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post #1 of 14 Old 09-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

The DC electrical panel on my boat is a pretty standard setup - there is a "master" circuit breaker (80A), which then feeds individual circuit breakers which double as on/off switches for various equipment.

In order to free up a couple of circuit breakers and also make things easier to use, I was thinking of eliminating the circuit breakers for components that are mounted at the nav station, directly above the circuit breaker panel. Instead, DC from the master CB would feed a fuse block behind the panel and there would be individual fused circuits for the VHF radio, AM/FM radio/stereo, and accessory (cigarette lighter) plug. The fuse block would be about 6" away from the master CB and I would use appropriately sized wiring.

This seems to make sense, because then you could just use the power switches on the VHF and the AM/FM radio without having to flip a circuit breaker on first.

Are there any significant drawbacks (or ABYC standards) that I need to consider before making these changes?
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-16-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

On obvious disadvantage would be that even though you flipped off all the breakers everything would still not be off.

Where are you going to get power anyway? All the way back to the battery or t off the breaker box before the switches. Either way will break ABYC standards.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-16-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

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Originally Posted by tibtib View Post
The DC electrical panel on my boat is a pretty standard setup - there is a "master" circuit breaker (80A), which then feeds individual circuit breakers which double as on/off switches for various equipment.

In order to free up a couple of circuit breakers and also make things easier to use, I was thinking of eliminating the circuit breakers for components that are mounted at the nav station, directly above the circuit breaker panel. Instead, DC from the master CB would feed a fuse block behind the panel and there would be individual fused circuits for the VHF radio, AM/FM radio/stereo, and accessory (cigarette lighter) plug. The fuse block would be about 6" away from the master CB and I would use appropriately sized wiring.

This seems to make sense, because then you could just use the power switches on the VHF and the AM/FM radio without having to flip a circuit breaker on first.

Are there any significant drawbacks (or ABYC standards) that I need to consider before making these changes?
As long as the feed & neg return wires from the master breaker can handle an 80A ampacity then this should work. Blue Sea makes a couple of nice fuse blocks that will work well.

I did it a little differently on our own boat and used a single 20A breaker which feeds a fuse block behind the nav station. This fuse block has fuses for stereo, iPod, 12V outlets, iPad, GPS plotter, 12V fan etc. etc... One breaker labeled "Nav Station" powers this distribution fuse block.

Personally I wire only the panels DC breakers to the DC Master as there are times I may want to shut off a portion of the vessel but not the whole thing. Say for instance you need to do some wiring at night behind the nav panel and need 12V lights to do so. Your only option is to kill the DC Main which also kills your 12V lights.

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 09-16-2012 at 04:11 PM.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

I do like the idea of having a "Nav Station" circuit breaker to switch the fuse block. Thanks, Maine Sail!
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-17-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

I have a single breaker for the "Nav Station," another for "Instruments," and one each for "Port Cabin Lights," and "Starboard Cabin Lights."... Here is a pic:


I am seriously considering taking the Running, Steaming, Anchor and Fordeck light breakers, and putting them on a single breaker labeled Nav Lights, and installing a 4 breaker Blue Sea WeatherDeck sub panel in series with this breaker at the helm;
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-17-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

I'm thinking of doing a similar change - switches at the helm where I need them - not 20 feet and a steep ladder away.

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post #7 of 14 Old 09-17-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

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I'm thinking of doing a similar change - switches at the helm where I need them - not 20 feet and a steep ladder away.
Convenient .. but could someone turn something on even if the boat was locked and kill your battery.
Maybe just fooling around.
Maybe put it on the inside of a locked cockpit locker.

Last edited by davidpm; 09-17-2012 at 09:43 PM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-18-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

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Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Convenient .. but could someone turn something on even if the boat was locked and kill your battery.
Maybe just fooling around.
Maybe put it on the inside of a locked cockpit locker.
Not if the sub panel is fed by a breaker on the main panel as Maine explained.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-19-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

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I'm thinking of doing a similar change - switches at the helm where I need them - not 20 feet and a steep ladder away.
Agreed. I'm considering a custom engine panel this year (my Yanmar panel is disintegrating) and wanted to do the same things. The cockpit is a better place for Nav/spreader light control in my oppinion.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-19-2012
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Re: Eliminate Some Circuit Breakers?

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I have a single breaker for the "Nav Station," another for "Instruments," and one each for "Port Cabin Lights," and "Starboard Cabin Lights."... Here is a pic:


I am seriously considering taking the Running, Steaming, Anchor and Fordeck light breakers, and putting them on a single breaker labeled Nav Lights, and installing a 4 breaker Blue Sea WeatherDeck sub panel in series with this breaker at the helm;
I see a key switch on that panel, is that actually the engine switch on your panel?

I've given some thought to that. I hate having dangling keys in my cockpit, especially where my panel is although it would add more wiring complexity which I'd like to avoid.
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