Monthly Archives: March 2014

Electrical Panel Rewire

Over the course of the first 2 years of owning the boat I had reason to add some electrical circuits and clean up old wiring runs that went nowhere.  After several visits behind the electrical panel I knew that the birds nest that was the back of the panel had to go.  It was impossible to tell where wiring originated from, what it was supposed to supply and almost impossible to close the panel against the bulkhead.

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I wanted to reduce the amount of wiring that passed onto the back of the panel hoping that this would make it easier to close.  To achieve this I placed a 20 gang common busbar on the bulkhead wall along with 2 x 10 terminal blocks (20A continuous rating).  That took care of almost all the 12V wiring requirements.  As the Navigation electronics were operated by one breaker on the panel I had to install a fuse block to allow for the different ratings of the circuits for each component.  I then rerouted all incoming wiring so that the live wire went to the new terminal blocks and the common went straight to the busbar.  As I no longer had any common wiring going to the panel, I was able to remove all the heavy gauge common wiring that joined all the 12V common bars on the panel.  I ran one small gauge wire from the panel to the new busbar on the bulkhead to complete the circuits for the panel LEDs.

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From the terminal blocks I ran neatly bundled groups of wires to the various breakers on the back of the panel.  All these wires were clearly labelled to show their origin for ease of troubleshooting further down the line.

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Although not perfect, it is a damn sight cleaner than it was before and hopefully less of a fire hazard.  There are 2 LED’s that don’t work on the panel (they have been that way since I got the boat), but I am willing to put up with this instead of shelling out for an all new panel at considerable cost.

As a final note, I must have pulled out more than 200ft of wiring that either started at the panel and ended attached to nothing, or started elsewhere and never reached the panel.  I can only presume this was contractor work where they saved money by not back-pulling old wiring when installing new systems.


Deck Washdown Pump

Living in the gulf, it is never a clean operation when raising the anchor after a night on the hook.  Heavy mud that refuses to wash off and gets into every nook and cranny. Early last year I saw a good deal at WM for a Jabsco washdown kit (Par Max 4.0 60PSI with 25ft of coiled hose) so I bought it.  I procrastinated till November last year when I finally installed the system. I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do, or more to the point I had a better idea of what I didn’t want to do, which was to drill another hole in the hull.  I had a 3/4″ thru hull which was used for the saltwater intake for the fwd head and the plumbing for the Jabsco was also 3/4″.  As we now had the fwd head plumbed into our fresh water line this became available.  Also, I didn’t want to run a new power line all the way thru the boat, so I thought to use the existing circuit for the windlass and simply tie into the deck foot switch.  The breaker for the windlass is 70A and so would be able to handle both the windlass and the pump simultaneously. I mounted the pump in the cupboard next to the shower in the head. Sol Purpose First thing to be done was to grind off the paint on the wall to get a surface the epoxy mix would bond to.   After that I cleaned the surface with Pettit fiberglass dewaxer Sol Purpose I then cut and prepped a mounting plate for the pump Sol Purpose I used West Systems epoxy with colloidal silica to bond the board to the wall.  I had to use a piece of wood to hold the board in place while it cured.

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The next problem was to make sure that the penetration through the fwd bulkhead into the anchor locker was water tight as I didn’t want a large wave over the bow to fill the anchor locker and leak into the fwd head.  I managed to find a Perko water outlet fitting that would screw to the inside of the anchor locker which has a screw on cap.  The Jabsco hose is a garden hose fitting which fits this.  I drilled a hole through the bulkhead just above the floor of the anchor locker after measuring twice to ensure that the other side of the hole would be inside the medicine cabinet in the head.  I then added a 2″ bronze nipple to the back of this which fits perfect;y through the bulkhead which is 1.2″ thick (seriously thick!).  On the back of this I fitted a 90° elbow and a 3/4″ barb fitting for the hose which dropped through the floor of the medicine cabinet to the pump. Sol Purpose For neatness I wanted to make sure that the wiring was not visible so I ran it back under the sink and  through the bulkhead into the hanging closet in the fwd cabin.  From there I ran it up into the cabinet above the closet and back through the fwd head and into the anchor locker via the existing cable run. Sol PurposeSol Purpose The coiled hose and nozzle fit in the anchor locker along with the fenders and anchor rode.  If we are going to make a long crossing where an anchor will not be required we can simply unscrew the coiled hose and place the anchor in the locker. Sol Purpose Sol Purpose