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Old 20-01-2019, 11:13   #1
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Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

According to the surveyor: Wiring System:
FAIR CONDITION: The wiring system is in fair condition. There have been numerous changes and modification over the years and the system is difficult to trace and follow however remains useable with no unusual risk.

What do you want in a 1989 Catalina '30 anyway right? NOW, I'm digging into the electrical and this panel sinks my heart. I dread turning it over to a marine electrician $$$$$, but what else can be done? Salvageable? Brand new panel? The melted blade fuse buried under the red wires, (ALL the wires are red or orange), has bumped this issue to the top of the list.
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Old 20-01-2019, 12:33   #2
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Thatís pretty bad but Iíve seen worse. I would urge you to consider doing the clean up yourself as this would give you an intimate knowledge of your boatís electrical system and that can make servicing the system much easier in the future.

From what I can see, the panel itself looks okay but I would highly recommend that you add positive and negative buss bars to remove the connections to the battery switch. The cables need to be neatly dressed and secured. Everything should be labeled.

On the other hand, it could possibly continue working without a problem for many years. I am continuously amazed at how some systems function at all.

There are a few good books on the subject, Nigel Calderís Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual is a good place to start.

Good luck, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 20-01-2019, 12:59   #3
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Redo it at your own rhytm, one system at a time. Trace wires, replace, reinstall and go sailing. In the winter months do 1 after the other. As is it works, donít scrap everything. Your surveyer was right. IT WORKS, but is not perfect.
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Old 20-01-2019, 13:19   #4
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Here is some good input on harness building :-) Download is apparently free, I just tried.


https://standards.nasa.gov/standard/nasa/nasa-std-87394


Came across this as a recommendation in a diy magazine some time ago. Never read it though.
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Old 20-01-2019, 13:56   #5
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

I’ve seen worse done by marine electricians.

I’m not overly fastidious in my wiring, and that one is not that bad. Wiring too tight and juuuust barely long enough irks me badly. Looos pretty until you have to make some changes.

I’ve removed and ditched a lot of useless wire from each boat.
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Old 20-01-2019, 14:19   #6
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

nhschneider - Thank you for the bus bar suggestion, and the encouragement. I have recently finished "Sailboat Electrics Simplified" by Don Casey, (yup! That's my skill level), and am cracking open my inherited copy of Calder.

sailormed - Thank you for the measured perspective.

Hesti - Special thank you for the NASA wiring harness standard. What a neat document!
I have the original Catalina manual with the wiring schematic, so that should be a good foundation.

hpeer - Yes, short at the business end as well, fixing the bow nav light I doubt I have sufficient slack wire, (none), to reconnect the bow nav light. What do you do there? Splice? Run a new wire altogether? I suspect answer two just because it's an old boat.
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Old 20-01-2019, 14:46   #7
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Yes I splice. Horror of horrors I’d DO NOT use heat shrink splices. I do coat with liquid electrical tape.

All this BS about tinned wire being required? Then how come my 2006 Yanmar MARINE engine harness is not tinned?

Good/Better/Best. Pick your choice based on wallet and priorities. I don’t look to resell this beast. I do what I think is right. Not the right answer for all.

But do do an adequate job. As a minimum.
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Old 21-01-2019, 09:32   #8
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

What an opportunity!

If you are really keen to have a beautiful panel then dive in. Take it all apart, label carefully and have fun just doing it.

The satisfaction and knowledge gained are one of the great parts of yacht ownership.
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:07   #9
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Thanks for the positive perspective akprb. Would it be worth spending the bucks, (while we still have them), to go all in and install a new panel? Is Catalina Direct outrageously expensive and is there a better vendor or way?
https://www.catalinadirect.com/index...dc-85-x-19.cfm

Electrical Panel Master
AC/DC 8.5" X 19"
Part #: Z2636
Price: $1,046.67
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:12   #10
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

I hate to break it to you but your "rat's nest" really isn't that bad. I don't think this constitutes an emergency except for the melted fuse. Some of the wires are marked so that is a head start. I would find out where the wires go and make a plan to clean it up one circuit at a time. I helped a friend with his "mess" and once you begin to sort it out it becomes easier.
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:14   #11
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

It is not too hard to redo yourself, and as others have said then you will know what is what.

Take pictures of before you start, label the lines you know now. (Based on what switches they're connected to.) Can't tell for sure, but from the picture it looks like your 110 Neutral and Safety Grounds are led to the same buss. This is a NO-NO on a boat. It is done on land, but should not be done on a boat as the ABYC rules state the AC Safety Ground and DC Ground should be tied together. If you rewire anything on the DC side, consider using Yellow for ground. This is the new standard to avoid confusing DC Ground with AC Hot. If you pull any lines out, tie a string to them so you can easily pull them back if needed.

Good Luck, and welcome to the Joys Of Boat Ownership!
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:32   #12
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Let's get a grip on this. First, the wires that are supposed to be red are, and those that are supposed to be black are. Red and black. No yellow, no purple, no magenta. There are times for white and green, if you so desire, but from what I see it's a good start to tracing wiring.


Yes, the fuse needs to be replaced. And yes, a bus bar for ground is in order.



Face it, the C30 panel came equipped to handle what came with the boat, which wasn't much. Mine has a lot more wiring than that! Some of the devices that have been installed were barely invented when my C30 was launched. Then there are fans, extra lighting, GPS, autopilot, etc. There are spade-to-double spade connectors you can use to double up on fuses, so long as you don't exceed the capacity.


The reality is that a cruising equipped Catalina 30 electrical device complement exceeds the "nice neat" availed by the factory panel. When I sell, if the buyer doesn't like the wiring I can rip it all out, and they can re-install it as the determine they want that stuff to operate.


Tracing isn't hard at all. There's no headliner, no hidden wiring for the most part. Just like at home- make a list of devices. Turn off the switches, then turn them on one at a time. Figure out which devices goes to which switch. If you can't figure something out, trace the wires. Wires go forward, or they go aft. Find a red wire, trace it. Label it. Next. It's a two hour job.
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:33   #13
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Quote:
Originally Posted by OS2Dude View Post
Can't tell for sure, but from the picture it looks like your 110 Neutral and Safety Grounds are led to the same buss. This is a NO-NO on a boat. It is done on land, but should not be done on a boat as the ABYC rules state the AC Safety Ground and DC Ground should be tied together.

OS2Dude, (remember OS2?), I must not be understanding the term "tied together". It sounds like the same result as "led to the same buss".


I think I get it now, I was confusing Neutral and Safety Ground as both being Grounds.. I hope anyway... thanks all for making this less daunting a task... I have some reading to do...
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:53   #14
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

Identify the AC side of the panel and stay clear, especially if tied to dockside power.

If you look at the wiring long enough you may get a sense of where the wires come from. Trace one at a time. Learn the proper way to do boat wiring.

Good Luck
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Old 21-01-2019, 10:58   #15
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Re: Catalina 30 Rat's Nest

I now have a tool that I wish I had when I rewired my boat. It is a tone generator, you hook one part on the end of a wire and then can use the wireless box to find the wire with the tone in it anyplace on the boat. it saves a lot of time wiggling and pulling on wires. I had two lawn and leaf garbage bags full of old unused wires, yours looks much better than mine did.
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