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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The mess behind the panel in my Yankee has always bothered me.
Because Yankees are narrow, space it tight. This is really evident in the small space behind the switch panel, where they crammed the wiring for the switch, a neg. bus and PO's supplied power to wires that were not switched and had inline fuses (taking up more space!). There really is no other place for the panel on the boat. However, there is hardly space to work on, much less organize anything behind it.

I plan to:
1. Move the Neg. bus into a space about 4 feet below the switch, under a set of drawers. If necessary the frame for the drawers is easily removed for access. However I could work on the wires with only the drawers removed.
2. Move a fused barrier strip into the same space, for the hots that are not fused at the panel.
The only wires remaining behind the panel will be the hot that supplies the panel and the 8 wires that leave it.
3. When I get that sorted, I'll buy a new panel.

Here are pictures of the panel, the evil that lurks behind it and the space where I will install the new bus and barrier strip. I'm pointing at the space and a bus in a box (laying on the bottom of the boat) I temporarily put there. Wanted to make sure I could route the wires there and wasn't missing something. I'll install them on the wall to the left (behind the frame) and tidy up the wires. It's a simple project that should clean things up considerably.
Wonder why no one else thought of this?
Thoughts?
 

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I like the concept of moving the neg bus bar out which would remove half of the wires with it, making more room behind the panel. How many circuits are unswitched? I don't like the idea of unswitched circuits; even though they have individual fuses they can be a mess and clunky. You have a circuit named "tricolor" and "running lights". Are they duplicative? You can eliminate one of them. You are planning to replace the panel with breakers. Better in long run.

Tod
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like the concept of moving the neg bus bar out which would remove half of the wires with it, making more room behind the panel. How many circuits are unswitched? I don't like the idea of unswitched circuits; even though they have individual fuses they can be a mess and clunky. You have a circuit named "tricolor" and "running lights". Are they duplicative? You can eliminate one of them. You are planning to replace the panel with breakers. Better in long run.
Tod
Most of the other circuits are switched, however, not at the panel. I.e., AM/FM and VHF radios and the Aux, fuel pump (used to prime the fuel line if ness). Unfortunately, most are also fused at the device. The new fuse block will allow me to fuse them closer to the batteries. ST Blade Fuse Block - 6 Circuits with Cover - Blue Sea Systems

I usually use the tricolor and running lights independently. Does anyone use them together?

Breakers are certainly simpler. However, Don Casey makes the point that they can fail while fuses do not. Given the fact that fused panels are still available, I assume he is not the only person that believes this. The ATC fuses used with the new block are pretty simple. Drawbacks?
 

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Drawbacks:
If you don't have an ample stock of spares, and know where they are, you're dead until you get to a store for new ones. Other that that, fuses are simple, cheap, reliable.



I have a NOS Seadog six-fuse switched panel that I was going to put on eBay or something, pm me if you're interested. New in box, never opened or used.

Amazon.com: Sea-Dog 422110-1: Sports & Outdoors

If the linked image isn't working. Sea-Dog 20422110-1
 

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My biggest question is what are the chances of getting water in this bilge? It looks dry, but should you take on water in some quantity, will you then have to redo all those electrical connections?
 
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Nothing wrong with a good fuse panel like The Blue Seas ones. Most smaller boats have fuses instead of breakers, although cost is part of the reason.

I would worry about installing anything electrical too low in the boat as well. I try and keep all wiring higher than seat level if possible - exceptions are items installed low such as bilge pumps and macerators.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
My biggest question is what are the chances of getting water in this bilge? It looks dry, but should you take on water in some quantity, will you then have to redo all those electrical connections?
It's a good point, but that spot is about a foot above the top of the bilge and about six feet aft. If it got wet, I'd have more problems than electrical connections.

Having said that, I agree...higher is better. I found I was able to mount the gear about two feet higher than indicated in the OP, bringing the box and bus just above seat level (as mitiempo specified:)) . Wasn't sure the drawers would clear but they do.

