Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 18-04-2014, 16:50   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Boat: Pearson 39-2 "Sea Story"
Posts: 1,109
Electrical Guestimates

We are in the last days of decision making on a new purchase. The survey came up with a handful of electrical issues. I can't get a quote without having someone come out to the boat, but the boat isn't yet mine to set up appointments for. So, I was hoping that the wise folks of the forum could help me figure out a rough guess on costs, or at least how much time is involved for someone who knows what they are doing. (OOPS - forgot to add this is Southern California)

We need to:
-rewire the windlass: it was done by taping the DC wires to the windlass wires, no breaker anywhere, no stud. And the wires have pulled out of their tape.
-rewire the AC to the battery charger - they didn't use marine grade and it is showing signs of wear
-diagnose a bilge pump
-terminate the wires that used to run to the air conditioning - evidently they are just kind of hanging there.

and, I am not sure if this is for an electrician or a mechanic, but the alarm system on the engine is not functioning
__________________

__________________
Greenhand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 17:40   #2
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Anacortes
Boat: previous - Whitby 42 new - Goldenwave 44
Posts: 1,735
Re: Electrical guestimates

I was a marine electrician once upon a time but think I can shed a little light on your issues.

rewiring the windlass: you'll need long runs of heavy gauge tinned cable (usually 2/0) from your batteries to the windlass. positive and negative. Don't forget to take in to account the bends and twists to get from there to there. It always takes more than you think and you should not splice these wires (although you could get away with terminating them to a heavy post made for that but don't do it unless that is the only way to safe your butt on the wire - it is bloody expensive). You will want to secure the wire every foot or so to solid something. Use wire ties and wire tie anchors. Best to do under the board stringers. Don't leave them loose - may be a few feet if you can't get them to something that you have to go under. Be very secure at any terminations. The windlass manual will show how the wires should go, or go online, or in a marine electrical book, or Calder's book. Be sure and turn off the juice when you work with these big wires. They can melt steel when hot and grounded.

Unless these items are already there and in good condition, you will also need:
- big fuse or circuit breaker (best) near the batteries for the positive big wire - same amps as the windlass draw but always smaller than what the wire can carry
- solenoid(s) for the windlass up/down switches - one of up only and two for up/down - you'll need big, shorter wires from the solenoids to the windlass itself.
- windlass switches
- small wires from switches to the solenoids
- high grade (marine) terminals
- heat shrink for all terminations
Best to put the solenoids in a dry location, i.e. not right under the windlass in the chain locker where too many people put them

Wire for the battery charger: again - always use tinned marine wire (you get that from your post). The AC wires go from your AC panel via a circuit breaker to the battery charger. Size depends on the current draw of the charger and the length of the wire runs. Usually 10 AWG works for smaller chargers. From the charger to the batteries - again - size depends on the charger output rating. There are tables that show that - runs are there and back not just one way. The charger manual will also tell you about both AC/DC - you can often get manuals online if yours is missing. You absolutely should have a fuse near the batteries (or where ever you terminate them, e.g. battery switch) for the DC output from the charger - sized right.

Troubleshooting bilge pump: I am sure you can find this on the web. It can be puzzling if this is the first time you have done it but just work through it. Basically you need to check the float switch - usually separate from the pump - this is culprit numero uno. Numero dos is the wiring. It is in a wet spot - bilges - and the wires provided by the bilge pump makers are many times to short and the corrosion is usually at where the wires connect with the wires from your batteries. You also need to check if there is a small fuse panel/switch for the bilge pump. Not always there but good to have. They normally have a small light that goes on when the pump is working - nice to know especially when the motor is running or at sea and it's noisy. The other thing that can be bad is the pump itself. Also whether the pump is plugged with gunk from the bilge. Also the hose from the pump to the through hull may be plugged. Also it may have come off the pump or the through hull. Use 100% stainless steel hose clamps - even the screw - some are labeled S/S but the screw isn't. They are more expensive but it is a very bad spot in the bilge. There should ALWAYS be a fuse from the batteries to the bilge pump. Note: bilge pumps can't suck up 100% of water. Some will always remain flowing back down the hose when the pump goes off.

