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  #21  
Old 11-03-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

I would seriously consider the bulkhead under the port quarterberth.
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  #22  
Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

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Originally Posted by bigdogandy View Post
Also - FDR - I googled various combinations of Blue Sea ELI and AC Main and stray current and searched for ELI on the Blue Sea website but didn't find anything that looked what you were referring to. Is it somehting that provides galvanic isolation or something that acts as an isolation transformer? I am thinking about adding a galvanic isolator, by the way, as part of this project. Just need to see if I can get the funding approved!
It is ELCI Search Results*—*Blue Sea Systems

A galvanic isolator and an ELCI do not have the same function.
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  #23  
Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

1) Separate AC and DC panels are, IMHO, a good idea. Keeping AC a long way from water is a very good idea.

2) An ELCI is a good idea, and I believe mandatory in newer boats. Residual Current Circuit Breakers (GFCI and ELCI) - PN - Blue Sea Systems. I intend to install one when I work out where to put it - and where to find the cash :-). They need to be installed within 10' of the power inlet. See Blue Sea Systems Offers Solutions for Mounting ELCI Breakers to Comply With ABYC July 2010 Requirements.

3) Galvanic isolators IMHO depend on your marina. I am in a "hot" marina, and when I first moved in, with 2 zincs on the prop shaft, they were both gone in under 6 months. I installed an isolator - which for me is on the main ground bus, a long way from the electrical panels - and my zincs now last 9-12 months. So in my case, I reckon a good idea; for you, maybe not.

4) I like voltmeters; but in my case I have only one - AC voltage, on the AC panel - and for DC I rely on a Xantrex battery monitor, freeing up my panels for switches, and providing more data. Something to consider if you run out of panel real estate.

5) As a general rule - do whatever Maine Sail says!!!!

6) Oh yeah - if you come across any crimped connection - give it a little tug. I dunno what my PO used to crimp, but around 75% of the connections I tugged just fell apart. That's after around 3 years. So I redid them all.
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

Just think hard before moving that panel. Sure it's ideal to move it but it will take literally days worth of extra time, crimping wires in odd places, angles and positions to move all those wires. You'll have a couple dozen wires at least glancing at the panel. If you're up for that great. I re-wired my entire boat and I'm happy with it. But at one point I figured I could run the wires in a day and it took a full week (battery cabling in particular is a huge pain to wrestle into place). So there is a case to be made for leaving it. After all, the first panel lasted 30 years. And there are other options like making a lexan cover for example to protect it in that location.

Last edited by asdf38; 11-05-2012 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

I agree that moving the panel is a good idea - and a lot of work.

As far as galvanic isolators though, if your AC ground (green) is connected to the DC ground bus as called for by ABYC it can cause corrosion. Galvanic isolators virtually eliminate this.
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  #26  
Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

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Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
Just think hard before moving that panel. Sure it's ideal to move it but it will take literally days worth of extra time, crimping wires in odd places, angles and positions to move all those wires. You'll have a couple dozen wires at least glancing at the panel. If you're up for that great. I re-wired my entire boat and I'm happy with it. But at one point I figured I could run the wires in a day and it took a full week (battery cabling in particular is a huge pain to wrestle into place). So there is a case to be made for leaving it. After all, the first panel lasted 30 years. And there are other options like making a lexan cover for example to protect it in that location.

It's really not that bad to do. You make a harness of the red wires running to the new panel and tie them into a t-strip to the old wires behind where the old panel was. I prefer this to butt splices. This now becomes your new panels remote extension. then you just need to size your main + and neg wires from the neg bus and the battery switch and run those. I have done a number of panel relocation's and while tedious it is not difficult.

While this was not technically a re-location it was teh same concept.

Factory wiring:

There was no access behind this panel and no way to open it other than to un-screw it. The owner wanted to retain the DC panel but the breakers were replaced. This is a good example of why I don't like battery switches in the panel..

Updated wiring:


The existing wires from the ship now run the the t-strip across the top hull location. An "extension harness" was made so the now hinged panel door can open and one can gain access to the wiring. This is no different than running a new panel to a new location that bundle of red wires just gets longer..
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  #27  
Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

Wow - that is beautiful work, MaineSail. I am planning on installing a terminal strip behind the location where the old panel panel location.....just hope I can get somewhere in the same ballpark as the workmanship in your example!
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Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

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Originally Posted by bigdogandy View Post
Wow - that is beautiful work, MaineSail. I am planning on installing a terminal strip behind the location where the old panel panel location.....just hope I can get somewhere in the same ballpark as the workmanship in your example!

It's not difficult stuff just a bit tedious. For making the door I use a Kreg Jig & epoxy and the hinge is a recessed piano hinge so the door lays flat against the bulkhead when closed. A router works best but a good sharp chisel can work too. I have made LOTS of teak and mahogany doors with the Kreg Jig.

Here's another opening panel with a Kreg Jig door.


For color matching the new teak to aged teak, 30 years difference above, I often use either Red Cherry or Mahogany Watco Danish Oil. Some times I blend the two to get the desired color. Usually the match is quite unnoticeable and the Watco yields a more natural aging than a "stain" does...


For terminal strips I like the AMP FlexiBlocks as you can make them any length you want or need. They are expensive but very nice.



Normally I would use heat shrink crimps but the owner felt it to be a little "overboard" for the project seeing as none of the rest of the boat has them, nor does it have tinned wire. I used AMP PIDG ring terminals with an AMP aircraft certified crimp tool.

Everything gets a number so wires can be traced and larger wires are labeled with a label maker than clear heat shrink over that.


The existing panel was in rough shape. I was able to install new LED indicator lights, all new breakers, new batt switch and completely re-wire it for about 1/4" what a custom replacement would have cost. Because of the fitment of this panel an off the shelf panel by Blue Sea, normally my first choice, would not fit.
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  #29  
Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

I know it must be getting awfully repetitive to hear for you Maine, but nice work.

Now, can you elaborate on this "Kreg jig"? I assume it's some kind of router jig?
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Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Blue Sea custom electrical panel opinions

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
I know it must be getting awfully repetitive to hear for you Maine, but nice work.

Now, can you elaborate on this "Kreg jig"? I assume it's some kind of router jig?
Yes great work Maine. I found on my job I did a great job at home wiring my new panel to the terminal strips. But fell short when installing everything in the boat. Functionally it's fine but nowhere near as good looking as it could have been. One problem is that I ran some wires backwards - starting at the load and running back to the panel where it was really hard to cut and crimp to the proper length.

Anyway, I assume he means the pocket hole jig for making hidden fasteners for the four pieces of the door. It's definitely worth knowing about. The stainless screws are a bit hard to find but you can get them here (along with bronze screws which is also hard to find). Kreg jig is definitely worth knowing about.
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