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  1. #1

    Wink Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    Hey guys,

    Looking to wire my boat up. I am initially going to wire a trolling motor and fish finder. Later I might add a marine radio and bilge pump. I have never done any electrical work at all and have never had any type of electrical devices on my jon boat. Needless to say I am an ameteur at best. Can someone tell me if I am going down the right path with my plans below?

    I was thinking that I would purchase a Main Power Terminal Block like the one seen in the attachment. I would wire the battery positive through this block. The positive leads coming from the block would go into a fuse box and then 1 lead to the positive side of the trolling motor and another positive lead into the positive side of the fish finder. The negatives from each device would run back into the negative side of the terminal block. Did I think through this correctly? Will this protect me and ground everything appropriately? Is there a better/cheaper way?

    Looking for any guidance you can provide. Would love it if anyone of you can tell me exactly what/what type I need (ie fuse box, terminal block, guage wire, etc.) to initially wire my trolling motor and fish finder. Thanks for your time.
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  2. #2
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    Are you planning on using one battery only? Nothing wrong with that and thats the I way I started on my jon boat, but after using it awhile, I now use two batteries, one in the front for the trolling motor and one in the rear for the sonar and back up for the trolling motor. I would wire the trolling motor in direct either way, with just a fuse or circuit breaker right at the battery. The length of the wire run to the trolling motor and the size of the trolling motor will determine the size of the wire. You can for sure use that terminal box, but its not really necessary, if the only other thing you are hooking up is the ff. I used 2 conductor shielded cable for my ff, #18, with a fuse holder at the battery and a 3 amp fuse. You don't need to run shielded cable, but I already had it and its high quality stuff and the shield, helps protect the with and prevent interference. I did use a circuit breaker with a "test' button on my trolling motor instead of a fuse, I found that the motor does draw some current even when its "off", so the circuit breaker acts as a switch, saving the battery and as a safety, so know one turns the motor on by accident out of the water.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    Thanks Ric...So for the time being I could just get 1 battery. I had planned to put the battery at the front of the boat. Could I have 1 circuit breaker/fuse hooked directly to the battery and then have wiring coming out of the breaker/fuse to the each of the accessories (trolloing motor and fish finder)? Do you have a recommended circuit breaker/fuse and where could I get this? Sorry I am so clueless on wiring...Also, can you tell me how I should appropriately ground the devices?

  4. #4
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    You are making this way more difficult than necessary. Look at the Generic wiring diagram in the stickies at the very top of this forum. This is the way wiring "should" be done. That said, there are as many ways to wire a boat as there are boats. But here's the deal with trolling motors. Wire the trolling motor receptacle directly to the battery. That circuit draws the most current current of any circuit on the boat. #8 or #6 wire is required depending on the size of the troller. A 40 or 50A breaker is needed in that circuit. The rest of the accessories need to be connected to a fuse panel that is fed by a separate feed from the battery. The positive lead in that circuit is protected by a 20A fuse and the wire used will be #10. All accessory circuits from the fuse panel can be #16 gauge wire. Before you start, go to your local library and check out any book titled "Low Voltage Wiring" or similar.

  5. #5
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    Ground everything to the negative terminal on the battery. Fuses or circuit breakers are there to protect the wiring downstream from an overcurrent situation, so if you have wire rated for 20 amps, the maximum size fuse would be 20 amps. Therefor you could run the trolling motor and ff out of the battery on a circuit breaker rated for that wiring, BUT you would still need to add a small fuse rated for the wiring to the ff, usually three amps.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    Ok guys...I know you said that I am making this more complicated than it needs to be but I don't want to overspend on something I do not need. I bought a battery at Bass Pro Shops. For now I am just going to hook the trolling motor to this. The trolling motor is an old Diehard 2 hp which is probably equiv. to an Endura 30. Either way my plans are to just use a circuit breaker in between the battery and the trolling motor. I went to Lowes and I only saw the double pole breaker shown in the first picture. I am assuming this not what I need..? Or the second picture shows a Blue Sea breaker with a trip switch. Is this what I need? The second is much more expensive. The 3rd picture is of a Bussman 50 amp circuit breaker I found online...Or Is this what I need?
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  7. #7
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    You can go with option two or three, one is for house wiring. Two is the best option, but if you shop around, check the auto parts stores, you can probably find it for $30, it has the test button that you can use to shut off the motor circuit. Option three will work find and is very common in boats, mainly, because of price, but it has no test button and in my experience, they aren't all that waterproof, more like splash resistant.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    RicMic,

    I have a plastic battery cover/box so I think I may go with the cheaper Option 3 and have the breaker in the box with the battery which will prevent it from getting wet. I'll try this at first and buy the more expensive one if I have issues. I 'll probably go with 6 gauge wire and a 50amp breaker. I found a manual breaker at the following website that also seems to have a switch if I am not mistaken: http://www.wiringproducts.com/contents/en-us/p191.html

    In both cases (option 2 and 3) that you mentioned I could use, it looks like there are only 2 screw terminal connectors for each breaker. Once again, an ameteur at this, I am assuming that I wire either one of these breakers by having the positive wire from the battery go into one of the breaker screw connector and the positive wire from the trolling motor go into the other breaker screw connector, and then the negative wire from the trolling motor bypasses the breaker and hooks directly to the battery negative to ground the motor..?
    Can you confirm?

  9. #9
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    The button on that and most other cb's is the reset button, not a test button. You are correct, the negative wire does not connect to the breaker, it comes directly from the trolling motor to the neg terminal of the batt.. The circuit breaker is connected by a short wire to the pos terminal of the battery and the other side of the circuit breaker connects to the plus wire of the trolling motor. Quality #6 wire will be outstanding, you would be fine with #8 or even #10 marine grade wire, since your battery is very close to the motor.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    RicMic,

    If I go with the cheaper option 3, should I go with the one that has a reset button or the one that doesn't?..Pros or Cons to either?

    Thanks,

  11. #11
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    Absolutely go with the reset button, one without is an automatic reset, which are dangerous imo.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Basic Battery and Wiring for Jon Boat

    RicMic,
    What is the least expensive yet durable wire to go with?
    Do I need to buy cable specifically for Batteries like in the link below or can I just go to Lowes and buy primary electrical cable wire?

    http://www.wiringproducts.com/contents/en-us/d78.html

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