Re: Electrical system install
Don't over-think this project. For a small boat like that all you need is one cabin light circuit (with one or two light fixtures per "cabin"), a nav light circuit, a circuit for a masthead tricolor nav light (if you have one), a steaming light circuit, a spreader light circuit (if you have them), an electronics circuit, and a circuit with one or two "cigar-lighter" outlets. A total of seven circuits, MAX. You don't really need spreader lights (I've always found them to be kind of a PITA anyway), or a masthead tricolor (they're nice, but not essential), and if you're cleaver you can use cigar-lighter outlets to power some cabin lights (I rigged up a cheap IKEA hanging fixture
with an adapter
and a 12V LED array
and plug it into a cigar-lighter for my boat's main cabin light). If you use a handheld VHF, and a little boombox for music (a very common combination on little boats), you can eliminate the electronics circuit. Your anchor light can be a stand alone LED lantern, or just get one with a long cord that plugs into a cigar-lighter outlet
. So, you can probably get away with three or four circuits.
Running boat cable and crimping terminals and connectors is easy. You don't need a bunch of fancy tools, and the crimps don't have to be perfect (no matter what some others on SN will insist); a $20 crimper, some shrink-wrap connectors and terminals, a small panel, a 100 feet or so of boat cable (less, if you only have the minimum number of circuits), two batteries, a master switch, a grounding bus, some battery cables and a weekend will get you a basic system. The parts and tools shouldn't total up to more than $500. Do it all yourself so that when something fails (and something WILL eventually fail, no matter who initially wires the system) you'll have a much better chance of being able to effect a repair yourself.
Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 03-12-2012 at 03:00 AM.