I worked in a mid-sized boat yard for five years and sailed and be there and done that (and have SO much to learn still). I had Calder's first book, and his second (the big everything books). I found Nigel to be hard to read and to put together his good advice. If I need something very specific I go there. If I were designing a new system I would only go there after I read some of the other electrical system
primers. I don't have the list but there have been several threads in just the last few months on this exact topic. Not on metal boats specifically but what you need to start. Very little different except you don't want to make the hull part of you electrical system
. You have to isolate the engine
, etc. etc.
If you want to track down a parasitic draw get a clamp on ammeter. It will enable you to track down stray currents if you are careful and methodical. If you hired an electrician that is what they would do. I'd start by turning off all your breakers, remove shore power plug
, and start at the batteries and look for any current
Then you go from there to find the large then small wires where the current
goes. If you don't find anything there turn on one breaker at a time, with all the uses of that circuit OFF. E.g. lights, electronics
. At that point you can start with tracing the smaller circuits at the panel and out.
And don't forget all the cables
that go to circuits not on your panel - alternators (are a frequent parasitic draw), windlass
, chargers, etc. etc. Make sketches of all! And keep them! You need to do the sketches and identify all your charging
sources and uses BEFORE you start rewiring. At least I would. You can just do one circuit at a time or start with the big stuff and do that first. If I were doing a complete rewire (I am on my boat) I would start there first anyway. You may decide you don't need to redo all the big stuff.
I have been on so many boats with electrical
messes. It makes me sick to see them. They often start like yours does and get worse with all the amateur "help" you get from well-meaning friends.
Good luck with it all. But do some research
on here and find the previous threads. They have some good tips and will give you an idea of what you are facing. It won't be cheap
. Use marine
grade tinned wire - only. And fuse everything.