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Old 06-03-2019, 13:57   #1
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ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

We are a year or 2 away from long term cruising and I am exploring ways of making some money while cruising.

Many cruisers do their own electrical work but I think that some do not. I was thinking that I could do electrical work as a way to make money while cruising.

I don't think that I would charge for just helping out now and then but for a job of broader scope some kind of payment might be in order. Not trying to make "big" money, Just a few boat bucks a year or so.

I'm thinking that having an ABYC Marine Electrical certification would "open more hatches" than saying that I have XXX degree from YYY university with 40 years experience in ZZZ.

Anyway, what do you all think? Especially what do you long term cruisers think?

Of course having access and understanding of the current ABYC specs is a good thing too.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:51   #2
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

Being an electronics engineer and a long term "overseas" cruiser, IMHO it's impossible to work for other cruisers and get (reasonalbly) paid for it, especially if you're "one of them".

So I would not invest in a course you mentioned.
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Old 07-03-2019, 13:42   #3
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

I hold an ABYC Marine Electrical cert, and it does open doors with employers. I've only worked in the field occasionally (other fields pay me better). It's also favoured by individuals looking for help.


But it's not exactly cheap to take the 1 week ABYC course and test, and if your only interest is informal work for the occasional boat bux, you'd be better off putting the money into tools and a few good books, and keep building your experience now, before you head out.


I have not been cruising extensively, so I defer to Standbly on what the work opportunities are actually like "out there".
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Old 07-03-2019, 13:47   #4
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

I'd say that 90-95% of long term cruisers are DIY electrical types. You would have a much better chance of picking up some coins if you could fix marine refrigerators.
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Old 07-03-2019, 17:15   #5
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I'd say that 90-95% of long term cruisers are DIY electrical types. You would have a much better chance of picking up some coins if you could fix marine refrigerators.
Agreed, and in reality, those DIY types usually will help out other cruisers for free... that's part of the cruising ethic.

We did know a chap some years back who was a master mechanic. Nice bloke, and very helpful to fellow cruisers. But he was really up from about his help: he'd come over to your boat and help you diagnose a problem, and suggest means of fixing same... for free. But, if he picked up tools and turned screws, he charged a reasonable hourly rate, one much lower than most shops would for the same sort of work. I thought this was pretty fair; some other folks were pretty upset that he would take money.

Dunno how that works out these days... not so many long term cruisers that do their own work, and so much of the work nowadays is simply not amenable to on board repair (electronics for instance).

And Don's right about the fridge repairs. A common complaint in every anchorage!

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Old 07-03-2019, 17:22   #6
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

I hear you there, Being one of them. How about a boat bux in trade. My work for yours. Small stuff free of course. Major as agreed.

Refers - Hmm. I am going to re-insulate mine this summer.

I'm more of a CS guy than an EE but have significant experience modeling a power grid down to rewiring 3 boats. Plus a few paying jobs. Books and tools I have including a Greenlee K09.

What tools are you thinking about?

I was thinking of challenging the test rather than spend the $1000 for a class.
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Old 07-03-2019, 18:54   #7
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

the ABYC Electrical Tech Cert is a combination of standards knowledge and, in theory, several years of experience. It's possible to pass the exam and still be a novice in real world work. After 30+ years in the business and many credentials including NMEA and ABYC I'd suggest that if you want to cruise your home country's waters working your way around can be done if you're good (I did it for years) but overseas it isn't worth the hassle....
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Old 07-03-2019, 23:17   #8
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I'd say that 90-95% of long term cruisers are DIY electrical types. You would have a much better chance of picking up some coins if you could fix marine refrigerators.
Agreed but still make sure you're working for cash and not a pet on the back or a trade with a bilge find or something.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:12   #9
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

Do you know that “Two years’ of documented Work Experience in a related field are required for Technician Certifications”?
Test challenge:
$279.00 ABYC Member or $350.00 Nonmember
$100.00 Electrical Certification study guide
https://abycinc.org/page/Challenge


I think there'd be more value in the knowledge gained from taking the course, that from the certification. I came to (full time) marine electrics after 25 years in the electrical industry (master electrician, designer, estimator etc), and found it useful.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:24   #10
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

Cruisers generally will help each other for free.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:14   #11
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Do you know that “Two years’ of documented Work Experience in a related field are required for Technician Certifications”?
Test challenge:
$279.00 ABYC Member or $350.00 Nonmember
$100.00 Electrical Certification study guide
https://abycinc.org/page/Challenge


I think there'd be more value in the knowledge gained from taking the course, that from the certification. I came to (full time) marine electrics after 25 years in the electrical industry (master electrician, designer, estimator etc), and found it useful.
Thanks Gord, I do know that (Technician vs. Advisor)

A Certified Technician is someone earns their income building or servicing boats.
A Certified Advisor is someone who earns their income consulting, engineering, or otherwise managing boating service or manufacturing projects


No work experience needed for the Advisor.

