Electrical Panel Issues - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-30-2017 Thread Starter
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Electrical Panel Issues

Continuing with the ongoing sage of our new N28-2, another issues has come to light. Fortunately, I know exactly what to do about this one. When we did the sea trial of the boat, there were a couple of relatively minor electrical issues. One, some of the panel switches were loose and did not work. Second, it was obvious a couple of the switches were actually broken. These are the original plastic toggle switches that came with the boat, as has been determined by viewing a few pictures of the electrical panel I have been able to find on the net. Anyway, yesterday, I unscrewed the panel from the bulkhead, and gently pulled it out. What I saw was quite odd. All but about two or three of the 12 switches were broken, with the back case pulled from the front mounting, and some of the front mounts were broken. There were four that had at least one wire broken off of the back of the switch. These breaks were on the load side of the switch, so at least there were not any live wires floating around behind the panel. Even before I had discovered all of the damaged switches, I had decided that I was going to replace all of the switches with metal toggle switches with rubber covers. So having to replace the broken switches were already in the plans. What alarmed me was the way the panel is fused. There is the one 20amp push button circuit breaker that feeds all twelve switches. That means that any one switch and associated wiring could carry the full 20 amps of current in the event of a short. Now pretty much all of the wiring going into the panel was 16ga at best with a number being only 18ga. Needless to say, this issue will be rectified during the panel rebuild. I am going to add panel mount fuse holders for each toggle switch, with the appropriately sized fuse for the wiring attached to each switch. That way, I do not have to worry about a small wire carrying way too much current and causing an electrical fire. The rest of the wiring in the panel besides being messy, appears to be in good condition. Anyway, I figured you guys might be interested in the panel condition and planned rebuild.

Mitch
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-13-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Panel Issues

All, going through the various systems on our new to use N28, I discovered some of the DC control panel switches did not work. I knew when we purchased her that there was at least two switches that would need replacing, so I had planned to just replace them all with good toggles. I don't like plastic toggle switches anyway, as I have had a number of them fail in one way or the other over the years. Anyway, I carefully removed the panel and discovered that all but 2-3 had failed. On some the back of the cases had separated from the mount, others, the wires were broken off the switch. Anyway, I was not at all pleased. So as I was rebuilding the panel, I discovered that the only fusing in the panel was the 20 amp push button circuit breaker/switch that controlled power to the panel. I decided that this was not acceptable for a number of reasons. Primarily, that there was a number of light gauge wires running to various items on the boat. If one of those wires or items shorted, the small diameter wires could heat up and cause a fire and not trip the 20 amp breaker. So I decided to install a separate fuse for each of the circuits. I purchased the replacement toggle switches, and panel mount fuse holders. Did a bunch of measuring and drilled mounting holes for each of 12 fuses. Wired it all up and it is almost ready to re-install in the boat. The fun part (not) is figuring out which wire powers which circuit. So I will get to spend a fair amount of quality time sorting it all out. Shouldn't take more than a day or two tracing it all out. When I get enough posts, I will post some pictures of what I have done.

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Re: Electrical Panel Issues

Here is the pictures I promised.
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DSCI1230a.jpg   DSCI1237a.jpg   DSCI1238a.jpg  
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