Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 08-10-2019, 14:08   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 36
Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Hi folks, looking for some info/tips from people with more experience in this. Sorry, this one may be a bit long, because background info.


My new boat's electrical system is a mess. Let's start with shore power; it goes straight from the plug to the charger and all power sockets. No fuses, no residual current protection. Also no inverter, so the whole setup is getting replaced by a Victron MultiPlus, and I want to wire it up from input socket -> 16a fuse -> multiplus -> 4a fuse -> power sockets for the inverter.



Oh, system is 220v by the way.


The 12v system is also wacky; both engine start battery as well as house bank are wired to a 4 way selection switch (off, bank 1, bank 2, both banks) - which means apparently the previous owner was using his non-deep-cycle starter battery as extra power. From there, it goes to the breaker/switch panel, where the 1st switch is set up as some sort of wacky "master" switch, from which all other switches are wired.


So that needs to get un-effed as well because the way that is set up makes me feel all sorts of iffy about it.



So, what I want to do is take the engine start battery out of the whole system and just hook it to the engine (and the multiplus' engine battery charger port), keep the 4-way switch but wire it so that it's either off, or bank 1/bank 2/bank both just gets power out of the house bank.



If I wanted to add a shunt for a battery monitor, would you put this before the switch or after? I'd like to be able to see the state of my batteries before I turn things on but... no idea if that's the best place.



For the 'master' switch, I want to just take that out because it seems to me that it's a completely useless "feature", and in all honesty I could use the spot on the panel for something else.


Sorry for the mild rambling, opinions? comments?
__________________

benvanstaveren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 14:46   #2
rbk
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Whitehorse, YT
Boat: Tayana 37
Posts: 1,275
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

What size boat are we talking about here? It sounds like there are some issues for sure but not as bad as you seem to think. Depending on boat size/use etc some smaller boats do run the AC through the shore charger/inverter but if we're talking a 220v w/ 45 foot vessel a separate dedicated AC panel should be installed.
Just because a 4 way switch is installed does not mean it was being used incorrectly and there is nothing wrong with this set-up and allows you to select from a house bank or a start bank for starting or in case of bank failure. From the 4 way switch it is also common to have a 'house' breaker so again not uncommon more so if there are separate bus bars running off the main.
Best thing to do right now is create a diagram of what you currently have and work from there. Post it when you have it completed and you will get better answers from far more educated people than myself. But it really doesn't sound like some crazy dangerous system you're making it out to be.
__________________

rbk is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 15:17   #3
Registered User
 
wingssail's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: On Vessel WINGS, wherever there's an ocean, currently in Mexico
Boat: Serendipity 43
Posts: 1,084
Send a message via AIM to wingssail Send a message via Skype™ to wingssail
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvanstaveren View Post
Hi folks, looking for some info/tips from people with more experience in this. Sorry, this one may be a bit long, because background info.


My new boat's electrical system is a mess. Let's start with shore power; it goes straight from the plug to the charger and all power sockets. No fuses, no residual current protection. Also no inverter, so the whole setup is getting replaced by a Victron MultiPlus, and I want to wire it up from input socket -> 16a fuse -> multiplus -> 4a fuse -> power sockets for the inverter.



Oh, system is 220v by the way.


The 12v system is also wacky; both engine start battery as well as house bank are wired to a 4 way selection switch (off, bank 1, bank 2, both banks) - which means apparently the previous owner was using his non-deep-cycle starter battery as extra power. From there, it goes to the breaker/switch panel, where the 1st switch is set up as some sort of wacky "master" switch, from which all other switches are wired.


So that needs to get un-effed as well because the way that is set up makes me feel all sorts of iffy about it.



So, what I want to do is take the engine start battery out of the whole system and just hook it to the engine (and the multiplus' engine battery charger port), keep the 4-way switch but wire it so that it's either off, or bank 1/bank 2/bank both just gets power out of the house bank.



If I wanted to add a shunt for a battery monitor, would you put this before the switch or after? I'd like to be able to see the state of my batteries before I turn things on but... no idea if that's the best place.



