P R E F A C E
Unlike the ﬁrst two books I’ve published that discuss marine electrical installations—
The Powerboater’s Guide to Electrical Systems and the revision work for the second
edition of the classic 12-Volt Bible by Miner Brotherton—Advanced Marine Electrics
and Electronics Troubleshooting is intended to help serve the needs of marine electrical techni-
cians and experienced boatowners who want to use the latest technology and techniques to
troubleshoot onboard electrical problems. These earlier works were intended for the less
experienced boater; this one is not. You won’t see information in this book that explains
Ohm’s law or how circuits are designed. Rather I’ve assumed you’ve already grasped those
concepts and have more than a rudimentary understanding of how electrical power, both
DC and AC, is distributed around a boat.
Over the years, many have accused me of being somewhat of a “gadget freak” because
I’m always conducting seminars or writing magazine articles that discuss the use of sophis-
ticated “toys” of the sort that are mentioned in this book.
It’s true that I am continually employing new and often unrecognized equipment in
my work—not because I feel any particular need to always have the latest gadgets at hand,
but rather because I’m always looking for easier, more efﬁcient, and more exact ways to
accomplish the everyday tasks of the marine electrician. In addition, I’m acutely aware that
modern boats are not getting any easier to work on—at least not in regard to their electri-
cal systems. As the level of sophistication of the modern boat’s electrical system continues
to increase, and the convergence of traditionally distinct electrical and electronic systems
continues, many of the techniques found within this book are going to become as main-
stream as checking the electrolyte level in a battery cell used to be.
I’d like to point out that most of the equipment discussed in this book is really not all
that new, and many readers who have perhaps migrated into boating from information
technology (IT) or telecommunications may recognize some of this equipment and feel
right at home. The new thing here is my application of this equipment to the marine envi-
ronment and the implications of the ﬁndings generated by the equipment.
As boat electrical and electronic systems continue to evolve and to look more like the
computer network of a modern business ofﬁce, the techniques described in Advanced
Marine Electrics and Electronics Troubleshooting will increasingly become the best—and in
some cases, the only—way to get the job done. The digital volt-ohm meter is not dead, of
course, but if it’s the only tool at your disposal for electrical troubleshooting, you simply
will not be able to compete as a professional marine technician. And if you’re not a techni-
cian, but rather the owner of an electronically sophisticated boat, you’ll ﬁnd techniques
here that will make you the master of your boat, not its slave.
If you are looking for ways to save money on equipment for electrical troubleshooting,
or want to learn how to diagnose electrical problems with a traditional, low-cost 12-volt
test light, this book is not for you. But if you want to see how the pros are beginning to do
things, read on. The equipment available to the marine troubleshooter keeps getting bet-
ter and more sophisticated as more and more microprocessor capabilities are integrated
into new meters. The value that you derive from the use of this equipment will quickly
outweigh the initial purchase price, and the beneﬁts will continue to accrue as time goes
on. I hope you beneﬁt from the information and approaches I’ve presented in this book
and, as always, happy boating.