Electrical upgrade - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 12-25-2012 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Philly/Tampa
Posts: 19
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Electrical upgrade

Before I start, I read the Pearson thread below and took in some GREAT info from it... That said I wanted to post my situation here to see if anyone had any case specific items to add... No need to repost stuff from that pearson thread.

Anyhow Im a long time anonymous reader and first time registered poster here... I recently bought a '74 Ericson 32. All in all, she's a beauty (and was a good buy IMO) but the first order of business for her is an updated/upgraded electrical system. I welcome any and all suggestions. My sailing will be generally local day sails with the occasional weekend trip. Primarily, I'm living aboard 2-3 days a week and using her as a crash-pad (place to stay where I am based - though I actually live in the Philly area, I am domiciled in Tampa). Livaboard creature comforts are my primary concern and i'd like to be able to power a small fridge, a small microwave, a small air conditioner, a small TV and IPod dock and not much more.*

Current state of affairs: she's got a newer yanmar diesel, but the previous owner basically said he didn't use on board AC power and ran shore power to an extension cord attached to a pep-boys style Battery charger (with clamps on the primary bank!) and had some Walmart style desk lights plugged in. Other that, the DC stuff (running lights,tricolor, spreader lights, cabin lights, bilge, depth sounder, knot meter, autopilot, VHFcom) all work off the bat just fine.

There's an old ass inverter in the battery bay, but I don't think it works and there's no power to the permanent AC outlets and I have no clue if the shore power receptacle works or what it's actually hooked up to. *There's a wind generator and I was told it was hooked up, but really don't know for sure. One things certain, i can hear it kick in in strong winds and it sounds like a freight train below deck when the (clutch?) kicks in. There is also a little red light in the wind gen itself that illuminates when it gets going to a certain RPM (freight train mode).

There are 3 batteries (2 banks) 2 smaller ones in series on the house bus, and a 3rd large deep cycle bat on the (start) bus. (previous owners terminology).

There Is a inoperative "frost free" refrigerator that I'd like to pull out (has a massive compressor in the engine access bay.

There are two massive (AC I assume) breakers under the sink in the galley set to trip, and I can only assume these belong to the inop fridge, but idk.

My goal is - safety, a hardwired marine 2 bank charger, a working inverter and AC system capable of handling my requirements, real shore power (not this rigged extension cord nightmare), and a labeled neat electrical panel that I understand.

My background is: handy, good at following directions with a decent mechanical aptitude, experience on cars and planes, not afraid to ask for help and not too cheap to pay a pro. I have little to no experience working on boats.

I don't want to spend a fortune, but 1000-1500 seems reasonable to me. I'd like to learn more about this as in the future, I'd like to be able to troubleshoot and have an in depth understanding of my boat's guts and systems. I'd love to try my hand at doing some things myself, but at the same time I don't want to get hurt or raze my boat to the waterline!

Any equipment recommendations, technician recommendations, cost guidance, personal experiences, or advice will be well received!

Thanks in advance..
Jettest is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 12-27-2012
Senior Member
Stu Jackson's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 975
Thanks: 0
Thanked 19 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 15
Re: Electrical upgrade

Hi, and welcome to posting.

Here are some starters for you. These links have been posted any number of times here.

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings - SailboatOwners.com

They come from this "Electrical 101" Topic --- Electrical Systems 101

As you get into the specifics, we can help you some more.

Stu Jackson, C34, 1986, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)
Stu Jackson is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 4 Old 12-27-2012
Senior Member
jsaronson's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,020
Thanks: 6
Thanked 31 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 4
Re: Electrical upgrade

Welcome! You are dealing with two SEPARATE systems - 12 volt and 110 volt. Sounds like you need to tackle 1 at a time. Possible exception is getting a 12/110 volt fridge.
1. Buy Nigel Calder's book on electrical and boat maintenance. Its the Bible.
2.Get a good digital voltmeter!

110 volts is dangerous if you don't know what you are doing - especially in water. There should be a Hubbell type 110 connector to shore power running to a breaker panel. From there, you need breakers for outlets and anything wired directly to the panel such as the A/C and fridge. Good luck!
jsaronson is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 4 Old 12-27-2012 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Philly/Tampa
Posts: 19
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Re: Electrical upgrade

Thanks gents. I'll advise is I progress. Went sailing today (first time single handing anything bigger than a 24 and it was a gas. Very pleased with my purchase (electrical nightmare and all!). What a sweet ride.
Jettest is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Electrical upgrade (batteries) Wanderer2011 Electrical Systems 4 05-24-2012 03:05 PM
Electrical panel upgrade wchevron Gear & Maintenance 5 05-15-2008 07:42 PM
Electrical upgrade bestfriend Gear & Maintenance 20 11-03-2007 12:42 AM
Electrical System Upgrade... jswwrites Gear & Maintenance 0 09-15-2006 08:42 PM
Electrical Upgrade keitha Gear & Maintenance 25 04-11-2003 01:38 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome