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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for some help in the electrical department. Ive been out a couple of times this year and all is good until last weekend when I was running back to the ramp. Basically just up and quit. Looked at my gauges and saw that there was no power to them. Ended up blowing the fuse (30amp) going from the Bat terminal on the ignition switch (red wire). I threw in another fuse to get me to the ramp since I was about a 100yards away. Noticed when it ran again that the volt gauge was reading way under 12volts. It ended up blowing that fuse right when I pulled up to the ramp.

For more info, Im running dual batteries, with a west marine combiner.(came installed on boat from p.o.)

Ive checked from loose connections and havent seen anything yet. whats my course of action. Thanks
 

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... whats my course of action. Thanks
You need to find the short (duh). Does it have the short only when the key is on or all the time?

If it's all the time you need to disconnect everything and hook it all back up one at a time until the short reappears, once the fuse blows again you've found the short. I would put in a 10 amp fuse while trying to locate the short.

If it only blows the fuse when the key is on then disconnect everything behind the key switch. Hook your wires up to the key switch one at a time until it blows the fuse. Once the fuse blows you've found the short. I would use a 10 amp fuse to locate the short.

If you're in San Diego or the surrounding area I work for beer. :)
 

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Did some testing last night. It ends up blowing the fuse with the ignition switch on. After doing tests to see what blows the fuse by disconnecting wires, I believe that its pointing to a bad solenoid that I have connected to my dual batteries. As soon as I connect the red wire coming from the solenoid up it blows the fuse. Also my voltage gauge reads 13v all the time until I connect the red wire and it drops to a little above 10v. this is all with the ignition switch on only and not with the engine running. the Im not positive as I dont know how to test the solenoid, but when the ignition switch is on, the solenoid gets warm quick. I dont like throwing parts at something but should I assume that the solenoid is bad?
This solenoid is not the same solenoid going to my starter. This one is remote from that. I also have another solenoid on the block too. Im guessing that I have so many for the dual batteries and the combiner unit that I have. All of this was wired before I owned it and has worked well for 3 seasons.
 

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I would agree with your guess that it sounds like that solenoid is no good and if it were mine I would replace it. Alternatively if you have more than one solenoid that's the same you can swap solenoids to see if the problem "moves". Is it a Ford starter type of solenoid?
 

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It sounds like you are running a solenoid to combine the output of the two batteries and that it is wired to be energized when ever the ignition is turned on. This does not seem like the proper way to accomplish combining the batteries on a constant basis.

I believe the intent when using a solenoid is to only energize the solenoid when you need the grunt of an additional battery. Typically this is accomplished with a separate pushbutton switch on the dash.

If you want to combine the batteries continuosly when you are running I would suggest replacing the solenoid with a manual battery switch.

just my $.02

Doug
 

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I agree with McCoy about the more proper way to wire the system. There are solenoids that are intended for continuous use and some for intermittent use (starter solenoids). I have yet to find a way to tell the two apart from looking at the outside other than a printed part number.

Heat is generated where there is resistance. If the wiring is in good shape and connected to the correct places, my money is on there being corrosion inside the solenoid causing heat buildup and decreased voltage.

If you really wanted to, you could connect a volt meter across the two large contacts on the solenoid and measure the voltage drop across it when energized. This should be really close to 0 volts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Im not sure exactly whats going on as to the way its wired. I really dont need two batteries as I dont have any extra accessories running it down and my boat is basically just a stock bbc right now.
the previous owner told me that the combiner box would either sense which battery was more charged and draw from that one or it would combine both the batteries together. Kinda doesnt make sense to me. Yeah Its got a ford style soleniod on it. Ive got a crude wiring diagram around of it somewhere or Ill take a quick pic if I have daylight left tonight.
 

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Im not sure exactly whats going on as to the way its wired. I really dont need two batteries as I dont have any extra accessories running it down and my boat is basically just a stock bbc right now.
the previous owner told me that the combiner box would either sense which battery was more charged and draw from that one or it would combine both the batteries together. Kinda doesnt make sense to me. Yeah Its got a ford style soleniod on it. Ive got a crude wiring diagram around of it somewhere or Ill take a quick pic if I have daylight left tonight.
you can eliminate one battery and the fuses from your panel will blow if you have a short. i dont use soloniods on my electrical system, and everything has been fine. soloniods will sometimes rattle when they go to bad.
 

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It's difficult to tell (over the internet) what the solenoids are for but you did say that there was a "combiner" for the two batteries so I'm assuming that the solenoid is of the proper type and since it's worked for the last few seasons I'm assuming it's wired correctly. But they are correct in that not all solenoids are the same.

I've gotten into internet :(:( too many times before about whether or not a Chevy needs a Ford solenoid on it or not so I'm not going there again, but (again) if you're in San Diego or the surrounding area I'd be happy to help you out and mildly rewire that sucker and throw the extra wiring, extra solenoids, and extra headaches in the trash. It would take a couple hours is about all.
 
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