Houseboat noises - loud hum sound running 12V lights?

by Shirley
(Roanoke, Va)

Schematic of 12v houseboat converter charging system

Schematic of 12v houseboat converter charging system

We have a 1997 Catamaran Cruiser Aquacruiser houseboat we bought used almost 2 years ago. The boat stays hooked up to shore power in the slip 24/7.


We went to the marina to check on it this evening and do a few chores. I turned on the bathroom lights and we soon noticed a ridiculously loud and deep hum coming from somewhere in the front of the boat (salon/living room/kitchen area).

The bath has an overhead 12V that looks like the rest and a vanity bar light that are both wired to the same wall switch and both 12V.

We had other overhead 12V lights on that had been on for some time, and we were running a heater plugged into an outlet as well as a plug in lamp or two.

When I turned off the bath lights it stopped. The overhead in the bath can be turned off using a switch on the light so I tried turning it off and leaving the vanity bar on and the noise got quieter.

The hum seemed to be coming from the port side near the front deck of the boat, which is confusing because there is nothing there. The steering column houses the main switches that turn the 12V lights on and off and it's on the starboard side opposite where the noise seemed to come from.

The power inverter/converter and fuse panel is midship in a starboard closet and as far as I know the batteries are in a compartment on the rear deck.

We have never heard this before and we use the 12V lights all the time as we stay overnight often in season and we use lights and items plugged into the wall outlets too.

We have tripped a breaker before; it's always the same one. Also there is a track light over the kitchen counter that began flickering last fall so we stopped using it in case there's a short.

I assumed the 12V system is separate from these items and that they are designed to only run on shore power because our other boat was this way, but I could be wrong.

Any insight? Was the hum from using too much 12V power at once? Too much power overall?

Shirley from Roanoke, Va


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Reply - Answer


Hi Shirley, thanks for posting in the Houseboat Forums.

Sorry to hear about the issue that you are having. If I were you, I would have a look at these three possible areas.

1) I would have a good look at the 120v/12v charger/converter system to be sure that it is operating correctly.

2) I would also have a look at the overall condition and water levels in your 12v house batteries.

3) Finally, as a troubleshooting step, try and shut all your 12v lights off, and slowly turn them on 1 at a time, to see if there is an issue with one of your 12v circuits.

Hopefully this will help you uncover the issue you are having.


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their related 12v houseboat experiences and tips.

Feel free to use the CLICK HERE TO POST COMMENTS link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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