Terminating the air conditioner wires: if it is AC wiring - I would suggest disconnecting the wiring at the panel and label what it is there, and at the other end. Make sure you first turn off the AC power (and inverter if you have one). You can put a splice connector at the equipment end and only crimp the one side and then wire tie it there so it can't move - tight. Don't use electrical tape - ever on a boat. The silicone stretchy stuff can be used for some things but only use secure things for wiring. I guess it would be possible for it to be a DC air conditioner but all of this applies to that too - just not as dangerous to work with. (You can sometimes terminate unused wires to a wiring block but don't do this for AC wires unless it is totally protected from someone or something touching them. Same for DC just not as dangerous.)

I may have overlooked something - this is off the top of my head right now. Have fun.
__________________

__________________
exMaggieDrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 18:10   #3
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 6,385
Re: Electrical guestimates

That's a very good description of what needs to be done.

I'd guess it would take one to three days of work depending on accessibility of the areas on your particular boat, plus parts.

Plug in a range of dollars per hour of labor, add the parts and you should have a good cost budget.

You can find parts costs in any WM catalog or online. I'd use regular, rather than wholesale, parts costs for your purpose.

Your end result will be a cost of between X and Y. I do estimates for my commercial clients like this all the time.
__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 18:15   #4
Registered User
 
sy_gilana's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On board
Boat: Van de Stadt 50'
Posts: 1,101
Send a message via Skype™ to sy_gilana
Re: Electrical guestimates

+/- $400.00
__________________
Tight sheets to ya.
http://gilana.org
sy_gilana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 18:18   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Boat: Pearson 39-2 "Sea Story"
Posts: 1,109
Re: Electrical guestimates

Turns out even a new bilge pump is less than I expected it to be, so parts for the projects described won't be too bad.

The three days of work time does surprise me a bit. I would have thought this was a list we could get through ourselves in a weekend.

Thanks for the info, folks!
__________________
Greenhand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 18:23   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: Electrical guestimates

If you are thinking of buying the boat and have already sprung the money for a survey, you are indeed in a position to make appointments to have an electrician inspect the wiring. The condition of the wiring that you describe should set off warning bells. It sounds like, from your post, that you aren't familiar with boat wiring and electricity. Get a qualified electrician to inspect the wiring and adjust your offer to reflect the cost of repairs. You don't want to get stuck with a complete electrical rewiring project unless the offer/acceptance price reflects those costs.
__________________
The Blue Dot Campaign. This Changes Everything.
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 18:26   #7
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Anacortes
Boat: previous - Whitby 42 new - Goldenwave 44
Posts: 1,735
Re: Electrical guestimates

Don't underestimate the time it can take to pull a single wire. That can sometimes take a day by itself. Been there done that and I have tons of experience and all the gadgets. The least fun part of electrical work on boats. BTW - unless you are very handy and know what you are doing, I bet it will take you three days just to get the windless wired not counting getting the materials. Troubleshooting a bilge pump could take 30 minutes but being new at it it might take a couple of hours with a couple more to get it fixed plus running around getting parts. All depends on access. Working in a deep bilge can be a nightmare. But - I am a slow worker so anyone could beat me.
__________________
exMaggieDrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 18:40   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Boat: Pearson 39-2 "Sea Story"
Posts: 1,109
Re: Electrical guestimates

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
If you are thinking of buying the boat and have already sprung the money for a survey, you are indeed in a position to make appointments to have an electrician inspect the wiring. The condition of the wiring that you describe should set off warning bells. It sounds like, from your post, that you aren't familiar with boat wiring and electricity. Get a qualified electrician to inspect the wiring and adjust your offer to reflect the cost of repairs. You don't want to get stuck with a complete electrical rewiring project unless the offer/acceptance price reflects those costs.
You are correct and I have a request in to the broker to set up an appointment with the broker. I guess we should have approached that as soon as we had the verbal results from the survey. I think we were just a bit overwhelmed - so much to learn!
__________________
Greenhand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 19:34   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29° 49.16’ N 82° 25.82’ W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,368
Re: Electrical guestimates

