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Old 08-07-2017, 10:58   #1
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Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

I am going to be rewiring the AC and DC on my boat. I am convinced that much of it needs modernizing (and in some cases correcting). It has been expanded a few times with additional break banks and I want to wire it fresh with new components wired the best way possible.

I have 2 questions for those guru's here.
1) What is the best book you have seen and recommend for this kind of thing (and I am looking for ideas on how to wire in the shore power, generator, shore, inverter power and all.
2) I have 2 30amp cords that come into the boat, but essentially only 1 panel. I am curious if there are recommendations here between a single 50 amp cord or 2 30amps for providing dock to boat service? (And curious why you have that suggestion).

The boat is a 51' sailboat so it is going to need more than a single 30amp service I presume.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:16   #2
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

I can only answer the first part, but highly recommend Nigel Calder's mechanical and electrical maintenance book.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:39   #3
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

Whichever books you get, make sure your electrical system is done to ABYC standards.
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Old 08-07-2017, 13:04   #4
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

I think a single 30 amp service will be sufficient unless you will be running air conditioning.

Second the recommendation on Nigel Calder's book.
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Old 08-07-2017, 14:06   #5
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

Amazon, enter "boat electrical book" and you'll see all the classics. Some you can peek at, others you may find that your reference librarian can obtain on free loan for you.

Two 30A circuits allow for you to blow one breaker and still have power to half the boat, i.e. half of your lights. Or to tie up at marina's that only have 30A service, even if that means using two dock poles. One 50A circuit is simpler, but of course resist the tempation to kludge one 50A inlet to two 30A breakers, as those would allow a 60A overlead back to the marina, which they might get upset about. (Among other issues.) Kludging one 50A back to, say, one 30A circuit for the heavy loads and one 20A circuit for perhaps just lighting and other smaller loads, would be the way to go if you're kludging.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:45   #6
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by glhotka View Post
I am going to be rewiring the AC and DC on my boat. I am convinced that much of it needs modernizing (and in some cases correcting). It has been expanded a few times with additional break banks and I want to wire it fresh with new components wired the best way possible.

I have 2 questions for those guru's here.
1) What is the best book you have seen and recommend for this kind of thing (and I am looking for ideas on how to wire in the shore power, generator, shore, inverter power and all.
2) I have 2 30amp cords that come into the boat, but essentially only 1 panel. I am curious if there are recommendations here between a single 50 amp cord or 2 30amps for providing dock to boat service? (And curious why you have that suggestion).

The boat is a 51' sailboat so it is going to need more than a single 30amp service I presume.
I have been there and done that! I have also
hired a marine electrician. In the long run, it
was far cheaper to hire the electrician! It is
also good for your peace of mind, and more
importantly the peace of mind of your "First
Mate". Unless you are a qualified " marine
electrician "! You ain't (stronger than aren't),
Qualified!!!�� Backyard "electricians" and even
"residential electricians" aren't qualified.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:58   #7
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

yes Calder,s book very good, be sure to use all marine wiring and connectors /splices. might want to invest in some good wire crimpers as well. might want to get someone more familiar with electrical to go over your work before you do the smoke test
good luck with your project
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:46   #8
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

There are a surprising number of subtle ways that AC wiring can kill you. And DC wiring can not only sink the boat, it can also literally blow off fingers. But without knowing the OP's skills or experience...an alleged marine electrician doesn't necessarily make things safer or better. Best to get the books, see what's involved, sketch out what you think is a good working plan, and THEN, if you feel uncomfortable with the job or uncertain of it, only then to call in an alleged professional.

There are always 'code compliance' issues, whether that's ABYC or otherwise. Knowing why those codes call for specifics, and what other options might be, is also pretty important. Sometimes they can be quirky. A fully license electrician once told me to always wrap the electrical tape clockwise, never counterclockwise. Why? Oh, it would work just as well either way, but if the inspector saw it was counterclockwise, he'd fail the entire job on the spot, knowing it hasn't been done by a union electrician. Go figure.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:23   #9
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
There are a surprising number of subtle ways that AC wiring can kill you. And DC wiring can not only sink the boat, it can also literally blow off fingers. But without knowing the OP's skills or experience...an alleged marine electrician doesn't necessarily make things safer or better. Best to get the books, see what's involved, sketch out what you think is a good working plan, and THEN, if you feel uncomfortable with the job or uncertain of it, only then to call in an alleged professional.

