Whether for business or pleasure, a boat at sea needs an unfaltering engine and equipment. The engine is the heart of a boat. It does more than just propel the vessel. The engine also operates navigational aids and systems, winches, pumps and other on-board auxiliary equipment.

Volvo Penta of the Americas (Chesapeake, VA) produces engines for commercial, leisure, industrial and racing boats. "The second largest warranty issue in the recreational boating industry is related to electrical wiring, only exceeded by the fiberglass, itself," says Bobby Henninger, director of new product development at Volvo Penta.

Cabletest Systems Inc. (Markham, ON, Canada) has addressed the marine industry’s wire testing requirements with its Horizon cable and harness tester. The cable and harness tester allows boat manufacturers like Volvo Penta to do in-process and final testing of electrical wiring harnesses as part of their manufacturing process.

The unit performs functional tests on the boat and helm wire assemblies, and runs a final test with 100 percent interconnect verification in less than 3 minutes. This verifies the correct placement and wiring of all the gauges, radios, pumps, bilges, engine sensors and navigational lights.

The unit uses a personality test module that contains a series of resistors, diodes and direct signals of the test module. Application-specific software allows for separate results for each helm.

The operator uses a handheld control module to respond to a series of preprogrammed commands. This interactive test procedure runs through the complete vessel test. Thus, the operator is able to verify that each boat component is functioning correctly. A pass or fail message is indicated for each step of the test process.

The test system can be powered with dockside power at 110 volts or via boat batteries at 12 volts.

For more information on cable and harness testers, call 800-495-1998 or visit www.cabletest.com.