Bought A Used Boat, No Lights


Old 05-10-05, 06:34 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Pa
Posts: 160
Bought A Used Boat, No Lights

I replaced the toggle switch on a used boat I just bought, but the lights still don't work. I don;t know if they worked before the switch broke or not. It's a fiberglass boat with a 12 volt battery. What are the basic troubleshooting steps to track down the problem. The battery is ok.


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Old 05-11-05, 04:36 AM
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Testing a light circuit

When you test any circuit, there are two way of doing it
1) Starting at the power source (battery in a boat)
2) Start at the load (light in this case)

I usually start at the load.

1) Grab a test light or a meter, make sure the meter is set to DC and a range that 12 volts will fall within. The test light will turn on and the meter will show around 12 volts
2) Remove the cover from the light you are testing
3) Remove the bulb
4) Inspect the bulb to see of the filament is intact. Or if you have a volt meter switch it to ohms verify the bulb is ok. If you can, put this bulb in a circuit that is working. We donít want to spend a hours testing because of a bad bulb or dirty contact
5) Look at the base of the bulb, you will find two contacts (in a single filament bulb). Locate the same points in the bulb socket and test for voltage. MAKE SURE YOUR KEY IS IN A POSITION FOR THE LIGHTS TOO WORK !!!
6) If you do not find voltage there, go back to the switch and test for voltage. Place the ground wire of your tester (the battery negative is the best spot) on a known ground and check both sides of the switch for voltage. If you have voltage on one side, change the switch position and you should see voltage on both sides if the switch is working.. If you donít have voltage at the switch, then verify your testing device is working by using the same ground and reading the positive side of the battery.
7) If you donít have voltage at this point check the fuses. The next step will be checking for broken wires or connections.

You could also start the testing at the may save time.. I always do things the hard way !
Old 05-11-05, 01:23 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,389

Like said get a meter set it for 12 V DC .Then ring it all out. You dont say what lights. It can be wired so you have to have the key switch on lots of time not. How about where the bulbs plug into??? check the ground on them should be the black wire . Do you have a good ground off the battrey??? You have a lot of things to look at here. My what water cant do to a boat.


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