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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #21  
Old 12-22-2009
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MedSailor, loose wires or connections create resistance in the circuit. Resistance generates heat. Generate enough heat and you can start melting components or start a fire. Dont think that this is exclusive to AC either. I've seen DC get just as hot, especially in a high amp circuit. It always pays to be sure you're using the proper wire, connectors, etc when wiring a boat.

As for lights and switches. I can't speak for the million dollar yachts but any boat I've seen has had either 12 or 24VDC lights installed, not 110AC. You can wire in a switch to handle multiple lights or eliminate the switch and install lights that have a switch on the base. BTW when you install DC lightz they run off the house battery. Something that's nice to have when out at anchor.

Back to your AC issue. Many boats have 110AC outlets in them. Ours does, with ground fault outlets in the heads. At the dock we can always plug a lamp, TV, coffe pot, etc. into one of them. None of them have the typical house switchs. Instead there are breakers that energize the circuit. Once on all the outlets are live.

Note that many boat manufacturers run multiple circuits for both AC and DC. Doing so isolates the various components. This way should you lose a circuit you only lose what's on that line not multiple components.

I hope this helps.
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  #22  
Old 12-22-2009
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If I was to do as you wish to do I would first use only a marine rated switch. Blue Seas Weatherdeck toggle switches are rated for 15 amps@ 125 volts ac - nickel plated brass and phenolic non-corrosive construction and they're waterproof (see below). The Blue Seas busbars such as the compact #2404 (see below) are rated for 20 amps@ 300 volts ac. With the hot (black conductor) going from the breaker to the busbar and from there to the switch(es) and then on to the water heater and charger it would work. With crimped eyes and adhesive heatshrink for connectors. The busbar would have to have a non-conductive cover over it of course. This is a better way than using a household type of switch not protected from corrosion and not designed for a boat. But it's a lot more hassle than an extra breaker. And it is confusing for anyone used to breaker ac switching on a boat - like the next owner. More suited to a houseboat maybe.

Are you never planning on using the battery charger and water heater at the same time? From your description of your plans it appears you're not. I can understand the water heater not being wanted on at all times but the battery charger can (and probably should) be left on all the time you're plugged in.
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  #23  
Old 12-22-2009
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In the past, on the DC side, I've twisted together two of the wires next to each other, and then "tied" them to the third wire head to head. I've then used heat shrink tubing across the entire connection, and dabbed liquid electrical tape on the ends to seal them. I can't tell you what the insides look like at this point since I haven't pulled them apart.
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  #24  
Old 12-22-2009
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Thanks for everyone's help. In the end, it was Brian finding the Truecharge 40 amperage usage that made me decide to install a separate circuit. I still wonder where all those amps go.....

Brian's marine switch idea, or everyone's suggestion of a bus bar sound like viable options for the future if I run into this situation again. Another option that I figured out (but didn't really like) was to install an outlet, and then wire plugs onto the ends of the charger and water heater. I could then just plug them in, or not, to turn them off or on. Didn't seem elegant at all and in the end the water heater DOES have a 1500W element and thus doesn't play well with others.

Part of why I didn't want to run more wires was apparent today as I was drilling a hole for the new wire runs right next to the current wires. My cordless drill broke long ago and I'm poor and haven't replaced it, so I was using a high speed plug-in drill. Well, it wasn't as easy to control and I did exactly what I was afraid of. I cut into the existing wiring.

Not only that, but I did it in the SHOWER of all places where moisture is likely to invade any repair. I spliced the wires back together with heat shrink butt connectors and then shelled out $40 (I hate west marine) for a length of 3/4" heat shrink to go over the whole lot. What a PIA....

Since I was running wires, I decided to run a few more and now I have more circuits and outlets than any boat could ever need. I can't believe I cut into the existing 110 wiring... Lucky for me I disconnected the boat's 110V at the dock and ran a separate extension cord directly from the dock, just in case. Perhaps I shouldn't have, maybe the thought of death by electrocution would have made me more careful. To think, just 6 months ago I was doing brain surgery on children and now I can't even keep from shredding wires that are 1/4" away. Gotta admit though, they had MUCH nicer drills at the hospital.

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Last edited by MedSailor; 12-22-2009 at 11:19 PM.
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