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A Discussion on Wiring  

February 17, 2009

In June, 2008 Greg Johnson, Moondance, Yankee # 85, started an exchange with your webmaster (Marionette, O'Day # 12) on the Forum about a common ground. This led to an exchange about wiring. This exchange, after an unexplainable delay, is repeated here. Hopefully, it can be expanded as others have imput.


June 1, 2008


Morning All,

I'm in the process of rewiring and noticed that the previous owner didn't have a common ground point. I considered clamping a ground to a through hull, but was advised against it. I have a scrap piece of copper bar that could be attached below the motor well, or would a Dynaplate work better? Any thoughts on grounding methods would be appreciated!


Greg - Hull #85




June 2, 2008


Hi Greg

When I rewired Marionette 12 years ago, I used the West Marine technical guru as my advisory resource. I do not have an inboard or a generator. I do have a mounted A/C portable charger that is always disconnected, except when charging from an A/C source at the dock. I have a 105 amp gel cell battery. I'll get more pictures of this set up on the website.


The 12 volt 'load' potential is 2 V-berth lights, 2 Q-berth lights, a main cabin light, 3 small aircraft type 12 volt lights above the galley shelf, running lights, a VHF radio, an autopilot, a small inverter, and an auto bilge pump. I mostly single hand, rarely sail at night, and prefer oil lamps for the 10 minutes before I fall asleep.


I have a portable solar panel which I almost never use. The auto bilge pump and its 3 way switch is wired, with fuse, directly to the + and - battery terminals I plan my trips to get to a dock between 7-10 days to recharge the battery. Both the battery and the A/C charging unit are quick disconnects in the boat so I can, if necessary, load them in the dinghy and recharge at the dock if a slip is not available.


All my hot wires, except the bilge pump are wired to a small panel with fused circuit breakers, and all the ground wires are connected to a common ground which is connected to the panel and on to the negative battery terminal. There is no external grounding plate. The OB motor has no electrical connections. If I had to do it all over again I would minimize the wiring by using independent battery pack powered LED lights.

Ron Breault

Marionette, #12




June 2, 2008



Thanks for the wiring information. The old panel I removed was so corroded it was hard to tell how it was wired.

Greg, # 85




June 3, 2008



There is a picture of Marionette's panel in the technical section of the website at http://www.dolphin24.org/marionette_steps_etc.html. You can see the auto bilge pump switch just below the panel. If you look closely at the left of the panel you can see the access panel that is hinged and drops down to the starboard side so you can get to the wiring.


Marionette # 12



October 22, 2011. On a 'routine' clean up the webmaster noticed a missing link on this discussion. Click here for more on Marionette's electrical set up









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