Currently ABYC is evaluating my work experience. I've been moonlighting doing some anchor sales and electrical work. Prior to that I've 18 years as a systems engineer that included designing and installing computer and electrical systems for research cruises 4 times a years or so. Everything from 165' research vessels to kayaks, installations on headlands to buoys.

In terms of ethics I understand that the cruising community is both DIY and shares (without a thought of charging).

I was thinking more in terms of "I need to change out this inverter and install a new one but I don't want to do the work myself, will you do it" type of work. Perhaps on a larger yacht with less experience?

Anyway, just going through the study guide is useful. Sounds like there is not much "paying and ethical" work to be had.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:26   #12
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Do you know that “Two years’ of documented Work Experience in a related field are required for Technician Certifications”?
Test challenge:
$279.00 ABYC Member or $350.00 Nonmember
$100.00 Electrical Certification study guide
https://abycinc.org/page/Challenge


I think there'd be more value in the knowledge gained from taking the course, that from the certification. I came to (full time) marine electrics after 25 years in the electrical industry (master electrician, designer, estimator etc), and found it useful.

I also came at this from an EE and hands-on technical background, and I wrote my first exam before the work-proof thing was required. I don't know if they'd have allowed me to write if that was a thing then. Nonetheless, i think it's a good idea to require some field experience.


I did take the short course and then the exam. The course was taught by Ed Sherman, the ABYC's head guy for marine electrical, and I think it was worth it just to get to hear it from him, and his stories and examples. Also look for his books on marine electrical service.


Ed's books cover a lot regarding tools, especially advanced ones like Time Domain Reflectometry for finding hidden faults. I also like Nigel Calder's books.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:59   #13
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

TDR's are great. I first used one back in the 80's when I was working on a power grid control computer system. It is a good story...

I always ran a TDR on any cables I installed and had a printout of the results in graph form. Those Tektronix TDR were expensive but good.

Anyway, one day the entire second floor of the control center lost ethernet connectivity. Slap the TRD onto the cable (thin-net ethernet) and compare the break to the printed strip (with locations marked).

I ran up the stairs to the 2nd floor and literally found the electrician holding the cable he had just cut in one hand and the cutter in the other.

Crimp on some BNC and a barrel connector and we were up again.

The electrician said that he was told that nothing was "hot" inthe room and he could do what he needed to reroute things.

It is great that TDR have come down in cost.
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Old 08-03-2019, 15:29   #14
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by evm1024 View Post
TDR's are great. I first used one back in the 80's when I was working on a power grid control computer system. It is a good story...

I always ran a TDR on any cables I installed and had a printout of the results in graph form. Those Tektronix TDR were expensive but good.

Anyway, one day the entire second floor of the control center lost ethernet connectivity. Slap the TRD onto the cable (thin-net ethernet) and compare the break to the printed strip (with locations marked).

I ran up the stairs to the 2nd floor and literally found the electrician holding the cable he had just cut in one hand and the cutter in the other.

Crimp on some BNC and a barrel connector and we were up again.

The electrician said that he was told that nothing was "hot" inthe room and he could do what he needed to reroute things.

It is great that TDR have come down in cost.

Great story.

Ed also has talked about using those handheld IR temp readers for detecting wire/connection heating, and an architect friend of mine picked up a handheld IR camera/display (looks like a cellphone) for around $300 that is awesome for detecting wiring hot-spots, heat-loss, etc.
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Old 08-03-2019, 17:11   #15
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Re: ABYC Marine Electrical Cert, should I get one?

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Great story.

Ed also has talked about using those handheld IR temp readers for detecting wire/connection heating, and an architect friend of mine picked up a handheld IR camera/display (looks like a cellphone) for around $300 that is awesome for detecting wiring hot-spots, heat-loss, etc.
Ya, The look on the electricians face was priceless.

I've wanted the IR camera but make do with a the $20 IR pyrometer.

Another use for those is to check the temp of the alternator pulley under load. The pulley will overheat with a slipping belt. Normally you just get something close to the rotor temp.

Of course an IR camera would be better.
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