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Volvo D2 55C panel status light

I'd like to install a WakeSpeed 500 onto my Volvo D2 55C engine (we have a Benateau 423). The brown wire that is used to send voltage to the Volvo's existing electronic panel (and tells it that the alternator is working properly...see attached schematic) seems to be happy if it gets a system voltage. But I'd like to go with the Wakespeed 500 which has a different setup (i.e. the #2 wire in the to dash lamp "goes to ground" if there's a fault.

So I'm wondering how I would connect this up to the #2 wire in the "goes to dash lamp" part of the wakespeed 500's larger wiring harness." Do I use a relay to do this somehow? If someone can explain how this work's you guys have got a sale from me.

Also can the wakespeed handle a 250 amp (external rectifier) alternator?

Uploaded files:

Hey David,

It seems your interposing relay idea is the solution that tech support recommends as well. Here is their response.

The solution I found for the D255 and others with the + signal for the dash lamp is to use the dash wire from the regulator to activate a Tyco or similar 30A relay. Depending on the signal that’s required, a normally on or normally off relay can be used. The negative signal from the regulator can be used on the switched side of the relay to open or close, and the positive voltage can be passed through to the electronic panel. That’s the $20 solution, and probably the easiest from an installer’s perspective as well.

As for the high output alt, that's easy, Yes. The WS500 field output driver circuit is designed for a minimum of 30 amps so even if your field is running at 10 or 12 amps you are good to go. (For high amp solutions contact us and we will get you a custom harness with an upgraded field wire that can handle 20 plus amps, typically only needed when you are controlling more than one alternator with a single WS500)

Hope this helps !!

One of our long time supporters has actually created a nice wiring diagram for this application.  He has also gone further and included a drawing for panels without key switches that do not provide an "Enable" point for the #1 brown ignition wire.  A big shout out for Ben.  Thanks! (from admin)

From Ben:

Yes I used this solution also a few times, see my drawing in attachments.

Another solution I use more often, but maybe to confuse for user:
I skip the function from the alternator light, because the user has a battery monitor.
I supply the horn on point 5 from a positive(only + if ignition is on), this way the panel worked as normal.
No relay needed. That's why I was confused with your answer.
Leave the brown volvo penta wire disconnected.

I attached the diagram from inside volvo penta panel, handy if you dont have.
Also another diagram I made a while ago.
A solution if no enable signal is available, as on some new volvo penta panels/engine wire.
If you have a better solution for this let me know



Uploaded files:
  • Diagram-for-VOLVO-PENTA-new-panel-that-only-provide-a-stop-and-start-signal.-not-ignition-on-signal-version-2.png
  • diagram-ws500-to-old-style-dashboard-light-volvo-penta.png
  • volvo-penta-dasboard-box-with-lights-control.PNG

Thanks for your explanation Ben.  Some of these drawings look relatively complex but the drawing in the middle looks pretty simple and it also looks like what's on my boat (lucky...I can undrstand it!   sort of....).   But I have a couple of questions about it.

  1. I'm wondering why the loop that includes the light seems to connect back up with the original line in from the ignition (i.e. it leaves the ignition, goes to the light, then back to the relay, and then back to the same line it left?   So I'm wondering why it needs to connect back to the original ignition connection.    Does this somehow stop stray voltages?   I'm just curious and it would be good to see how my boat is wired.
  2. The other question has to do with why this  this relay is needed. Couldn't the light just go  to the “feature out” wire which just shows ground when needed?   Again I'll hazard a guess and maybe save you from spending time typing.  Does this keep the warning light either attached to the same voltage from the ignition, or  directly to ground, and in so doing avoids the possibility that there might be a difference between the ignition voltage, and whatever voltage that the feature out presents when it is not to ground.   So it keeps differences in voltage clean and keeps it from affecting other parts of either circuit?

Again I'm just curious, and any indication of how this works would be much appreciated.   With much thanks.




1. nothing about stray voltage.
In original situation, the Volvo panel gets a negative or positive from alternator connection "L/61"

In they diagram, the relay supply this voltage to the light.

