View Full Version : Help! Perko switch problem.

06-12-2011, 06:54 AM
Accidentally started the boat with Perko switch in off position (should this be possible?). Next day batteries too weak to start boat. Went ahead and replaced one battery to run for the weekend, now boat starts but lights don't work, worried that I caused bigger problems. If the switch is off, shouldn't all power be shut down? The only way I discovered the switch was off was that the stereo didn't work. Did I cook the system??

06-12-2011, 07:44 AM
The boat should not start and all the power to the dash, stereo, etc should be off. The only exception would be if the bilge pump were wired directly to the battery as should be (unfortunately mine is not). I'd recommend tracing wires to see if someone did a custom job for you at some time. If it all looks right then it's time for a new switch.

06-12-2011, 08:24 AM
That's what I thought, sounds like it's set up wrong. It was installed by a dealer when I bought the boat used a few years ago. Now my concern is that further damage was caused since lights don't work now.

06-12-2011, 09:22 AM
I don't see how that mechanical switch would fail unless it was physically damaged by being crushed or smashed somehow. Your wiring is wrong. Most basic setup is to truely use it as an a/b switch. In that basic setup, all grounds should go to battery grouped grounded terminal directly. All positive go to the terminal on the switch. Then a single pos lead from other two terms on switch to each battery. Nothing else to pos terms on batteries except the two single switch leads. I would get set up and working that way first at this point so you are operable. It's right if there is no power to anything when switch is off. Also, I highly recommend a battery tender. They are among the highest return on investment of any accessory I have added. Good luck.

06-12-2011, 10:50 AM
Thanks JJ, will check it out and set up to basic if not that way now. Again, concern now is that I may have other damage - boat starts but no other accessories are working (lights, pump, radio). Could there be a fuse blown that would cause that? Or would i have damaged the alternator enough to cause this? It all began when I started the boat with the switch off.

06-12-2011, 03:18 PM
This sounds like a tripped breaker(s). You should have a breaker by the battery, a fuse panel with breakers by the driver's seat area and I believe another breaker on the engine.

First things first though. Fix your wiring. Here's some simple directions.....


You may also want to consider going with a Blue Seas "add a battery" kit as it will also add an automatic charging feature.

06-16-2011, 02:10 PM
ok, here is how the setup is wired now, still having issues:
1. looks like red (starter) cable and black (ground) cables coming from engine wired directly to battery #1.
2. additional red cable coming from harness wired through a breaker then into Perko switch.
3. additonal black cable also coming from harness wired to battery #1.
4. two red cables coming from Perko, one going to battery # 1 and the other to Batt #2.
5. both batteries connected by black cable.

I may be missing something but...

The boat starts with the Perko switch to "all", but not when set to either #1 or #2. Battery #2 is new, batt # 1 is not. Problems started when I started and ran the boat with the Perko to "off", which tripped the breaker. Could this have damaged battery 1 and/or alternator or other gear?

Apologize for ignorance here, I am confused as to where the accessories harness cables should be connected - to the switch or directly to battery?

06-16-2011, 02:21 PM
I just put in a Perko switch when I added a second battery, this is how I did it below:

-Red cable from starter, positive accessory wiring, positive wire for stereo amps

Post 1 or A:
-Positive battery cable to battery 1 or the starter battery's positive post

Post 2 or B:
-Positive battery cable to second battery's positive post

I have starter/boat/accessory/amp negative or grounds going to Battery 1 negative post, then I have a 0 gauge wire from negative on battery 1 to battery 2.

From your description, if both the starter cables are going direct to battery 1 then the switch wouldn't affect anything for starting.

06-16-2011, 06:58 PM
2. red cable coming from harness wired through a breaker then into Perko switch.
What Position on switch?
I'd trace this back with OHM meter to see who he is, as Alternator lead?
Power to Ign Switch?
Same with Blk Wire.

4. two red cables coming from Perko, one going to battery # 1 and the other to Batt #2. What positions on Perko?
Or is this cables mounted on switch positions 1 & 2?
And cables go to positive posts of each battery? A drawing might help solve it.
I sure love my label maker.
I make them long enough to fold over wire so both ends of tag come together,
then pressed tight around wire to never come off.

06-16-2011, 11:33 PM
Your wiring is messed up. Print off a diagram of how the switch should be hooked up and do some re-wiring. WHoever hooked it up is a hack. If the wires from the starter go straight to battery 1 then it is not hooked up through the switch.
Think about it this way. FOr the switch to work as intended, both batteries should only be hooked to their respective positions on the Perko, and NONE of the loads (engine, dash, stereo amps, ballast, etc) should be hooke directly to the batteries, except maybe the bilge pumps if you leave it in the water.