Wiring in the new panel for electronics
It's a good idea to go ahead and fill the panel with breakers and the LED indicator lights right from the start, since it'll be a real pain to add them later.
I don't know why Blue Seas put 15 amp breakers in there. I added three 5 amp breakers and a 2.5 amp for the Nexus System.
Sheesh, it took half the day to get this far!
August 2003 --
This panel in the new Nav Station is dedicated for electronics. Rather than build it all up from parts, I used a prefab panel from Blue Seas. It's close enough, although I don't know what I'll do with those two big breaker slots above the DC Main.
The idea here is to have switch position 1 be the normal house bank, and switch position 2 be a dedicated battery that's isolated from the rest of the boat's electrical systems. I'll put the separate battery in the bottom of the cockpit locker. (Someday.)
With the electronics isolated, they won't be hammered by fluctuations
in the boat's DC voltages, and if the whole boat's electrical system fails
I can switch to position 2 and
have power to the radio and navigation stuff.
I used 1/0 gauge wire for the hot lead. That's really big!
However, with a battery switch on the panel,
it's possible for charging currents to go through
the hot wire, so it has to be sized appropriately.
By the way, the instructions for the 'big wire' crimper say to hit it with a hammer. I'd rather use a vice, or in this case big heavy duty pipe-sized vice grips.
Inside the new panel's cabinet, there's a new DC Ground
I got one with lots of screws,
so hopefully it will be
one device per screw!
ABYC standards say no more than 2, (or maybe it's 3)
I like just 1.
It makes life easier.
My electrical system is interesting, since I currently have
have three battery banks: a starter battery and two house banks.
This switch goes between the two house banks.
There's room on the big output lug to attach the new wire solidly.
I'm wondering if it's the best idea, though. It seems like
a heavy duty hot bus-bar setup might be better.
I also need to review ABYC standards and verify that I don't
need another fuse on the new wire. That won't matter
until I install the dedicated electronics battery
and charging currents could potentially go over the wire.
As the wire goes through bulkheads to the panel, it's protected
with heavy duty rubber water hose.
It's also firmly fastened to the boat every 12 inches.
So here it is, and everything works!
Finally, I can start installing electronics and stuff! My old breaker panel had no room, and stuff was being inappropriately doubled up.
To the left, I also wired up the
AC outlet and the
two DC outlets.
The DC outlets are fed off this panel
As wires enter the compartment, they're forced down through a large hole in the side, then up to a tie wrap. This should force any water drips to stay out and away from the panels.
All my nylon tie-wrap connectors are actually glued into place with epoxy thickened with colloidal silica. They won't come unstuck.
Here's a look at the backside. I didn't have nylock nuts that fit over the
screws for the positive connections, and I was tired of running to West Marine
(this whole little project took an entire day
and 5 trips!)
So they're tightened down really well, and there's
a glop of marine silicone over the nuts. That should hold. Everything is fastened down really well, since the compartment behind the outlets is a major transit zone for wiring to and from the electrical panels. The wire feeding the outlets is screwed down with a tie wrap.