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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I bought my boat it was missing the bow light. I got a new one a few days ago and plugged it in. When I plugged it in, the light came on. That surprised me because the switch was in the off position. Or at least what I think is the off position. It’s a 3 position rocker switch and I assume the off position is the middle. I flipped the switch to the up position and the console lights come on, the stern light comes on, and the bow light shuts off. If I flip the switch to the bottom position the console lights are off and the bow and stern lights come on, but dimmer. So regardless of what position the switch is in, something is on. I haven’t had much time to look at it yet, but how are these switches and lights typically wired?

I’m thinking the center position should be off. The up position should be everything on, bow, stern lights and console. Bottom position, bow and stern on, console off, right?
 

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There should be a position where no lights are on, if not you have to shut off power somehow to keep from draining the battery. The center position is the off and on the terminal side should be the where power comes into the switch. Then flipping the switch one way should turn on a set of lights, flip it the other way should turn on a set of lights as you said. What concerns me is when you flip on just the bow and stern lights and they got dimmer, that sounds like the lights in that position are wired in series. My schematic, and not all boats are the same but wiring logic is and all lights on a circuit should be on a parallel path.
 

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In the interest of science (and because I'm working on the boat today anyway), I went out and looked at mine, here's it's layout:

Up: Everything is on (console, bow and stern)
Center: Everything off
Down: Stern light only

Depending how easy it is to get your switch out, it might pay to sort through every lead off of it. Like Bob said, the logic isn't right if they dim. This is a similar problem that led to my epic rewiring of the trailer. If you don't have them, get a test light and continuity tester, or a good multimeter - boat wiring is not for the weak hearted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Up: Everything is on (console, bow and stern)
Center: Everything off
Down: Stern light only
I was doing a little searching and that's exactly what I found. The down position is for an "anchor" light.

I need to pull it apart and get a good look because it could be mis-wired, or it could be a bad switch.

What I don't understand yet is how they have the stern light wired in to both "on" (up and down) positions of the switch. I'm guessing there is a diode or two in the system. I'll get a good look at it tonight.

Thanks!
 

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Usually on the switch the middle connector of the three is the incoming power. the upper connector goes live when the switch is in the down position and the lower connector goes live when the switch is in the up position...
 

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The switch is connected to a board the board has the jumpers on it, the switch will usually have a power wire going ONLY to the middle.

the board will have one peg with a bow light one peg with the nav light and bow light, when you flip the switch to up for example it sends power to the board eg that has both bow and nav lights, when you switch it down it will have power only to the nav light

you can get a three position switch also with 6 poles on it, and do the same thing but those switchs are expensive in marine applications and hard to find they maybe cheaper now.



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It's a very simple circuit. Theres no diodes.

The stern light (aka the anchor light) must be displayed (on) when you are "anchored or parked" after sundown (dash lights and bow lights dont). It must also be ON when you are cruising down the lake along with the bow light (and dash lights if you gottem).

Here is a simple schematic of what it should be like.

I'm not going to explain how the switch works ( if its in one position, it doesnt affect the other position, hence no need for diodes )

Being that your lihgts come on dim in one switch location indicates a short somewhere. Look at the bases that the lights plug into, they rust and go to hell.



Also, if your switch has a light in it, there will be a ground terminal on it as well.
 

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It's a very simple circuit. Theres no diodes.

The stern light (aka the anchor light) must be displayed (on) when you are "anchored or parked" after sundown (dash lights and bow lights dont). It must also be ON when you are cruising down the lake along with the bow light (and dash lights if you gottem).

Here is a simple schematic of what it should be like.

I'm not going to explain how the switch works ( if its in one position, it doesnt affect the other position, hence no need for diodes )

Being that your lihgts come on dim in one switch location indicates a short somewhere. Look at the bases that the lights plug into, they rust and go to hell.



Also, if your switch has a light in it, there will be a ground terminal on it as well.
Perfect
Nice drawing scrat



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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree, it is a simple circuit, till some hack butchers some of the wiring! It seems like every time I buy something it's got wiring issues....

Anyway, there is a wire coming off the main fuse panel with a 5a fuse running directly to the bow light. The proper hot wire coming from the switch was connected to the un-used ground lug. The boat has 3 pin bases, and two pin lights. I pulled the 5a fuse and hooked the wires up correctly. Now all the lights work perfect. I need to trace the wire that was hooked to the fuse panel with the 5a fuse to see if it was connected to something else.

So this is a 3 position switch and it does have a diode, or something that works just like a diode. The center terminal is the positive coming into the switch. When you flip the switch up, it energizes the bottom terminal to power both lights and console. When you flip the switch down it energizes the top terminal which powers the stern light. The diode is there to isolate the stern light from the rest of the system.
 
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