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nkdenton

Where's the ground under the helm

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I see the yellow terminal block for 12v + connections. I'm assuming I can pull power for my AutoGlide controller off that bus as long as I protect it with a properly sized inline fuse. Am I correct? Does the plastic cover just pop off the screws at each end?

The Chap wiring diagram in the owners manual shows a ground bus near the engine compartment - Is there a similar ground bus or common ground at the helm as well?

Thanks in advance.

Also, any tips for how to re-wrap that rats nest of wiring and harnesses under the helm greatly appreciated....of course I'm expecting it to just be brute force.

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You found the "ground" ... on boats, the yellow more recently and black historically is DC negative (ground), and the red is DC positive.

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Thanks, Richard. So, the inverse question: what do I pick up the positive side from, then? Take the cover off the breaker box and tap in there? That makes me a little queasy.... There is a big red cable under there that looks almost like + cable cover at the battery...

I can't believe I'm asking what is surely a rudimentary question, but that's why I switched from electrical to mechanical engineering in college. Circuits are not my strong suit....

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Well should be a rudimentary ... not always on Chap or boats in general.

This is what I did ... not sure if it is a correct approach and how is it applicable to your situation but here it is.

As you noticed also, there is no positive/red busbar under the helm on my boat either. All positive connections start with one red battery cable coming to the DC breaker panel under the helm. From there the positive/red is daisy chained from breaker to breaker. I found two or three unused breakers like ACC and Nutrasalt and repurposed them for my new connections/devices. Basically, I used the existing breakers or swapped them for new with desired Amp rating and drew power from them, or from unused switches that connect to them.

I also have another panel in the foot of the helm, which is intended for navigational devices. This small panel hidden behind a small round access port has both, negative and positive busbars with male spade connectors. The positive busbar has automotive fuse sockets (for these colored plastic things with two metal flat prongs) ... and the entire work looks like it belongs in a car not on a boat. Anyhow, I found a number of unused connectors there and it was easy to fuse it and connect new circuits there.

Hope this helps ...

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Looks for this type of 12V positive post under the dash. (shown with the nut off of course)

Garmin500seriesGPSinstalldashpic24_zpsa4

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Oh, that's one busy positive busbolt ... good to know. Thanks Chris!

I will be looking for one as the PO marina connected heater pump and fan to the nav panel and I need these connectiors back.

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Many thanks, Chris and Richard. I saw that bolt and it was almost impossible to navigate the 9,357 wires under the helm so I took a little different tack. There are two hot leads into the bus bars on the back of the helm breaker panel. The NMEA2K power lead has an inline fuse holder and I bought an inline fuse holder for the AutoGlide controller, so I just tied directly into the bus bar underneath where a line labeled 'Hot1' comes into power the breaker box. I put heat shrink spade connectors on all the leads and tied grounds to the ground bus at empty terminals and the positives I just pushed in underneath the breaker bus connection screws. I tied the purple power signal lead to the purple accessory power wire at the key switch harness.

Unit fired right up and went into diagnostics, power to both tabs and power on the NMEA network with good GPS signal from the Lowrance antenna. Headed to the lake right now to do the final setup and test this baby out. I'll probably post a new topic with details and photos (although it was so bloody hot out there today I didn't take any photos of the wiring work) for any other hand DIYers who think they want to do this themselves.

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