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  1. #1
    Electrical/Wiring/Trolling Motors Moderator Jonestrollingmotor's Avatar
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    Trolling motor batteries with 4 wire system

    OK, quite a few post asking about 4 wires going to a 24V system. First, a little background. In the late 80's/early 90's we didn't have on board chargers. The first onboard charger I remember seeing was in a Basscat somewhere around 92/93. To make charging easier, the 4 prong/4 wire system became standard on several bassboats. This, in effect, moved the 4 battery post up to the boat side of the plug and configured them in such a way as the two negatives were side by side and the two positives were side by side. Putting a jumper in the plug allowed for the 24V jump and gave 24V when wired to the proper terminals, 12V when wired to the proper terminals, so you could achieve 12/24 also with a three wire trolling motor connection. Each positive wire going to the front had it's own breaker. This system allowed for a separate plug to be purchased (usually red) and it was wired internally to two jumpers, one connecting the positives and one connecting the negatives. This plug was wired to the portable battery charger and when ready to charge, you simply plugged the charger into the trolling motor plug. When 36V systems became common, along with onboard battery chargers, this system soon became obsolete.
    So we have several boats still with this system. For those dealing with it, there is two options. Keep as it (if it's working, don't fix it) and when you change batteries, simply make sure you connect each "pair" to a battery. A breaker of the correct size still needs to be in each positive wire going to the plug. Second option is to reconfigure. This must be done carefully since if you connect the wrong pair to the batteries and place the jumper, it could create a dead short when plugged in. To go to a two wire system, you must trace the wires to see what you have. The easiest way to trace them is to remove one pair from one battery, then on the front, identify the pair that has 12V on them and mark them. Remove the other two wires from the front and let that pair just lay in the boat. Now, at the back, take the positive off the positive of bat 1 and move it to the positive of battery two. At the front, place the negative on the terminal that reads bat 1 negative. On Rangers, this is not marked but it goes to the top left (looking at the front of the receptacle, alignment notch at the top) and the positive goes to the bottom left, or to battery 2 positive. At the batteries , place a jumper from the positive of battery 1 to the negative of battery 2. If you have a 36V motor, battery 2 will become battery 3, you'll add battery 2 and place jumpers from battery 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3 in the same manner as above. The front will not change.
    A breaker of correct size will go on the positive wire going to the front. This is the only breaker needed.
    Hope this helps
    John
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    #2
    Thanks Jones for the detailed write up!

    i just bought a 24v Minn Kota to replace my 12v OMC on my 1996 Stratos. I have the "4 wire" set up on my boat from the factory with 6 gauge wiring. It is a 1996 Stratos 268.

    When I go to hook up my new Minn Kota, I'm assuming I can just use my 4 wires and hook them up to my 2 new batteries without using a jumper cable?

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    #3

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    #4

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    #5
    Looks way easier to just drop 2 of the wires and go to a "2 wire". 24v system

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    #6
    Still running the 4 wire setup on my champ with my Ultrex. It has 6G wire and 2 50A breakers on the positives. I have a MK 60A braker to install when I eventually switch it; however the 50's are holding up even at max power in heavy weeds.
    1990 Champion 184DC/FS
    1990 Evinrude 150XP Raker 22P
    2x HB Helix 9SI
    MK Ultrex 80# Ipilot

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    #7
    I have an '84 Ranger that had a 4 wire 10 gauge with a 3 prong plug and no circuit breaker! I replaced it with a 2 wire 6 gauge setup on a 60 amp breaker! I also added a Minkota 60 amp plug and outlet. Works like a charm and I have more power and the charge last longer.

