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Old 19 August 2006, 13:45   #1
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SHOCKING THE #$%@ outta me!

So there we were having pulled up to a sweet surfspot after a fairly smooth 20 minute passage. We set the hook and then i went to turn off the motor
at the keyswitch and ZZZZZZZST. While we deliberated over what to do we found that many things we touched were shocking us too; even the nylon kill switch was sending current! Not wanting to be stuck there we decided to pull anchor, which was also now shocking me, and head for port. She ran like a champ all the way home doing 20knts and as we were close to the beach we were to land on I yanked the kill cord to shut her down. That did'nt work so we pulled the gas line and waited for it to run down.

We got her home and while washing her down decided to try to start the engine to flush it out. No problem now and she started and turned off as normal. Anybody else have experience with this type of problem? We did not have too much water/more than the usual, on board. The throttle control (Mercury/Quicksilver, 1989) was not shocking me but the kill cord was. When I first noticed the shocking at touching the key I yelped a little and then touched it again (smart guy) and then turned it quickly to the off position. This did not turn it off but now it seemed to electrify the kill cord which I then took off my wrist. This is the point where we decided to run home while we still had the motor running. As mentioned earlier I pulled the kill cord once we got close to home (as the key was still in the off position and not having the desired effect) and that did not kill it.

Under the cowling we did not see anything obviously loose or abraded.
So my question is this; how do I track the short circuit? Where is the likely place to start? Any and all suggestions gratefully welcome. The motor is a 1989 model Mercury 40hp 2 stroke injected. Thanks,

gPete
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Old 19 August 2006, 15:12   #2
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Pete, do a search cos I remember there being a thread where someone else had a similar problem. I was a while ago.
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Old 19 August 2006, 15:34   #3
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I had a shocking experience when I was fiidling with some elctrics at sea. Turned out to be a dodgy kill switch connection.

The presence of water and high voltages made for a very nasty feeling.

I suppose if you've got a wet/damp boat high voltages could go anywhere and give you all sorts of funny shocks.

Not too sure of what your problem exactly is but I suugest you make sure you have a fire extinguisher on your boat.
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Old 19 August 2006, 16:25   #4
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What sort of shock was it? HT lead type kick or 12v tingling?
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Old 19 August 2006, 16:29   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwalker
Pete, do a search cos I remember there being a thread where someone else had a similar problem. I was a while ago.
You're right - He was called Pete too! I suggested he run the engine with the cover off on the dark, and hey presto - there was the problem! He could see a blue haze around the plugs and HT leads at the current tracked down to earth. A good cleanup with solvent was all that was needed and once dry all was OK.
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Old 19 August 2006, 17:09   #6
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thanks for the replies. I'm not sure what HT leads stands for, but the shocks were much more than 12v tingling and much less than house current type shocks, in other words, enough to make you jump but not enough to make you yelp. i'll try to find the other thread and see if i can figure it out.

Richard, if i try to run it in the dark and see a blue current will that lead me to my short? as you may have guessed i am not well versed in electrical
matters.

gpete
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Old 19 August 2006, 17:18   #7
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that sounds like HT shock from the plug leads-though 12v on wet hands produces more of a kick than you'd expect.
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Old 19 August 2006, 17:28   #8
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what's HT? hot terminal? and what can i do about it? is there an obvious way to try and isolate the problem? i'm at a loss as to how to start (other than try running the motor in the dark and looking for sparks??)
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Old 19 August 2006, 17:29   #9
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HT = high tension = high voltage i.e. the spark plug leads
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Old 19 August 2006, 17:31   #10
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HT = high tension = plug leads
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