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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler life on a nickel budget is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Thanks to those who chose to make purchases through my Amazon links found at the upper left corner of each page. This costs you nothing and does help fund decadence aboard my Seaweed. Plus, I appreciate it loads!!!

My mailing address is: Post Office Box 8284, Madeira Beach, FL 33738
15019 Madeira Way, Box 8284, Madeira Beach, FL  33708

Date: 28 September 2023. 8awg Selector Switch Needed.


In the beginning, aka the 50 Amp 125/250 Volt Power Plug Wiring How-To (4-wires) article, the dockside fellows and I were attempting to track down why one leg of a yacht's power was not functioning. The critical side is of course the one that is not working. The switch powering the air-conditioners functions perfectly. The one supplying power to the battery chargers for both 12-volt and 32-volt battery banks, along with the refrigerator, staterooms, and main salon has zero voltage. Isolating what part needed replacement is the next step in the troubleshooting process.

We definitely have 125/250 volts into the vessel. From the side deck inlets power is fed to two switches. These switches are your basic On-Off-On, labeled 1-Off-2. They are large enough to accept a lot of 8 awg wires.

Selector #1 indicates shore power. Center is Off. #2 is for
power incoming from the onboard diesel Onan generator.


This is the back of the switch:


Both the Port (on left) and Starboard (on right)
 power distribution switches are shown here:

The switch on the left powers the top air conditioning panel.
The one on the right feeds power to the bottom house panel.


On power issues the standard process is to start at the source. Wherever the power stops is the problem.

This is the complete power panel for the vessel:

Each of the breakers are labeled. The top section is powering the four
air conditioners and circulation (cooling) pump aboard this yacht.

The first set of meters is for the air-conditioning breakers. The meter on the right shows 125 volts incoming. Thus we know the 1-off-2 switch on the left functions.


To repeat, there are two switches above the 120 volt AC distribution panels. The one on the left (port side) provides power to the Air Conditioners on this boat.

This is the Air Conditioning distribution panel. It is
powered by the 1-off-2 switch on the left (port) side.

The amperes meter at the top shows zero power being used. That is because all of the air conditioners are turned off at present.

Travis is at the lower helm located in the main salon of the yacht. There is an air-conditioner on that level.

The ac unit for the main salon runs off that top ac
distribution panel via the main switch on the left.


We do have an anomaly: the bottom section of the ac distribution panel is not receiving power. Was this due to a broken connection between the shore inlet plug and the switch? To test that the onboard Onan generator was started. The results were unchanged.

When checking the power panel the same results occurred:


This second distribution panel is honestly the most critical of the two. The House breakers are for important things like the galley, all three staterooms, a 12 volt battery charger, the 32 volt battery charger, plus lights and more. Frankly, this one powers the "house" whereas the other makes it cool and comfortable aboard.

The 32-volt battery charger on that lower distribution
panel is vital for charging the 32-volt battery banks.

The owner does not have a portable 32v charger, so having
the house distribution panel functional is important.

I wrote about replacing those 32-volt batteries in
St. Pete's Electro Battery article.

on the left. To the right is the HOUSE BREAKERS SWITCH.

Aboard this larger vessel are four air conditioners which provide zone cooling. Thus the need for a separate power panel for those AC units. The House is basically everything else running on standard *125 volt power, including the refrigerator/freezer, water heater, staterooms and heads, etc.

*125 volts: Though in this article we are using the term 125v, actually I use this interchangeably with 110v and 120v. This is your standard house power. Indeed 125 volts does reach the vessel. Aboard Seaweed I see 118v or so. Everything electric works fine.

The back of the distribution panel is a mass of wires:


Notes are also on the bulkhead regarding power cables:



Side Note for vessel owners: It is ALWAYS a great idea to make notes in an easy to see place on your equipment. One of the best implementations of this is described in the Life onboard Lily Maria (Thompson 44 M/V) article.



There are a lot of wires aboard a larger yacht. It is complex.



Electrical gurus may be interested
in these pictures. Click (or double click)
to get the full sized versions.


The fourth picture and the one below each have two circle gizmo thingies on wires. I do not understand them, though I am curious.
If you know could you please enlighten me? Either comment or send an email please to me at janice@janice142.com Thanks!


The top AIR CONDITIONING BREAKER PANEL has 125 volts of power, thus the switch on the top left works.
Because the bottom HOUSE BREAKER PANEL has zero incoming power I believe the switch on the top right is broken.


This is the back side of the selector switches shown above.

As a reminder, this is the back side... thus the problem switch is on the LEFT, versus the right. There are a boat-load of 8awg wires feeding into those switches.

The proper way to verify that the bad switch is indeed not functioning would be to remove the wires from both switches and swap them. Quite frankly, that looks incredibly intimidating to me. All testing has proven power gets to both switches (verified via multimeter) however nothing passes though to the House Distribution panel from that second switch.

So, the decision was made. Replace this switch:


Here is the problem: The switch was manufactured in Austria. It was purchased some 20-odd years ago. The numbers do not match to anything I have seen online. That said, I am not great at searching. Can you help with a source to purchase a replacement?!?

The numbers written on the back of that switch are:
C63 63 amp.
50hp 600 V 3ph
A 211



What say the experts? Is there a work-around we have not considered? All of us here on the docks would appreciate your ideas. If you know where to buy a replacement, that would be ideal. I am hoping one of my online friends can help. Thanks!

That's it from the water. I thank you for reading.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the 8awg Selector Switch Needed page.

Categories: Boats, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges,

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Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.



Something a new reader might not realize: Almost every picture on this website can be clicked. The photo will get larger when clicked. Do that a second time and the picture should be full size. Enjoy...

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Pet of the Week: Barky
on M/V Northern Lights II

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.

Coming soon ...


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks bunches!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the
waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

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My Buddy, and his girlfriend...

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