Question on bow mount electronics

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Bobby Zerbe

Mar 9, 2001
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In an attempt to continue to become familar with my boat (94 160TF Rick Clunn), I pulled off the face plate up front and noticed that the guy I purchased the boat from has the Humminbird wired up kind of strange. The hot and ground wires are spliced into the hot and ground wires of the bow tilt/trim switches mounted in the front face plate. I thought it was best to wire the power source of electronics either to the fuse panel or directly to the boat's battery.

I have not had any problems to date the the Bird's performance, but want to make sure this isn't susceptible to future problems.

If your suggestion back to me is to re-wire it directly to the battery, include a tip on how to get the wire from the bow through the side of the hull, back to the battery compartment. I don't see any existing wires to tie it to and pull it through.

Thanks in advance for any and all advise!
I just noticed the great post by Michael Trepper in the "Grab Bag". It looks like my Bird is hooked up pretty similar to the recommended method shown in the diagram.

I guess my only question now is that the diagram shows the ground wire of the unit being connected to the ground wire of the bow light. This might sound confusing, but my unit's ground wire, alone with the bow mount's ground wire, is connected to ground wires which lead to a plastic snap clip which is not plugged into anything?? Is this set-up providing the ground? To me, obviously ignorant with electronic wiring, it simply appears that this clip needs to be connected to some other clip (like so many others are under my counsel, etc) but it is not and I am not experiencing any electrical problems.

I'll stop here since those of you who are very knowledgable of electronics are annoyed with my vague and confusing questions, but really, any help you can provide me in becoming more educated as to how and why my unit is hooked up this way is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED ! THANKS.
Not being able to see what you are working with. I will just state this. For the Sonar or any electrical unit on a fiberglass boat to work at all, it needs to have a wire that is grounded to the battery. So if you look closer you will probably find that it is is hooked to a gound wire that runs to the battery. The exrta wire/clip may be just that An "Extra" that was left in there just incase you wanted to add another accessory.

Hope it helps

John Foster
Bobby, leave it exactly as it is. What they've done is put the hot wire from the unit to the hot wire from the tilt/trim unit. This wire is hot all the time and would only cause interference with the unit when the trim motor is being used. Since the unit is on the bow, it's unlikely that you will be trimming the motor up while watching the depth finder. The negative line that it is connected to does go back to the fuse panel under the console, which is in turn, connected directly to the battery.

Just so you know, there is no ground wire for the tilt/trim unit. The red is hot and the blue and green are for up and down. The trim solenoids on the motor are grounded directly to the engine block.

There you go Bobby,.....straight from the Guru's keyboard!!......."If it ain't broke,..DON'T fix it!!"...LOL
Good luck this season,
Thanks guys for all of the good advice. After pulling out all of the cables (in the day light, as opposed to in the dark garage !), I am grounded to a wire running to the fuse panel and all hooked up A O.K. !!

Its nice to know even us less experienced guys can post even the most basic questions and still receive constructive, honest responses. Thanks again!
When it comes to basic "How To" questions for the do it yourself angler's on this page, won't find better or more qualified people than John Foster, Jim Lively and Chris Leiting and so many other folks to answer your "techie" questions,....I've learned more from this site in one year than I have in the past several in the field!! You guys ROCK!!, Thanks for your awesome support!!