It's worked out nicely so far. Access to the Neg. bus has improved 100%. I can actually see all the terminals now, work on them with both hands and even use a full screwdriver instead of a stubby if I want. I'm not kidding...It took me about a half hour and a lot of #@%*! to get one screw started in the previous location!
I'll post pictures when done.
As usual...Thanks for all the input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Replaced the panel with a Blue Seas 1457. It was one of the few panels I found that had 8 switches and would fit in the small space available. Quality isn't great and it has the spade disconnects (which I hate!) instead of screw terminals. However it wasn't expensive and is a lot better than the old panel, which I was patching together. I could switch out smaller breakers if needed. However the 10 amp breakers supplied will work for everything on the panel. Everything that needs smaller fuses is supplied by the box below. The 1457 definitely needs the back light kit. I think Blue Seas product descriptions leave something to be desired. Need to trim it out and varnish the panel mount.

Still a bit of a birds nest behind the panel (it's a tight space). However, at least it's a red birds nest, and everything is marked!

Neg bus and Positive fuse block that now live beneath the main panel also shown. Both mounted vertically approx 2 feet above the position shown in the OP.
 

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"the spade disconnects (which I hate!) instead of screw terminals."
Having chased screws down into the bilge, personally I prefer the qd's. If you have genuine FastOn spade terminals, their patent includes a large dimple in the middle of the spade, and that dimple provides enough "jam" to ensure the spade can't pull apart by accident. (I think Ancor does the same?)

Of course a dab of liquid lectric or similar will also keep them together until someone pulls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"the spade disconnects (which I hate!) instead of screw terminals."
Having chased screws down into the bilge, personally I prefer the qd's. If you have genuine FastOn spade terminals, their patent includes a large dimple in the middle of the spade, and that dimple provides enough "jam" to ensure the spade can't pull apart by accident. (I think Ancor does the same?)
Of course a dab of liquid lectric or similar will also keep them together until someone pulls.
Thank you. I learn so much on this forum!
I've always noticed the holes on the spade and wondered what they are for. Wonder if the Blue Seas spade matches the Faston. Where do you buy them? Googled Faston and got a PDF's showing specs.
I've noticed that heat shrink spade connectors are hard to find. But then, Blue Seas didn't use them on the panel so I guess it doesn't matter.
So where do you buy Faston?
Thanks again!
 

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Heat shrink qds aren't easy to find but you can get fully insulated ones (counts most for the female side) even at Home Depot. Often out of stock but sometimes there.

2-520182-2: AMP Faston Terminal Insulated Recp 22-18: Amp/Tyco Electronics

Jameco are one of the many electronics houses that carry them. Any "real" electrical supply should carry them.

Blue Sea used cheapos? Chide them, severely. (G)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Heat shrink qds aren't easy to find but you can get fully insulated ones (counts most for the female side) even at Home Depot. Often out of stock but sometimes there.
2-520182-2: AMP Faston Terminal Insulated Recp 22-18: Amp/Tyco Electronics
Jameco are one of the many electronics houses that carry them. Any "real" electrical supply should carry them.
Blue Sea used cheapos? Chide them, severely. (G)
No, the males Blue Sea provide have the hole you describe. Just need to find the females to match.
BTW, The link you provided was for 18-22 gauge (too small for boats), but the sidebar showed some "14-16 Amp". Hopefully they meant gauge!:laugher
 

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The blue ones are most commonly stocked, but I've seen them for larger gauges as well. I'd guess a serach for "AMP Faston Terminal Insulated" would find them, or contacting AMP directly. They've got great customer & product support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Went to a true electronics store (complete with two RCA tube testing machines in the front window, and a offer to test your tubes for free!). The only disconnects they had were the standard female with 3 horizontal slots and the male with the hole (same as at Home Depot except they don't carry the .187 size). I don't understand the mechanics, however, there is no locking action besides friction. I asked about Fastons and he used it as a generic term for the connector.

