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.