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Old 27-02-2015, 19:54   #31
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

I highly recommend Nigel caller's
Boat owners mechanical and electrical manual. I took a class from him at the boat show with my son. We have rewired most of the 12v system in my boat started by removing all loose wires, then all dangerous wires . Then we did the service adds. (TV, refer, new lights... ) that did more than 3/4 of the 12v system. Now I am following up with individual circuit or groups of circuits to eventually be rid of all the old wire.
Go slow get it right the first time get marine parts no automotive crap. Tinned wire , heat shrink eveything. Crimp connectors are prefered solder conections crack with boat movement and fail. Crimp connectors and try to pull each one apart. No really try, like, grab with plyers and tug. Do you want to do it over now or in the dark on a stormy night? Fuse everything including bilge pumps and chargers that conections to batteries. And put no connections in bilge if you must make runs through bilge bring them through in single run make connections above when possible. (I had to connect bilge pump wires in bilge but I still didn't like even that.) Next I will tackle the 120v that I'm still blissfully unaware of how bad it may be.
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Old 28-02-2015, 20:25   #32
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

I've found the site "genuinedealz" to be a good source for marine wire.
your mileage may vary.


My Formosa ketch wiring is color coded BROWN and concealed in the overhead.
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:02   #33
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

Bill seal nice tip just checked their site, good prices on wire.
I never thought I would pay 118 dollars for jumper cables but they have a set that would be worth it, almost wish I still had a diesel truck to jumpstart.

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Old 01-03-2015, 03:05   #34
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

I went through all this two years ago. My boat had spagettie from one end to the other. Most of the wiring was all the same colour 'white'. Nothing was labelled anywhere. It had two 240v house hold extension cables up the mast for mast electrics. Some of the 12v cabling was 240v twin cable that had been stripped of its external insulation. The 240v system used old rubber insulated two core, so no earth ability at all.

I stripped the lot without worrying about where it went or what was connected to it. I just pulled it all out. Then with some help from CF I redesigned a new system. I used my old panel, but it was way too small so I built a new one and made sure it's encompassing enough for everything and future upgrades.

One of the benefits of just starting again is that I got to know my electrical systems really well. I still don't know a lot about how things work, but if something fails I have a good idea how to find the problem.

Two suggestions, first use all tinned wire. Don't cheapen on it. Nothing else works and lasts like tinned wire.

Secondly, label both ends of each run. I designed my own and I still think it's the cheapest and easiest system to label wires. And it seems to last. Purchase a $20 label maker and get lots of 'clear' heat shrink. Label your wire, then put some heat shrink over the top of it. Works brilliantly. Do this the same on both ends of the run.

My two cents worth. Good luck.
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:42   #35
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

Few boats have their wiring marked or individually color coded. If one end of a wire begins at the (let's say) spreader light breaker, and the other ends at the spreader light, you can be pretty sure the wire is for spreader lights.

If you want to mark the wires for your own convenience, while running them, you can use these wire markers, and mark the #'s on your diagram.
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Old 01-03-2015, 13:01   #36
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

This will cost way more than you plan. Get several boat electrical books and read and reread them. Get the catalogs and get info on differant parts. It will start to make sence. And you will be more familiar with whats avaliable and can ask the right questions. Not all items are created equal Then draw out what you want. Read about the different size and types of batteries and how many you need and how to charge them. Its truly amazing what people assume will work and dont even understand what they already have. Good luck
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Old 01-03-2015, 13:28   #37
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

I can't help you with people but - you may find bargains worth the trip or call and talk to these guys for NOS boat stuff. I attached only shots from the electric aisles. The place is huge and less than 10% of stock is shown on the web site. They also carry radios, antennas etc. Its probably been mentioned but just in case, DO use marine grade pre-tinned wire.

For anyone in the area, Spring open house & even greater bargains is March 21-22. I plan to spend several boat-bucks there or whatever fits in the truck.

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Old 01-03-2015, 17:29   #38
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

Ok, here's my 2cents worth, if it ain't broke don't fix it, do you think with limited electrical experience, you can do a better job than the builder, most use shrink wrap at the terminals, it's a sailboat, how much fatigue do you think the wiring has, does the cabin leak, is it a dry boat, if the wires are hanging everywhere, moving around, there might be enough fatigue to worry about, if the boat it's dry, the deck doesn't leak, stop! Add an additional panel of needed, add shore power, locate you services close to one another, crimping leaves room for corrosion, of you don't shrink wrap, corrosion, if it all looks good go sailing, don't waste your time fixing something that is not broken

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Old 02-03-2015, 02:10   #39
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Few boats have their wiring marked or individually color coded. If one end of a wire begins at the (let's say) spreader light breaker, and the other ends at the spreader light, you can be pretty sure the wire is for spreader lights.

If you want to mark the wires for your own convenience, while running them, you can use these wire markers, and mark the #'s on your diagram.
In practice it's not that obvious. But each to his own. You do what ever makes things easier. I mark both ends of runs, because whilst it's obvious which wire is attached to the 'spreader light', when it's attached to the 'spreader light', it's not so easy if one day you disconnect your spreader light, anchor light, steaming and all round night lights so that you can pull the mast out. Working out which is which becomes confusing.

Likewise if you pull through a cabin light harness. IT's easier to have them all marked.

The 'markers' in this packet are reasonably cheap but are not full proof in staying attached. Label maker with see through heat shrink is permanent and cheap.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:31   #40
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

The same people who say "Oh, you're so anal, so obsessive compulsive, no one needs to do that!" are somehow silently blissful when they need to access something two years down the line, and find the job only take two minutes because some anal obsessive compulsive applied MARKERS and LABELS when the job was done the first time.

Funny thing about that, isn't it?
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:14   #41
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Re: Need help re-wiring a sailboat

Labeling is a good thing.
Like I said earlier, the original wiring did not use tinned wire, by this stage in it's life cycle there's a really good chance of corrosion in the wiring. The last Islander I worked on had several places in the wiring harness where there was heat damage due to resistance in the wire due to corrosion, one behind the panel in a bundle of wires had melted through the existing insulation and was now starting to melt into the wires around it. If left to itself there would have been a fire eventually, hard to say when or where but it never seems to happen at a good time.
Wiring a fairly simple, smaller boat like this one is not that hard, just follow good practice and use simple wiring color code, basically so you can tell 12V from 120V (shore power) and use the appropriate size and type wire for the application.
Wire labels? For sure, it makes living with the boat long term so much easier.
The boat we purchased a year ago has had a number of modifications over the years as systems were added and or replaced. Because of this there is also some dead wiring mixed in with the new stuff. That seems to be pretty standard for just about every used boat I've owned and a few auction boats I've flipped. I've found it easier just to pull all the old crap out and redo it than to try to troubleshoot and sort out the spaghetti monster most used boats wiring systems tend to end up as.
Of course I'm not averse to buying panels on the internet or from marine consignment shops, I've found some really nice panels in brand new condition for a fraction of the original price, of course it all depends on the luck of the draw at the time your looking.
I know I'll be re-wiring our current boat next year when I haul it to my property. After it took me 4 hours to troubleshoot an issue that should have taken 15 minutes I decided it would be in my own best interest to just do it, I really like when I flip a switch and it actually works.
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