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TTAdmin
04-06-2005, 09:30 AM
I need some help from the Heater experts here:

I have installed a 2 port heater into my boat from HeaterCraft and I'm having some problems with the electrical aspect. I've hooked up the power wires to spliced areas behind the dash that are pre-marked. My MasterCraft came off the line with a designated switch and wiring setup for the heater. The heater is working great but after using it for 2-3 minutes it trips the breaker. I can reset the breaker but this keeps reoccurring. I've double checked the power wires to make sure there is a good connection and they should not be an issue.

The only other issue would be the ground wire. I ran the ground to the negative terminal on the battery using both sides of a 18 gauge speaker wire. Could this be causing the problem? There is a negative grounding point behind the dash - would it make a difference if I used that? Do I need a bigger gauge wire for the ground? Any ideas....?

jimmer2880
04-06-2005, 12:05 PM
My boat didnt' have a Heater wire, so I had to hang a relay off of the acc1 switch/breaker. I suspect you'll have to do the same. Sounds like you're overloading the breaker.

Are your wires warm? Is the hot warmer than the ground?

John B
04-06-2005, 12:17 PM
My boat didnt' have a Heater wire, so I had to hang a relay off of the acc1 switch/breaker. I suspect you'll have to do the same. Sounds like you're overloading the breaker.

Are your wires warm? Is the hot warmer than the ground?

If that is the problem, change the breaker. :confused:

AirJunky
04-06-2005, 01:16 PM
Wish I could help you here. My 94 had unscrimped wires under the dash that were labeled ACC1 & ACC2, and a ground bar with several open slots. I hooked up both wires & have never had an issue.
You might contact Heatercraft & see what they have to say on it. dans@heatercraft.com is their tech support.

TTAdmin
04-06-2005, 01:37 PM
I had crimped wires behind the dash that are labeled for the heater and that's what I plugged them into. I've checked those wires 2x now and the only thing left would be the ground (I guess..?).

I emailed heatercraft but haven't heard back yet.

dsoby
04-06-2005, 01:38 PM
I agree with JohnB. Call heatercraft and find out what the amp draw on the motor is. If it is less than your circuit breaker, replace the breaker. They are not fool proof.

jimmer2880
04-07-2005, 05:32 AM
I agree with JohnB. Call heatercraft and find out what the amp draw on the motor is. If it is less than your circuit breaker, replace the breaker. They are not fool proof.

I disagree... Those wires are size guaged to accomodate the breaker size. If you up-size the breaker without up-sizing the wires, you could have a meltdown. Throw a cheap $2.00 fog-light style relay between the switch & the heater. You won't have a problem. I'm not sure what amp your breaker is, by the one in my dash for acc's is only 5 amps. Not near enough to power the 2 fans on the heater.

jake
04-17-2005, 08:23 PM
TT...did you find the solution to your problem? I'm having a similar issue. I installed a 3 port heater, hooked up the fan to the acc 2 leads behind the dash on high speed. Didn't use the 3 speed switch provided with the unit. After running the fan for about 2-3 mins, the breker trips. What should I do?

jimmer2880
04-18-2005, 10:00 AM
TT...did you find the solution to your problem? I'm having a similar issue. I installed a 3 port heater, hooked up the fan to the acc 2 leads behind the dash on high speed. Didn't use the 3 speed switch provided with the unit. After running the fan for about 2-3 mins, the breker trips. What should I do?

insert a relay. Go to Pep Boys & buy one made for fog lights, etc. It'll fix your problem.

jake
04-18-2005, 10:55 AM
Jimmer: thanks for the response. I'm pretty much clueless when it comes to electrical stuff....what does the relay do? How does it fix my problem?

sfitzgerald351
04-18-2005, 12:42 PM
A relay basically is a remotely operated switch. So you run your high power into the relay and then out to the accessory you want to run. Then a low power line runs from the relay to your switch. Then switch on your dash just tells the relay to switch on or off. They are used to keep from running high power wires long distances to switches and to reduce the power load a switch sees. They are very easy to hook up and will definitely solve your problem. Just be sure to put the right size fuse on the power line so you protect the whole circuit. You can just buy one of those inline fuse holders from the autoparts store.

jake
04-18-2005, 01:07 PM
so where do I connect the power wire? Run a wire direct to the battery? is there somewhere up front that will provide the needed amps? Boat is 93 prostar 190.

JDK
04-18-2005, 01:16 PM
so where do I connect the power wire? Run a wire direct to the battery?

