Battery Cable Barb- B- que mystery

Sea HuntSea Hunt Posts: 174 Officer
Part of this mystery starts over a year ago - - I hired Marine contractor " A " - to install a second battery with a Perko battery switch on by boat - everything worked fine. Last week - battery #1 - which was the only battery prior to the upgrade - became dead. I took the dead battery out - there were two red positive cables on the positive terminal ---- there were three negative cables on the negative terminal - BUT - one of the three negative cables was RED !! --- I recall contractor A complaining the job took more cable than anticipated - and as everything had been working fine - I can only assume he WRONGLY used red cable wire for being short on black cable during the install --- I had never realized he did that till I took the dead battery out ! -- I returned to the Marina the next day with a new battery - I put the battery in - connected the negative cables exactly as they had been before ( one was red )
Then I realized I could not find the two red positive cables ! -- The battery is inside a small hatch at the stern - very difficult to even get your head in to look around ! -- Two other guys tried helping me find the two missing red cables ! -- At that time - I was frustrated and could not imagine where these two red cables could have " dissappeared to ! " -- To end this part of the mystery - those two red positive cables - somehow were drawn back into a hidden " Chase " that takes all wires and such to the helm on this center console !
But I did not think of that at the time ! - So I told the in house Marine Contractor " B" what had happened - adding - I guess I'll have to pay you to find where the heck the missing red cables could have gone to ! --- Marine Contractor B starts looking for my missing red cables -- he can't find them either ! - - He then asks me if I am " SURE " that the one red cable is suppose to be on that negative terminal . I said - Yes - I KNOW thats where it was - and I KNOW that was very wrong of contractor A to do that -- but thats definately the way it was ! ---- Contractor B gets his head and hands back into the hatch --- and -- WWHHOOOSSSHHHH !!! -- Smoke comes billowing out of every hatch that was open !! -- The acrid oder of burnt wires permeates the air ! -- people come running with fire extinquishers !! -- It looked like my boat was on FIRE !! ---- I asked him " WHAT DID YOU DO ? " --- He said " ALL I DID - WAS TURN THE SWITCH TO " BOTH " !!!! -- He then said " That other guy never wired this right ! " - - I said " but it worked fine for over a year " --- He then said " Don't worry - I'll fix it - I'll put in all new cables and a new switch -- they all burnt ! ---- At that point in time - the missing red cables were still missing - they were still hidden in that " Chase " way ! -- That night - I finnally thought of the possibility that the red cables could have somehow fallen / or been drawn back into that " Chase "- So went back to the marina to tell contractor B of my possible revellation on where the missing red cables might be ! ! -- Contractor B said -- Yeah - I thought of that as well -- as soon as all the parts are delivered today - I will fix everything - and I'll fix it right !
I said -- I can't understand how just moving the switch to " Both " could have caused all the cables and switch to become fried ! - Are you sure you didn't do something else -- like put that one odd red cable that should have been black -- somewhere else ? --- Contractor B says -- No - All I did was put the switch to both !! - Thats when the wires all burnt !
At that point - I had a hunch that was not a true fact -- but had an idea " B" was accepting some blame - and I was not paying for whatever really happened !! -- Well -- I was sure WRONG on that ! --- I later get a bill for close to $300. to replace the battery cables and switch ! --- I question this bill -- and am told they are only chargeing me near half of what the job really cost in parts and labor ! ( That is about the same price I paid to contractor A - for a extra battery , cables , switch and labor ! )
SO - The $64,000. question !!!
Is what contractor B told me even possible ? ( 3 negative cables on battery one are connected to negative terminal -- the two positive cables still hiding in the chase -- battery 2 cables were still untouched and in appropiate order
in that state ---- turning the battery switch to " Both " - CAN FRY ALL THE CABLES AND SWITCH ?! -- I'm no expert - but doubt thats possible ! - I'm feeling a bit screwed - but not sure if by contractor A or contractor B - or both ! -- Thanks for any input on this battery cable barb - b- que mystery to me !


  • spinfreakspinfreak Posts: 5,204 Admiral
    If the switch was turned to both, then the wires were live, and if a live wire touches a negative wire or something metal, then it'll fry whatever it's touching. He shouldn't have turned anything on without knowing where the ends of the wires were, but it's not completely his fault for somebody else's screw up. You should have secured the loose wires after you disconnected them, and the first mechanic should have used the correct color wire in the first place.

    I've used "wrong" color wires in the past, but I knew what they were, and I was going o be the only one ever touching/moving them. If anybody else will ever be touching the wires, they should be the correct color so there's never any doubt.
    Exiled Dungeon Master of The Freakshow :cool:
    YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP! Seriously. Do it for yourself and loved ones. You have issues
  • Sea HuntSea Hunt Posts: 174 Officer
    Thanks for your input -- Yes it was wrong for the first guy to use a red cable that should have been black - but I made it clear thats the way it was to this second contractor !--( when the new fix was done - it was confirmed that one red cable was suppose to be black ! )
    I thought I " secured " the red positive cables good enough by useing a twist tie to hold them together - they were in plain sight ! What I did not anticipate good enough - was that the cables obviously moved about when the fork lift put the boat away on wed - then put it back in a work cradle on thur.-- guess they got jostled down during those moves ! ---- At the onset -- the battery selector was in the battery # two position ---- I was replacing battery # 1
    I have no idea why the second guy decided to try switching to the " both " position --- he had not yet found the missing positive red cables that I asked him to find ! ---- ( they were still out of sight in that pvc like " Chase " - so were not connected to the batterys - I believe they go to the console ) ---- The only " loose cables " -- were the missing red positive cables ---- I'm still not certain that could have fried the cables ---- but lean towards he experimented putting the one red cable - that should have been black ! - to the positive terminal - then for unknown reason - switched to " Both "!
    The unconnected missing red positive cables had no metal to contact inside that pvc / chase tube --- I still don't understand what happened to fry the wiring --- it sounds like both contractors bore a contributing negligence factor --- but I got stuck paying for their errors !
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