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Dual helm question

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Scurvy Dog
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Dual helm question

Postby gdavis67 » March 28th, 2016, 5:07 pm

On our 79 Carver 3326, we have dual stations, flybridge and salon controls, with twin 270 Crusaders. When we purchased the boat last year, I had intermittent issues with the ignition system not wanting to work both on startup and shut down. There is one master keyswitch at the lower helm which when turned on, powers two solenoids in the engine bay. These solenoids then distribute power to the helms and all other areas. At both the upper and lower helm, there is a three position toggle switch (one for each engine, upper and lower) which starts the engine and then kills the engine at shut down. I traced the starting/kill issue to a small plastic box which is located under the cover of the lower helm, accessed from the galley side of the helm. This box contains two electromagnetic "relays". These relays, when energized, send power to the engines allowing them to start/run. Upon shutdown, the magnet pulls the power from the engine circuit and shuts down the engine. I assume these relays are original and are now 37 years old and getting weak. I would like to replace these old electromagnetic relays with new automotive type relays but am confused on how this should be done, what relays to use, and the proper wiring for them. If anyone has dealt with this type system before and can lend a helping hand it would be greatly appreciated. We are about 5 weeks from putting the boat back in for the season and I would love to put this issue behind us. Thanks in advance.

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Re: Dual helm question

Postby AaHubb » March 28th, 2016, 8:15 pm

I am not familiar with this setup but DONOT use automotive relays in the engine room. They are not marine engine room rated and can cause a spark that can ignite any fuel vapors present. Others here with more knowledge than me may know of a source for replacements.
Have fun with the boat but be safe.
'99 404 CPMY

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Re: Dual helm question

Postby Viper » March 28th, 2016, 8:38 pm

Relays do tend to fail after a number of cycles so you may be on the right path. Not familiar with this particular setup but in basic terms a relay is a relay and they have standardized pin identifications. You can look these up on the web. You'll see the pin codes stamped on the relay cover or under the bottom beside each pin. Unless the relay goes into a pinned socket, record the pin code for each wire that you remove. This will ensure the wires go back to the same pin function even if the new relay is physically different. If it goes into a socket, you must get a matching relay. You should be able to get some identifying info off the relay and do a web search or take it in to an electronics shop or automotive supply shop to source a replacement.

As long as these particular relays under the lower helm are isolated from the engine compartment (no open space path) then they need not be ignition protected.
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Re: Dual helm question

Postby RGrew176 » March 28th, 2016, 10:38 pm

It sounds like you had some fun tracking this down. Kudos to your efforts to get to the base problem. I am glad that my 81 Carver does not have the same set up as yours. I have dual helms and no master switch I can start up from either station.
Rick Grew

1981 Carver 3007 Aft Cabin

2004 Past Commodore
West River Yacht & Cruising Club

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