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    #8
    Looks like I have come to the correct place to ask my question. I inherited a 1994 Ranger from my Brother, I know he was using it. But... He was an electrician, I am not. There are 3 batteries in the rear, a single 12V battery (starboard) and 2x12V wired in series for 24V. To winterize the boat, he disconnected all the positive wires. I have the engine and other 12V system running, there was only 1 positive on that side and it could only reach the single 12V battery. Its the other side that is killing me. The rear left/port side has a circuit breaker with 4 wires coming out. One each Black, White, Red, Orange. The black one is connected to the negative side of the 2 battery arrangement, the other 3 are loose. Where do these 3 wires go?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. Electrical/Wiring/Trolling Motors Moderator Jonestrollingmotor's Avatar
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    #9
    He has them jumped at the battery so you will only use one of the positives. The positives are the orange and red. The white and the other positive will remain disconnected. To tell you which (orange or red) to use, I would need to know how the plug receptical is wired.
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    #10
    I recently purchased a 1994 Stratos 201Pro which had an Evinrude 24v trolling motor. It has a switch tochange from 12v to 24v, it was very old hardly moved the boat evenwhen I switched to 24 volt. I figured it was a goner so I purchased anew Minn Kota Fortex 80lbs 24 volt. I installed it on the boat andput the plug from the Evinrude on it. The Evinrude had 3 wires, redblack and white. The Minn Kota has 2 wires red and black. I made noteof the wire orientation so hooked up the Minn Kota red where 24v wasand black where - was and white was left blank.
    The Minn Kota is running slow at fullspeed. So I checked the amount of volts at the plug-in. It was only12 volts. So I looked to see how the 2 trolling motor batteries werehooked up. I discovered they were not in series but had 2 red wiresand 2 black wires running up to the plug each battery having a redand a black
    Each wire was labeled, #1 pos #2 pos #1neg #2 neg. At the receptacle there were 2 pos wires hooked up toit and 1 neg along with a small red wire coming off the receptaclegoing to 3 red wires. Also one of the neg cables is not hooked up tothe receptacle but taped off with 3 black wires hooked to it. I haveincluded photos to see if anybody knows how I can hook this up andwhy was it hooked up this way.
    I think I need to find out what the 3wires run, unhook them and hook the one negative backup to thereceptacle. Then the new Minn Kota will run on 24v.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Ok do not see how to attach photos....
    You can email me and I can send photos...
    rfrains@gmail.com

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    #11
    4 Wire System can use BOTH batteries for 12 or 24 volts - no need to waste the capacity of one battery.
    Charges both batteries from the 12 volt alternator up to 100 amps.
    No need for 3 output shore power charger, a single output charger on the starting battery charges ALL batteries.
    Automatic switching between 12 or 24 volts, no jumpers or switches to change.
    12 volt house loads can be run off Battery #1.


  13. Electrical/Wiring/Trolling Motors Moderator Jonestrollingmotor's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by rfrains2018 View Post
    I recently purchased a 1994 Stratos 201Pro which had an Evinrude 24v trolling motor. It has a switch tochange from 12v to 24v, it was very old hardly moved the boat evenwhen I switched to 24 volt. I figured it was a goner so I purchased anew Minn Kota Fortex 80lbs 24 volt. I installed it on the boat andput the plug from the Evinrude on it. The Evinrude had 3 wires, redblack and white. The Minn Kota has 2 wires red and black. I made noteof the wire orientation so hooked up the Minn Kota red where 24v wasand black where - was and white was left blank.
    The Minn Kota is running slow at fullspeed. So I checked the amount of volts at the plug-in. It was only12 volts. So I looked to see how the 2 trolling motor batteries werehooked up. I discovered they were not in series but had 2 red wiresand 2 black wires running up to the plug each battery having a redand a black
    Each wire was labeled, #1 pos #2 pos #1neg #2 neg. At the receptacle there were 2 pos wires hooked up toit and 1 neg along with a small red wire coming off the receptaclegoing to 3 red wires. Also one of the neg cables is not hooked up tothe receptacle but taped off with 3 black wires hooked to it. I haveincluded photos to see if anybody knows how I can hook this up andwhy was it hooked up this way.
    I think I need to find out what the 3wires run, unhook them and hook the one negative backup to thereceptacle. Then the new Minn Kota will run on 24v.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Ok do not see how to attach photos....
    You can email me and I can send photos...
    rfrains@gmail.com
    Please copy/paste this post in the forum instead of the "pinned" post. Will answer it there as it seems that you are going to need to do more wire tracing. Wecome to the BBC boards.
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bradrodfish View Post
    That should be classified as a 3wire system I believe.

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    #14
    I believe this is what Jones is talking about, basically the jumper is just located at the plug instead of at batteries.


    Images of 3wire and 4wire (4wire is what jones is talking about I believe).
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    Last edited by moetorola; 06-05-2018 at 06:07 PM.

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    #15
    4wire 12 volt charging thru TM plug.

    Note, image shows charging both batteries at the same time. Not the best thing as one battery could be over or under charged.

    You could or should remove jumper on ground terminals at plug to charge batteries individually. So one it battery is not over or under charged.

    In all cases Jumper or Jumpers to be installed in the plug end of charger or Trolling motor, not the socket in boat.

    4WIRE charging.jpg



    Correct me if I am wrong on any of this Jones!
    Last edited by moetorola; 06-05-2018 at 06:05 PM.

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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by moetorola View Post
    4wire 12 volt charging thru TM plug.

    Note, image shows charging both batteries at the same time. Not the best thing as one battery could be over or under charged.

    You could or should remove jumper on ground terminals at plug to charge batteries individually. So one it battery is not over or under charged.

