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Old 11-09-2012, 06:18   #16
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

Hi Stu:

Thank you so much. Very informative, and easy to understand. I'll be working on it this weekend. I hope we'll get it done. We can't wait to go sailing again!!!
:-)
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:04   #17
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

A circuit tracer can help identify wires. It has a transmitter which sends out a warble tone and a receiver which picks up the tone. For an example look for cable tracker at harbor freight.
I worked with cable installers and design engineers. Wire runs were planned on paper with approximate lengths (long of course) and harness were cut. 3 labels were used, one on each end, then after the wire was installed and the excess was cut off one end, the third label was used.
Chances are the existing wires go where you want to go anyway, just identify the runs you need, make sure the copper isn't corroded and is the right weight for the circuit.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:53   #18
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

Hi kaimusailing:

Great idea! I actually use those when doing data cabling. Never thought about using one to identify other cabling...
:-)
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:13   #19
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

Ernst-
I wouldn't call boat wiring dangerous per se, but then again I also know some folks who simply shouldn't be allowed to pick up hand tools, either. For a newbie I would suggest a few pointers:
Assume all wires are live, all the time, until proven otherwise. With AC wiring it can easily kill you, with DC wiring you can literally blow a finger off if you are wearing a ring and it shorts out battery cables. So, you make a point to remove all metal jewelry before doing electrical work. And to disconnect the cables at the power source, whether that means disconnecting shore power, unplugging the inverter, or removing at least one of the battery cables.
Diagramming things, even if that is just a pencil and a big sheet of paper with hand-drawn lines and notes for colors and connections, is priceless when you come back later to try figuring out "what's this wire". Labels are great, although personally I've found many either fall off, fade, or turn black after a few years. Color coded wires solve that problem, but that means an investment up front in multiple spools of colored wire. It pays off in the long term.
There are plenty of good books, plenty of web sites from suppliers to get you started on "what goes where" but I also find that if you plan it, draw a diagram, and then just stick that on the wall for 48 hours, sometimes you get a better idea and make changes.
And then there are the tools and bits. Do not buy a $5 crimper, buy a good one. (Threads on that.) Do not buy the no-name electrical tape and fittings, buy the good brand-name stuff. In the long run it is always cheaper to buy and use the good stuff!
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Old 21-09-2012, 06:10   #20
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

Hellosailor. and I mean that...
Great thoughts. I tend to overbuild things, and use only the best parts. We have been working on the project the last 3 weekends. Hoprfully we'll finish on Sunday. The last things to do are crimping the terminals for the breaker panel (with a hydraulic crimper), as well as the terminals for the new charger. Also, we have to attach the cables to the bulkheads via cable ties. That should do it. I will let y'all know how it went next week.
I would like to thank all of you again for helping us with our project. What a great forum!!!!
:-)
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:05   #21
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

Hi Everyone:

Well, we finished our project last weekend. The new charger is installed. All new wire was used to connect the charger to the new breaker panel, the battery switches, and the batteries. The runs were about 10' long, and we used 6 gauge wire. The only cabling that was reused was the 110 volt feed, which was shortened about 10' due to the njew location of the charger. Each one of the three batteries has a charging feed from the charger. Regardless of how the battery switches are set, there is always charge going to the batteries when on shore power. We made 2 banks - two batteries for starting the engine, one as a house battery. They are on two switches. House can be switched to help charging the engine. When the engine runs, battery switches have to be "on" to charge from engine.
We are very happy with the outcome of the project. It took longer as anticipated, but a good thing needs time. Thank you again for all your help, ideas and time.

:-) Ernst
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:26   #22
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Re: Wiring Nightmare

One thing which is sad but inevitable is that a well-wired boat will become gradually less so as gear is added, replaced, and reconfigured, no matter how hard you try to do it well, label it properly, etc.

You can just never recreate the pristine perfection of a boat wired while in initial build according to a CAD-generated wiring diagram -- try as you might!

It is very sad for me.

I use good quality marine tinned wiring, use a good crimper and good crimps, label everything with a Brother label machine, cable tie everything, use conduit wherever I can, etc., etc., and even spent a fortune on a good marine electrician for one installation I did. Despite all of this, the wiring on my boat is gradually going to $h*t
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