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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through January 14, 2005 » What terminal block for 3-switch ballast system? « Previous Next »
By Justin Waterson (jwat142) on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 5:36 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I need help figuring out what kind of terminal blocks I need for my ballast system. Here's what I want to do: I want to run one power wire from the battery up to a terminal block by the switches. I will then run three seperate wires from the terminal block to each of my three switches. I then want to do the same for the ground wire. . .one main wire from the battery to a terminal block which will be hooked to the three ballast switches. But, I have no idea which one I need. I already have fuses for the switches/pumps, so the block doesn't need to be fused. Could someone please take a look at the link below and tell me which terminal block(s) I need.

Also, what size wires should I use. I was thinking 8 guage from battery to terminal block and then 14 guage to the switches? Is that ok or is 8 guage overkill. Thanks a lot for any help!!!


By Mike (bigdeal) on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 8:32 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Personally, I'd run just one power wire and one ground wire from your power source, and 'Y' them off to all three switches. You can buy a connector type that installs inline in the wire and provides for a drop to connect to your switch. Two of those in-line on both your power and ground wires and you have your three switch connections. For overload protection, I'd recommend installing a fuse in each of the three power drops behind the switches. You'll have to determine what size fusing is appropriate for your pumps.

As far as wire size, look at your pumps and determine the amperage draw. Then size your wire accordingly, also taking into account the length of the wire run. Just off the top of my head (and please don't rely on this) but I'd think good 10 or 12awg wire would probably work just fine. 8awg wire is most definitely overkill, and unnecessarily costly.

Finally, pay attention to the following when doing your intall to insure against gremlins:

1 - Make absolutely sure you have a good ground. My first choice in a boat is always the negative battery terminal.
2 - Make sure you guard against wire chafing. Wrap you wires to protect them werever they 'might' rub.
3 - Solder all you connections and use heat shrinks wherever you can to protect your connections.

Good luck.

By Justin Waterson (jwat142) on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 8:51 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
When you say "Y" them, what kind of connector are you talking about? Do you have a link to a picture of one? Is there one in the link I posted above? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm not real sure what I need to get. I know what I want it to do, I just don't know what will allow me to do it:-) I already have three 30 amp resetable fuses for each switch, so that's not a problem.

Also, there is already about 10 feet of 14 guage wire on the pumps when it came from the factory. The power and ground wire will be about 10-12 feet from the switches to the battery. Do you think 12 guage would be enough? I think the pumps draw up to 20 amps or so when they first start and then drop way down once they are running.

Sorry for all the questions and thanks for any help.

By Gary (sanger215guy) on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 10:15 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
If I am understanding you right, you are looking for a power distribution block and not Terminal strip. Using a terminal strip will require you to jumper power to each terminal used. Using a BDP (power distribution block) will allow you to run one source wire and then branch it off to however many paralled loads you have. Raido Shack is the best source to get what you need or try a local stereo shop. You are going to need at least 4 lugs if you are not wanting to double up your terminations. Just make sure your source wire is the same size prior to all your fusing then you can reduce after the load side of the fuse.
By Justin Waterson (jwat142) on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 4:25 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Yeah, that's what I am looking for. . .a power distribution block. Thanks for the clarification. I will check out the local Radio Shack.
By Mike (mikeski) on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 5:26 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

You are overkill.

I measured the current on my Simers, mine pulled about 20 amps for a second or two tapering then quickly tapered off to between 6-8 amps each depending on pumping conditions. If I were you I would run one black and one red #10 THHN (red w/30A fuse at source) up to the switch location then just Y them or daisy chain them. NOTE: flip the switches one at a time. Personally I am not a fan of distribution blocks, more junctions = more opportunities for corrosion and failure. Leave the smaller factory fuse in place at each pump motor.

By Mike (bigdeal) on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 9:10 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Justin, have a look at this diagram which combines my comments and MikeSki's. You can also run a copy of this diagram and take it with you when you're out shopping for parts.

Good luck.

Switch Wiring Diagram

By Justin Waterson (jwat142) on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 9:26 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Great, that's what I'm gonna do. I appreciate the diagram. I can't wait to get this ballast system set up.

One other thing, would it be ok to have a 30 amp resetable fuse/breaker at each switch instead of the one main fuse like you have in the diagram? I already have the three resetable fuses, so if I can use those, it would nice.

By Mike (bigdeal) on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 1:07 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Justin.... Personally, unless your pumps pull a lot more juice than I would think they would, three 30amp breakers would be major overkill. I'd maybe suggest you use one breaker in-line prior to the switches. You could always verify that with tech support at your pumps manufacturer.

(Message edited by bigdeal on January 08, 2005)

By Mike (mikeski) on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 11:41 am:    Edit Post Delete Post

The purpose of the 30A fuse is also to protect the wiring to the switches. Without it you have unprotected wiring that could cause a fire.

Put a 15 or 20A circuit breaker at each switch after the Y to cut the power to the motors. They will help protect the motors from burning up if something gets jammed in the impeller. They should allow the brief overcurrent at startup. Use a DPDT 20A rated switch to each pump, relays are not necessary. The wiring diagram is in the archives, send me an e-mail if you have difficulties or other questions.

Where are you putting the pumps? If they are in the back they need to be ignition protected. Are you sure you don't want to use aerators?


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