Advice on Replacing Switch Panels on 1999 Sea Ray 270 Sundancer

Discussion in 'Electronics Q&A' started by RVPilot, Jan 26, 2022.

  1. RVPilot

    RVPilot Member GOLD Sponsor

    61
    Sep 11, 2020
    Olympia WA - Puget Sound
    1999 270DA
    7.4 Merc MPI B3
    Hi Folks ...
    I am looking at replacing the 22 year old switch panels, carling switches and actuators, and circuit breakers.

    They are faded, worn, and decidedly look "un ship shape".
    Everything works 100% ... its just unsightly.
    See the below photos.

    I’ve never done electrical work like this on a boat … so here are a few questions that you can hopefully help me with.

    1. Once I remove the 6 screws on each panel… any idea how much slack there might be in the wiring behind the panel enabling me to pull the panel out and get behind it?

    2. What’s the chance that in pulling out a panel that a wire becomes disconnected and I don’t have a clue on where it’s supposed to be reconnected?

    3. If I disconnect all 6 or 7 switches to get the old panel out of the way, how do I keep the 4-5-6 wires that go to each new switch separate so I can re-connect them correctly?

    4. And there are likely 4-5-6 wires behind each switch … how do I keep them straight so the correct wires go onto the right tabs behind each new switch?

    Sorry if these are rudimentary questions.

    This task seems like it might be straight forward, but EVERYTHING works now and I'd hate to undo that View attachment 119358 View attachment 119359 View attachment 119360 … it just looks old and tired.

    I’d really like to freshen it up, but I’m afraid that I’d not be able to reconnect everything correctly.

    Do you have any advice on how to proceed, in simple ABC 123 steps?

    Thanks so much!
    Best, Tom
    IMG_1281.jpeg IMG_1282.JPG IMG_1284.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  2. lawndoctor

    lawndoctor Active Member

    597
    Jun 5, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay & Philadelphia
    2014 Princess 56 Fly & 2002 Sea Ray 225 Weekender
    MAN R6 800s & Bravo III 5.0L
    Loneranger likes this.
  3. RVPilot

    RVPilot Member GOLD Sponsor

    61
    Sep 11, 2020
    Olympia WA - Puget Sound
    1999 270DA
    7.4 Merc MPI B3
    Great, thanks for the 2 resource referrals!
    They look great!

    Any advice on the ABC 123 "how to's" of disconnecting and reconnecting the wires behind the panels?
     
  4. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    There will be slack - not a huge amount, but enough to work with. Since it sounds like this is your first time (and even for the experienced), the key is to take plenty of pictures and tag/label everything REALLY well. You could even go as far as making your own diagram or even a "code" - labelling a wire #1 and the post #1, etc. There's any number of ways to do it - but systematic labelling, of some kind, is paramount.

    New Wire Marine is another source - they will even build a panel with switches already in it. They have lot's of aesthetic options.
     
    Loneranger and Mauler34Rod like this.
  5. RVPilot

    RVPilot Member GOLD Sponsor

    61
    Sep 11, 2020
    Olympia WA - Puget Sound
    1999 270DA
    7.4 Merc MPI B3
    Thanks so much ...
    Best, Tom
     
  6. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    I did my 330. I did not replace the switches, but mine were no where near as "nasty" as yours. The wires were not long so it was a bit of a pain to do them one by one. But it worked. I placed the new panel in front and below the old as I did the switches. The old thread below shows some pictures while it was being done.
    http://clubsearay.com/index.php?threads/official-330-sundancer-thread.12648/page-61#post-666311

    I bought mine from Sea Ray Parts (Flounder Pounder). I think the panels from Technographic may be nicer though. Flounder Pounder sells complete switch sets though.
    https://www.searay-parts.com/Sea-ray-dash-instrument-panel-p/fp-panel270da.htm
    https://www.searay-parts.com/Carling-rocker-switch-p/switchkit270da single.htm
     
  7. RVPilot

    RVPilot Member GOLD Sponsor

    61
    Sep 11, 2020
    Olympia WA - Puget Sound
    1999 270DA
    7.4 Merc MPI B3
    Thanks Creek! Looks like you did it one switch at a time ... with the new panel placed just above and behind the old one. It'd be easy to trade out a new switch for the old along with a new actuator. Did you consider putting actuator covers on that had switch function illustrations on them, vs the blank actuators?
     
