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Intermittent Port gauges not working

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Matt Clark, Jun 9, 2021.

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  1. Matt Clark

    Matt Clark New Member

    Sep 14, 2019
    Sylvan Lake, MI
    I have a 1990 Ocean 44 Supersport with 671 TIB Detroit Diesels. On my last hour long run, all gauges worked fine then we stopped for dinner for a couple hours. On the way back to marina all port gauges were not functioning (except tach which is connected directly to engine). Got back to marina and after turning off the engines and then restarting 10 minutes later, the gauges then worked fine on the port side.

    I am guessing this is just a loose wire on the ignition maybe as I assume the gauges are tied to it?.., however getting to that push button ignition button under the panel is not easy. There are also no keys used to start my engines so nothing to jiggle for a potential fix.

    I tried to use my endoscope camera to look under the dash but I couldn't tell what I was looking at as it was a sea of wires and connections. I am nervous to attempt to take out all the screws to take out the the entire panel as I might screw up other stuff. I confirmed that there are no separate breakers for the panel and gauges so I rules out tripping a breaker. No clue where the fuses would be located if relevant. Maybe there is something in the engine compartment I can check that would be easier to get to? Any thoughts?

    If no ideas I will have to get into the marina service cue and they are out at least two weeks to even look at this intermittent issue which of course is the worst to try to troubleshot. Thanks
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Mar 14, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    It'll take '2 weeks plus the actual work time' to do something you can do in a few minutes once you find the right angle (the one the marina's mechanic will get in ). In the mean time you can probably fix your boat yourself in an hour and you'll save a bunch of money, AND learn valuable information about your boat. Keep some ALEVE around for later and you'll do fine. Remember, it's your boat. If you screw something up you'll fix it or hire someone to fix it which is what you're already looking at. So no way to lose.
    Btw, I think you'll find your lose connection at your wiring harness. In the engine room.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
  3. v10builder1

    v10builder1 Senior Member

    Sep 22, 2012
    Centreville/Kent Narrows, MD
    Each of the gauges has 12V power, ground, and signal connections, and 1 or 2 connections for illumination (ground and switched 12V). Usually, the ground and the 12V power is daisy chained from one gauge to the next - that's why the one issue affects all the gauges. Since you said you don't have key switches, the power for the gauges likely comes from the engine main switches - since other loads work OK, problem lies in the conductors/connections for this circuit located physically close to the gauges. Either 12V missing from the gauge power circuit at/near the gauges or ground at same location. Start pushbutton is not likely involved unless the 12V terminal is used as a tie point for other panel loads. The gauge illumination circuit might share the ground of the gauge power. If this is correct, and the gauge illumination works when the gauges don't, this indicates the ground is OK. These gauge connections are usually ring (or worse, fork) terminals on studs in the rear of the gauges. Could just be a loose nut on one of these studs - sometimes 2 wires are crimped on the same ring terminal - not too good. Gently poke an INSULATED OR NON-CONDUCTIVE stick or dowel around just these connections with the circuit powered and see if anything changes. Or call a tech.

    Luck is downstream from preparation.
    Zud likes this.