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Jon Agne
11-19-2011, 06:26 PM
I think this is the year to install an upgraded electrical system on SURPRISE. She's really never had one as the battery switches only function is to decide which battery starts the motor. The two bilge pumps are hard-wired to the batteries. I'll need cruising lights, maybe 2 cabin lights, a cockpit light, cockpit power outlet, cabin power outlet (for charging those little devices which we have become so accustomed to), and expansion capability for VHF, GPS, etc.

I'd love to have some recommendations on the best written sources.

Capt Zatarra
11-19-2011, 08:56 PM
Three books....."Living on 12 Volts" and "The 12 Volt Bible" and "Wiring 12 Volts for Ample Power"

http://www.amplepower.com/products/living/index.html

http://www.amplepower.com/products/wiring/index.html

http://www.amazon.com/12-Volt-Bible-Boats-Miner-Brotherton/dp/0071560912

JimConlin
11-19-2011, 08:57 PM
Charlie Wing's Boatowner's Illustrated Handbook of Wiring is a good start. He's from Yarmouth, IIRC.

Also get the catalog from Blue Sea Syatems (http://bluesea.com/cat_request.php).
(http://bluesea.com/cat_request.php).

Cogeniac
11-19-2011, 09:12 PM
Remember to think like an electron, and imagine all the places that you might wrongly end up...

Separate circuits and return grounds separately. Use Ancor Duplex..a good crimper and remember that Blue Seas is your friend.

There is no good (reliable) way to splice a wire on a boat. Use a terminal block

Be sure to post your plan so we can throw rocks at it :-) Honestly, its a good thing since event the most experienced wiring guys overlook things.

Good luck!

genglandoh
11-19-2011, 09:55 PM
I would recommend you use auto or trailer parts.
They are cheaper.

Here is an example of the simple dome light I installed on my old boat

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/product/12v-dome-lights-single/6123

Phil Y
11-20-2011, 02:29 AM
I would recommend you use auto or trailer parts.
They are cheaper.

Here is an example of the simple dome light I installed on my old boat

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/product/12v-dome-lights-single/6123

That is about the worst advice you are likely to get. Follow it and you'll save some money up front but have years of trouble and end up totally despising all things electrical. Don't buy cheap chinese electrical crap-boat electrics have to be quality. And an awful lot of auto stuff grounds to the car body-not suitable for a boat, you want 2 wires coming out of everything.

Cogeniac
11-20-2011, 09:41 AM
I would recommend you use auto or trailer parts.
They are cheaper.

Here is an example of the simple dome light I installed on my old boat

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/product/12v-dome-lights-single/6123

You should buy everything, including your tools and safety equipment from Harbor Freight.. (kidding!!)

rbgarr
11-20-2011, 10:06 AM
There's an excellent article in the most recent Professional Boatbuilder magazine that reviews installation and wiring problems that if not attended to as you install and maintain, will result in unnecessary, premature and wholly bothersome electrical glitches and failures. Tracking down electrical wiring and connections problems in the cramped, crowded, dark, inaccessible places in boats is not the most rewarding way to spend your maintenance time. Thus there are a number of wireless products and systems coming to market. Expensive now, but I'm betting they will become very, very popular.

Cogeniac
11-20-2011, 11:37 AM
I found this informative:

http://www.islandnet.com/robb/marine.html

JoshuaIII
11-20-2011, 12:47 PM
I would recommend you use auto or trailer parts.
They are cheaper.

Here is an example of the simple dome light I installed on my old boat

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/product/12v-dome-lights-single/6123

First, on a car you have a alternator working at all time when you are using electronics, so those items are not at all economic on power. A simple light bulb will ask 3 amps/hour, with poor fitting as you have plenty of amps in a car to compensate for the lost.

Second, It's plain steel not made again't corrosion at all on those item. You can buy some electronic corrosion spray, or electrical grease to keep them from rusting, but then you still have to change most of it if you want to be efficient.

Saving money doesn't worth it, if you are always running out of power and need bigger electrical income to keep those lights on.
Except if you have a motor boat, I would say do all you can to lose the least amount of electricity on the boat, so you can enjoy it longer.

Breakaway
11-20-2011, 04:53 PM
Get LED lights. Spendy, but more durable and long-lasting than incandescent. Use tinned copper duplex wire labeled "boat cable." I crimp with good success using heat-shrink connections. Seal any terminal connections with liquid rubber. For bilge pumps or other items which get replaced or need service frequently, consider getting watertight plug connectors so you're not cutting and re-splicing.( Pumps are a good candidate for this). The ONLY thing that should be hotwired to your battery is the bilge pump. Rocker switches last longer than toggles because A) they wont snag on your shirt or jacket and break and B) They dont flex the switch housing everytime you use them. ( Open and close a rocker switch in your hand and see for yuorself--they eventually just beat themselves apart.

Kevin

My favorite written resource is Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mehanical and Electrical Manual.

Best

Kevin

Slacko
11-21-2011, 01:49 AM
I'd advise using a small IP66 rated box and compression fittings to join cables.
The cost of plugs and sockets that won't leak is eye watering. Even military spec stuff doesn't like sitting in the bilge.
Even better, don't buy anything that has a flying lead on unless it is long enough to get back to the switch panel. Good luck with finding anything.
My background is in Industrial Instrumentation, so have 20 years of working in pretty harsh environments with expensive electronic monitoring and control equipment.
Boats are a far worse environment using far less robust gear.

jerry bark
11-21-2011, 06:55 AM
buy good crimpers, they will cost you some cash but you will love them. if the crimper has a wire stripper as part of it put it back on the shelf and go buy a crimper.

buy adhesive lined heat shrink crimps, expensive but much longer lasting.

do not put a splice anywhere that you cannot get to it without using more than a screwdriver.

when you do make a splice at a fixture or such stagger the butt connectors so that you can bundle things more neatly.

rbgarr
11-21-2011, 09:17 AM
Get LED lights. Spendy, but more durable and long-lasting than incandescent.

Or use the less expensive battery powered ones. They can be taken below and stowed out of the salt and sun and easily light long enough for the amount of sailing after dusk you're likely to do.

The mounting options also make for fewer holes in the boat's shell.

http://www.wholesalemarine.com/p/I-L-560-1112-7/

Jon Agne
11-23-2011, 11:26 AM
Books are on order. I'll try and draw it up in December. Thanks everyone for the input.