Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 63 Old 12-04-2015 Thread Starter
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Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

Gentlepeople: I'm presently in the planning stages of a rebuild of a 30 on the LWL older boat whose electrical systems have been neglected for years and what remains is a dangerous hodge-podge of a squirrels nest. The electrical system needs an entire rebuild. So, in light of that statement should I use a DC/AC combo electrical panel or should I go with separate DC and AC panels? My AC electrical needs are relatively simple, no Fridge, no Air Condition, just a few outlets and a AC powered bilge pump to supplement the DC bilge pump, for insurance at the dock.(I live about three hours away from where I intend on docking the boat) My DC needs at present, I believe can be easily handled by 8 dedicated circuits, without doubling anything up. I'm presently interested in a Blue Sea 8084 combo panel, but would certainly entertain any advice as to the matter. Thank you. PS. The vessel is to be used for coastal cruising.

Last edited by seabeau; 12-04-2015 at 06:18 AM.
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post #2 of 63 Old 12-04-2015
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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

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Originally Posted by seabeau View Post
Gentlepeople: I'm presently in the planning stages of a rebuild of a 30 on the LWL older boat whose electrical systems have been neglected for years and what remains is a dangerous hodge-podge of a squirrels nest. The electrical system needs an entire rebuild. So, in light of that statement should I use a DC/AC combo electrical panel or should I go with separate DC and AC panels? My AC electrical needs are relatively simple, no Fridge, no Air Condition, just a few outlets and a AC powered bilge pump to supplement the DC bilge pump, for insurance at the dock.(I live about three hours away from where I intend on docking the boat) My DC needs at present, I believe can be easily handled by 8 dedicated circuits, without doubling anything up. I'm presently interested in a Blue Sea 8084 combo panel, but would certainly entertain any advice as to the matter. Thank you. PS. The vessel is to be used for coastal cruising.
Nothing wrong with a good quality AC/DC panel. Just be sure to buy the rear cover so the AC is isolated from DC.

Eight DC circuits is pretty light for boats these days.. Heck your lighting needs will normally use five of those 8; navigation lights, steaming light, anchor light, deck lights, cabin lights & I am ignoring tri-color in this 5.... That leaves just 3 slots for 12V outlets, water pump, instruments, autopilot, GPS, VHF, compass light, shower sump, stereo, radar, LPG solenoid, etc. etc.. I don't know of anyone who has bemoaned having a few extra breakers... The Blue Sea 8084 with 15 DC slots is a good choice..

This is an expensive and time consuming project to do correctly so don't let a few bucks extra for a quality panel get you stumbling over yourself...

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 12-04-2015 at 08:02 AM.
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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

Clear routing and labeling of wires behind the panel(s) is more important than one panel or two. I suggest you select a panel with room for growth, especially on the DC side.

EDIT: *sigh* MaineSail got there first and with more. Agreed.

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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

Maine Sail Thank you for your timely response. So I presume you approve of the DC/AC combo panels. Concerning the 12 battery charger/controllers your mentioned several days ago, I believe it was a ProNautic P- 40, what is the significance of the "P" designation? I've seen the same manufactures controllers without the "P". Thanks.
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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

SVAuspicious: Thank you.
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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

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Maine Sail Thank you for your timely response. So I presume you approve of the DC/AC combo panels. Concerning the 12 battery charger/controllers your mentioned several days ago, I believe it was a ProNautic P- 40, what is the significance of the "P" designation? I've seen the same manufactures controllers without the "P". Thanks.

The "P" is an entirely new design and considerably better & more reliable than older ProNautics.. The ProNautic P is identical to the Sterling ProCharge Ultra (jointly developed).