It does not mater from where the positive for the relay is taken.

2. If you use a light or LED, you can only connect the "feature out" to this light and it will work.
BUT you DON'T use a light, you use a Volvo panel.

The Volvo panel is inside unnecessarily complicated.
It need a positive on the "previous" L/61 alternator connection on this Volvo box, if not done, than your oil and temperature alarm is also not working.


Another solution, to connect the IGN on signal to the "previous" L/61 alternator connection on this Volvo box.

Dont connect, feature out from WS500 and also not the original L connection.

You probably hear a beep when you switch on IGNITION, but this is the easiest solution.

4. see the earlier mention in first post.

Another solution I use more often, but maybe to confuse for user:
I skip the function from the alternator light, because the user has a battery monitor.
I supply the horn on point 5 from a positive(only + if ignition is on), this way the panel worked as normal.
No relay needed.
Leave the brown volvo penta wire disconnected.




Hi Ben:

Thanks for explaining what's going on here.  I am going to try to rephrase what you have said to make sure that I--an  electrical neophyte--understand what you have said.

  1.  The positive only needs to come from one place.  the ground side of the light is just parked on the relay for convenience.
  2. The relay essentially isolates the complexity of the panel.  By doing so it doesn't add additional voltages or a resistance, to a balanced system that might act weird otherwise...thus screwing up how the lights or the buzzer acts.
  3.  and 4.  All I really need, in this case, is a switched voltage connected to the L/61 connection (or whatever you are replacing it with) as the Volvo panel needs this voltage to operate.   In other words skip the whole mess and go without a warning light/buzzer for the alternator.  I kind of like the relay version as doing so gives me something that says "hey there's a problem. "  and will go with it.    It's just an early indication that something is wrong...gives me a bit of a head start before my BMV starts telling me that  there's a problem, my  BVM is pretty quiet (I have a Victron and with the engine on you can't hear it),  and I won't necessarily have an app open.  I may be reading a book,  oblivious that there's a problem.

Thanks for explaining this, and for the diagrams.  Much appreciated.

If below is not clear ask someone to explain the basics form electrical drawing.
Suggestion to read the books from Nigel Calder.
1/2. A light need positive and negative to work.  Positive for light/buzzer comes from ignition.(with Volvo panel from 61/L OR from the "test button".

Original situation.
61/L supplies a negative , light goes on.(this positive through the light/resistor give also the start voltage for alternator)
61/L supplies a positive,  light goes off.
3/4 as said before, the alternator needs to be stopped charging when batteries are full.
The alarm from Volvo panel can also go "on", on a sunny day, solar put voltage higher on the batterries. If alternator is on low RPM, voltage on 61/L is low.
This is another problem that happen with the Volvo panel.
Keep in mind that the design from this Volvo panel is outdated!!!, from before solar existed at all.
As the alarm and buzzer is in one unit with Volvo penta, there are limited solutions with this panel.
5. You could install an ""extra"" warning light connected to 61/L, that tells you whether the alternator is working or not. In this case you do not have the irritating buzzer/alarm. (Not really necessary in my view)
6. You could install at ""extra"" light/led, connected to the "lamp/feature" out contact.  (Not really necessary in my view)
Your monitor (bmv) shows or amps are flowing to the battery, this tells that the alternator is working.
You bmv monitor can not give an alarm on low amp flow.
It can give an alarm for voltage levels.
If the internal buzzer is not loud enough and yes there are not loud(firmware related) use the bmv internal relay and install a extra 3us dollar buzzer.
Your tacho works probably from the "W" alternator signal.
As long as your tacho is working, you know the alternator is working, no other lights, buzzer needed.
Keep it simply!!.
Keep in mind that if your alternator belt is broken, your saltwater pump is probably also not working.
It is always good to have a exhaust temp sensor installed, with an alarm light and buzzer. This will give an earlier alarm instead off you engine high temperature alarm. If your engine high temperature alarm goes off, probably there is already some damage. if the exhaust temperature goes off, this can safe you from damage.  Very strange that this is not standard on a marine engine.

