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asdf38 10-30-2012 08:50 PM

Custom Engine Panel Design
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
Through the deck connector

asdf38 10-30-2012 08:54 PM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
2 Attachment(s)

Skipper Jer 10-30-2012 09:06 PM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
I did a breaker panel for my Nor'sea. We have a CNC router at work we use to make simple printed circuit boards but can be used to engrave laminated plastic panels. The panel turned out pretty nice. If I had todo it again I would use one of the internet services such as: Front Panel Express:*Custom Front Panel Designs & Enclosures - Nameplates - Signs

I have no connection with the above business.

Faster 10-30-2012 09:07 PM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
Looks good... we have no 'key'.. just a switch for power to the panel and another switch for the actual starter (actually a three position momentary rotary.. left for preheat, right for start) When away from the boat I can isolate the panel power with a below decks battery shutoff switch

fryewe 10-30-2012 09:19 PM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
Recently made a basic functional Type B panel for a 2QM15. Not nearly as ambitious as your panel plan. See my entry in the thread "Low Buck Projects." It has only three items on it...high temp and low LO alarm lights and the push button for the starter. Cost less than 20 bucks and looks great. Wanted SIMPLICITY.

No labels since I used a green light for high water temp and a red light for the low LO pressure alarm.

I used marine ply for the panel base and painted it with Interlux Brightside.

I put the ignition switch and buzzers (one for each alarm) inboard just under and to starboard of the companionway.

I am using a Tiny Tach in the cabin for RPM/engine hours/maintenance interval timing.

Your design looks great as does your electrical panel.

Barquito 10-31-2012 11:12 AM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
Nice looking main panel. Where did the label come from? Where did you locate the fuses? I'm thinking of re-doing mine in a similar way.

chucklesR 10-31-2012 11:18 AM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
That's some nice work ASDF - might I suggest lexan, with a rubber gasket behind and using toggle type fasteners so you can remove the panel easily.

I've got a similar project for next spring. The Yanmar 44 on my new to me Irwin 38 has a panel that is at shin height behind the wheel. Since it's got to move it might as well get an update as well.
I'm also putting a 6 switch DC panel at the helm (nav, instruments, anchor, steaming, 12v, decklights).
I had a similar plan for my Gemini - just sort of transferred the project to the Irwin 38.
The problem is, like your 1gm the Yanmar 44 on the Irwin has the dummy panel (buzz and light, not actual gauges for temp, fuel, alt etc..). To upgrade I have to buy and install a new engine harness. The good news is since I'm buying the harness I'll be getting one that works with NMEA 2000 so I can get all kinds of information to my MFD's.

Since we'll be living on board and going places where towboat US doesn't I want to be able to see what's going on before it breaks.

asdf38 10-31-2012 12:42 PM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
Yeah good suggestion. I'm considering them although still leaning towards synthetic lumber/lexan because I'm better equipped to work with it as opposed to aluminum. However I believe they offer printing on other materials and that's exactly the type of thing I picture for a custom print job.

Yeah I wondered if other people had eliminated the key. One reason I still want to retain it is that I tend to leave the cabin unlocked with the far fetched idea that someone could hop on and save the boat if it was sinking. Although this isn't likely so I'm still considering ditching the key entirely and doing what you do. But I think if I can work the lock into the hinged cover it's a good compromise.

Nice work. How do you like having that stuff in the cabin?

Everything there is bluesea except the lighter plug outlet which is from digi-key (the only metal in it is plated brass, so it's marine ready and cost $3). I'll edit the first post with some links to other posts I've made about the panel.

I've thought about adding real gauges but decided I just don't want the info. And as you say it means adding senders and cabling. I wonder if I'll regret it later. I'll be giving this some more thought.

I thought about the anchor light but it's not something you need spur of the moment while sailing so I'll leave it below and save the space. On the internal panel I combined the nav and steaming lights with one DPDT switch (bluesea suggests this in one of their documents) so one way is Nav only, the other way is Nav + Steaming. I can't turn on steaming by itself but it saves a switch. I plan on doing the same thing on the engine panel.

redline 10-31-2012 08:38 PM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
For what it's worth, the last boat we chartered (a Moorings 413 by Beneteau) had a Yanmar engine and panel without any key - just a rocker switch with START on one side, spring -return to center RUN, and STOP at the other side. If you want to prevent starting the engine, it's the battery switch inside.

It worked fine, and would never have the problem we did on our previous boat's 2GM panel when the keyswitch broke apart at the threaded collar while sailing. Impossible to glue it as the mounting nut puts it in tension, so for a month or so until I broke down and bought the original overpriced and equally overbuilt SPST rotary switch (start was a separate pushbutton and STOP was a mechanical choke-cable on the fuel cut-off), I wired it to the compass light switch instead. Theft-deterrence through obscurity, to paraphrase? Besides, one the old flat-key panels, the "single pin" tumbler was simply a ball bearing to prevent the key from falling out in the "on" position. All "keyed alike" so a switch would have been about as secure.

copacabana 11-01-2012 05:30 AM

Re: Custom Engine Panel Design
1 Attachment(s)
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.

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