Wiring Livewell Timer

FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
I bought a "Big Foot" minute man 3, live well timer at BassPro shop about three weeks ago. It looked very simple to install as I have a toggle switch with an on/off installed and its working fine. I bought the Bigfoot as it has four settings so you don't have to run the live well continuously. The Bigfoot has three bayonet connections. They are: 12Volt input. Output and Negative Ground. I removed the existing toggle switch and disconnected the three wires on the toggle switch and plugged them into the Bigfoot, nothing happened, so I tried switching the wires around, after trying every possible combination I took the Bigfoot back to Basspro and swapped it out for another one. Yesterday I installed the new one and it still doesn't work. I reinstalled the toggle switch and it works fine. I don't know how to troubleshoot the Bigfoot or the installed boat wiring to figure this out. I don't know how to use an Ohm meter to figure out if this switch is bad or it just has to be wired differently. I looked at some reviews on the internet and several people had posted that it didn't work right out of the box. Seems unlikely that I would get two bad switches in a row. Can I use an Ohm meter to determine if the switch is working? I can borrow one from a neighbor, but he doesn't know how to use it either. I would appreciate any input/comments on this. I don't want to get a refund if its just a wiring problem, but $45 and two trips to Basspro shop (50 miles away) and a lot of effort are getting kind of frustrating.

FLCoyote

Replies

  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,304 Officer
    Put the meter on 20 volts DC, the straight lines, not the wavy ones. Connect the black lead to any black wire behind the dash. Connect the red lead to one side of your existing switch and the meter should read 12 volts. Throw the switch if it doesn't and it should read the 12 volts. Connect the timer 12 volt input to the side of the switch that was hot without throwing the switch and the output to the other side. Connect the negative ground to the same black wire your meter is connected to. It should work now. If not, remove the output wire and put your red lead on it and it should read 12 volts if the timer is set to on max.
  • FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
    Alex,

    Thank You Very Much. I'll give it a try in the next couple of days and let you know how it turns out.

    FLCoyote
  • FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
    Alex,

    I bought a multi-meter yesterday and followed the directions very carefully. The switch is defective as no matter how you set the switch there isn't an open circuit. I brought the switch and the multi-meter to work this morning and asked a co-worker who knows what he's doing to check it out and he said the switch just doesn't work. The switch costs $44, and I estimate that I've spent around $50 in gas and tolls going back and forth to Basspro shop. I noticed on the switch package that they are in Arlington, Texas and list a phone number. I'm going to call them this morning and try to get them to mail me a working/pre-tested switch. I have removed the dash on my boat three times and probably spent a total of three hours trying to figure this out. I'm also going to learn how and when to use a multi-meter as I don't know how much time I've wasted in my life trying to troubleshoot electrical problems without one. Thank you again for your input.

    FLCoyote
  • rehartlinerehartline Posts: 777 Officer
    I installed this same switch several years ago and have not had any issues with it. I'm not sure if it a relay or solid state. It may be solid state so you might not read a traditional open circuit. When you first switch it on the output will turn on a run for the run time, which is preset. When you adjust the timer knob you are only adjusting the amount of rest time between cycles.
  • FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
    rehartline, Thank you very much for your input. Point for me is that the existing three wire toggle switch works fine. I transferred the three wires to the Bigfoot and got nothing. I tried every possible combination of the three wires and never even got a buzz on any of the four settings on the Bigfoot. I then swapped the switch out for a new one at Basspro and went through the same process. That is every possible wiring combination for the three wires. When I reinstalled the existing toggle switch it again worked fine. I noted in the reviews of the Bigfoot on the internet that "not working right out of the box" isn't rare. I've tried to call the company in Arlington, Texas but can only get an answering machine and no return calls. If you can think of a reason the Bigfoot won't run with the existing power, output and negative ground wires connected please let me know. The directions on the Bigfoot state that it is a direct replacement for existing switches and I've not been able to get any kind of response from the Bigfoot. Again, thank you for your input.

    FLCoyote
  • FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
    Well, Finally solved the problem. The installed ground wire on my boat didn't actually go to a ground connection. It wasn't required for the initial equipment toggle switch. I ran a ground wire from the Bigfoot to an existing ground terminal an walla it started working fine. I talked to the manufacturer of the Bigfoot and he said that they get a lot of returns and 75% of them were serviceable. He felt that the instructions weren't clear and they were looking at revising them to make it clear that the switch has to have a ground to work and that boat manufactures may not set up a ground wire for a toggle switch and that that's what they think leads to a lot of the returns.

    FLCoyote
  • BD27BD27 Posts: 1,179 Officer
    IMO run your live well at all times. Very little draw on the batteries . I have left a bait well on all day and all night before on 1 battery and the boat fired up the next morning
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