For the 'master' switch, I want to just take that out because it seems to me that it's a completely useless "feature", and in all honesty I could use the spot on the panel for something else.


Sorry for the mild rambling, opinions? comments?
I believe the 220v side needs some revision, and your Victron Multiplus approach seems fine to me.

I'm not sure there is a problem in the 12 set-up. Other commenters will lobby for a different way but the house/start battery > 4 way switch >"master" > breakers does give you some options to use either battery to start the engine (or both) and the ability to instantly kill all power. And if the alternator output goes to the house side of that 4 way then you can direct the charging to either battery too. A battery monitor between the 4 way and the "master" would allow you to monitor either battery before anything is turned on. In this scenario there is no connection on any battery except the cables to the 4 way switch, none.

Your solar, if any, and your Victron battery charger, also would go to the house side of the 4 way switch.

This takes all the automation out of the system and adds some line losses, but it is a choice. It happens to be the way my system is wired, by design.
__________________
Sailing is a sport, an athletic activity, not a sedentary one.
Fred Roswold-Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mexico
http://wingssail.blogspot.com/
wingssail is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 15:32   #4
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,381
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Given the previous owner did not know what the hell he was doing, hire a professional marine electrician or marine surveyor who are very familiar with the ABYC recommendations or whichever codes your boat falls under and start undoing the previous owners sketchy work per what they recommend.

Also pay him to answer your questions regarding what you would like your electrical system to be able to do.

Reduce your chances of having an electrical fire or an unreliable electrical system.
__________________
David

Life begins where land ends.
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 18:40   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: canada
Posts: 2,645
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

your DC panel should have a master swtich. that is normal.

the 1,2,all swtich is how most boats are wired. seperating the house and load outputs into 2 different swtiches is way better. (you need an engine swtich) you'll also need a 3rd swtich for the inverter.

the shunt goes on the neg cable. read the manual for it. power for the monitor goes direct to battery before swtich. otherwise every time you turn the switch off the monitor resets to 100%
smac999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 19:44   #6
Marine Service Provider
 
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 3,843
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvanstaveren View Post
Hi folks, looking for some info/tips from people with more experience in this.
Love to see someone trying to do it right.
Email me at boatpoker@gmail.com and I'll respond with a pdf. of the ABYC Standards
__________________
That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 00:32   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 36
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Hi folks,


Thanks for all the replies, here's some more information that was asked in the various replies.


It's a 33ft Westerly, currently sitting well over 200 miles away from where I am so I can't quite make a diagram just yet, I'm going off memory. The surveyor that surveyed the boat a few weeks ago pretty much said the 220v side of the system needed redone - at the very least needed residual current protection.


The 4-way switch being okay, I guess - mentally it seems more logical to isolate your starter battery from the house bank, especially given the discrepancy in capacity as well as the whole deep cycle v.s. not-so-deep-cycle nature of both.



Currently the MPPT controller for solar goes straight to the house bank (i.e. bypasses the 4 way switch) which, again, to me seems more logical because I want my bank to be charged regardless of switch position. Currently for example the switch is in "off" setting while I'm not on the boat, but my house bank is kept topped up.



Similarly for wiring in the multiplus, it will bypass the 4-way switch as well because I'd only want it to pull power for inverting from the house bank, and never the engine start battery (and it has it's own on/off/charge-only switch).



Anyway, I'll see what the ABYC standards have to say about it all
benvanstaveren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 02:38   #8
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 12,130
Images: 14
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvanstaveren View Post
Anyway, I'll see what the ABYC standards have to say about it all
Good idea, just be aware that there are some different ideas about electrics on a UK manufactured boat and the standards ABYC lay down. Not to say either is wrong or one is better, they are just different.

Pete
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 06:39   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 36
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Good idea, just be aware that there are some different ideas about electrics on a UK manufactured boat and the standards ABYC lay down. Not to say either is wrong or one is better, they are just different.

Pete

I'll make a valiant attempt at applying common sense, that usually tends to work to solve any sort of difference
benvanstaveren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 06:54   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,203
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Some of what you describe is fairly standard.

