50 years. Poor work in damp conditions, less than 10.

Sometimes the best answer is to disconnect the ends, tag, and coil them up. This reduces the visual confusion, if that bugs you.

----

I've worked in a lot of industrial settings, and you learn to live with a LOT of legacy wiring. You only rip out what is absolutely in the way and you are really, really sure is useless.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,515
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
If your boat is over XX years old, any 'old wiring' is likely way past being safe.
And "XX" is how many years? Without a number that statement is meaningless, and more often false than true.
Old insulation will crack and peel, and there may be old crappy splices hidden here and there.
Again, define old.

This is just FUD. There are many boats over 50 years old and older with the original wiring that are perfectly functional and safe.

If the wire is reasonable quality and hasn't been exposed to an environment for which it is not rated, it is fine. Whether it is suitable for reuse can be easily determined by a physical inspection, for corrosion of the conductor, and integrity of the insulation.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,515
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Good wiring in dry conditions can last 40-50 years.
I would go further than that. There are 60's vintage boats I know of with perfectly good wire, and they will likely still be sailing ten and twenty years from now. If it's kept dry ant not subjected to extreme heat for prolonged periods it will last a long, long time.
 

Johnb

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Jan 22, 2008
1,193
Hunter 37-cutter Richmond CA
Fast Olsen gave good advice. Wiring that was not installed to an engineered standard and/or is not needed is just a liability. My opinion is if one is installing something new one might as well use new wire of known quality and hook it up to properly sized breakers or fuses.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,515
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Fast Olsen gave good advice.
I disagree. He didn't even define what "XX" years means.
Wiring that was not installed to an engineered standard and/or is not needed is just a liability.
This statement is so vague as to be meaningless. What does "to an engineered standard" even mean? (I'm an electrical engineer and that's the first time I've heard that expression.) And how does something "not needed' make it a liability? Logically nonsense.

Here's an example. My boat is 24 years old. (Is that "XX years old?") There are some wires abandoned and taped off behind the panel that go to the area behind the engine controls and outside VHF station where they are also taped off. Those wires came with the boat, from the factory. You're saying they should be ripped out because they are some kind of liability?

I never heard such poppycock from non-experts in my life.
 
Dec 28, 2015
813
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
I disagree. He didn't even define what "XX" years means.

This statement is so vague as to be meaningless. What does "to an engineered standard" even mean? (I'm an electrical engineer and that's the first time I've heard that expression.) And how does something "not needed' make it a liability? Logically nonsense.

Here's an example. My boat is 24 years old. (Is that "XX years old?") There are some wires abandoned and taped off behind the panel that go to the area behind the engine controls and outside VHF station where they are also taped off. Those wires came with the boat, from the factory. You're saying they should be ripped out because they are some kind of liability?

I never heard such poppycock from non-experts in my life.
I"m a non expert and I've heard worse..... try being a paramedic and a hazmat tech in a discussion on wearing masks right now.....
 
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  • Like
Likes: jviss
Jan 4, 2006
2,929
Hunter 310 West Vancouver, B.C.
The LAST thing you want in your boat is a bunch of unknown wires, of unknown quality, with unknown splices, in unknown locations. I think it best to eliminate all unknown wiring PARTICULARLY if they were installed by a PO as we all know what those guys are like. I even managed to eliminate one or two unused wires in my new boat from the factory back in '99. As I worked through, I also labelled every wire I dealt with (in convenient locations) using a tape writer and flags for labels. I'm always adding or changing something and it make life so much easier.
 
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Likes: SycloneDriver
Mar 26, 2011
2,611
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
...What does "to an engineered standard" even mean? ...
Google "to an engineering standard" and you will find pages of references. "To an engineered standard," not so much, but that is akin to a minor spelling error in this context.

The amount of legacy cabling in the average office building or factory would put many people into shock. It all depends on how it is abandoned (if it is neatly disconnected and capped off).
 
Jan 15, 2014
46
Paceship PY 23 Portland
I'm in the process of doing a "wiring audit" of my entire 1984 Morgan 32. By the way, this effort follows an audit of the hose clamps. Incredibly, there are 132 on board!

My approach to wires is to trace and add plastic labels to each at every uniquely/visible point along its route. When I pull dead enders (mostly for simplification and aesthetics) I add a string messenger line for any future runs on that route. This close inspection process of each wire is helping to affirm the quality, function and viability of each run.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,515
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
The LAST thing you want in your boat is a bunch of unknown wires, of unknown quality, with unknown splices, in unknown locations. I think it best to eliminate all unknown wiring PARTICULARLY if they were installed by a PO as we all know what those guys are like. I even managed to eliminate one or two unused wires in my new boat from the factory back in '99. As I worked through, I also labelled every wire I dealt with (in convenient locations) using a tape writer and flags for labels. I'm always adding or changing something and it make life so much easier.
So, tell me, is anal-retentive hyphenated?

Seriously, though, no one said unknown wires, of unknown quality, with unknown splices, in unknown locations.

But even so, you have failed to articulate any harm that may come from these. What is it?

"PARTICULARLY if they were installed by a PO as we all know what those guys are like."

You mean like you? And me, and everyone else on here?
 
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