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  #11  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

ASDF - is there a reason why the buzzer needs to be mounted on the panel? I'm thinking it may be possible to simplify / save some panel space, and the buzzer would likely be very audible even if hidden behind the panel ...

Also, really like the idea to put the panel behind an opening port ... I hope to get to my own panel replacement project some day, but have not really started design/planning.
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Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by akavishon View Post
ASDF - is there a reason why the buzzer needs to be mounted on the panel? I'm thinking it may be possible to simplify / save some panel space, and the buzzer would likely be very audible even if hidden behind the panel ...

Also, really like the idea to put the panel behind an opening port ... I hope to get to my own panel replacement project some day, but have not really started design/planning.
No, and that's an area I want to think about more. But by default I left it there because it needs to be audible. I also have no leads on better components than the existing yanmar buzzer right now. So it's the only component I plan on keeping. There's also a small advantage to having the familiar yanmar buzz - I'm not always going to be the user here. Sometimes marina staff etc need to run the boat.

If I make a latching cover then the buzzer is already going to be behind something, this will protect it but diminish the sound a bit already. Moving it further behind the panel itself and it will be even less audible. But maybe that's fine. Engine noise sure doesn't have a hard time escaping through the fiberglass. Another factor is space. Right now my mockup shows there is enough space but if that changes it's more reason to move it back.

Yeah the port idea is great. I'll actually look into that because my cover plans essentially replicate a port. I think that the space I'm working with is so small that I can do better with a custom design but it's certainly a good idea.

All the suggestions have been helpful so far. I'm trying to plan this as well as possible. The nice thing about this project is that I can do it all at home/computer which gives me tons more time to plan it than the usual at the boat projects.

Redline, yeah my first boat maintenance after I bought this was replacing the key switch. The original yanmar had corded away. I don't think most key switches are really up for the task of being in this environment. Looking at mcmsaster I'm not totally impressed. I like this right now for latching the cover but wish it were entirely stainless without the nickel plated steel cams
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Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

I had to make a panel from scratch for my boat.

I used Adobe Indesign to mock the size of the panel and then lay out the placement of the gauges, switches, etc. Then I printed it and taped the paper over the plywood to start drilling holes.

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Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
My 15 year old Yanmar panel (B panel) for my 1GM 10 doesn't look too good. Last season I did a custom electrical panel for the interior and was pretty happy with the results so this year I intend to rebuild the engine panel from scratch.

Has anyone ever done this or thought about it? I'd like to use this thread to get ideas and post plans/results etc as I work on this over the winter.

General Plans:
-Use a combo tachometer like the one below with a digital display for hours and voltage. My current hour meter reads 75...needless to say it hasn't been working in years
-Replace all the alarms/lights with LED's
-Kick proof. In my small cockpit there are no good places for the panel. I plan to leave it in place but want to design a lexan (?) hinged or removable cover.
-Light switches. I want control of the nav and spreader lights (at the least) from the cockpit.
-Keep it simple and high quality. Internal wiring will go to a terminal block which will bridge to a standard Yamar engine cable.


Other Thoughts:
-Key? I'd love to get rid of the need for a dangling, kickable key while sailing/motoring. One idea is to move the key into the cabin. The other idea is to use a key lock to lock down the engine panel cover. Then the key is just used to unlock the cover and gets put away afterward. In either case a switch would replace the functionality of the key for enabling the alarms etc. Thoughts?
-Material? My current plan is to use synthetic lumber but the other option would be fiberglass. I have no experience with glass but would like to have some.
-Button for a horn? It might be nice to add proper horn onto the boat. How many people have horns wired in?
-Indicator lights for 12V and a light from the Bluesea ACR LED output (which I also have on the internal panel)
-Professional print job for the panel? Not sure what this would cost for but it would be nice. Otherwise I need to consider labeling solutions.

Combo Tachometer:
VDO - Tachometer


Example IP67 Switch For lights:
WR11AF NKK Switches | 360-2277-ND | DigiKey


Last Years Project:


Also see
Simple electrical panel
Through the deck connector
Through the Deck
Personally I would keep it as simple as possible. Those rockers SUCK in an exterior location. I jsut replaced three last two weeks ago on a commercial boat. Tested fine for voltage but could not pass any current.