Battery Switch: Unless they're wired oddly, this is expected. [Bank 1 = Start; Bank 2 = House (possibly vice versa); Off = Off.] BOTH: Having both is pretty standard in a 2-bank battery switch. In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen a 2 bank battery switch that DIDN'T have an option to combine. This is typically to be able to start the engine off of the house, if there is a problem with the starting battery. I can't imagine who would want to add the starting battery to the house bank.

Breakers: An AC panel should have a master breaker. This has been the case in any residential or marine AC panel I've ever seen. My DC panel has a main breaker as well.

Your AC outlets should be on a breaker on the AC panel. I'd prefer to have the battery charger on a breaker on the AC panel as well.

If I were installing a battery monitor shunt, I'd wire it directly to the battery being monitored. (I'll defer to others on whether they feel there is a better idea).

You're system doesn't seem as 'effed' as you think it is. I also feel like maybe you should consult a marine electrician before you actually 'eff' the system. Your reconfig of the batteries and switches would have me scratching my head down the road.
Shrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 07:03   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 36
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
Some of what you describe is fairly standard.

Battery Switch: Unless they're wired oddly, this is expected. [Bank 1 = Start; Bank 2 = House (possibly vice versa); Off = Off.] BOTH: Having both is pretty standard in a 2-bank battery switch. In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen a 2 bank battery switch that DIDN'T have an option to combine. This is typically to be able to start the engine off of the house, if there is a problem with the starting battery. I can't imagine who would want to add the starting battery to the house bank.

Well, currently the starter battery can be combined (through the 4-way switch) to the house bank to provide power for the DC loads - the 4-way switch does not lead back to the engine in any way, shape, or form. So the starter battery is indeed linked to the house bank at the 'both' switch position





Quote:
Breakers: An AC panel should have a master breaker. This has been the case in any residential or marine AC panel I've ever seen. My DC panel has a main breaker as well.

Your AC outlets should be on a breaker on the AC panel. I'd prefer to have the battery charger on a breaker on the AC panel as well.

Exactly, it currently has no breakers. None.



Quote:

If I were installing a battery monitor shunt, I'd wire it directly to the battery being monitored. (I'll defer to others on whether they feel there is a better idea).

You're system doesn't seem as 'effed' as you think it is. I also feel like maybe you should consult a marine electrician before you actually 'eff' the system. Your reconfig of the batteries and switches would have me scratching my head down the road.

To me it seems pretty screwy, considering the points you raised are exactly what it does *not* have - there are no breakers or fuses in the AC side of things, the DC side of things combines house/starter in a way that makes me wonder what the use is, and the DC panel having one of it's switches wired as a 'master' switch is, well, in my opinion five kinds of silly since the 4-way switch (in 'off') should be the master for all DC electrical on board.
benvanstaveren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 07:24   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Lake Macquarie NSW Australia
Boat: 2007 Lagoon 440
Posts: 461
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Ok as a retired electrician I am going to throw my 2 cents worth in here and base my comments on Electrical standards here in Australia. 1) You indicate that you are dealing with two separate power systems, 12 volt and 220 volt. 2) Each system must be independently wired of the other and must be clearly defined, marked, insulated and independent of each other. 3) The calculations for rating the cables for 12 volt DC and 220 AC are totally different. 4) Cable for 12 volt and 220 are also totally different. 5) power points for 220 on vessels (and caravans for that matter) MUST be double pole switches IE active and neutral are switched. By law here in Australia only qualified electricians can work on 240 volt installations. (In saying that I have gone onto a friends motor cruising after a supposedly qualified marine electrician rewired his boat. I condemned it immediately as the electrician has used vastly underrated cable to the point that the insulation was so hot it was about to melt. The list goes on and on.
Please do yourself a favour and get a professional to do the work for you. You will reap the benefits down the line. Electrical work undertaken by unqualified people is a great way for an insurance company to void a claim for an electrical fire.


Greg H
lagoon 440
ozsailer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 08:11   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Seattle, WA
Boat: 1980 Pacific International Marine 41.5
Posts: 460
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

I may be a bit of an outlier here and point out this specific comment.