    In all cases Jumper or Jumpers to be installed in the plug end of charger or Trolling motor, not the socket in boat.

    4WIRE charging.jpg



    Correct me if I am wrong on any of this Jones!
    How could one battery be overcharged and not the other? THEY ARE AT THE SAME VOLTAGE.

  18. Electrical/Wiring/Trolling Motors Moderator Jonestrollingmotor's Avatar
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by moetorola View Post
    4wire 12 volt charging thru TM plug.

    Note, image shows charging both batteries at the same time. Not the best thing as one battery could be over or under charged.

    You could or should remove jumper on ground terminals at plug to charge batteries individually. So one it battery is not over or under charged.

    In all cases Jumper or Jumpers to be installed in the plug end of charger or Trolling motor, not the socket in boat.





    Correct me if I am wrong on any of this Jones!
    I don't agree with this statement, nor do I agree with the drawing. This is the drawing I use:

    This connection setup was originally designed to charge both batteries from a single bank charger by using a charge plug. The charge plug had two jumpers going from positive to positive and negative to negative (in the drawing they would be horzontal) Charging two batteries in parallel does not undercharge a battery, however, if left connected and not charging, a battery this is bad will become a load and draw the other battery down. If you had a charger that had to read when the batteries were fully charged, a bad battery could give a misreading and cause the charger to continue charging, however, it would not over charge the good battery since the bad battery is bring the good battery down. There is no reason to disconnect any wires while charging two batteries in parallel, however, if you try to charge two batteries from one charger and the batteries are in series (jumped at the batteries), you have to disconnect a jumper to connect parallel cables. Since in the drawing above, the batteries have no jumper (it's in the plug), nothing needs to be disconnected at the battery.
    John
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Ann-Marie View Post
    How could one battery be overcharged and not the other? THEY ARE AT THE SAME VOLTAGE.
    Yes, the both batteries voltage wise would be at some voltage since they are parallel but not necessarily capacity wise.

    Batteries of different age, manufacture date for a few examples. It is never a good idea to charge two 12volt batteries the are in parallel. They should be monitored separately.
    While the voltage may be the same one battery may reach 100% charge while the other is at 80%. Or vise versa, while one battery has reached 100% the other 80% the charger may over charge the fully charged battery. It really depends on charger being used at the end of the day. The old cheap metal style chargers with no regulation voltage based charging only, I would not trust em.

    It is frowned upon in the industry I work in. When in nearly every case the batteries are left unattended and some cases forgotten about. This method may be fine for charging up, but for float charging long term, as most of us do today, not recommended.

    Luckily with todays chargers having individual banks, each battery is monitored separately we don't have to worry about this. Except in parallel.
    Last edited by moetorola; 06-06-2018 at 06:59 PM.

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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonestrollingmotor View Post
    I don't agree with this statement, nor do I agree with the drawing. This is the drawing I use:

    This connection setup was originally designed to charge both batteries from a single bank charger by using a charge plug. The charge plug had two jumpers going from positive to positive and negative to negative (in the drawing they would be horzontal) Charging two batteries in parallel does not undercharge a battery, however, if left connected and not charging, a battery this is bad will become a load and draw the other battery down. If you had a charger that had to read when the batteries were fully charged, a bad battery could give a misreading and cause the charger to continue charging, however, it would not over charge the good battery since the bad battery is bring the good battery down. There is no reason to disconnect any wires while charging two batteries in parallel, however, if you try to charge two batteries from one charger and the batteries are in series (jumped at the batteries), you have to disconnect a jumper to connect parallel cables. Since in the drawing above, the batteries have no jumper (it's in the plug), nothing needs to be disconnected at the battery.
    John

    My drawing is essentially the same, the only difference.. I did not pay attention to pin locations being horizontal (as it is just an electrical drawing). And I did not indicate plug end, I was drawing as if the charger was plugged in.
    I did however mention that jumper or jumpers would be in plug end not socket end.
    Last edited by moetorola; 06-06-2018 at 06:59 PM.

  21. Electrical/Wiring/Trolling Motors Moderator Jonestrollingmotor's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by moetorola View Post
    My drawing is essentially the same, the only difference.. I did not pay attention to pin locations being horizontal (as it is just an electrical drawing). And I did not indicate plug end, I was drawing as if the charger was plugged in.
    I did however mention that jumper or jumpers would be in plug end not socket end.
    In your diagram 2 of 2, you have the jumper in the plug going diagonally across and the positive and negative wires in the wrong place. It is an electrical drawing, but one the readers here will try to duplicate. We do not like mis information on here.
    John
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