One of the things I like about my present boat is the extremely well designed and executed electrical system
which, (knocking on wood), has never given me a moment's trouble despite its complexity (lots of systems).
Therefore I avoid molesting it as much as possible, but new electrical gear
is installed every year and eventually the system is no longer completely original.
One major change I had no choice but to make was when I installed a Victron charger/inverter which requires all the AC power to be led through it. So what I did was I cut the cable between the transfer switch (shore/generator) on the main panel and the RCD, and pulled two new cables
, one power in, one power out, to the inverter
in the engine
It has worked flawlessly for about 6 years so far.
Last night I installed 3 volt/amp meters to complement my new Smartgauge battery monitor
-- one to measure voltage and current
coming in from generator
or shore power
, one to measure voltage and current
coming out of the inverter
, and one to measure DC system voltage and DC current coming out of (or going into) the charger/inverter.
It's lovely and now I can see at a glance what's going on in my electrical system
-- how much power I'm taking out of shore power
, how much power is being produced by the inverter, the rate of charge, etc., etc.
HOWEVER, when I made this installation
I revisited something I did 6 years ago, and I didn't like it. I used terminal screw blocks to join the main AC power cables
, and I didn't like what the ends of the multistranded marine
cables looked like. This does not look like best practice to me.
So the first question is -- what's the right way to do this?
I guess I could use heat seal crimp connectors, but I'm afraid the cables are too large for the yellow size ones, and I don't have a crimper for anything bigger. Also, they are not removable, and if -- God forbid -- I ever have another charger/inverter failure, it is really good to be able to jump this connection so that I don't lose all AC power.
I guess I could use small bus bars or junction boxes, but it would be very hard to attach these to anything, in this particular location.
Any ideas or suggestions?
The second thing which bothered me was the power cables to the AC voltmeters. For DC voltmeters I always install a fuse in the positive lead, next to the battery
. There is no such provision here, and the cables are exceptionally thin. There is no circuit breaker upstream of these devices other than the breaker on the generator
or on the shore power podium -- that makes me a bit nervous. Because of the thinness of the cables, I joined them by phone
wrap, solder, several layers of heat shrink, and then strain relief -- I think it's pretty bulletproof, but still -- what if? The cables are so thin that they would burn up in an instant if shorted, and probably couldn't start a fire, but still . . . Is it done to insert a regular fuse into such a lead? Like maybe a 1 amp automotive type?
Thanks in advance for your advice.