If I were you, I'd run both power and ground wires directly from the battery to the heater. Make sure these wires are heavy enough for the blowers power draw. Then, cut the hot wire at the heater and install the relay on or very close to the blower. Then run two light gauge wires from the on/off switch to the relay..... and you're done.

sfitzgerald351
04-18-2005, 01:26 PM
Exactly. But put the proper fuse on the postive wire from the battery to protect the circuit. I don't know how much power the blower draws, but you're probably in the 20A range.

AirJunky
04-18-2005, 01:29 PM
Have you looked under your dash yet? You should find a pack of wires, pre-labeled with Radio, ACC1, ACC2, etc. You'll also find a ground bar under there where various things are grounded. Then you can use one of the ACC switches (& circuit breaker) on your dash for the main heater power.
I did this on a '94 a few years ago & it works great.

jake
04-18-2005, 02:26 PM
Have you looked under your dash yet? You should find a pack of wires, pre-labeled with Radio, ACC1, ACC2, etc. You'll also find a ground bar under there where various things are grounded. Then you can use one of the ACC switches (& circuit breaker) on your dash for the main heater power.
I did this on a '94 a few years ago & it works great.

I may not have been clear with my question. This is exactly what I did...wired the heater directly to acc2. Apparently though the acc power won't support the amperage draw of the heater blower, it keeps flipping the breaker.

This brings up another question though...is the ground bar behind the dash sufficient to ground high amperage items like stereo power amplifiers, or should I be running a ground back to the neg terminal of the battery? Also, does the ground need to be the same gauge wire as the power lead? My blower will probably want 8 or 10 gauge wire if it's pulling 20 amps, my amplifiers require 8 gauge...do I need to have an 8 gauge ground back to the battery or will a lighter gauge ground to the ground bar work?

sfitzgerald351
04-18-2005, 02:37 PM
With the relay, you'll run like 8 or 10 gauge from the battery and back and also to the heater from the relay. You can use 12 or 14 for the run from the relay to the dash switch. I'd only rely on the ground bar for the ground from the dash switch. My guess is the ground bar doesn't have enough capacity to handle the heater blower (by the sounds of it - my boat is so old, they didn't even put in ACC switches!)

AirJunky
04-18-2005, 02:41 PM
As I recall the heater requires a 20 amp breaker & MC installs a 15 amp in there from the factory. Might be best to verify that with Heatercraft though. I definitely remember upgrading the breaker though. I might get a chance to look at the boat this evening too.

The ground bar under my dash is working find for the deck, heater & so on in the dash. But I ran the negative leads all the way back to the battery for the amp, using a very heavy guage wire. I don't recall what guage it is, but it's like the diameter of a pencil. I blew my first amp a while back too so it may not be right either. I figured it was just moisture since I haven't had any other electrical issues & the condition of the wires is good.

TTAdmin
04-18-2005, 02:47 PM
Jake...

If you did the same thing I did then it will be an easy fix.

I'm going to make myself seem like an idiot but oh well...

Behind the dash, there are 3 wires for the accessory switch. If you have a 3 position switch (low, off, high) then the 3 wires behind the dash are low, high, and ground - the black wire). I was taking the 3 wires from the heater unit (low, med, high) and plugging them into the 3 wires behind the dash. I was running the ground wire from the heater unit to the battery in the back. The problem was that I was connecting the med speed wire to the ground behind the dash (oops) and thus tripping the breaker.

To fix this I just ran the ground from the heater unit to the ground behind the dash. I hooked up the low and high speed wires from the heater and left the med speed unhooked.

Presto! No more problems. This was definately one of the "duh" moments...

jake
04-18-2005, 04:10 PM
TT: mine is a bit different. My acc switches are just on/off, so only two wires. I ran the fan high lead to the positive and the fan neg lead to the ground of the acc switch so it only has one speed. From what I've seen on this post, and after confirming in my MC owners manual....the acc switch has a 5 amp breaker and the heater requires 9.2 amps on high speed. I may just replace the breaker with a 10 amp....

jimmer2880
04-19-2005, 06:14 AM
TT: mine is a bit different. My acc switches are just on/off, so only two wires. I ran the fan high lead to the positive and the fan neg lead to the ground of the acc switch so it only has one speed. From what I've seen on this post, and after confirming in my MC owners manual....the acc switch has a 5 amp breaker and the heater requires 9.2 amps on high speed. I may just replace the breaker with a 10 amp....

