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Thread: Switches for my minitug, what do I need?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    622

    Default Switches for my minitug, what do I need?

    I'm after some advice about which items need their own switches so I can finalize the board before mounting, my list of things so far is...
    Forward spotlight
    Rear spotlight
    Nav lights red/green/allround white
    Underwater light (engine well)
    Anchor (white allround only)
    Horn
    Bilge pump
    Cabin light
    Do I also need a switch for the VHF, stereo and fishfinder? all these items have their own switch (and fuse) but they seem to be a standby type of on/off that is never truly off, a bit like a modern TV, I'd like to know what everyone else does or is this just a case of me worrying about nothing?

    Phill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    16,065

    Default Re: Switches for my minitug, what do I need?

    Anchor (white allround only)
    Often, the fixtures for these lights have two bulbs. One goes on for nav and both illuminate for anchor. You use a three-way switch( On-Off-On). If an all around light is to fulfill both nav and anchor duties, simply wire the white light to it own switch and turn it on as needed.

    Do I also need a switch for the VHF, stereo and fishfinder? all these items have their own switch (and fuse) but they seem to be a standby type of on/off that is never truly off, a bit like a modern TV, I'd like to know what everyone else does or is this just a case of me worrying about nothing?
    I'd recommend a separate circuit with a switch to energize all electronics. Wire up a 2- 4- or 6- gang fuse block via an on off switch. Fuse this at 15 amps at its incoming power.. Wire each of your marine electronics to the individual , appropriate size fuse on the fuse block. Doing so makes trouble shooting easier and helps isolate sensitive electronics from power surges and/ or interference from other circuits.

    Here's an example in an auto application: You can get them with an integral ground strip, or others require a separet common ground buss/ strip be installed. They are available with and without covers. These are like 2.5 " x 3"

    Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 8.39.21 AM.jpg

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pleasant Valley NS Canada
    Posts
    15,824

    Default Re: Switches for my minitug, what do I need?

    I assume that you are referring to circuit breakers (fuses), and not merely on/off switches in an energised circuit. That said, and with the standard statement of "free advice is worth what you pay for it", here's my take on your problem:

    1.) Bilge pump gets it's own fused circuit, always.
    2.) Nav lights get their own fused circuit. Secondary switches (with indicator lights) to switch between running lights and anchor light. (I like to spec a 3-pole rocker-type switch that allows you to select one or the other, but not both, sets of lights.)
    3.) Electronics all on one circuit. Some will argue that the VHF should be on a stand-alone circuit, and I don't disagree, but the size of the circuit panel and number of available circuits will dictate this.
    4.) Cabin & courtesy lights on same circuit. A secondary switch (with indicator light) to control the engine well light.
    5.) Spot lights on same circuit. If the lights are equipped with on/off switches you are good to go; if not, a secondary switch (with indicator light) for each light.
    6.) Horn on its own circuit.

    So a six-circuit fuse panel and five indicator switches seems to be adequate. However, one should always have room for expansion, so I'd recommend an 8-circuit panel. Further, I would consider installing at least one "cigarette lighter" 12VDC receptacle on your helm dashboard to accept plug-in items such as a GPS.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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