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willracin 02-13-2010 08:07 PM

I have just purchased a Chrysler 22. It is in reasonably good shape it seems but, It has no electrical sys. I need help from beginning to end with this project. I have read several books on boat electrical sys, but they all seem to start assuming I already have something which I dont. First order of business in my budget is extremely tight and so is my time right now. However, I do want all my steps to be quality work and parts so I can add to the system as time and money allow. There is currently no Battery box so I guess I should start there. I know I want 2 batteries with some type of charger that can be connected to shore power or a small generator when available. So has anyone built a battery box where there was none before and what did you use? Any pics drawings or links would be greatly appreciated.

mitiempo 02-22-2010 01:10 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Welcome to sailnet.
My guess is you both will not be away from the dock for more than a few days at a time and that there won't be much to use power except some lights. I'd also guess a small outboard. I think if this is the case one battery should be sufficient. You will need navigation lights if you plan to sail at night ever and an anchor light. For the navigation lights you need a combination red/green bow light and a stern light. If you plan on using the engine at night you will need a steaming light. The red/green is best put on the bow pulpit and a combination is more miserly with power as it uses only one bulb. The white stern light can be mounted on the stern rail if you have one or on the stern as high as possible if not. The steaming light mounts on the mast usually near the spreaders. If you plan to anchor overnight the best solution is to hang a portable light from the boom over the cockpit.
For the interior you will need a few lights for cooking, reading, etc. These are best kept to a minimum to conserve power. In areas where you don't need a lot of light on a normal basis you can buy stick on LED lights with their own internal battery - because they are LED the battery lasts ages. They can be purchased at Home Depot or Wal Mart for about $20 for a 3 pack. For the permanent lights small flourescent lights will use less power than incandescent and are a lot less money than LED. Below are several links to on line places to buy lights.
For a battery box you're probably best to buy a group 27 or 31 deep cycle battery with a plastic box and strap it down under an aft bunk so it can't move. A small fuse panel and a main battery switch should be installed as well. The interior lights will have their own switches so all you really need is a fuse block for them. You will need switches for the running lights, one for sailing (red/green and stern), a second for the steaming light, and a third for the anchor light. These switches can be fed from the fuse block. Shown below from Defender.
The battery charger is probably best kept to a portable as this saves the expense of a shorepower inlet and cable. There is a 2/6/10 amp charger shown below from Amazon.
You don't say how tight your budget is nor how you will be using the boat so I've tried to outline a system that will work but keep costs down. I don't know where you are so have suggested online sellers. There are many other options as well but this is about as simple as a real 12 volt system gets and still remains workable. I hope this helps.

willracin 02-22-2010 03:26 AM

WOW!!!! Thanks Brian, you were practically reading my mind on everything here. My budget is pretty tight and I do want to save at almost every opportunity. The only thing I want to do different than you suggest is, I would like to use a 2 battery system if possible and somehow be able to readily use shore power or a small generator at times. I also feel some type of radio communication is a good idea? What do you think?

tommays 02-22-2010 07:10 AM

I dont know what you consider a tight budget BUT even with a good size one this would be a big job IF you do it in one shot

The bigger question would be how to build a system that could have things added in a manner that allow you to expand without wasting money

For example a size X solar pannel with a control would most likely cost less than a compleat safe and legal shore power system which requires a LOT of stuff

My J24 which we use to cruise has a very basic electric system Navigation lights and a few small cabin lights

With a single battery this will get you through any weekend as a starting point

I would think a good step one would be to decide how many switches you thing you need IMHP 6 would do fine on a small boat as even my Cal 29 left the factory with 6 :)

mitiempo 02-22-2010 10:33 AM

A handheld vhf will keep costs down as you won't need an antenna or 12 volt wiring for it.

Ajax_MD 02-22-2010 11:33 AM


I installed the same fuseblock that MiTiempo posted. I can PM you a wiring diagram of my boat which is very simple and damned near universal. You can use or modify it as you see fit.

Miteimpo is correct on the VHF, BUT a hand-held with a stubby antenna doesn't have a lot of gain or range. You might consider buying one with a multipurpose antenna jack so that you can connect it to a larger, deck-mounted antenna. You still won't have to tie it into the boat's 12v system.

BMCG 05-09-2010 07:25 PM

been looking into some rewiring myself. found a website called "easy ac/dc". might give them a try. i'll let you know what shakes out!

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