Electrical System
Electrical System

Electrical System

Today’s modern outboards and onboard electronics require juice to run. That’s why your electrical system is one of the most important systems on your boat. Because boats constantly operate on or are near water, electrical system care is even more important, especially in highly corrosive saltwater environments. Make sure your electrical system is always ready to perform with these simple checks and procedures.

Check the wiring and connections.

lead_electrical_systemsThe electrical system’s job is to carry voltage from one place to another. If the voltage can’t make the journey, or if it’s diminished when it gets there, the receiving device will not function properly, if at all. The goal is to have as much voltage (or electrical energy) arrive at Point B as left Point A. As electricity passes through a device, some parasitic loss is normal. However, corrosion impedes electricity’s ability to travel, which can cause significant voltage loss or intermittent voltage. Either can wreck the good times, but with simple visual inspections and physical actions these scenarios can usually be avoided.
electrical2Some electrical corrosion can be easy to see, such as corrosion on battery posts or electrical panel connections. But some damage can be more difficult to see, such as internal corrosion that has rotted some or all of the individual strands inside a wire’s cover. You can use an ohmmeter to check electrical connections and wires for excessive resistance. There should be no more than 0.1-0.2 ohm resistance between electrical connectors on each end of a wire. Any more than that and you should investigate further.

Steve Pennaz on battery care

Don’t forget the batteries.

Make sure to use the right size and type recommended in your owner’s or service manual (see chart on next page for general specifications). If there’s any question about a battery’s performance, have it load tested. Any auto parts store can do this for you, or you can do it yourself with the right equipment.

Caution: Make sure that there are no fuel fumes present when making, breaking, or checking battery connections and condition. Give the area the “sniff test” to check for fumes. If in an enclosed area, run the blower or thoroughly air out the space, or take the battery outside to test it. Please plan and protect accordingly.

All battery cable connections must be clean, tight and use hex nuts and lock washers (not old- fashioned wing nuts). Loose connections can cause frustrating intermittent issues or a full-time “no run” condition. A dirty or corroded connection can impede electricity’s ability to travel, and a battery terminal connection may be corroded, yet appear clean. To avoid any doubt, always remove the terminal connection and clean both sides of the connecting materials down to bare, shiny metal, then re-install and tighten the connection properly. For regular maintenance, use Yamalube® Battery Terminal Cleaner & Protector. Simply spray it on and watch for the foam to change color, indicating that the corrosion (acid) has been neutralized. It then dries into a thin, waxy film, preventing the build-up of additional corrosion.

Consider “house batteries.”

Consider “house batteries” to power accessories. Most large Yamaha outboards (150hp and up) have separate battery isolator/charging leads specifically for this purpose. The outboard’s Dual Charge Monitoring System, with proper wiring, will first send charging voltage from the stator to the starting battery/batteries to help keep the voltage up and ready to go. Once fully charged, the outboard will automatically “switch” the charge to the house battery/batteries.

electrical3Check the electrical connections.
Corrosion often occurs where wires meet. Visually check electrical blocks under the dash and/or in the bilge. Also, check any connections on gauges or add-on electrical equipment like battery switches, plotters, or fish-finders. Wiggle wires and connections to check for looseness. If either is found, disconnect and clean the connection with emery cloth or fine-grit sand paper, then re-install and tighten properly. Finally, spray all electrical connections with a product like Yamashield,TM which puts down an anti-corrosive layer and leaves behind a protective film that helps prevent corrosion going forward.

Don’t spare the spray.
electrical4If you haven’t already sprayed connections with Yamashield or Yamalube® Silicone Protectant & Lubricant, remove the outboard cowling and liberally spray the entire powerhead. Not only will it help prevent corrosion, but it will help keep rubber parts (like your cowling seal) supple and able to do their job effectively.

Tip: Do not spray silicone on any oxygen (O2) sensors that your outboard may have.

electrical5We’ve got the goods.
Yamaha offers a complete range of electrical system care products, including original- equipment NGK® spark plugs, Yamalube Yamashield Protectant and Lubricant, Yamalube Battery Terminal Cleaner & Protector, Yamalube Silicone Protectant & Lubricant, and Yamalube Contact Cleaner. They’re the best you can get for your outboard, and they’re all available through your local authorized Yamaha Marine dealer.

F8A 15.0V CCA/SAE 245 A 433 A
F9.9/T9.9 MCA/ABYC 323 A 520 A
F15/F20 RC/SAE 52 MIN NA
F30/F40 15.0V
F50/T50/F60/T60/F70 CCA/SAE 380 A 1150 A
F75/F90 MCA/ABYC 502 A 1370 A
F/LF115 RC/SAE 124 min NA
F/LF150 14.5V CCA/SAE 512 A 1150 A
3.3L F/LF200 MCA/ABYC 675 A 1370 A
3.3L F/LF225 RC/SAE 124 min NA
3.3L F/L250
2.8L VF150, F175, F/LF200 14.5V
4.2L VF200/225/250 CCA/SAE 680 A 1150 A
4.2L F/LF225 MCA/ABYC 770 A 1370 A
4.2L F/LF250 RC/SAE 160 min NA
4.2L F/LF300
F/LF350 14.7V CCA/SAE 700 A 1150 A
MCA/ABYC 900 A 1370 A
RC/SAE 160 min NA
HPDI 14.5V CCA/SAE 512 A 690 A
MCA/ABYC 675 A 840 A
RC/SAE 182 min NA
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Remember to always observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and drive.
Dress properly with a USCG-approved personal floatation device and protective gear.