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H. b. volts #14320930 03/20/22 06:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,697
Lazy Ike Offline OP
Extreme Angler
OP Offline
Extreme Angler
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,697
fish i need some input from you Bird guys / Gurus. My H B after being on a short time will red less than 12v. Was out sat. for 5hrs. Alot of time screen red 10.6 volts. Help !!!! Btw battery seem strong, fires up Merc. 200 efi every time. Thanks

Re: H. b. volts [Re: Lazy Ike] #14325132 03/24/22 05:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 10
Tanner@RMP Offline
Green Horn
Green Horn
Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 10

I would load test the battery to make sure it's good under load and then wire it up according to this article I wrote:

Dedicated Power For Your Electronics

At Russell Marine Products we preach dedicated power. Most of you probably already know that. But after all of that preaching, we still haven’t sat down and explained in deep detail exactly what we are talking about. I know this because we get a lot of questions from customers reaching out to us on the exact products and specifically how we wire these units up. Well get excited, cause we are finally going to explain how we rig a boat up in detail and I’m including links to the exact products we use!

But First… A Little Bit Of History

We often hear guys that’ve been in the game for a long time tell us something like this, “I’ve been wiring fish finders up to accessory fuse boxes since they came out with flashers and haven’t had any problems…”. That is true. The need to run upgraded wiring for chartplotters is a recent development that has taken shape in the last 5 years or so. This has come about because of the SIGNIFICANT upgrades in the hardware that the manufacturers are using to build these things now-a-days. Currently we have the Lowrance HDS Live series that is running a quad-core processor, Humminbird has just upgraded the processors in the new G3 Solix’s, and god only knows what kind of brains Garmin shoves into the 8600 series (they are just as secretive of the hardware they use as the United States is to our nuclear launch codes) but for the 8600’s ability to run thermal cameras, radar, autopilot, sonar, live sonar, and auto-guidance technology all simultaneously… I’m sure the processor is at least on par with today’s top laptop computers. The point being, all of these upgraded processors require good clean voltage to operate correctly. Think of it like this… voltage is to a chartplotter like oxygen is to us. Imagine running a mile while breathing through a straw. It would not go very well, I promise. Now imagine running a mile while breathing 100% pure oxygen through a mask. You would have MUCH better stamina and endurance. Voltage is the oxygen to a chartplotter and when you wire them up to a common fuse box that shares everything else on the boat, you are effectively forcing your unit to breathe through a straw while running a mile. You might have noticed your units flicker or shut off while cranking the engine. This is a telltale sign they are not getting enough voltage. Your target voltage should be around 12.6 to the unit. If you are in the 11’s, that’s too low. Around 9 volts and the units will shut down. Now that we know what kind of voltage we are shooting for, how do we run our wire to minimize voltage drop and get to the target?

What’s The Magic Formula

There are numerous ways to wire up a boat and most of them can work pretty well. What we are suggesting is not the end-all-be-all of wiring up a boat. We have done numerous trial and error on hundreds of boats, and what we’ve found is this is 100% effective in minimizing voltage drop for each unit as long as your battery is good and so are your connections. An added advantage is this also minimizes the electrical interference as well. So starting at the battery and working our way to each unit this is what we do:

Connect a short (~2-3’) 4 AWG marine grade wire from the positive terminal of the battery to a Perko switch
From the Perko switch we run individual positive 10 AWG marine grade wire to each device (chartplotter or black box), if you run out of space on the Perko, you can get extension terminals
Right by the Perko switch, we install 10 AWG marine grade inline fuse holders. You can install these anywhere on the positive wire, but we like them close to the Perko for ease of diagnosing if something doesn’t work. We also cut out any factory fuse on the power wire of the unit. This is because they will usually be very hard to check if they blow after installation as most of the time they are inside the console or behind the bow access panel
For the negative side of things, we run 10 AWG marine grade wire from each device straight to the negative terminal of the battery.

And that’s it. Four easy steps. The secret here is to really spend some time on your connections. If they are not 100%, cut them off and start over. We solder, crimp, and heat shrink each connection to make it as water resistant as possible. Make sure you don’t force the cable through the boat as this can cause cuts in the insulation or wire and create issues. You might’ve noticed everything is marine grade. This is important as standard automotive style wiring will corrode in a marine environment. Make sure what you buy is tinned coated. We will explain all of this over the phone and some people will inevitably ask, “Well I don’t want to buy or run individual wire for each device from the stern of the boat to the bow. Can I run just a single 4 AWG wire from the stern to the console and split off of that?” And the answer is no. We don’t recommend that and here’s why: for each device you add to that 4 AWG wire you are halving its capacity. So if you’re running 3 graphs off of it, it is essentially acting like a 16 AWG wire and that’s not enough for most electronics these days. Chances are you spent thousands of dollars on electronics, don’t cheap out on the wiring. Doing so is like buying a Ferrari just to fill it up with 87 octane gas. Don’t be that guy.

As always, if you have any questions on anything in this article, please feel free to reach out to us at sales@russellmarineproducts.com or call us at 316-313-4113.



10 AWG duplex wire: https://www.amazon.com/AWG-Duplex-Flat-Marine-Wire/dp/B07NYV9QFK/ref=sr_1_9?crid=HX05EDQOYNIT&keywords=10%2Bawg%2Bmarine%2Bgrade%2Bduplex%2Bwire&qid=1647829813&sprefix=10%2Bawg%2Bmarine%2Bgrade%2Bduplex%2Bwire%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-9&th=1

Perko Switch

Extension to Perko Switch

4 AWG wire

Inline Fuse Holders

Heat Shrink

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