My recommendations would be:

#1 lose the expensive hour meter/volt/tach and go with a simple less expensive version. These tachs DO NOT last very long in the marine environment. Hour meters are cheap and can be in the engine bay and voltage can be displayed on just about any modern plotter.

#2 Lose the buzzer at the panel. There is no need for it in the panel. It can easily be heard if hidden below decks.

#3 Add a temp gauge!! One of the most critical gauges on a sailboat engine panel. Cheap, simple and easy to install.

#4 Add an oil pressure gauge. Again very simple, cheap and allows you to "see" what is going on not just get buzzed where there is an issue. With "idiot lights" you never really know they are working until it is too late. With gauges you can SEE them working.

#5 The on/off key can be a toggle switch and the start button rubber insulated. Alternatively the key can be in a lazarette locker so you don't kick it. Sabre does this..

#6 Lose all the other switches for nav lights etc. All you are doing is extending those circuits and creating more potential for issues. Nav lights need to be 3% voltage drop max. These are critical items for navigation so I would leave all switches for them below decks. Takes me less than 15 seconds to pop to the nav station & turn them on. Exterior mounted switches, keys etc. are one of the most trouble prone items on boats. keeping them out of the elements is always the most reliable choice. I replace switches on open center console boats and walk-arounds etc. like they are going out of style..


My ideal simple engine panel would have:


Start Button
Tach
Engine Temp
Oil Pressure

Key or on switch for engine would be separately located in a dry area....

That's it......
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
My ideal simple engine panel would have:

Start Button
Tach
Engine Temp
Oil Pressure

Key or on switch for engine would be separately located in a dry area....

That's it......
Umm, plus glow plug button, I suspect? And, no alarms at all?
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Quote:
Key or on switch for engine would be separately located in a dry area....
Glad to hear others do not think it is crazy to have my blower and ignition switches inside the cabin.

Quote:
ASDF - is there a reason why the buzzer needs to be mounted on the panel? I'm thinking it may be possible to simplify / save some panel space, and the buzzer would likely be very audible even if hidden behind the panel ...
I'm just guessing, but I bet if you mounted a buzzer directly to the inside of an expanse of flat fiberglass, it would act as sounding board and be pretty loud.
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  #17  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Plus 1 on the Maine Sail post.

I had to build a panel because the original Westerbeke one was too big for my location.

I placed all the gauges plus two buttons – glow plug and start.

The key and the buzzer were inside the cabin and yes, I could hear its high-pitched sound well with engine on and the companionway closed.
I only used the key because it came with it - it was always in place, otherwise I would have used a switch.

I used 1/8 inch phenolic for the base rather than ply or plexiglass, as it is resistant, more suitable for electrics and easy to cut (look up its specs here PHENOLIC). I bought a small off-cut for the purpose.

I did not have an opening cover, the panel was totally waterproofed and was installed/screwed from the inside. For the cover I used a piece of ľ inch acrylic with screwed and bedded with Dow 795. If I needed to service it I just unscrewed it from the base from inside.

Worked well and was always dry.
You can find push-buttons for the glow-plug and starter that has a rubber ring to prevent water ingress - I had that mounted thru the plexi cover.

Last edited by SVTatia; 11-01-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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  #18  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
Glad to hear others do not think it is crazy to have my blower and ignition switches inside the cabin.



I'm just guessing, but I bet if you mounted a buzzer directly to the inside of an expanse of flat fiberglass, it would act as sounding board and be pretty loud.
I do think that's a little crazy...at least for me I like the security of knowing I can start the engine from the cockpit when I need too. This is partly due to my lack of experience but for example when I sail on and off the mooring occasionally I like to have that backup there in-case I blow something.

Hmm so what I was picturing is that the panel would be enclosed on all sides including behind. That's because the panel is just in a locker and I want to protect it from things back there. So I could change the plan to mount the buzzer interally pointing out into the locker which would protect it better and give me more space..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail
Thanks for the reply I'll take your suggestions seriously, especially on the gauges.