Thanks for the suggestion Ben.  I have read Calder, who is a clear, concise writer (or his editor is a clear concise writer…actually probably both are) who knows about not only how to describe variety of boat technologies, but also has a fairly elegant understanding of the one we are using here, that involves a clear subject, a predicate, a period, and an audience.  I suspect that no amount of Calder will help  most users understand what exactly is going on inside the Volvo panel.  And we can’t all be Calder so we’ll have to muddle through to the best of our ability.  I’m hoping that in the end of our discussion a “reasonably adept, patient boater” (from now on  RAPB) who would like to install a non-OEM regulator/alternator on boats with the Volvo Harness found on D2-55 engines will be able to do so.  I’m hoping that the two of us will be able to clarify here, with your understanding of the electrical part, and my grip on the one with the subject, predicate, period and audience.  Hopefully  we’ll be able to develop and articulate a clear understanding of this problem and it’s solution and help the good folks at “Off Grid” sell what I think is a quality Regulator.

I’m still not clear how the second of your diagrams work.  Before this let’s clarify some terms.  In the description above you refer to the “61/L” : (me being a RAPB) are you referring to the post on the back of the OEM alternator?  If this is the case I have, on my OEM harness on my boat a Blue wire with a red tracer that brings a positive voltage to this post from the key switch (it appears in the diagram I provided at the top of this discussion the post on the diagram is labelled a d+/61).

This post also had a brown wire which will, if the alternator is not working, causes the post to go to ground so that the alternator light then goes on.

In a previous explanation you outline how the installer can get around setting this up by not connecting the brown wire.  You further explain that the alternator light will not work if this is done.  But if the user has an app or some other mechanism for determining that the alternator is not working they don’t really need this connection.

If the user does want to connect this wire, they would use the relay as shown in your diagram.  I have two questions:

  1. if this relay is used why does the circuit as shown connect, via the light,  back to the positive side of the relays coil?  Is it just parked there, or is there a reason for this?  With my limited understanding of flow, with the wire that connects the light making a T with one side going to the light, and the other part going directly to the relay there doesn’t seem to be a reason for any current to flow through the lights circuit (which of course you don't want at this point...so why connect it back to the positive side of the relays actuator circuit?).
  2. Why, if the Wakespeed 500 has a lamp feature (the orange wire) that “remains neutral during normal alternator operation and provides a connection to ground to drive a warning lamp” (from the documentation at their website),  do we even need a relay?  It seems unnecessary.  You seem to refer, in your last email, to voltages from solar panels .  On my boat I  have included a relay which turns off  the solar panel circuit; the actuator is driven by the engines “on” voltage.  I want to switch the solar panels off when the engine goes on, as I cannot see how a regulator is going to be able to determine what it should have the alternator doing if an increased solar panel’s charge voltage is interfering with any voltage measurement that regulator will have to perform to assess how the batteries state of charge, particularly near the top of the charging tail.  But it seems to me that using this orange wire directly would avoid the need for extra lights, as it is not connected to the battery system, and potentially any weird voltages from the solar panels (it “remains neutral” so no voltage from anywhere... a bit like your brown wire disconnected: no weird voltages bothering the sensitive Volvo Panel).

I get that the BVM does not have an alarm for no or low current flow.  My point was that by the time it gets to the point where it is indicating a low voltage (if the alternator was not charging and we had no warning) not only do you have an alternator malfunction, but you now have flat batteries.  What seems best to me, is a simple solution that uses the existing alarm and existing circuitry to tell us that there a problem.  I agree with you:  Keep it simple. But please indicate what the problem is with connecting directly to ground via the orange wire. There does not seem to be any other voltage that would interfere with the Volvo panel if you used the orange wire: again the Wakespeed documentation say that the orange connection “is neutral”, so not not connected to the battery system,  and thus the solar panels etc).

I’m not sure that your explanation of the tack signal is correct. The tack sensor on the D2—55 is driven, if I understand it correctly, by a sensor on the engine’s bell housing.  So having a clear alarm when the alternator goes off (think of the broken belt that you talked about) is a good idea.  As the engine will keep turning and no alarm will go off….until it doesn’t.