  8. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Mine are the OEM ones. Some have lights and some don't. The ones that stay on have thin blue lights in them. You can see them if you look closely. Momentary, like the starter switches and the windshield vent are not lit. The accessory one is a big red light that I am going to swap out eventually to the thin blue to be consistent.
     
  9. SKybolt

    SKybolt Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 11, 2014
    Kent Narrows, MD
    1988 460 EC
    Detroit 6v92TA
    (Low profile's)
    Alison Gears
    Westerbeke
    12.5kw Genset
    @RVPilot - ^^^ this is what you need to do exactly. It can be very easy to replace but to your point, if the wires get mixed, it can take days to figure out. And to Dennis's point of contacting New Wire Marine for the new switches, they are excellent to work with.

    Just understand to pull the panel out very slowly and know that there might not be that much slack in the wires as you think. Take as many pictures as you can of all angles. If possible, work from behind/under the dash for pic's.

    As @lawndoctor said have Tecnografic or Searay-parts.com make identical replacement panels. This is a bigger project then you may think, but is very rewarding when completed. Good Luck!
     
  10. RVPilot

    RVPilot Member GOLD Sponsor

    61
    Sep 11, 2020
    Olympia WA - Puget Sound
    1999 270DA
    7.4 Merc MPI B3
    Thanks so much to everyone ... I am greatly encouraged!
     
  11. lawndoctor

    lawndoctor Active Member

    597
    Jun 5, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay & Philadelphia
    2014 Princess 56 Fly & 2002 Sea Ray 225 Weekender
    MAN R6 800s & Bravo III 5.0L
    Some tips and tricks -

    - Take photos of where everything goes and how everything fits together before you start disassembling or disconnecting anything.
    - To the extent possible, only disconnect one switch at a time, and then reconnect that one before you disconnect another one.
    - When you disconnect the wires from the Carling switches, be extra gentle with the connectors, and for the most part they should stay tight enough to simply be reinserted back onto the corresponding tab of the switch. To the extent they may loosen, you can usually tighten them back up with gentle pressure from needle nose pliers.
    - Before you do the work, figure out the type and size of the wire end connectors and get a supply of them in case you may need to replace any, since sometimes you can't avoid breaking them.
    - From your photo I think those screws are black #8 (or possibly #6, you may need to check). You can order black oxide phillips pan head stainless steel sheet metal screws on line. I got mine from Amazon. Bolt Depot is also a great source for stainless fasterns.
    - Keep some plastic or cloth padding handy and tape it down to the surrounding gel coat with masking tape in areas where the dash pieces or swtiches may rub against the gel coat while you're working. You'd be surprised how easily you can damage the gel coat when working on dash switches and gauges.
    - If you get new dash pieces from Tecnografic, whatever you do don't put any tape of any kind (even the most delicate type of masking tape) on the wood grain surface, as it will pull off the protective clear coat and ruin the piece.

    Overall, if you plan ahead, take your time, and do it methodically, it should be a pretty easy job.
     
  12. RVPilot

    RVPilot Member GOLD Sponsor

    61
    Sep 11, 2020
    Olympia WA - Puget Sound
    1999 270DA
    7.4 Merc MPI B3
    Awesome advice and detail ... thanks so much!
     
  13. MattB92

    MattB92 Active Member

    230
    Nov 9, 2019
    Barrie, Ontario
    1994 Sundancer 270
    7.4 w/Bravo II
    Here's a thread of when I updated mine.

    http://clubsearay.com/index.php?threads/winter-project-done-update-the-helm.103400/

    As other have said, just take LOTS of picture. Sometimes you get lucky and your original wiring will be colour coded and make sense. Some of my wires were spliced like 3 times so nothing really made sense. I just replaced 1 switch at a time. Depends how much you want to spend, getting new panels made would be the ideal situation but you could always vinyl wrap the panels like I did. I've only had 1 summer with them but they held up well and look no different then when I first installed it.

    I also got the switches and covers from new wire marine. No complaints with them
     
  14. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    FYI, if you look in your owner's manual (or download it on SR's site), there should be a wiring diagram showing the gauges and switches. It will match up to the wiring that you physically have... unless someone has been in there hacking away.
     
  15. jmauld

    jmauld Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 9, 2020
    Carolina Beach
    2010 Sundancer 390
    2016 Sea Hunt Ultra 211
    Twin 8.1l of gas guzzling iron
    Newwiremarine makes switches with words on them, so you can get a blank panel.

    I also like the little round push button switches over the rocker switches, but I don’t know if they will match the style of our older boats. I don’t recall seeing anyone use these yet.
     

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