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  #1  
Old 10-30-2007
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New panel install

So, I purchased this Paneltronics ac/dc panel.

It's pre-wired, so they say, with bus bars on the backside. It's
also, obviously, got an AC master breaker.

Two questions: first, should one typically mount a terminal bar
nearby, as both strain relief and some sort of organizational device,
prior to routing to the panel?

Second, per code suggestions, my preference would be to mount the
master AC breaker within 10' of the shore power cable. This is
impossible, given the location of the panel (chart table, starboard side).

What do you think of adding another master AC breaker upstream from the Paneltronics, to add another firewall to the system? My other thought is to ignore the AC side of the paneltronics, and simply create a discrete AC system,using a separate panel located in the Galley [which is within 10' of
the shore supply]

Thanks, guys.
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Old 10-30-2007
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I don't let Marine Electricians tell me how to do databases, I don't advise them how to wire my boat. Not at this level...
I'll wire in a horn, GPS, DSC, etc..and let them run thier business using Access databases -
I suggest you get a qualified expert (bonded and insured). Too much risk to take on yourself, including the risk of your insurance company saying you aren't covered for self installed problems...
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Old 10-30-2007
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Though I put in seperate AC and DC panels (which I prefer), I'll relate how I wired mine. On the AC side (though it wasn't that necessary) I have a buss bar for all the AC connections. From the buss bar to the panel, I have one neutral and one ground wire, then all the positive wires from each breaker. This eliminate a lot of wire from the back of the panel.

On the DC side, where the previous (probably original) panel had multiple wires to the breaker for lights, I used a buss bar (2) for overhead and cabin lights, combining the multiple wires then running just two to the panel. I also used a seperate buss bar for a "hot" lead (anything not on the Off/1/2/Both switch).
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Thanks, guys.

Chuckles, I know where you're coming from. I don't work on the diesel, for example, beyond the fluids and an oil change. However, the reality is, the PO wiring is a mess, and virtually anything I do, provided I am am careful and thoughtful, will only improve the situation.

although the AC scares the hell out of me. Which is why I might make the systems discrete.

Also plan on using safety wire, to lessen the chance of mix ups with hot AC.

Also plan on, in next life, marrying a Hilton heir, so I can pay someone for all of the above.
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Just a point...ABYC requires that the AC and DC circuits be physically separated even on the same panel, and the AC must be covered in such a way as to require 'a tool or tools' to gain access. That may interfere with the placement of your busses.
Howard Keiper
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Old 10-30-2007
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I would recommend having the two systems on separate panels if at all possible to reduce the risk of accidental electrocution when working on the DC side...which will probably be far more often than working on the AC side.

If physical separation isn't possible, then having the AC side of the panel covered would be the next best solution.
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Old 10-30-2007
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I just installed a new DC panel. Basically all the different circuits have one wire per circuit, which then goes to a bus bar on the stbd side, and from there some circuits go to a secondary bar on port side. This way everything is connected to those bars (with a few exceptions where a single device is on a circuit, so that it is wired directly to the panel).

I also completely rewired my boat (that means every single DC wire). Old stuff was just a horrible mess of random switches, 35 year old green copper and weird connections. That said, electricity is nothing special. Read a good electrical guide for boats (I like that "powerboat electric systems book"), recall your Ohms law and use proper wire size (if you need a calculator, I made one for myself, here it is: http://boatstuff.awardspace.com/ ). Take care to do things right and measure twice. That's it - you probably will do a better job than anyone you would have paid.

Last edited by brak; 10-30-2007 at 09:05 PM.
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nice app, Brak!
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Old 10-31-2007
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*sigh* Something I've definitely got to address. I'd like to upgrade the old toggle-switches-and-fuses panel to a modern panel (with indicator lights!), but I doubt The Admiral and family CFO is going to go for that. Regardless: I've got to get a handle on the wiring and get it straightened-out. It's not too bad, but there are little things, here and there, that are disturbing--like the in-line fuse holder on one cable that's bundled with some older ones that run across the top of the engine compartment. What the hell that fuse could possibly be for, I've no idea. There's absolutely nothing back there that should be powered, much less fused, other than the stern light.

Oh... waitaminute... I think the fuel system's been upgraded with an automatic fuel shut-off. I wonder...

Jim
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Old 10-31-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geary126 View Post
So, I purchased this Paneltronics ac/dc panel.

It's pre-wired, so they say, with bus bars on the backside. It's
also, obviously, got an AC master breaker.

Two questions: first, should one typically mount a terminal bar
nearby, as both strain relief and some sort of organizational device,
prior to routing to the panel?
If you're going to do this, just make sure all the terminals are AC-rated (at least 220VAC). It's cheaper to get terminals in bulk and you won't get tempted to use lower-spec DC terminals on your AC circuits and potentially set fire to the boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by geary126 View Post
Second, per code suggestions, my preference would be to mount the
master AC breaker within 10' of the shore power cable. This is
impossible, given the location of the panel (chart table, starboard side).

What do you think of adding another master AC breaker upstream from the Paneltronics, to add another firewall to the system? My other thought is to ignore the AC side of the paneltronics, and simply create a discrete AC system,using a separate panel located in the Galley [which is within 10' of
the shore supply].
If the panel is too far away, I'd suggest installing a larger capacity (one size up from your AC panel main switch rating) Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker in it's own box near your shore supply connection. I'd suggest putting a surge diverter in there as well. This "main switch box" can be in a cockpit locker or anywhere else that's out of the way, but still accessible should it trip because of a fault. You then cable from this to your AC panel wherever you put it and as far away as you like.

Doing this ensures that any AC wiring fault within the boat will be isolated as close as possible to the shore connection and using a larger breaker means that under overload conditions, your AC panel breaker will trip first - not the one in the locker that is more difficult to get to.

If you can do it, having a completely separate AC and DC systems is a really good idea - it would help prevent accidental electrocution, fried electronics or both caused by the AC somehow contacting the DC system.
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Last edited by Classic30; 10-31-2007 at 07:43 PM.
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