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Old 04 April 2014, 04:52   #1
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All the wires are black??

When my boat came back from it's service, they'd forgotten to reattach the cables to the battery. I didn't think this would be an issue, because other boats I've been on in the past have always had their cables clearly labelled +ve and -ve. However, every cable on my boat is black, which leaves me wondering how I'm supposed to tell which end of the battery each one is supposed to go.

Is there an easy way to tell? Or am I better off just leaving it to someone who knows what's going on? Really not very keen on the idea of attaching things to the wrong terminal and then blowing them up unnecessarily.
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Old 04 April 2014, 05:04   #2
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Originally Posted by bad_moose View Post
When my boat came back from it's service, they'd forgotten to reattach the cables to the battery. I didn't think this would be an issue, because other boats I've been on in the past have always had their cables clearly labelled +ve and -ve. However, every cable on my boat is black, which leaves me wondering how I'm supposed to tell which end of the battery each one is supposed to go.

Is there an easy way to tell? Or am I better off just leaving it to someone who knows what's going on? Really not very keen on the idea of attaching things to the wrong terminal and then blowing them up unnecessarily.
Put a 12 volt feed to solenoid battery lead/connection on engine end,
and put a tester or light bulb on the other end till you find wich cable is the live using your engine as an earth ,,if that makes sence

Then wrap some red tape around the end for future ref
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Old 04 April 2014, 10:19   #3
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Why did they take the wires off in the first place and how did they run the engine back up to test without the wires attached to the battery ?

If you can locate either the negative or possitive feed at the engine side then simply use a multimeter and test the connection for continuity back to the wires at battery end. You coudl probably look up a wiring diagram from the internet for your engine if you haven't got one.

Ive done aload of wiring jobs recently and you are right the positive cable from my engine is all black same as the negative one, only difference is the last inch of the black positive cable has a red plastic coating to indicate its positive.

Just bought a lable maker so when ive redone and tidied lots of connections im going to lable everything.

Boat Builders and Engine Manufactures, they arn't very clever at times ! And for any boat builders or engine manufactures who want to have a go at me for that, im a potential customer with lots of horror stories where people ive had work on my boat have fked up so am plenty happy to back it up. And im sure plenty of customers with boats who wonder why the manufacturer did things a certain way and not a different way which would have been far better for the customer in the long run. LOL... (laugh out loud not lots of love)
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Old 04 April 2014, 10:26   #4
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assuming you have round pole battery the poles are different sizes pos is larger than neg
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Old 04 April 2014, 13:55   #5
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Originally Posted by nugent View Post
Put a 12 volt feed to solenoid battery lead/connection on engine end,
and put a tester or light bulb on the other end till you find wich cable is the live using your engine as an earth ,,if that makes sence

Then wrap some red tape around the end for future ref
Yeah as soon as I know which is which, I'll label it all up nicely. I'll try and get hold of a tester. Cheers.

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Originally Posted by boristhebold View Post
Why did they take the wires off in the first place and how did they run the engine back up to test without the wires attached to the battery ?

If you can locate either the negative or possitive feed at the engine side then simply use a multimeter and test the connection for continuity back to the wires at battery end. You coudl probably look up a wiring diagram from the internet for your engine if you haven't got one.

Ive done aload of wiring jobs recently and you are right the positive cable from my engine is all black same as the negative one, only difference is the last inch of the black positive cable has a red plastic coating to indicate its positive.

Just bought a lable maker so when ive redone and tidied lots of connections im going to lable everything.

Boat Builders and Engine Manufactures, they arn't very clever at times ! And for any boat builders or engine manufactures who want to have a go at me for that, im a potential customer with lots of horror stories where people ive had work on my boat have fked up so am plenty happy to back it up. And im sure plenty of customers with boats who wonder why the manufacturer did things a certain way and not a different way which would have been far better for the customer in the long run. LOL... (laugh out loud not lots of love)
They serviced the engine, winterised it and then took the battery off to make sure it was charged up I think. If I can get my hands on a multimeter then I'll give this a go and see what I can do. Doesn't sound too complicated. I've had a look around and I've found the manual for the engine on google, it's got plenty of wiring diagrams in there which have helped to make a bit of sense of it all. Thanks! I can definitely understand what you're saying about boat builders not always being clever, people do seem to do some silly stuff! :L

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Originally Posted by beamishken View Post
assuming you have round pole battery the poles are different sizes pos is larger than neg
Yeah I know which terminals on the battery are which, it's just the actual cables that attach to the battery which aren't labelled.
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Old 04 April 2014, 15:33   #6
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Yeah I know which terminals on the battery are which, it's just the actual cables that attach to the battery which aren't labelled.[/QUOTE]

if the terminals are still on the cables then they are different too if you put the neg on the pos it wont go down far enough

you can try one lead at a time on the battery as long as you don't do both together with out any harm to any electrics

its usually fairly easy to see which battery lead terminal is the smaller of the two
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Old 04 April 2014, 16:24   #7
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Yeah I know which terminals on the battery are which, it's just the actual cables that attach to the battery which aren't labelled.
if the terminals are still on the cables then they are different too if you put the neg on the pos it wont go down far enough

you can try one lead at a time on the battery as long as you don't do both together with out any harm to any electrics

its usually fairly easy to see which battery lead terminal is the smaller of the two[/QUOTE]

Oh right, I get what you mean! I hadn't thought of that, that might be a very easily solution to the problem. If the size of the terminals on the battery leads does dictate which battery terminal they hook up to, it would help explain the lack of clear labelling. Cheers!
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Old 05 April 2014, 03:38   #8
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Most terminals have a + and - on them if you look carefully .............
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Old 05 April 2014, 09:15   #9
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Are the cables attached at the engine end? If so why not attach a wire to any of the terminal ends where the battery is sited. Then take the other end to the engine area. Place one of your tester probes against say the positive terminal and the negative to your test wire. By doing a continuity test you will be able to work out which is which.
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Old 05 April 2014, 09:43   #10
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Safest way is the multimeter test (who's to say the terminals aren't on backwards!?) You can get a basic one from Maplin for about a tenner. Then it's right handy for all sort of future jobs
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