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Black Box Techniques

Chapter IX. Black Box Installation


This schematic shows the layout of the Black Box installation. Run the wires in out-of-the way places on the boat and connect them as shown.






































  1. Run positive and negative power leads from an electrical source that is connected to the boat battery to the location where you will mount your Black Box. Connect these leads to the female quick disconnect socket. Be sure to connect the positive lead to the terminal matching the red wire on the plug on the Black Box. If this line is not fused, it is recommended that you do so to protect against shorts. A five or ten amp fuse will be adequate. Do not run the Black Box from positive or negative terminals that are heavily loaded with other equipment like radios, fish finders etc. Overloaded circuits can cause distortions in the voltage the Black Box places on your downrigger. If you have heavily loaded circuits, you need to run a new positive and negative lead from your boat battery to the Black Box.

  2. If you are going to run multiple downriggers on the Black Box, you should locate the distribution post near the stern of the boat. Thread the white wire coming out of the quick disconnect plug to the distribution post. Try to locate this wire where it is protected and you won't trip over it. Most boats have wire bundles running down the side gunnels.

  3. Run a connecting wire from the distribution post to the vicinity of each downrigger location.

  4. Thread the contact sleeve onto your downrigger cable and connect it to the white plug in wire. Secure the contact sleeve wire lead to the downrigger boom with the two cable ties included with the kit. Place the contact sleeve far enough out on the boom to avoid interfering with the downrigger operation, usually about 12 inches. You should attach the cable ties approximately 1 inch apart and positioned on the boom so that the contact sleeve does not interfere with the normal lead-in of the cable into the downrigger spool. The heads of the cable ties should be on the opposite side of the boom from the white wire so that they can be pulled tight. Plug the wire on the downrigger wire into the lead coming from the distribution post.


Note: The Black Box should be mounted where it can be unplugged and removed when not in use. It is moisture resistant, but not waterproof. It should be removed and stored in a dry area.

The Black Box can be mounted on any vertical or horizontal surface. It should be mounted in a dry location. It is water resistant but not waterproof.

The contact sleeve should be mounted so it rides the wire but does not pull the wire out of its normal track.

Using the Black Box with the internal 9 volt battery


  1. Open the compartment on the back of the Black Box and install a 9-volt battery. With a quality battery the Black Box will normally operate for up to 70 hours.

  2. Installation for battery operation is the same as with the boat battery.

  3. The Black Box can have the 9 volt battery installed and be connected to the boat battery at the same time. If you have the 9-volt battery installed, you can use the Black Box to check your boat's bonding condition.  To do this, disconnect the boat positive connection at the battery terminal.  Your boat must be in the water to make this test.  Turn on the Black Box and place the mode switch in the Natural Voltage position; if your bonding is in good shape, you should get a reading between .600 and .800 volts.  If you don't get readings in this range, you have problems and need to use the procedures outlined at the beginning of this chapter to correct them.  As you check all the grounding points, line connections and zincs, watch the read-out on the Black Box.  As you correct the problem(s) the read-out should end up near the normal galvanic voltage of .800 volts. 

  4. To use the Black Box with only the internal 9 volt battery, you must have the negative wire (black) coming from the Black Box connected to your motor or another grounded part on the boat.

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