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  #11  
Old 01-07-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradway5 View Post
Well, I hope I can get some advice here even though im new to this board. My project boat is a 1978 islander 32. It took in some water during a prolong storage on the hard. Now eletrical is not my fortay, and im overwhelmed with where to start with it. The boat has not had power to it in a long time. Do you guys think I should power her up and see what happens? There are so many wires im almost lost. I want to redo all the connection, all of them are crimped and show a little corrosion. So id like to solder what. I can, and clean the terminals on the breakers and such. Sorry this is such a hard to follow post but it shows I have no idea where to start.
And I should add even though im not eletrically savy, I am fine with engines and capentry, not a desk jocky! Thanks for the help!
Some pictures might be handy if you get the chance to take some.
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

2014 is a year away...how much of a project boat is it? How do you plan to use it?

Unless you need to live on it or expect to embark on a long voyage, I'd work on the things that would allow me to splash the boat and be able to sail 1st.

In the electrical scheme of things you need an engine that starts and runs, navigation lights, maybe a bilge pump. All the rest is sorta fluff, that can be worked on as you go.
Meaning you don't need to energize anything that's not essential.

I certainly agree that you should have an overall plan and schematic that you follow as you go, but I wouldn't let the lack of shore power, refrigeration, cabin lights etc. keep me at the dock..on a pretty day.
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

I need it in the water in 2014, im transfering to who knows where(USCG). So id like to do what I need to do to get it in the water so when I transfer I can sail it rather than pay for shipping. The wiring system seems simple, just looks messy. Ill try and figure out how to post some pics
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Where are you now?
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Glad to hear that you're reading up on how to do it correctly. Very important. Just because the lights come on, doesn't mean its been done safely or to code. Electrical issues are the number one cause of boat fires.
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Coastie! - you can also order as many correspondence courses on things like diesels, electrical, navigation etc.. what works on a ship works on a boat. They (USCG) may even ship your boat for you on a space available basis (I doubt the Islander will fit in your weight budget ).
A 12 pack of beer, a couple sub's - and a invite to the EM1 to mess about on a boat might get you a on site electrician (or MM for the diesel). I'm guessing you guys use the same rate designators as the Navy.

Go get yourself a cheap (30 buck) 12v lawn tractor battery - it's all you need for now and you will make mistakes, shorts and such. Build the system for what you intend to put in later, but use this disposable as a test and experiment battery.

Get yourself a digital meter - doesn't have to be fancy, does have to measure both AC and DC accurately, and ohms (resistance). Make yourself some looong leads, with clips.
Then get yourself a simple inexpensive label maker. The 10 dollar type.
Graph paper is next.
I think by now you get the idea.
Start at the panel (because you know where you are then) and trace (using resistance) every wire on a switch before you turn it on. Label it and draw it.
The wires that are not corroded and nasty are still good if they measure a short (no resistance) from end to end. Strip them back, clean them up and reconnect them with solid crimps and the label heat shrunk in.

Any wire that was in the wet zone becomes a snake for the new wire you should pull. Sometimes that works - some times you run into snags and have to do some dis-assembly. Do your absolute best to not leave any old wires behind, both safety and stray electrolysis issues, and it's ugly. Use the same gauge as the original, or heavier if you KNOW you will add more to that circuit.
Tinned marine rated wires should be used in the bilge.

Clear the entire battery compartment - disconnect any and every wire that connects to the batteries other than the one pos and one neg that go to a new, 150 or so amp bus bar. Nothing should go directly to the batteries - not even a bilge pump. This is one area you will want to start clean.
If you have the money/budget I strongly recommend you get yourself a good battery monitor (Victron BMV 602s - see Maine Sail's posts and his website). If you start off right in the battery area, fusing, and monitoring etc. it will be easier moving forward.

I'd suggest you start with the engine area, starter, temp/oil senders etc. That little tractor battery will turn it over, so you'll know you got it right.

If that's too much, overwhelming wise, then go with a simple bilge pump wire up as a hands on learning experience.
Once you start you'll be surprised how easy it is to continue.

Next, move on to the Navigation and safety lights, then the inside lights.
I'm looking forward to pictures.

Let us (SN'rs) know where you are, you'd be surprised how much help we can be.
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Be aware that a bad connection on an improperly fused wire could burn your boat to the waterline (or ground, if you're on the hard) in a matter of minutes.

If you're going to just apply power and see how things work, be sure that you have a VERY LARGE fire extinguisher handy first!

Good luck.
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Electrical issues are the number one cause of boat fires.
55% of them!!!! And you have many other sources such as gasoline, LPG, solid fuel heaters, cigarettes etc. etc.... Still electrical fires are 55% of all boat fires (source ABYC/USCG).....
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

Take pictures, draw pencil sketches, put labels on everything. Find out where the waterline inside the cabin was, and replace ALL electrical wiring that was submerged for any length of time. It will be rotting out, and if you think "it still works" it probably still does work--and will literally fall apart at a critical moment without warning.

A $25 multimeter, a 12v test light, and you'll probably want to order bulk spools of wire from genuinedealz.com or other online sources. Whole spools are way cheaper than per-foot and color coding pays off in the long term. Gonna keep this boat for a while? Make sure you only use fully tinned wire, don't cheap out.

And then make sure to label and document your new work--because it will need troubleshooting sooner or later, and knowing what you've got and where it goes is invaluable for that.
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Re: overwhelmed w/ electrical

I tried using the photo upload feature on this site, but could never seem to get it to work. I resorted to using photobucket which seems to work nicely. Then I think I just cut and paste the HTML thumb from photo bucket.

My previous boat, an old Bristol, had the original small electrical panel for the basics. However, the previous owner had added all the modern bells and whistles..depth, wind, auto-pilot electro-san etc..but ran everything directly off the batteries in a mess of wires and crimped connections. I found a small shop that made electrical panels in Little Egg Harbor NJ, and had them make me a new panel (after calculating the needs and loads). The 12 doctor was never far from my side.
Cutting in and installing the new larger panel and transfering the essentials took a day. Then I slowly replaced all the added loads to their own breakers on a new panel. I put the panel on a piano hinge with a stop, so that I could simply remove the top set screws, drop it down and easily access the back of the panel. ( extra length harness)

I'm just guessing here, of course, but it sounds like you might have a combination of what I faced above,( " looks messy" ), in addition to some age and corrosion related issues from the water intrusion.

When I re-wired the Bristol I had zero 12v experience. I did exactly as Maine Sail said..I laughed when he wrote it... "Read the book...then read it again..then read it again until it's absorbed". It it so true.. I haven't done much wiring since then, so..I'm sure I'd need to read it again.. The point is..don't be afraid of the mess, you can remedy it.

It helped me to go one step at a time. Mapping out the circuits, calculating the loads and having a properly sized panel and correct guage wire was my starting point.
I actually had fun doing it, once I got over my fear of the unknown.

Good luck with it.
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