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Thread: Rewiring OMC Controls

  1. #1

    Default Rewiring OMC Controls

    Maybe somebody can quickly explain how I go about re-wiring the controls on my OMC set so that I can start it in any position, not just neutral? A couple guys I know have had it done and it seems like a good idea for running rivers when you need to quickly start the motor and finding that neutral sweet spot can take precious time away as you drift downriver. I appreciate any information, thanks.

  2. #2
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    The easiest way would be to look at a wiring diagram and see why it will only start in neutral. With out a wiring diagram, I would see where the wires go when you are in neutral. You can trace the wires by using a meter or follow them. Once you know where the wires go, it simple matter to figure out what you need to do to fix the problem. The reason for having the engine in neutral is for your safety, do you really want to bypass the neutral?

  3. #3

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    I'll have to see if I can just get a hold of the guys with them already wired that way. I'm sure I want to wire it up that way after using one that had it done. I know that there's obviously a safety issue with it and making sure that you're not full throttle is a key piece of that. When the neutral goes out, which happened to a friend last year, they ended up jumpering it anyways since that was the only way to get it to start. I've been up a couple rivers where I sucked up something that gave me absolutely zero power (large flat piece of birch bark with curled up ends) and had to clear it quickly and jump back on the controls, only to waste precious moments finding that neutral spot so I could get back in control. Nerve racking moments and luckily they worked out fine, but I'd feel better knowing I could start it at any second.

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    Once you find out how to do it, there is one way you could have it both ways, have a separate push button switch, when you push it in you can start the engine in any position or put the control in neutral to start, that way you could not accidently start it in forward.

    Good luck, stay safe.


    Did you have a problem on the Copper?

  5. #5

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    You're right, a switch could easily be put in that would allow it to be started in any position as well. I'll have a look at my friends and see what the switch setup would take to do as well.

    I wasn't on the Copper, I was way up the Chena River and there were lots of sweepers and quick current. Amazing what a chunk of Birch bark will do to a jet...pretty much a driftboat after that until it's cleared.

  6. #6

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    Yep, a momentary switch would do it without the risk of someone else starting it in gear by accident.

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    If you know how to jump your boat, you could put the boat in neutral and run a 12 ga. wire from the battery + to the starter relay and see if it will start. If it does I would then see if it will start in forward and reverse position. If it does you have your answer and all you need to do is add the proper switch.

  8. #8
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    Seems pretty straight forward to me. There is most likely a series loop with a neutral switch that is triggered by the location of the throttle lever. If you open it up and find that switch you may be able to activate it by hand and then bump over the motor to verify you got it right. I would bet 99% it is going to be a normally open switch so all you would need to do is install a normally open momentary switch somewhere in the control box housing and run a wire from each of switch poles to each side of the neutral switch. This would put the new switch in parallel with the existing one so as long as either the boat was neutral OR you had the button pushed down you would be able to start er up.

  9. #9

    Default All good ideas

    Thanks for the ideas guys, I like the idea of jumping the motor from the battery with a switch, I had to do this last weekend on a buddies boat since the solenoid was dying and locked up. That'd be a quick and easy method to get an instant start in any position and no need to get into the controls messing with things.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    Thanks for the ideas guys, I like the idea of jumping the motor from the battery with a switch, I had to do this last weekend on a buddies boat since the solenoid was dying and locked up. That'd be a quick and easy method to get an instant start in any position and no need to get into the controls messing with things.
    How much do you know about electronics? My honest assessment from reading this is not very much. I am not saying that to be rude but to get a good idea of what you know before you set out to do something like this.

    Lets take a look at some info:

    From boat fix . com
    In a load test for a battery we have to maintain a terminal voltage of 9.6 volts for 15 seconds. Do you know why? All 12-volt starters are designed to operate and perform efficiently at 9.5-10 volts under load. As a matter of fact, performance curves for starter output efficiency are performed at 10 volts. When a starter operates on voltages below 9.5 volts, the output is dramatically reduced and will cause the starter to overheat. When a starter is first engaged, the current required can be as high as 300 to 400 amps for a V8 engine. Once the starter is spinning it requires much less current. If the battery can't supply enough current at 9.5-10 volts to get the starter spinning at its rated rpm, the starter will draw excessive current and heat up severely.
    So lets figure that a smaller motor takes 250 amps to start. Now you need to select the wire size. There is resistance in every wire and switch and it is usually calculated per foot of wire. The smaller the wire the hotter it will get AND the more voltage the wire will drop (remember we need 9.5 volts). There are numerous wire calculators on the web you can use to do this, just remember you are looking at DC voltage when you find one. Take a look at your battery to starter connection. That big wire there you will need one quite a bit larger than that (and marine grade$) run all the way to your "switch" and back. Your switch will have to be designed for high amperage (250+ amp) which are expensive and not common. Ultimately what I am getting at here is a direct "jumper" from the helm is an awful idea.

