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Old 17-05-2019, 09:12   #1
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Installing AC Current.

I"m buying a 1971 Bristol 22 that has never had AC current on board. I'd like to install AC current on her. What is the best system to install? Where can I learn how to do it properly? I'll be on Lake Erie and I'd like to do the work myself.

Thanks!
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Old 17-05-2019, 09:47   #2
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Re: Installing AC Current.

I'm a great proponent of "do it yourself"; however, there are obvious risks working with electricity and little knowledge. I would think that your best beginning approach, after researching the plans, would be keep your system simple and totally isolated from your DC system. It's best to keep your AC wiring and distribution panels at separate places than your DC system.

Essentially you will need to have the shore power cord from the dock supply at either 50 or 30 amp supply. Many docks have 50 amp only so you'll best have a "splitter" for your likely choice of 30 amps if your cruising to various docks. With the size of your boat and your unlikely need to cook with electrical appliances while running and air conditioner, 30 amps should suit. This dock supply power cord will fit to a shore power outlet fitted to your deck. Marine catalogs will show various brands. Marinco and Hubbell are common brands. Your power supply cables on board should not be of the household "romex" type wiring, but marine wiring that will not be subject to breaking over time with vibration. This should lead you to a terminal or "breaker box" (distribution panel) that would supply your choice of circuits on board. All outlets on these circuits (maybe just two circuits for a simple system) should be with (GFI) safe ground fault interruption.

Care should be taken that your wiring system components are weather protected, clearly marked, color coded and protected from moisture and abrasion. Connections marine terminal fittings and properly soldered. I'm a fan of Nigel Calder's marine electrical texts.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:07   #3
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Re: Installing AC Current.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
I'm a fan of Nigel Calder's marine electrical texts.

I second this. If you are comfortable with doing work with regular house wiring, then the Calder book will give you the unique details of marine AC wiring (shorepower, stranded marine-grade wire, lugs, grounding, etc).


If you aren't comfortable, a professional marine electrician might only charge 2 to 4 hours + parts for a basic 30A shorepower install with one or two outlets. Depends on your boat layout and your desires, of course.
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:33   #4
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Re: Installing AC Current.

Some good guidance below, but it's better to apply expertise to A/C electrical installations. Life safety, and all that.


A Boater’s Guide To AC Electrical Systems
http://kelownayachtclub.com/wp-conte...atersGuide.pdf

Tips on Electrical System Use and Maintenance - Part II: High Voltage (AC) Systems
Boats, Yachts: Tips on Electrical System Use and Maintenance

MARINE AC AND DC ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
http://sbccsail.org/Forms/Electrical...-SBCC-2016.pdf
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Old 17-05-2019, 10:33   #5
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Re: Installing AC Current.

First question needs answering is

shore power for use while sitting at the dock? or

from the battery bank + inverter(s), optimizing efficiency for use off-grid?

I assume not going to carry a genset.

Next question is, big amp load devices like aircon, electric galley? or

just a few specific low-current devices whose functionality isn't available in native-DC ?
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Old 17-05-2019, 13:42   #6
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Re: Installing AC Current.

Another vote for Caldor's books.

You NEED to understand what you are doing, and why. AC can even be deadly even to someone swimming near your boat if you make simple mistakes--especially in fresh water.

It is NOT the same as household wiring, so do not hire a land based electrician to do your boat!
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Old 17-05-2019, 13:59   #7
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Re: Installing AC Current.

Calder, Wing, Sherman...there are a number of good books that will cover all the "Oh I forgot" details of an installation. And your local reference librarian can often bring them in, free, as an interlibrary loan, if you don't want to shell out for them. They're all good references to have on a boat though.

Whatever you decide to do--avoid the temptation to use big box hardware stores, stick to marine goods. Sometimes the difference doesn't matter, but since AC can burn the boat down and kill you...Oh, yeah, the marina and everyone else will be suing you for that fire. Do it by the book, on a 22' boat it won't hurt too badly.

Yes, all this stuff is online, but then you've got to spend time scrounging around and making printouts and....sometimes a good book from a respected author is just quicker & easier.
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Old 18-05-2019, 10:20   #8
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Re: Installing AC Current.

Hudson Force and all those who provided advice, I respect your advice and I will go to a professional to get the system installed. I'm looking for a simple system that will mainly keep the batteries charged and two electrical outlets. I won't use electricity for cooking or air conditioning. I will use it to run, a fan, heater, and, etc. Just light work.
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Old 18-05-2019, 12:43   #9
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Re: Installing AC Current.

Then just run a charger between a simple shore input and your bank, and where AC is truly needed run an inverter between the bank and an appliance.

Fans, lights computers charging screens etc are best just run off native DC anyway, don't need any AC circuits for stuff like that
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