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How to Wire an Electric Start Outboard

by David Machado
Look inside the engine compartment.

Look inside the engine compartment.

Electrical components in boats are very similar to their counterparts in automobiles. A basic knowledge of low-voltage circuits and how they operate is required in both instances. The ability to trace electrical circuits can be easily learned as the work is performed and does not require a technical education in the field of electronics. Familiarity with the use of voltage and resistance meters can be helpful but is not necessary for working with simple circuits.

  1. Put on safety glasses. Locate the battery and identify the positive terminal. Disconnect the large, red #6 wire from the positive terminal using a small wrench to loosen the terminal nut.

  2. Locate the starter solenoid, which is just a powerful relay that turns the starter when activated. Locate the two large terminals on it. Loosen the two large terminal nuts. Trace the large, red #6 wire just removed from the battery's positive terminal.and place the spade tip on its other end under either large terminal nut on the starter solenoid. Tighten the solenoid terminal nut securely.

  3. Locate the starter. Locate the large positive terminal on the starter. Loosen the terminal nut on it. Connect a #6 wire to the starter positive terminal by placing its spade clip under the large nut. Tighten the starter terminal nut securely.

  4. Connect the other end of the same #6 wire from the starter to the other large terminal on the solenoid by placing its spade clip under the solenoid terminal nut. Tighten the solenoid terminal nut securely.

  5. Locate the small spade terminal on the solenoid. Plug one end of a #12 wire on the small spade terminal on the solenoid. Locate the starter button. Locate the starter button spade terminals. Plug the other end of the #12 wire on either spade terminal on the starter button.

  6. Locate the fuse panel. Locate a vacant spade terminal on the positive side of the fuse panel that is marked 30 amps.

  7. Plug one end of a #12 wire to a 30-amp spade terminal on the positive side of the fuse panel. Plug the other end of the same #12 wire to the vacant spade terminal on the starter button.

  8. Check that all connections have been made accurately according to the directions given and confirm that they are tight. Reconnect the large, red #6 wire to the positive battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver kit
  • Wrench kit

About the Author

David Machado has written technical and home improvement articles since 2008. He received his education in electronics and computer technology from Bell Labs. After retiring from Bell South in 1989, he attended Midlands Technical College. He received his Residential Builders License from the state of South Carolina in 1991.

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