There are always 'code compliance' issues, whether that's ABYC or otherwise. Knowing why those codes call for specifics, and what other options might be, is also pretty important. Sometimes they can be quirky. A fully license electrician once told me to always wrap the electrical tape clockwise, never counterclockwise. Why? Oh, it would work just as well either way, but if the inspector saw it was counterclockwise, he'd fail the entire job on the spot, knowing it hasn't been done by a union electrician. Go figure.
I'm going to take issue with this post. Never use an "alleged" marine professional. Only use an ABYC certified marine electrician and I would ask for references.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:35   #10
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

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I'm going to take issue with this post. Never use an "alleged" marine professional. Only use an ABYC certified marine electrician and I would ask for references.
I agree with this completly, I had my boat re-wired by an ABYC Certified marine electrician and it was beautifully done! I did however do my homework in advance by researching the ratings and soliciting information from several people who had his services in the past. Caution is the keyword, especially when poor work can leave you stranded miles at sea, or worse!
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:09   #11
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

As for wiring, ABYC standards are MINIMUM requirements. I use nothing but aviation grade wire in the boats I work on. I had a disagreement with a USCG inspector over this several years ago and wound up having to submit the documents (online sourced) to prove this wire exceeds ABYC's by 50% in all aspects (insulation breakdown/etc). Costs about 25% more but I have peace of mind knowing I've used the best.
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:24   #12
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterbutch View Post
I agree with this completly, I had my boat re-wired by an ABYC Certified marine electrician and it was beautifully done! I did however do my homework in advance by researching the ratings and soliciting information from several people who had his services in the past. Caution is the keyword, especially when poor work can leave you stranded miles at sea, or worse!
Very good advice.

As with anything in life, it is important for YOU to know what you want to do ahead of time, this is called developing a Design Criteria and is part of the system design.

If you are remodeling your kitchen at home, you would not leave the selection of the kitchen cabinets and countertop up to the contractor, would you?

You MUST be part of the process, so that you know what you want, and can assure yourself not only that you get what you want, but that you fully understand what it is you end up getting, both in terms of knowing it's right and understanding how it works.

As part of this it is ESSENTIAL that you receive, as part of the work, a COMPLETE wiring diagram.

Three parts to doing anything: design, installation, commissioning and use.

You NEED to be part of the first, can hire out or do the second, and you are the ONLY one who will have to live with it.

Good luck, you are not the first skipper to have done this, and none of was born an electrician.
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:44   #13
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

1) plan the work
2) work the plan
3) use nothing but the best wire, terminals, and other components
4) this will cost twice your budget and take four times as long
5) 50amp fittings are MUCH more robust (and more expensive) than 30amp ones even if you're not pulling full rated current

I do this for a living
I'm not asking to do yours...

Recommendations:

For custom panels: Mobile Marine Electric in New Hampshire MMES Custom Panels - Custom Boat Electrical Panels
For wire and parts Genuine Dealz
https://www.genuinedealz.com/

Let me know where you are based and I can recommend some consulting electricians who can help even if you're a full DIY boat
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:34   #14
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

Deepfrz-
Having seen the botched jobs done by ASE-certified car mechanics, and highly-trained long experienced "A" line car mechanics...and all sorts of other people with paper qualifications, I don't know offhand what the ABYC certification is worth but to me, even if someone has that they are still an "alleged" mechanic until they've proven otherwise.
Some folks have the knowledge and credentials--but are simply dishonest thieves, posing as mechanics. I've also known Microsoft MSCE certified network professionals, and Novell network certified professionals, who screwed systems up royally. And those credentials weren't quick and easy to get, either.
So, paper credentials? Here, let me show you a royal warrant appointment from Her Imperial Britannic Majesty, Elizabeth II. What color would you like me to print it on?(G)

Not to knock the organization, but paper is still just paper. Results are what count.
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Old 09-07-2017, 13:42   #15
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Re: Recommended sources for new wiring on boat

I'm no electrician but I've already begun rewiring the least efficient parts of the ancient spaghetti wiring in my recently acquired old boat. The primary reason for DIY is that total familiarity will help when the next fault occurs, which will inevitably be in some remote location far from outside help. Motto is: if you can't fix it (or toss it) then it has no place on board, so, unless you carry that ABYC electrician or mechanic with you everywhere you go, you'd better DIY it.
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