Removing a birds nest behind the panel! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 05-17-2014 Thread Starter
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Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

The mess behind the panel in my Yankee has always bothered me.
Because Yankees are narrow, space it tight. This is really evident in the small space behind the switch panel, where they crammed the wiring for the switch, a neg. bus and PO's supplied power to wires that were not switched and had inline fuses (taking up more space!). There really is no other place for the panel on the boat. However, there is hardly space to work on, much less organize anything behind it.

I plan to:
1. Move the Neg. bus into a space about 4 feet below the switch, under a set of drawers. If necessary the frame for the drawers is easily removed for access. However I could work on the wires with only the drawers removed.
2. Move a fused barrier strip into the same space, for the hots that are not fused at the panel.
The only wires remaining behind the panel will be the hot that supplies the panel and the 8 wires that leave it.
3. When I get that sorted, I'll buy a new panel.

Here are pictures of the panel, the evil that lurks behind it and the space where I will install the new bus and barrier strip. I'm pointing at the space and a bus in a box (laying on the bottom of the boat) I temporarily put there. Wanted to make sure I could route the wires there and wasn't missing something. I'll install them on the wall to the left (behind the frame) and tidy up the wires. It's a simple project that should clean things up considerably.
Wonder why no one else thought of this?
Thoughts?
Attached Thumbnails
Old switch panel.jpg   Open switch panel.jpg   Area for new fuse bus, Neg bus.jpg  

Last edited by L124C; 05-17-2014 at 05:46 PM.
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post #2 of 35 Old 05-17-2014
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

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Originally Posted by L124C View Post
Thoughts?

Never look behind a panel!






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post #3 of 35 Old 05-18-2014
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

I like the concept of moving the neg bus bar out which would remove half of the wires with it, making more room behind the panel. How many circuits are unswitched? I don't like the idea of unswitched circuits; even though they have individual fuses they can be a mess and clunky. You have a circuit named "tricolor" and "running lights". Are they duplicative? You can eliminate one of them. You are planning to replace the panel with breakers. Better in long run.

Tod

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Sailing out of Rock Creek, Chesapeake Bay
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post #4 of 35 Old 05-18-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

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Originally Posted by Gladrags1 View Post
I like the concept of moving the neg bus bar out which would remove half of the wires with it, making more room behind the panel. How many circuits are unswitched? I don't like the idea of unswitched circuits; even though they have individual fuses they can be a mess and clunky. You have a circuit named "tricolor" and "running lights". Are they duplicative? You can eliminate one of them. You are planning to replace the panel with breakers. Better in long run.
Tod
Most of the other circuits are switched, however, not at the panel. I.e., AM/FM and VHF radios and the Aux, fuel pump (used to prime the fuel line if ness). Unfortunately, most are also fused at the device. The new fuse block will allow me to fuse them closer to the batteries. ST Blade Fuse Block - 6 Circuits with Cover - Blue Sea Systems

I usually use the tricolor and running lights independently. Does anyone use them together?

Breakers are certainly simpler. However, Don Casey makes the point that they can fail while fuses do not. Given the fact that fused panels are still available, I assume he is not the only person that believes this. The ATC fuses used with the new block are pretty simple. Drawbacks?
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post #5 of 35 Old 05-18-2014
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

Drawbacks:
If you don't have an ample stock of spares, and know where they are, you're dead until you get to a store for new ones. Other that that, fuses are simple, cheap, reliable.



I have a NOS Seadog six-fuse switched panel that I was going to put on eBay or something, pm me if you're interested. New in box, never opened or used.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dsporting&field-keywords=Sea-Dog%20422110-1
If the linked image isn't working. Sea-Dog 20422110-1
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post #6 of 35 Old 05-18-2014
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

My biggest question is what are the chances of getting water in this bilge? It looks dry, but should you take on water in some quantity, will you then have to redo all those electrical connections?

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post #7 of 35 Old 05-18-2014
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

Nothing wrong with a good fuse panel like The Blue Seas ones. Most smaller boats have fuses instead of breakers, although cost is part of the reason.

I would worry about installing anything electrical too low in the boat as well. I try and keep all wiring higher than seat level if possible - exceptions are items installed low such as bilge pumps and macerators.

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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

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My biggest question is what are the chances of getting water in this bilge? It looks dry, but should you take on water in some quantity, will you then have to redo all those electrical connections?
It's a good point, but that spot is about a foot above the top of the bilge and about six feet aft. If it got wet, I'd have more problems than electrical connections.

Having said that, I agree...higher is better. I found I was able to mount the gear about two feet higher than indicated in the OP, bringing the box and bus just above seat level (as mitiempo specified) . Wasn't sure the drawers would clear but they do.

It's worked out nicely so far. Access to the Neg. bus has improved 100%. I can actually see all the terminals now, work on them with both hands and even use a full screwdriver instead of a stubby if I want. I'm not kidding...It took me about a half hour and a lot of #@%*! to get one screw started in the previous location!
I'll post pictures when done.
As usual...Thanks for all the input!

Last edited by L124C; 05-19-2014 at 06:08 AM.
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post #9 of 35 Old 06-04-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

Replaced the panel with a Blue Seas 1457. It was one of the few panels I found that had 8 switches and would fit in the small space available. Quality isn't great and it has the spade disconnects (which I hate!) instead of screw terminals. However it wasn't expensive and is a lot better than the old panel, which I was patching together. I could switch out smaller breakers if needed. However the 10 amp breakers supplied will work for everything on the panel. Everything that needs smaller fuses is supplied by the box below. The 1457 definitely needs the back light kit. I think Blue Seas product descriptions leave something to be desired. Need to trim it out and varnish the panel mount.

Still a bit of a birds nest behind the panel (it's a tight space). However, at least it's a red birds nest, and everything is marked!

Neg bus and Positive fuse block that now live beneath the main panel also shown. Both mounted vertically approx 2 feet above the position shown in the OP.
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2014-06-04 001 001.jpg   Positive fuse bus beneath panel.jpg   Negative bus below panel.jpg  

Last edited by L124C; 06-04-2014 at 06:59 PM.
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post #10 of 35 Old 06-04-2014
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Re: Removing a birds nest behind the panel!

"the spade disconnects (which I hate!) instead of screw terminals."
Having chased screws down into the bilge, personally I prefer the qd's. If you have genuine FastOn spade terminals, their patent includes a large dimple in the middle of the spade, and that dimple provides enough "jam" to ensure the spade can't pull apart by accident. (I think Ancor does the same?)

Of course a dab of liquid lectric or similar will also keep them together until someone pulls.
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