@ozsailer, you state that your friends motor vessel was rewired by a "qualified marine electrician", yet you proceed to go on to advocate for a professional to do this gentlemans/gentlewomans rewiring.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsailer View Post
(In saying that I have gone onto a friends motor cruising after a supposedly qualified marine electrician rewired his boat. I condemned it immediately as the electrician has used vastly underrated cable to the point that the insulation was so hot it was about to melt. The list goes on and on.
Please do yourself a favour and get a professional to do the work for you. You will reap the benefits down the line. Electrical work undertaken by unqualified people is a great way for an insurance company to void a claim for an electrical fire.
This is exactly what I have mental battles with. I personally believe that an individual with the right tools CAN do just as a good job as a professional, it may take them longer, it may cost the same, yet they will understand everything they've done and for future reference when they do hire a professional, they will be able to call out the professionals ******** work.

I have seen one to many people burned because they were incompetent themselves and left it to the expensive "professional" do the work and in turn that professional f'd them over - just like your friend.

I fully believe that I can do just as good of a job or better as a professional IF I spend the time to learn it before stepping into the project
chowdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 08:38   #14
rbk
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Whitehorse, YT
Boat: Tayana 37
Posts: 1,275
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvanstaveren View Post
Well, currently the starter battery can be combined (through the 4-way switch) to the house bank to provide power for the DC loads - the 4-way switch does not lead back to the engine in any way, shape, or form. So the starter battery is indeed linked to the house bank at the 'both' switch position

If the 4 way doesn't connect to the engine, how do you start it? The idea with these being that should your start battery die, you can at the very least start your engine off the house bank or should your house bank die you can use your VHF, NAV lights etc off the start battery, or both are drawn down but combined they could crank the engine over; among other scenarios. As mentioned there are better ways to accomplish this but the outcome is essentially the same.


To me it seems pretty screwy, considering the points you raised are exactly what it does *not* have - there are no breakers or fuses in the AC side of things, the DC side of things combines house/starter in a way that makes me wonder what the use is, and the DC panel having one of it's switches wired as a 'master' switch is, well, in my opinion five kinds of silly since the 4-way switch (in 'off') should be the master for all DC electrical on board.

As mentioned above it is somewhat common (not recommended) for small power boats to run their "AC" circuts through a charger/inverter but these should not be used for high loads and all the installs I have seen have built in fuses in the inverter, usually under a panel or cover. While these are not ideal it also isn't a death warrant for the system but I would make the change to a dedicated AC system.
The battery switch is an on/off switch and will not trip or break in the event of a dead short = BAD/FIRE. The DC main is most likely a breaker around 50-100 amp
I would also recommend hiring a professional or at the very least for your own sake I would pick up some reading material and get familiar with your electrical systems, Nigel Calder's books are always good and Maine Sails website is a great resource https://marinehowto.com/
rbk is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2019, 08:48   #15
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 7,844
Re: Attempt at un-effing boat's electrical system

These may hlp you visualize your DC side:


OEM 1-2-B Switch Wiring History http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4....html#msg30101

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6604.0.html

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
http://forums.catalina.sailboatowner...d.php?t=137615

This is a newer primer for boat system wiring design with a thorough digram: Building a Good Foundation (October 2016)
http://forums.sailboatowners.com/ind.../#post-1332240


********************


They come from: Electrical Systems 101 http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5977.0.html


********************


Shunts go on the (-) wire. Look up Victron and read their installation manual, well explained therein.


Good luck.
__________________

__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
boat, cal, electric, electrical, electrical system

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Any Private Boat Attempt the Northern Sea Route over Russia? Dauntlessny Polar Regions 8 14-04-2019 20:49
An attempt at my life as a boat AllEars Off Topic Forum 5 30-10-2013 10:27
Complicated Electrical Question - Good Puzzle for You Electrical Geniuses Dockhead Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 36 07-09-2010 06:14
Trying to sink boat, attempt No2 Alan Wheeler The Sailor's Confessional 11 25-08-2007 12:58
Courageaous attempt or Shameless Stunt Curtis General Sailing Forum 13 08-11-2005 12:56

Advertise Here


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 16:18.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.