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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

Gentlemen: I know that the Blue Sea 8084 panel has analog gauges. Are the panels with the new digital gauges to be preferred? In another vein, I have seen on the Blue Sea web site, a product called a Safety Hub in two different amps capacity. Are these products necessary if you purchase a electrical panel of suitable size or do they simply provide redundant electrical protection for more sensitive electrical equipment that might be damaged due to electrical surges, such as engine starting. I also realize that their location in the electrical circuit has consequences. I intend to make all the boats lighting LED, both inside and outside the cabin, even the tri-color masthead light, but I have had bad experiences in auto's with cheap LED lights wreaking havoc with radio reception. Considering an LED masthead light and its proximity to AM/FM/UHF radio antenna, can this be an issue? Sorry as to all of the questions, but I wish to do this right the first time. Thanks

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post #8 of 63 Old 12-05-2015
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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seabeau View Post
Gentlemen: I know that the Blue Sea 8084 panel has analog gauges. Are the panels with the new digital gauges to be preferred? In another vein, I have seen on the Blue Sea web site, a product called a Safety Hub in two different amps capacity. Are these products necessary if you purchase a electrical panel of suitable size or do they simply provide redundant electrical protection for more sensitive electrical equipment that might be damaged due to electrical surges, such as engine starting. I also realize that their location in the electrical circuit has consequences. I intend to make all the boats lighting LED, both inside and outside the cabin, even the tri-color masthead light, but I have had bad experiences in auto's with cheap LED lights wreaking havoc with radio reception. Considering an LED masthead light and its proximity to AM/FM/UHF radio antenna, can this be an issue? Sorry as to all of the questions, but I wish to do this right the first time. Thanks
I think a better investment would be a panel (or panels) without any gauges, analog or digital. The money saved will easily cover a good battery monitor. Gauges cannot tell you the state of your batteries but a monitor can. The Victron BMV-700 is a very good conventional monitor. The SmartGauge is a different type of monitor, giving you less information, but SOC more accurately.

Brian
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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

As usual I gotta go against the grain.... Shore power is shore power, and ships power is ships power and never the twain shall meet.

Simple 2 or 3 circuit AC panel is cheap, stand alone, and you never know when you might want to add something. (Tired of warm beer) . Easier to add an extra breaker or two at the begining than try to stuff em in in the future. If possible it is nice to have the AC and DC wiring physically seperated. 12 or 24 volt DC might melt a half moon out your screw driver, but 30A 120/240 Volt AC will bite you. If you need to trouble shoot, the panels are usually going to be "hot" so nice to know where you stand.

As far as DC, being old school I prefer fuses to breakers for DC circuits. New "blade" fuses are much more reliable than the old Buss glass tubes, available most everywhere in the world, and a lot easier to come by in Pago-Pago than a DC breaker. If you are tripping breakers or blowing fuses, find the fault. Again, plan for the unknown future... if 8 circuits are adequate, install 12. Leaves you spares for that equipment you find you just can't do without in the future. I use a BlueSea 5034 fuse block (surface mounted where it is EASY to get to in the middle of the night in 10' seas) 12 circuits with a nice cover and cheap.

One additional suggestion... before you buy or install anything, take the time to make up a schematic including all of your current and future circuits. Then after you build and install your new system, make an "as built" schematic and stick a copy in a zip lock inside your wiring space. It is a boat after all, and eventually something will go south. Several years later (no matter how logical and neat you are with your wiring) it is sure nice to have a reminder of what goes where.


Several shots of the DC panel and rewire on the Solitaire
Attached Thumbnails
02-panel-back.JPG   new-panel-1.JPG   Solitaire-DC-As-Built-4-sm.jpg  

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Re: Electrical Panels, DC/AC combo or Seperate DC, AC panels.

mitiempo: That's a very good tip concerning a battery monitor with its advanced instrumentation vs simple panel gauges and of course I had not thought of that avenue. I intend to install a battery charger/controller and I assume that the two brands of monitors will interface with those devices? Secondly, are those monitors capable of discrete monitoring, in other words do(can) they monitor not only the entire battery bank, but also individual batteries within the bank? Last, what does "SOC" stand for? Thank you.

Last edited by seabeau; 12-05-2015 at 05:28 AM.
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