Wiring Underway

September 23, 2016  Hours spent building to date:  2,884

wiring-underway

Energized (pun intended) by my trip West, I came back and tackled the wiring.  I had only planned to do the AC circuits, but the way things worked out I was able to get all the circuits on the port side run to the panel and the GFCI outlets tested and operational.

I think some followers are surprised that I’m doing the electrical myself, since that’s not the kind of thing most DIY folks tackle even at home.  But boat electrical offers instant gratification — hook up the circuit, turn the switch and (most of the time) it works.  By contrast, it will have been almost three years before we know for sure whether Tardis is a floater or a sinker.

Boat electrical is not hard.  On a small boat virtually every DC circuit is a “home run”  — positive wire out from the panel to the device, negative back, next circuit.  I have never done from scratch AC wiring, but it isn’t too bad so far.   I bought commercial-grade GFCI outlets with a very robust connection system that are wired such that if you make a mistake, they simply won’t work.  To keep my body from being the path from a voltage source to ground,  I am rigorously following all the rules on “Safety Grounding” by two experts, Don Casey (Sailboat Electrics Simplified) and Nigel Calder (Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual).  To keep the boat from burning up during a malfunction, in addition to circuit protection, I am using heavy-gauge wire throughout (14 on the DC side, 12 AC, 10 for the refrigeration, macerator pump and battery charger, 10 into the panel on the AC side).  The diagrams and instructions that came with the Blue Sea Systems panel are excellent.

I got a lot of wiring practice and instructions on what NOT to do on Memsahib, my motorsailer.  After she was built in Hong Kong in 1961, a Chinese electrician came aboard with a giant coil of untinned, 12-gauge red wire and went at it.  Positive, negative, safety — everything was red.  This made circuits impossible to trace.  A previous owner had given up and simply cut wires off whenever a change was made.  So there were dangerous “wires to nowhere” coming off the panel in all directions, waiting for a short from a water leak or a dropped wrench to blow the boat to kingdom come in the days of its gas engine.  Needless to say, I ended up rewiring virtually the whole boat.

In other action, because some of the wiring runs would interfere with the tank vents, I went ahead and installed them.  It is an encouraging sign that what would have been an all-day fight with bedding compound and wrenches two years ago was a drama-free two-hour job today.

Eureka!

Eureka!

Eureka Part II

Eureka Part II

Pulling wires is a messy business.  I label the wires near the ends with a marker or I could never keep them straight

Pulling wires is a messy business. I label the wires near the ends with a marker or I could never keep them straight

Every tool in the shop has made it up onto the boat for the wiring project

Every tool in the shop has made it onto the boat for the wiring project

Final wire run portside fixtures to panel

Final wire run  from portside fixtures to panel

Port side wiring under the panel is starting to straighten itself out.

Port side wiring under the panel is starting to straighten itself out.

Fuel and poop tank vents.  (All the wire run holes are lined with weather stripping to prevent chafe)

Fuel and poop tank vents. (All the wire run holes are lined with weather stripping to prevent chafe)

Installing the water tank vents up underneath the microwave cabinet left me with very little skin on my knuckles.

Installing the water tank vents up underneath the microwave cabinet left me with very little skin on my knuckles.

 

 

Advertisements

One comment on “Wiring Underway

  1. Bob
    October 4, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    Boat is looking great. I am impressed with the amount of work you’ve done on the trim, it’ll make the boat really stand out.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: