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Wires, Wires Everywhere, but None to the Galley Sink

Legacy wiring. If you have an older boat, you've got it.
Ok, so you have some piece of equipment that does need to be hard wired – at least until some genius invents another wireless gizmo. Say it is a new pump, or a light fixture over the galley sink, and there on your circuit breaker panel you have just that switch, but it switches nothing. There is a wire attached to the switch, but it disappears into a hole in the bulkhead as part of a bundle of countless others. Down the hole it goes, where it winds up, nobody knows.

You have several choices. You can disconnect the wire, cap it off and run a new one – a real heartache. You can try and pull it out – yeah right – our old boat, which is pretty typical, has about 50 wire ties per linear foot, so pulling it out is not an option –  every time someone in the past added another wire to a given bundle they added even more of these plastic wire ties. And then there is trying to find the other end of the wire – no mean feat in most instances.

Enter another wicked cool gizmo: the FF310 wireless fault finder by General Technologies Corp. With the FF310 you can often trace a wire quickly and easily spending only a fraction of the time and effort required when using conventional methods. You may even be able to locate a problem area without having to untie harnesses, open conduits or remove panels, though you do need to be able to guess at approximately where the wire you are tracing comes back out from behind the bulkhead.

The FF310 set.

This professional tool will work on all kinds of circuits with voltages between 6 and 42 Volt DC, so it is perfect for use on your boat. With its wide working voltage range, automatic open/short detection, flexible probe and adjustable sensitivity, the FF310 Faultfinder enables you to troubleshoot a complete array of common problems in a wide variety of circumstances.

It has two simple components. The first being the transmitter, which you connect in series with the circuit or wire under test, (i.e.: in place of a blown fuse, across a connector, in series with an open wire, a light bulb socket, etc.). You then scan circuit/wire with the tracer’s flexible probe to find the other end or the trouble spot.

Sounds easy, and it really is. I am not sure if our boat is typical (yes I am) but the wire does not always come out where you expect it. Yup, sometimes it does not seem to come out anywhere at all, but then sometimes it does, and the beeping coming from the tracer is very satisfying indeed.

Going Wireless

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