Quote:
Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
Don't underestimate the time it can take to pull a single wire. That can sometimes take a day by itself. Been there done that and I have tons of experience and all the gadgets. The least fun part of electrical work on boats. BTW - unless you are very handy and know what you are doing, I bet it will take you three days just to get the windless wired not counting getting the materials. Troubleshooting a bilge pump could take 30 minutes but being new at it it might take a couple of hours with a couple more to get it fixed plus running around getting parts. All depends on access. Working in a deep bilge can be a nightmare. But - I am a slow worker so anyone could beat me.
Yep, just did it. Had to run a new negative from battery to the windlass. The old one was corroded on one end and undersized (positive was properly sized???). Took me about a day to pull the old wire and run the new one. Involved removing panels to cut multiple tie wraps, climbing in and out of various lockers and pulling short sections at a time to get around several 90 degree bends that I couldn't just pull through. Running the new one took about a quarter of the time although now I think about it I still have a couple of panels to replace in the forepeak
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 18-04-2014, 21:40   #10
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: May 2012
Location: New Orleans
Boat: We have a problem... A serious addiction issue.
Posts: 3,940
Re: Electrical guestimates

Frankly all these electrical problems would scare me a little. I would seriously consider getting a marine electrician to quote the known problems and check the rest of the stuff. The lack of marine grade wire particularly is concerning since if the whole boat is wired this way you could be in for real problems down the road.
__________________
Greg

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
Stumble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-04-2014, 09:14   #11
Registered User
 
Terra Nova's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marina del Rey, California
Boat: Freya 39 cutter- Terra Nova
Posts: 3,645
Re: Electrical guestimates

The problems you describe are so minor. Yet the bum windlass wiring should shed some light on how poorly maintained this boat is.
__________________
1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
"Id rather drown than have computers take over my life."--d design
Terra Nova is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-04-2014, 09:55   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,334
Re: Electrical guestimates

I'm not sure what taped together means on the windlass wires...? You mean they are not joined mechanically at all?
For your purposes think high... especially if you are not doing it. 2-0 tinned cable will be maybe $8 per foot! if its 30 ft windlass to batteries then you are talking $500 for cable alone. Running that cable, installing a breaker etc figure a day.
8hr x $80 per hour = $640, Breaker and cable etc $600. Total $1240 for the windlass.
Rewire A/c, short run. 3 hours + $50 mateials= $290
Just figure replaceing the bilge pump. $350 total
Terminate wires properly. $100
Diagnose and replace alrm system componants; 2 hrs, $150 material= $310
That's my SWAG not knowing any of the details. About $3000 total.

IF the windlass wires are adequate size, you cold just put the breaker where the bad joint is..?
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-04-2014, 10:03   #13
Sponsoring Vendor
 
Tellie's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Boat: FP Athena 38' Poerava
Posts: 3,043
Re: Electrical guestimates

Personally I would pay a qualified marine electrician a days pay to go over this boats electrical system and report on it. What you have described is only what you have discovered. Dollars to doughnuts this is just the surface. Forget the "Qualified surveyor" mumbo jumbo and let those that know what they are doing do it.
Tellie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-04-2014, 10:15   #14
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chesapeake Region and Maine
Boat: 42' Bob Perry sloop
Posts: 4,038
Images: 4
Re: Electrical guestimates

Do yourself a favor: engage a qualified marine electrician (not an EE, not a house electrician) to go over the boat's wiring and give you a list of needed work, with estimates. You didn't say what kind/size boat this is. A good look will probably take 1/2 to 1 day.

From what you described, I'd be VERY cautious about the rest of the boat's wiring. Seems the previous owner was clueless and a cowboy. You don't want to play with wiring on a boat, either DC or AC.

Now is the time to find out what you're facing, before you write the check for the boat.

Bill
(I do this professionally on boats of all sizes.....simply amaaaazing what you discover in terms of PO flubs).
__________________
btrayfors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-04-2014, 10:21   #15
Marine Service Provider
 
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 2,592
Re: Electrical guestimates

Why should you suffer the grief of handling this ? Tell the broker/owner that you want it fixed by a qualified marine electrician as a condition of closing the deal.
__________________

__________________
That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cal, electric, electrical

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Complicated Electrical Question - Good Puzzle for You Electrical Geniuses Dockhead Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 36 07-09-2010 07:14
Electrical Fire Prevention from Fluke GordMay Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 0 12-08-2005 10:49
Electrical Q & A GordMay Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 0 26-07-2005 12:38
Excerpts from ABYC - Electrical GordMay Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 5 29-01-2005 15:17



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:35.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.