    I imagine you have heard the term starter solenoid before. The purpose of a starter solenoid is to allow a fairly small amount of current (amps) to trigger a set of heavy duty contacts that provide a path for the large current to drive the starter motor. The actual ignition switch carries very little current through it which is why there are only little wires running into your control box. When you jump your starter solenoid you are providing a high current path around those contacts.

    Whatever you do you will need to stay on the low amperage side of the starting system. You will need to activate the starter solenoid, not "jump" it. High current in a skinny wires over long runs is a recipe for FIRE, and fire on a boat is never a good thing. If it were me I would use the existing wires that are already there and just wire up a button that allows you to defeat the neutral lock-out.

    I am not a boat mechanic but my electronics knowledge is based on a decade of repairing high end diagnostic imaging equipment worth millions. If I made a habit of catching it on fire I would have been unemployed many years ago!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    Maybe somebody can quickly explain how I go about re-wiring the controls on my OMC set so that I can start it in any position, not just neutral? A couple guys I know have had it done and it seems like a good idea for running rivers when you need to quickly start the motor and finding that neutral sweet spot can take precious time away as you drift downriver. I appreciate any information, thanks.

    Step 1) get a ON/OFF key lock switch from your local electrical supply store
    Step 2) mount the switch in the boat, on panel would be a good spot
    Step 2) open the remote control and find the netural lock out switch this switch will be a micro switch riding against a cam that actuates the switch as you shift in and out of netural, it will be the only switch in the remote control
    Step 3) add a jumper length of wire from each switch terminal that has a wire on it to the new switch terminals, it doesnt mater which terminal on the old switch is jumpered to which terminal on the new switch, DO NOT remove the wires from netural lock out switch just jumper them to the new switch
    Step 4) Close up

    This will allow you to use a key to bypass the netural lock out when running the river, when the key is on the motor will start reguardless of power lever position. When the key is off it will start in the netural position only.

    Stick the key in your pocket when not in use to keep others from starting it in gear unknowenly

  12. #12

    Default Electronics

    Jonsboat,
    I like that idea. Safe, controllable by me, and simple. Thanks for the details on the micro-switch and such, I'll take a look at it this weekend.

    Lujon,
    No offense taken, I was doing a fairly quick post, just scouting for responses. I'm familiar with electronics in so much as amperage, resistance, loads, and basic safety is concerned. Thanks for the information as well.
    Last edited by snowcamoman; 06-10-2010 at 14:15. Reason: typo

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    Jonsboat,
    I like that idea. Safe, controllable by me, and simple. Thanks for the details on the micro-switch and such, I'll take a look at it this weekend.

    Lujon,
    No offense taken, I was doing a fairly quick post, just scouting for responses. I'm familiar with electronics in so much as amperage, resistance, loads, and basic safety is concerned. Thanks for the information as well.
    Yep, do exactly what Jonsboat said and you will be all set. If you take your time you shouldn't have any problem. You may be able to mount the new switch close to your existing ignition so that you could activate both simultaneously w/ one hand. It just depends on your boats layout.

    Jonsboat, that is exactly what I was getting at on my first post but you did a much better job of simplifying it! Too much time working in an electronics field I guess makes me forget everyone doesn't speak the language... ----> Rep sent!

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    Default Let me get this strait

    you want to by pass the neutral safety switch , so that you can start it in gear.
    Hope you've got a good lawyer.
    I've worked on boats 18 years, seen enough lawsuits over that issue, that I don't care the reason I'd never by pass a factory installed safety switch.
    Just beecause some one else does it doesn't make it smart. save your self the grief and get a small kicker to troll with or and electric trolling motor.
    Removing the aspect of the safety switch , is like sticking a penny in a fuse, in stead of a fuse. the fire department will void your insurance. Hate to think what coast guard would do .

  15. #15

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    Arleigh,
    It's for cases when the boat is drifting down a small river with a quick current and I need to get it started in an instant after clearing the jet of debris. I'd rather take the small safety risk with an additional key that I use than get my boat and possibly my life sucked into an outer bank. I don't insure my boat, it's simply not worth paying those crooks for. They probably void any claim on rivers in Alaska anyways knowing how they operate. If I ever sold the thing, I'd make it the way the manufacturer had it, but I don't sell outboards once I get them, so I'm not concerned.

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