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Author Topic:   Kill Switch Installation
stefan posted 04-22-2004 02:14 PM ET (US)   Profile for stefan   Send Email to stefan  
I was thinking about fixing the kill switch. Nothing is connected [to the kill switch], so what [wire] goes where?


tlynch posted 04-22-2004 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for tlynch  Send Email to tlynch     
Your Emergency Kill Switch will have two wires coming from it. When the lanyard is connected, the circuit will be made, when the lanyard is pulled out, the circuit is broken. You can test the switch by testing the resistance across the wires in both cases, there will be very little resistance when the lanyard is connected and infinite resistance when it is disconnected.

From your key switch there are a few wires. There should be an ignition wire (possibly marked I) and a starter wire (possibly marked S). Once you turn the switch to the on position the ignition wire is connected. When you turn the key further to start, the start wire is connected as well.

You want to put your emergency kill switch inline with your ignition wire.

Your neutral safety switch goes inline with the start wire.

Hope this helps.


Chuck Tribolet posted 04-23-2004 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
What engine?

Some kill switches work differently from what tlynch described.
On my 97ish Evinrude 90, it's the TRANSITION of the switch
that kills the engine. It will run with lanyard in, or the
lanyard out, but if the switch passes through the middle
position, the engine electronics shut down the engine. I'd
guess that the transition temporarily closes a switch.
The advantage of this setup is that you can run it without
the lanyard if your NEED to.

Though the one I really like is on my buddies M170. It's
just a toggle switch. If the switch is forward, the engine
runs, if it's back, it doesn't run. The lanyard just yanks
the toggle switch.


stefan posted 04-25-2004 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for stefan  Send Email to stefan     
thanks guys, I'll take a look today. It's a 83 Johnson 140.

Also, I'm going to have to but a lanyard, I should be able just to get that part right?

lucky 13 posted 04-26-2004 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for lucky 13  Send Email to lucky 13     
I just purchased a kill switch for my 15. It has an early eighties Johnson 70 hp. The instructions call for grounding the ignition wire not just interupting the curcuit. If your wiring has the satandard colors used by Jonson, the kill switch needs to be connected as follows:

Connect one side of the kill switch to ground (black wire in the stock harness) and connect the other side of the kill switch to the ignition wire (yellow wire with black stripe on stock harness).

I initially thought that interupting the ignition circuit by putting the switch in line with the ignition wire was the way it would be wired , but the insructions for the switch installation (came with the switch)call for the grounding of the ignition on this make and year.

Additionally, spare lanyards are available through several sources. I have seen one that has a number of different attachments (universal)that come with it so it can be used on several styles of switch.

jimh posted 04-26-2004 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't think you can make accurate generalizations about the wiring of a safety lanyard and kill switch. It would be dangerous to follow anecdotal advice about the installation of important safety equipment.

I urge you to purchase the proper safety switch and to follow the installation instructions.

I do not believe that all Kill switch designs work the same way. Some may operate by providing a contact closure in the normal position, while some may work exactly the opposite and provide a contact closure in the abnormal position. I do not see any way that one could infer the proper wiring in this situation without having more information about the engine and the particular switch on hand.

On my c.1987 Yamaha engines, there is a specific wire in the engine remote control harness which is used with the safety lanyard switch. The details of the wiring are clearly shown in the owner's manual. I anticipate that the owner's manual for your OMC engine will have similar details of the wiring in it, too.

If you don't have an owner's manual for your engine you should give consideration to purchasing a replacement. The owner's manual contains a great deal of information about your engine which will be very useful to have.

lucky 13 posted 04-26-2004 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for lucky 13  Send Email to lucky 13     
I agree with Jimh that you should not assume all of these are alike. In a different thread Jimh and I discussed that the wiring is perhaps less trivial than we both originally thought. The more I pontificate about this the more questions I am coming up with about the design and function of the switch and the method the engine uses to "kill" the power.

I have just completed the necessary research to properly wire the switch for the subject make and year of engine (83 Johnson 140 shows the same as my 81 70 hp) and identified the wire colors. Whether the switch is closed or open in the "set position" can be determined by the method tlynch describes. The switch would have to be in the open postion to work on the subject engine whereas interupting of the circuit by putting the switch inline with the ignition wire would prevent the engine from running when the switch is in the set position. This leads me to believe that this is less a matter of what the engine wiring likes and more how the switch is designed. The switch should be designed to fail safe (mine is not). That is to say that if the switch fails to work (ie make contact) that the boat will not run (as in the circuit interupt method). The method that my switch works by (grounding the ignition wire) will allow the boat to run when the switch has failed or even removed. In order to ensure propper safety with the switch and engine combination I have, it needs to be tested prior to operation.

In this regard, I feel that it would be safe to use this advice to wire your switch on this make and year knowing what has been discussed thus far. However, back it up with some research (as I have) and do test it to ensure that it functions properly.

jimh posted 04-26-2004 08:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think the wiring of a safety switch (Kill Switch or Emergency Stop Switch) that supplies a contact to ground when the switch is operated is a fairly common arrangement. There was recently a highly publicized incident involving a United State Coast Guard patrol boat (a Boston Whaler) where the crew were thrown from the boat, and although wearing the lanyard, the safety switch failed to operate and stop the boat. Eventually, the boat allided with pilings and another moored boat, and the impact ripped the console from the hull. The motors were still running. Finally, to stop the motors, someone had to board the boat and tear out the console wiring until the circuit running the motors was interrupted.

For more details on the Coast Guard incident, see:

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