While you'll probably be fine for a while.... think about this. You're DOUBLING the amp draw on a factory engineered circuit. Those wires are only as big as they need to be. If you double the load - what do you think will happen? I would not just "up the fuse".... Go the relay route as scott & a couple others on here have explained. I know it's more work and takes a few brain cells. But, I for one don't like melted wires, fires, etc on my boat.

jake
04-19-2005, 09:05 AM
Jimmer: when I took the breaker panel out, all the breakers are wired with 10 gauge, the only difference being the breaker itself. Some of them are 20 amp (ignition, horn), some are lower. If the wire is good enough to support a 20 amp circuit, don't you think it would be OK to stick a 10 amp breaker in there? Additionally, the pigtails running from the breaker labeled "acc 2" are 10 gauge. The wire leads that came attached to the heater are only 16 gague. I'm thinking it should be OK?

Unless you're talking about the total amperage of the breaker panel. I would be adding a net 5 amps to the overall panel, should I be concerned that the main power lead won't be able to handle the overall draw?

By the by...what's with the "few brain cells" comment? I'm not concerned with saving work here, I just want the cleanest installation possible. If I can make the factory wiring work safely, then I'll go that route.

I also just ran a 4 gague amp circuit direct to the battery. I don't want to introduce noise to the audio circuit by wiring an electric motor direct to the same points.

jimmer2880
04-19-2005, 11:34 AM
Sorry Jake - I was trying to lighten things up a bit. Guess it went the wrong way.

It's that this sort if thing happens to be a pet pieve of mine (glad spelling isn't). I drive into the DC area every day & constantly hear about Car-B-Ques. It's sayd that many of those are do to overloaded circuits.

My biggest question is: If MC designed the system to handle 10 or even 20 amps from the ACC switches - why did they only put a 5 amp breaker in it?

I'm sure you'll be fine. But - then again, I'm not an EE either.:uglyhamme

jake
04-19-2005, 11:35 AM
Talked to the service department at my Mastercraft dealer...they said you can safely swap out the acc breakers up to 20 amps with no problem.

Jimmer: why the hostility? So what I can't spell.

AirJunky
04-19-2005, 11:44 AM
I would not just "up the fuse".... Go the relay route as scott & a couple others on here have explained. I know it's more work and takes a few brain cells. But, I for one don't like melted wires, fires, etc on my boat.
Yea, MC dealers & the Heatercraft R&D dept probably need to take the advice of board members, use a few more brain cells, & make their system much more complex. Just because the system works fine with a 20 amp circuit breaker is no reason to risk it.

Whatever....... Jake, my system is setup for almost 5 years now & I'm running double the heater of most boats, double wide core, 2 fans, & 5 vents......... 0 problems.
I checked the breaker & it's a 20 amp. I set it up based on info directly from Jeff at Heatercraft (mailto:jeffh@heatercraft.com) .

jake
04-19-2005, 01:06 PM
I'm running double the heater of most boats, double wide core, 2 fans, & 5 vents......... 0 problems. .

So AirJunky...why all the heat? U in charge of thawing out the lake in the spring, or what?

jimmer2880
04-20-2005, 08:19 AM
Talked to the service department at my Mastercraft dealer...they said you can safely swap out the acc breakers up to 20 amps with no problem.

Jimmer: why the hostility? So what I can't spell.

Dude - I was busting on MY spelling :uglyhamme I didn't even notice you had any. Really - I mean it - I'm not being hostile....

Thx for the info on safely being able to swap out up to 20 amps... Makes me wonder what MC was smoking when they only put 5 amp breakers in there then. What on earth can we add to acc1 that only takes 5 amps other than some aux lighting....

jimmer2880
04-20-2005, 08:21 AM
Yea, MC dealers & the Heatercraft R&D dept probably need to take the advice of board members, use a few more brain cells, & make their system much more complex. Just because the system works fine with a 20 amp circuit breaker is no reason to risk it.

Whatever....... Jake, my system is setup for almost 5 years now & I'm running double the heater of most boats, double wide core, 2 fans, & 5 vents......... 0 problems.
I checked the breaker & it's a 20 amp. I set it up based on info directly from Jeff at Heatercraft (http://mailto:jeffh@heatercraft.com/) .

If it works ok with 20 amp breakers - then the R&D department should freaking put 20 amp breakers in it. 5 amp breakers are about as useless as tits on a wort hog.

JDK
04-20-2005, 01:16 PM
my system is setup for almost 5 years now & I'm running double the heater of most boats, double wide core, 2 fans, & 5 vents......... 0 problems.

0 problems so far, but if this circuit is drawing close to 20 amps., it's not "if" your dash switch burns out it's "when" this switch burns out..... even if you don't have problems with the wiring.