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I'm buying a boat that I will need to redo the electrical system. The electrical system and I are like water and electricity.... not user friendly. If I were to buy a book on marine electrical, from start to finish, which would be the best book? AC and DC. The usual lights 110 and 12V, nav equipment, battery charger, etc. And for the future solar, radar and just more user friendly than my last boat. I want to do it my self and I would like to have a book to keep for reference. Thank you.
 

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Boat Owners Guid to Mechanical and Electrical Systems by Nigel Calder. It is a must for every boat.

But if you are not Electrical savy, no book is going to help... and that book is very technical. You need to learn a bit before jumping into it - in my opinion. Electrical and gas fuel lines are two things I think that you need to have a firm grasp on before travelling into that territory.

But that is simply my opinion.

- CD
 

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If you feel hesitant to do your own hookups, you might consider finding an electrician that will let you do the time consuming work (running wires, installations, etc) and then let them hook it all up.

That's what I did on my boat. I learned a lot, and now feel confident not only in my abilities, but in the integrity of my electrical system.

I'd still buy the book CD recommended.
 

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I'll second both PB's and CD's suggestions. I'm an electrician and know what a jackpot people can get themselves into without proper knowledge. As Alexander Pope said "a little learning is a dangerous thing"
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all your responses. I learn better by doing and with the book as reference I can understand the basics better. I would like to at least be able to trace a problem. Learn to figure out load on system and charging requirements. I do have a few friends that can refer me to an electrician for final check and hook up. Thanks again.
 

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Calder's book is the first one I reach for when tackling projects -- very comprehensive and thorough. But it could be a bit intimidating for the first-timer.

You might also check out Don Casey's "Sailboat Electrics Simplified." It's very basic, and explains things at the entry level.

Once you're on the learning curve, you'll likely have both of these in your ready-rack.

Best of luck,
PF
 

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Plan First!

Read the 2 books recomended. Get familar with the concept, principles and terminology to utilize the electricians time wisely. Start an electrical scematic of what you think you would like to do. Then bring the electrician in to help with the final plan. Do the time consuming work and bring him/her back to help with the final installations. This way you are both on the same page and you don't have to do anything twice.
 

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Thanks for all your responses. I learn better by doing and with the book as reference I can understand the basics better. I would like to at least be able to trace a problem. Learn to figure out load on system and charging requirements. I do have a few friends that can refer me to an electrician for final check and hook up. Thanks again.
I'd also highly recommend getting a proper crimping tool (ratcheting) and the proper terminals. I'd recommend you read Maine Sail's POST on terminating marine wiring connections.

You can get a decent ratcheting crimper for heat shrink terminals, the heat shrink terminals and marine-grade wiring HERE. IIRC, they sell Berkshire wire...which I like and recommend.
 

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For your job you need this sealed splice tool kit (you can find it under the USA-Specials). It is a complete solution for field operations. I´ve bought this last year. Here are the website of the manufacturer Rennsteig Tools (rennsteig.us) They have also other good stuff. Not cheap, but absolutly high quality.
 

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All very good a advice; An excellent book for beginners is
Powerboater's Guide to Electrical Systems
Ed Sherman, Published 2000, by Boating Magazine

Ignore the first part of the title because it covers basic electricity very well. If you want free Basic Electricity info look at New Boatbuilders Home Page - Basic Electricity DC Page 1

As was said, if you don't know what you are doing don't mess around with it, because you can cause more problems than you would fix. DC is pretty basic and the shock an fire hazard is less, but if you have an AC system on board you are getting to areas that are life threatening. I always advise boat owners to hire a certified MARINE electrician for work on the AC system.
 

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I recommend Electrics Afloat by Alastair Garrod for a very visual step by step lead up to what a typical system entails.
The best part is a big fold-out that shows an entire system.

Calders is very detailed and can be difficult to digest, but seems to be a must.
 

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I concur about the books...I have Calder & Casey. I still am not sure about what I have and what to do next. But I do have some better idea than before. Good boat electricians are hard to find (at least in my area), especially ones that will work with you and who know sailboat systems vs powerboat systems.
 
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