Digikey sells over 5000 rockers starting at $0.30@quantity 1. Sorting for IP67 narrows that down to 300. So this isn't your average cheapo rocker it's, the best I can find (silver contacts, brass with silver plating terminal). Good enough? Not sure.

1) It's hard to resist this because the tach already has the information for hours and voltage so why not get a device that can display them? It adds no complexity to the system and I agree that simplicity is major goal.

What brands of guages do you have experience with, is VDO not good?

2) Ok I think I'll take this suggestion and mount it internally behind.

3/4) So my two reasons for no temp/oil guages were 1) no extra wires 2) additional anxiety/distraction of having one more piece of information to worry about. 2 is a crappy reason and I can deal with 1.

My only comment is that while your right about temp alarm - you never know if it's working, the oil alarm sounds every time you turn the engine on or off. So it's one of a few things on my boat that I have faith in. (And I've been pretty good about testing the temp alarm by forgetting the seacock or having the impeller blow)

But anyway, ok I think I'll trade the buzzer for temp and probably oil. Again any recommendations for brands?

5) Key in locker, another good idea.

6) Well these switches will be wired in parallel to the existing switches. So if they fail I can just pop down below (unless they fail short, then the fuse will blow). I just like the idea of not having to go below to do things that will inevitably come up while sailing. My guests are almost always inexperienced leaving me with the full burden or operating the boat. I'm looking to make it as streamlined and simple as possible.

Actually as an aside I agree that running extra wires is a pain. Voltage drop is a huge problem with 12V power. So I've been toying with the idea of designing a custom circuit board that's the equivalent of a relay (but current and temperature protected) meaning the engine panel switches wouldn't be carrying current only signals. There is a huge class of power IC's designed for industrial/automotive applications that are fantastic at switching/protecting/limiting 12V and I've been wanting to a PCB for the boat for years (pcb hardware design is what I do). But that's a bit outside the scope of this panel discussion.
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  #19  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

asdf38

Great thread, while I am not interested in "re-building" my panel I have often thought about moving it and making it more water proof.
Reason for moving it being; I find the cockpit sole space under the tiller/aft of the cockpit drains to be dead space(like asdf38 I own a contessa 26). I am considering filling the space with a "home-made" fiberglass box for storage that fits the space. The panel, as it is currently mounted, gets in the way where this idea is concerned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by copacabana View Post
Nice job on the panel. Another idea is to put the panel behind an opening port. The previous owner of my boat, a very experienced long-term cruiser, made this change when he installed the new Yanmar. This keeps the panel and wiring out of the salt air and practically ensures the panel will last forever. It still looks like new 12 years later.
copacabana
Bloody brilliant idea. I will be implementing it next spring.

On the topic of opening ports, I was reading a thread over at sailfar.net about opening ports. CharleJ posted a link to a company that sells opening ports and have over stock for 40$

sailfar thread;
High cost Portlights

The link to the company in question(I have no experience dealing with them);
Opening Port Overstocks

The overstock may not be a suitable size but I thought it was worth mentioning.


John
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Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Custom Engine Panel Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyandjebus View Post
asdf38

Great thread, while I am not interested in "re-building" my panel I have often thought about moving it and making it more water proof.
Reason for moving it being; I find the cockpit sole space under the tiller/aft of the cockpit drains to be dead space(like asdf38 I own a contessa 26). I am considering filling the space with a "home-made" fiberglass box for storage that fits the space. The panel, as it is currently mounted, gets in the way where this idea is concerned.

John
I've thought about the same thing. But I just don't see a significantly beter spot for the panel - I like the fact that it's in accessible but unused space. So for storage perhaps a smaller box or canvas organizer or something would work. Or something spanning the whole back "seat" in the cockpit.

If you do one I'd love to see it. The only time that back space in the cockpit is nice is if you lie down - there is a full 6'+. Otherwise it's under the tiller and generally not useful. The PO put the connector for the auto-helm smack in the middle of the stern locker/seat indicating how often they used that space and it hasn't been an issue for me either. Trivia: The British contessa cockpit stops where our engine panel is now and it has a much larger stern deck.

The cockpit:
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Last edited by asdf38; 11-01-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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