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Old 24-03-2013, 08:44   #1
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DC panel

Ok I'm going to chalk this up to poor communication on my part. I had a certified marine electrician come in and wire in a new AC panel. I was very specific about not doing anything to the DC panel as it was still functional. Well get to the boat Saturday and the entire DC panel is out...he said it was falling apart and knew I was going to replace it anyway so he took it out! this is a 40 position panel. now nothing works on the boat. I'm going to have to replace that panel. I've found a blue sea 35 position panel with digital multimeter. Which is better the blue sea or the paneltronics? He was correct I had planned on replacing this...just not this year!
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Old 24-03-2013, 08:49   #2
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Re: DC panel

This happens all the time in the boating (and the automotive) repair industry. Find another electrician. The one you have is picking your pockets.

There is no real difference between the Panletronics and Blue Seas panels.

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Old 24-03-2013, 08:52   #3
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Re: DC panel

Tell him to put it back, at no charge. He has essentially disabled your boat without your authorization. That is just wrong.

I really like Blue Seas products. A little pricey, but excellent.
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Old 24-03-2013, 11:33   #4
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Re: DC panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSDman View Post
...Well get to the boat Saturday and the entire DC panel is out...he said it was falling apart and knew I was going to replace it anyway so he took it out!
More details please. Has he quoted the new DC panel? Was he planning to return with a new panel? How was the panel area left?

Photos?

IF the DC panel was shot or unsafe, and he's simply replacing it, and the new panel price is fair and the added labour's not more than a few hours... it's not an unreasonable move. Depends on the exact communication between you, of course.
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Old 24-03-2013, 19:39   #5
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I thought I was very clear. I wanted a new AC panel with 240 and 120 breakers. He came out and measured to make sure the new panel would fit. We had a conversation about me replacing the entire panel at some point but I just didn't have the funds to do it all now. plus the DC panel was functioning and would have served its purpose for another year. The quote he gave me said nothing about removing the DC panel at all. So he said he had to remove it because the AC panel wouldn't fit and when he tried to move it over some of the breakers started to disintegrate so he just removed it as well. No he had no plans to fix that as well, I simply can't afford for him to do it. So this is what I am left with. A non functioning boat. Here is the panel now, looks like the panel puked out a bunch of wires. also pics of the old panel that was removed.

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Old 24-03-2013, 19:49   #6
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Re: DC panel

Did.he.label the.wires ? looks like he could have taken a relatively simple project and turned it into a big deal if you up to chase all those wires
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Old 24-03-2013, 19:56   #7
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So if I can scrap the cash together I'm thinking of buying this, BlueSea 8382 35 position panel. I found one for 906 bucks, with shipping and handling 936. If anyone can find it cheaper let me know.
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Old 24-03-2013, 19:59   #8
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Yes he did take the time to label some of the wires at 95 dollars an hour.
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Old 24-03-2013, 20:00   #9
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Re: DC panel

So he measeured for new panel, started the work, and went beyond the scope of the agreed job. I want to say he needs to clean up his mess, correct the mistake, and eat the additional cost. I think the safest answer is to tell him to get his hand out of your pocket and to never set foot on your boat again.
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Old 24-03-2013, 20:31   #10
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Re: DC panel

I feel your pain and agree that communication was poor.
  • Did electrical contractor give you a quote or an estimate?
  • Was there a ‘not to exceed’ clause in your agreement.
  • Did the contractor just delegate one of his staff to open up all the electrics or do it himself?
The reason I ask the latter is because at this stage you NEED the contractor to admit some fault and come up with the best economical solution to get you safe

The reality of dealing with tight spaces in rewiring distribution panels often means you need to pull everything apart to gain access and inspect. Some contractors just assume you understand that on a 1981 boat, things fall apart and you have no choice but to fix.

Perhaps what has happened is just a necessary wake up to how dangerous your electrical system had become and a pill you will have to swallow this year. ….(Electrical fires being the #1 cause of fires)

Also, personally, I would want to be looking over the shoulder of anyone working on my boat on critical systems, both to learn and to make sure it was done perfectly.
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Old 24-03-2013, 22:58   #11
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Re: DC panel

Unfortunately the cows are out of the barn. I guess no sense having him put it back in. I might hire a different guy or learn to do it yourself. It would be a good DIY job and you would learn a lot.
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Old 25-03-2013, 01:50   #12
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Re: DC panel

Having done this but done the work myself, I realized that it was going to be less costly to do both AC and DC at the same time because many of the available panels are for both AC and DC. If I had used seperate panels I would have had a space problem, but by doing the two as a single unit I was able to install an efficient panel with metering for AC and DC and enough breakers to do the job properly. The electrician that did the job may have had the best intentions but he should have communicated to you exactly what he would have to do. Unfortunetly many boat owners are afraid to question of an electrician as to what would be the best approach. They feel that he deals in black arts and if you haggle with him he will put a curse on your electrical system. You need to find one you can trust and develop a raport.
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Old 25-03-2013, 08:13   #13
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Re: DC panel

Other than being a ratsnest, what exactly was wrong with the old panel? Individual breakers can be replaced, it looked like you had one complete empty panel...

Just curious.
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Old 25-03-2013, 08:29   #14
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Re: DC panel

I'm not sure what you want us to say. You got skinned. I wouldn't have paid the SOB. He's left you with a mess to clean up but that's not even a little unusual for "marine electricians".
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Old 25-03-2013, 08:47   #15
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Re: DC panel

Most states require a written estimate beyond a certain minimal charge and the estimate should indicate what work is to be done. In many states this quote is not optional.

I would refuse to pay, contract someone to put it back in as best they can and sue him for the related costs to put it back the way it was.

If the old box was truly un-usable, or unsafe, you might not get that money back.
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