Originally Posted by Captain Canuck
Dekluged the boat (somewhat). Shorepower now goes through the old 30A breaker to a GFCI outlet, into which the charger is plugged. Charger clamps are on the big connectors, mains to the DC panel are on the others, secured with butterfly nuts. Not an ideal solution, but it will do for now, and the boat probably won't sink or catch on fire. Oh, and the 120V panel is completely disconnected, and will remain so until I figure out how I'm going to integrate it into the new setup.
I went to the local marine technical contractor today. I'm going to rent their most knowledgeable certified ABYC specialist to sit with me in my boat and go over potential issues. He's apparently done a couple of electric boat installs and a few lithium house battery upgrades. I'm looking forward to getting his advice while specifically looking at my boat. I think it will be money well spent. I can always call on them again if I hit a snag I can't overcome.
While I personally have no skin in the game, I find in many cases, DIYers over-estimate their capabilities.
The following is a bit of a public service announcement. It cost me time and effort and lost business opportunity to write and I likely stand to gain nothing other than the knowledge I may have helped someone.
Having a pro (someone properly educated, trained, and experienced) consult and/or inspect this type of work, generally saves money rather than costs.
It can also save your life. (This is not fear mongering; there is a natural cause and effect to everything we do or don't do.)
Here is some additional advice that I hope can help you and others:
1. An automotive type charger, even if the brand name sounds nautical, with spring clamps, is not ABYC compliant for use on a boat (but OK on land in a an adequately ventilated area).
This type of charger is not usually IP (ignition proof) rated, and can cause sparks, igniting the hydrogen gas (or other flammable combustible) present above the battery.
2. Wing nuts are not compliant on battery cables 6 gauge or less. It is very difficult to make these tight enough without tools, but because of their design, most people just finger tighten. This can lead to a loose, high impedance connection, that can cause sparks or extreme heat, especially when high current loads are present (hence the wire gauge limitation).
3. Ensure any service provider you hire is duly qualified IN THAT FIELD.
Few "mechanics" are truly "certified" by any recognized association or manufacturer.
Many "certified mechanics" (who are truly certified), could not wire a boat compliant to ABYC standards if their lives depended on it.
Not because they are not smart enough or capable, they are just not educated, trained, and sufficiently experienced in this field, as their continuing education is related to mechanical not electrical work.
Ask to see their "certification". If they really are, they should have a cert in their wallet, and will be happy to show it because they have heavily invested in it. If they don't, they will likely try to come up with some excuse.
My policy - no training cert, no boarding my boat.
4. Ensure any service provider you hire is insured FOR THAT TYPE OF WORK.
Ask to see their commercial liability cert.
They have paid handsomely for this piece of paper, and will gladly present it to separate themselves from boat bums who claim to be "professional".
If an insured contractor's actions burn down your boat, others around you, and the marina, the repairs will come out of their insurance, and their premiums will skyrocket, likely putting them out of business if they try to continue to carry insurance.
Hint - having insurance, is a good indication a service provider has not had a previous claim, and knowing the cost to livelihood if they ever do, provides extra incentive to do it right, every time.
My policy - no relevant manufacturers or association cert., no boarding my boat.
In closing, some people are surprised that they have to perform their own due diligence to ensure the people they hire to work on their boat are duly qualified.
Interestingly, some of those same people go to great lengths in time and expense to screen the people hired for positions in their company.
Unlike your house, you can't step off your boat, dial 911, and have emergency services there in 90 seconds.
Do everything you can to make sure the people working on your boat (including yourself) do not cause you to have to call a Mayday (and to ensure the radio works when you need it to.)
Hope this helps.