Today’s boats and motors most often use color-coded blade fuses instead of the traditional glass tube style. Troubleshooting electrical circuits equipped with this new type of fuse is awkward as the multi-meter probes will not stay in place due to the small size of the sockets, which are also easily deformed. Determining the amperage draw of a component is awkward at best.
Electronic Specialties, Inc. (ESI) of Genoa City, Wisconsin developed their Fuse Buddy to assist in finding and repairing electrical problems. The 302M version is a hand-held digital ammeter with a “mini-fuse” size probe that is inserted into the fuse holder. For the physically larger ATC/ATO blade fuses a model 304B is available. The Fuse Buddy works on circuits up to 20 amps and as high as 48 volts. Its digital display indicates the current with a resolution down to 0.01 amperes. Because the unique fuse-shaped probe fits securely into the fuse socket, your hands are free to troubleshoot circuits for a parasitic draw, for assistance in finding a short, or to monitor the amperage of an electrical component. Testing is very simple; remove the fuse and insert it into the probe’s holder to keep the circuit protected during testing then just insert the probe into the motor’s fuse socket. This special tool makes for a quick and easy check of any fused electrical item.
Electronic Specialties, Inc. makes several models of the Fuse Buddy. Products numbered 302M and 304B are designed for the mini-fuse and the popular ATC/ATO sized blade fuse respectively that are commonly found in modern boats and on low-emission outboard motors.
These testers are reasonably priced as the models 302M and 304B with digital amp displays are $27.50 apiece from ESI or online from Amazon.com or various tool websites. At these prices anyone servicing products with blade-style fuses should have a Fuse Buddy in their workshop.
Electronic Specialties Inc., 800-227-1603