Rewiring a relic--power advice? Electrical gurus? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-16-2009
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Just remembered because I made this error. I bought an automotive battery charger. The surveyor told me it was not allowed, you have to have a "marine" battery charger cause it has a built in spark suppressor. Also can't have the outlet for the charger in the battery compartment. My boat had it there and I also have to remove it.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-16-2009 Thread Starter
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Dang, also good to know.

Ours has the hardwired outlet in the engine/battery space, and the charger is mounted there as well. Looks like I get to rewire and relocate those.
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-16-2009
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I was given a tip by a Nova Scotia boat builder recently that the drop in the price of copper is working its way through the "system" (including marine wiring). So if you want to save a bit of money, watch the price closely for properly spec'd tinned two connector wire and buy a big reel of it, preferably for your largest typical load (14 gauge is good). You can sell what you don't use, because it's practically a commodity.

Also, to reduce runs, consider having your breaker box and batteries in a non-typical location, like on the saloon bulkhead and the batteries/charger/inverter under the settee. This makes access to mast wiring easy, shortening the runs, and makes the runs forward and aft about even (but of course you'll go LED lights, right, meaning you can use 20 gauge...).

Yes, you run a big wire to the starter and smaller wires from the alternator to the batteries, but this means you don't have to bugger about in a perhaps cramped nav station or under a quarter berth. Also, it gets a lot of weight in the middle of the boat, rather than back by the engine.

Just a thought. OK, several thoughts.

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post #14 of 15 Old 02-16-2009
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I am nearing the end of my boat rewiring project. I tore into a 1974 Pearson 30. Half was the original wiring and the other half was a hodge-podge of AC and DC from the two PO's. I am very fortunate to have found a great marine electric shop down the road from me in Annapolis. The prices for supplies are really good, and the owner is always willing to help. I design and build manufacturing equipment for a living, so I too had experience with wiring. Here are the tips I learned the hard way or was lucky enough to have someone share with me.

1) Do not go cheap on wiring, connectors, or the distribution panel.
2) Always use marine grade tinned copper wire. Pure copper will corrode, trust me
3) If you need to splice a wire, use adhesive lined shrink tube. This will mimmick the insulation and protect against corrosion, and water intrusion.
4) Do not use any wires smaller than 18 AWG. ABYC found that anything smaller can fail due to vibrations. I found 14 AWG to work for 90% of all my wiring needs
5) If you can, place a small terminal strip near your fixtures (lights, fans, etce.) so you can easily swap them out later
6) Check out the Blue Sea DC Circut wizard to help you with wire sizing. There is a link on thier main web page.
7) Draw a schematic before you start wiring. This will help you remember everything as well as be a great reference for troubleshooting later.
8) Buy a decent set of wire strippers and crimpers. Your hands will appreciate it.
9) Do your best to not solder. Soldering reduces the flexibility of the wire and can cause the joint to fail from vibration over time.
10) The most important of all... KISS. Do not over complicate your systems (for instance, keep it at one inverter)

There are many more, but these are the big ones.
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-18-2009
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Mast Rewiring Advice - Pearson 28-1 (1982)

During the long off season here in Chicago I managed to get a few projects
completed and a few more projects started. One of my projects involved mast rewiring. As of this last weekend, I have replaced all of the wires in the mast - including the radio coax cable. I will now reconnect all when the mast is stepped. For the wiring I used insulated Ancor cable(14 gauge - similar to romex) and RG8X for the radio. I had a great deal of difficulty getting the electrical wires out and ended up using brute force to pull them out once the fixtures were removed. My initial thought was that they were tangled, but now I'm wondering if they were supported somehow internally as I now need to consider how I will support the wires. Although I have not faced the wire support issue yet, I expect to address soon with perhaps a knot (between the fixture and the mast)and /or hose clamp or even
a U clamp to the back of the fixture as needed. Part of my purpose for this
report is to ask if anyone knows of a slick way to support the electrical wires in the mast. The support is needed of course to prevent the connections from pulling apart. My radio cable is fine but the electical wires I haven't addressed yet. I had been thinking that perhaps the mast cap had a role but I have not been able to remove the cap.

I also intend to force pipe wrap insulation up the mast around the wires to
eliminate banging and wire wear.

Ideas? Lessons learned?


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