Upgrade project: electrical system
Well, my most recent refit was adding AC shore power (Jan 09). I installed a very simple system, only to power an onboard battery charger and one electrical outlet (GFCI equipped, of course).
It was pretty straightforward, although there are a couple of things I learned that might be useful to others:
1. Blue Sea systems makes a really great set of pre-fab panels that have all the breakers installed. I got one with a 30A double pole and 3 15A single pole breakers as well as a voltmeter and reverse polarity warning light for less than $200.
2. Marinco GFCI's wire sockets aren't large enough for real wire (who wires their boat with 16 gauge wire?!?!). I got a tip from another owner with the same problem who told me you could force the holding screws out of the outlet, and use ring terminals (which worked) but I was pretty disappointed in the quality of the Marinco GFCI. I suspect I could have gotten an identical quality one from Home Depot for cheaper (that didn't say 'Marine' on it).
Finally, I also had to make a little wood panel to mount it on and I used 'West Marine Semi Gloss Wood Finish' instead of varnish for the first time. It offers the benefit of no thinning or sanding between coats, and you can overcoat it with varnish. The panel turned out well (picture below) so I think I am going to try this on my brightwork once the weather gets a little warmer.