I measured the male as 3/16 so he sold me some .187 which seem to be the proper width. To get them on, I have to either lube them with Ox Guard, or open them up a bit with a screwdriver.
I give up! Maybe I'm missing something, but the connectors still seem mickey mouse to me and more trouble than they are worth. I'll take the screw terminals any day. I just buy several extra screws to sacrifice to the bilge gods!
 

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"I asked about Fastons and he used it as a generic term for the connector. "
Like Kleenex, Scotch tape, and Coke.

The Howard Johnson's restaurant/hotel chain got in big trouble years ago for serving HoJo Cola to folks who ordered a Coke. And if you've never noticed that gen-you-whine Kleenex or Scotch tape sometimes is different from the competition....(G)....

Yes, a proper Faston may be fingerproof, but then again, if it was properly crimped onto a wire you should be able to pull on the wire (heresy!) to remove it, without damaging the crimp at all.

I'd still rather argue with that, than go chasing wee little screws under the fenders, the lines, the spare anchor, all the way down into the bilge. Had that pleasure in a deep lazarette one day and decided I'd never install a ring terminal again. Although, I've got no beef against the whadda-ya-call-em? The ones that are just a "U" not a full ring? But everyone else seems to think those are simply the worst of all possible worlds. (shrug)
 

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..................Although, I've got no beef against the whadda-ya-call-em? The ones that are just a "U" not a full ring? But everyone else seems to think those are simply the worst of all possible worlds. (shrug)
'Cuz they are? The same need for screws with none of the security of a ring terminal. Two kinds of Us: flat or with "lips", same deal with both.

With proper "drip loops" (i.e., enough slack) in the wire, those slip-on quick connects should be fine. Where would one think they'd be going? If you have any hesitation, instead of widening ones to fit, find ones that do and then squeeze 'em a little. I've never done that or felt the need to do so, and one is on my starter solenoid! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
The new switch panel is great, though you need to backlight kit as the print is so small you can hardly see it in the daytime! Ordered the LED kit for the switch panel (I thought), consisting of 8 LED lights on a board for $20. They turned out to be the lights for a older panel. The correct lights consists of two separate boards at $23 dollars each, which snap into the switch panel.
I thought: "Go through the hassle of returning this kit to get one that does the same thing for over twice as much? Hell with that!" and taped the other board into place to see if the lights would work. Works great. If the tape ever gives, I'll glue the board into place. Installed a LED switch to operate the panel lights (mid right side of picture, just above the fuel pump switch).
 

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Breakers are certainly simpler. However, Don Casey makes the point that they can fail while fuses do not. Given the fact that fused panels are still available, I assume he is not the only person that believes this. The ATC fuses used with the new block are pretty simple. Drawbacks?

Hands down fuse panels are considerably less reliable than breakers.. Fuse panels cause lots of nuisance issues in the marine environment, especially the glass fuse type.. Too many corrosion issues....

Have I seen toggle breakers fail? Yes, but at a rate far lower than issues with fused panels..

The oly reason fused panels are still sold is on price. Most of them are not worth the cardboard box they ship in...


EDIT: Never mind, I see you want with breakers...
 

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"the spade disconnects (which I hate!) instead of screw terminals."
Having chased screws down into the bilge, personally I prefer the qd's. If you have genuine FastOn spade terminals, their patent includes a large dimple in the middle of the spade, and that dimple provides enough "jam" to ensure the spade can't pull apart by accident. (I think Ancor does the same?)
:laugher:laugher:laugher come work in my world for a few days and you will quickly change your mind about quick disconnects. Utter rubbish in the marine environment. I would be ecstatic if those damn things were banned tomorrow... So would many of my customers $$$$$$$$...... Sadly they simply can't entirely be avoided but panels without them CAN be purchased.. When ever possible I avoid them..

When you absolutely must use them press them together ONCE... Taking them apart, putting back together only makes them weaker/looser and less reliable... On and always try and use the fully insulated style so the when it does fall off the male terminal a dangling hot terminal is not swinging into a neg/ground...
 
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