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BUILD A ROBUST ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Your electrical system is the backbone of your boat. Electrical problems caused by bad design, bad connections, or inferior components can wreak havoc on a boat. This can lead to all kinds of problems and gremlins that are hard toi diagnose. If there is one place not to skimp on expense with a boat, it would be your electrical system.
Onboard battery chargers ensure your boat wil be ready to go when you are. They come a variety of ways. On an outboard boat just about any charger will do, however there are some very nice compact waterprof chargers that work best. Some good, reliable options here include Powermania and Promariner. These are already pre-wired with ends to go right on your battery posts. They generally have a 115V plug on the other end. This is a typical household plug like you'd see on an extension cord. Each brand normally has athrough deck fitting to hold this plug, basically making a convenient socket to use when you plug in your boat to shore.
If you have an inboard boat, and want to mount a charger in your engine compartment, be sure to get an "ignition protected" charger. Most chargers are not safe to be mounted near fumes or in an engine compartment unless they are ignition protected.
What size charger do you need? Charger size is solely dependant on how fast you want your batteries to recharge. If you have a typical boat with some basic dc requirements like lighting and electronics then you likely only need a charger to keep you topped off. A 10amp charger will be fine. On the flipside, if you are a hard core bass fisherman with trolling motor bateries that get run down every day, you may get home late Saturday evening and want to go fishing right away in the morning. It will take some serious power to bring these batteries all the way up overnight. You might want a 30amo charger in this case to recharge quickly.
How many banks? Each battery is basically a "bank". If you have some batteries in "Series" then they are also considered one bank. Using our trolling motor example, if you have 3 batteries in series you now have a 36V bank. You will want to buy a charger that can handle all of your banks separately, and can handle the voltage of each bank.
- Marinco 12VCPS2 2-Wire ConnectPro Receptacle & PlugSpecial Price $34.96 Regular Price $36.99
Switches and Panels
In recent years we have seen all kinds of new switches and panels hitting the market. The most notable switch is the push button switch by Bocatech with internal resettable breaker. These alone have made huge strides to making dashes look more modern, and many boat builders are now using them as standard equipment. We sell the complete line of Bocatech switches and can ship them right to you. You'll want to figure out your amperage requirements and buy the right size switches. They also have dedicated switches for unique usages like for navigation lights and horn.
These switches need a fancy panel to go in to. CNC fabrication has become so popular for making switch panels and replacement boat panels. We have our own CNC for making panels on site for installations, but we recommend you call a specialist for custom mail-order panels. We prefer New Wire Marine for custom panels, and Tecnografic for OEM replacement panels like those yo might see on a Sea Ray with wood grain.
We offer a variety of pre-configured electrical panels for AC/DC management from companies like BEP Marine and Blue Sea. These panels can modernize the electrical systems on any boat. There literally is a panel for every configuration.
- Marinco Push-Button Switch - 12V Latching On/Off - Blue LEDSpecial Price $34.96 Regular Price $36.99
- Blue Sea 4306 WeatherDeck Water Resistant Fuse Panel - 6 Position - GreySpecial Price $107.72 Regular Price $113.99
- Blue Sea 8367 AC Rotary Switch Panel 30 Ampere 2 Positions + OFF, 2 PoleSpecial Price $215.45 Regular Price $227.99
LED lights are all the rage. LED's are cool to the touch, bright, use very little power, and last for years. Practically all marine lights have switched over to LED. Incandescent are still available if that is what you want. If you have incandescent fixtures you can easily convert them to LED using LED Replacement Bulbs. Otherwise, you can replace the entire fixture with a new LED fixture.
We've seen light bars become popular. Light bars are long fixtures that house several bright LED's and are used for spotlights and flood lights. You'll commonly see them mounted on the hardtops of boats to illuminate the water ahead. Of course, it is a bad practice to use these in busy waterways as it will blind other boaters, but it can be useful to pick your way past lobster or crab pots, pull up to a mooring, or light up a dock when pulling in.
Underwater lights have also gained in popularity. They are almost universally LED these days. Some neat features on the recent models include a strobe function, and RGB to be whatever color you want. Underwater lights are typically mounted right to the transom. Underwater lights are not cheap, and you do get what you pay for. The only thing worse than not having underwater lights, is to have a non-working underwater light. See our recommendation below!
- Blue Sea 5026 ST Blade Fuse Block w/Cover - 12 Circuit w/Negative BusSpecial Price $46.63 Regular Price $52.99
Wiring, Battery Management, Circuit Breakers, etc
The quality of the components in your electrical system make all the difference. We recommend using quality parts from Blue Sea, BEP Marine and Ancor. These parts include battery switches, fuse blocks, circuit breakers, heat shrink connectors, tinned wire and more. We only carry quality brands of these components on our site so rest assured that you'll get quality components by ordering with us.
- Ancor 16-14 Gauge - #8 Heat Shrink Ring Terminal - 3-PackSpecial Price $3.77 Regular Price $3.99
- Ancor Heat Shrink Multi-Wire Step Down Butt Connectors 24-8 Assorted 30-Piece JarSpecial Price $35.90 Regular Price $37.99