Hello David,

The answer I give have nothing todo with Offgridsolutions, Iam just a forum member, Iam not working for them.
My answer are not written for non technical persons, my first post was send to Rick, he is a tech person. Non technical persons should ask a technician for installation like this. (personal view)

your question about the relay:
My first reaction is, if you need help by reading this diagram ask someone to help you with this installation.
Explanation relay see below under Solution 3

The suggestion I have given are different possibilities how to connect thing together.
There are many others ways also.
Which will work for you is up to you.

The technician that connect the Volvo panel to the ws500, need to understand whats is inside this panel, and need to understand the diagram as posted.
That is my personal view.
I can only explain how thing work, without seeing an installation I can not advise what is the best.
Color codes can be different etc etc.

The WS500 only support a normal light, as any other regulator on the market.
It provide a negative when there is an alarm, same as other brands external regulators do.
No different with other brands. Connecting only a light is the easiest supported way to do.

The problem you encounter has todo with the volvo penta panel.
I will try to explain again below, if still not clear, ask a technician, or maybe someone else in this forum can help you.

D+/61/L are different names from the SAME connection on backside off your alternator.
Some brands use other names.

AS the VOLVO panel has different electronic in it, see posted diagram, you can see it is not a simple light.
As mention before, this panel is outdated in my eyes.

Solution 1:
Leave wire nr1 volvo panel connected to alternator D+/l/61
Negative thing from this solution.
If alternator stopped working(full batteries) OR solar is charging, you will get an alarm!!
This problem exist NOT ONLY with the WS500, but with ANY external regulator, even with internal regulators in combination with SOLAR.
With lead acid, maybe you never notice it, because regulators keep the batteries very long in absorption.

Solution 2:
The lamp connection nr2/orange/ws500 cable harness, provide a negative, under certain alarm conditions.
The manual will explains the details.
You can connect a dashboard light to it, and all will work.
The easiest way to see fault codes from the WS500
In the volvopanel is space for a additional LED/light

Solution 3,
With a relay.
Explanation from the middle diagram how the relay works:
A light need positive and negative to work.
Positive for light/buzzer comes with many panels straight from ignition.
(The negative for this light comes from the alternator, when engine is not running. When engine is running alterntor supply not a negative but a positive to the light. With 2 positives the light is off.)

When the "lamp output/nr2/orange from ws500" output is off, means not negative from ws500, the relay is not in "on" position.
At this time the relay connects a posititive to the volvo penta panel on contact nr 1.
This way there is voltage to get the oil and temperature alarm/buzzer working.

When the "lamp output/nr2/orange from ws500" provide a negative, the relay will switch to on and supply a negative to the volvo penta panel on contact nr 1.
(you think, why the relay need to supply the negative if the ws500 can do, as seeing in the diagram, the relay supply also a positive to the volvo penta box also!!)

THIS way your original light will work and give the fault codes from the WS500.

Solution 4:
In my view the best solution.
Need to use soluton 2 also if fault code warning from WS500 is needed.
(In my view not needed because every battery monitor shows the amp that are charging, this way you know alternator is charging)

No relay needed, provide a positive to contact 1 with a Volvo panel panel, only when ignition is on.
(Negative thing, the buzzer will sound on moments that it did not before, light will be on different as before, do some test and you will see)

The cable harness I have seen from VolvoPenta:
-brown connected in original situation,on the back off the alterantor to contact d+/L/61
-blue/red is positive when ignition is on.

Blue/red can provide the "on" signal for the brown/nr1/ws500 wire.

There are slightly different volvo penta panels and also inside there panel there can be something broken.
Always test after final install or temperature alarm and oil alarm is working correctly.
(Preferable also before you start than you know or something is maybe already broken)
For temperature alarm, disconnect sensor wire and hold to a negative. Alarm will sound and light comes on.
For Oil alarm, disconnect sensor wire. Alarm will sound and light comes on.

Maybe I confuse you with to many technical details.
If you could not follow one off the above, just forget them.