Take you time designing your panel and whatever wires you're going to pull because you will likely encounter the "Oh, Sh!t" moment when you realized that you should have done this or done that to make things easier. The posts by other CF'ers who have done this have some useful information and as you think of additional features, you will run into the wall of limited space.
I went through this over the last couple of years redoing all my wiring
and ended up with a system that is easy to use, but has a wiring
schematic that is quite complicated.
Attached are pictures of the panels I made and some of the wiring. There are many ways to accomplish "boat wiring" and designs range from simple to overly complicated.
When I started the complete rewiring, the concept
is began with is not where it ended. This design evolved as I progressed until I ended up with what I have, which is a system that is relatively easy to use, but the wiring behind the panels is a bit on the complicated end of the spectrum.
The basic panels are two: Blue Seas DC panel with 35 slots and a Blue Seas AC panel with 8 slots + double pole breaker.
In addition to these, I designed (Front Panel Express) a "switch panel", which has toggle switches for groupings of lights and pumps. This panel is on just inside the companionway
and it's prioritized from top right to bottom left. When I reach in the companion way, I can get to the fuel delivery
system so I can easily change which system feeds the engine
( I have redundant main engine fuel
deliver system). I have to step into the galley
to change some valves if the main engine filter/pump fail, but the the pumps are right at the top of the switch panel. Note that almost every switch has an LED to indicate that it's powered up. You might consider this instead of the diagram of the boat because you might find a better use of that panel real estate.
The other groupings, again, descending in priority as you go down and to the left (in the view of the attached images) are Bilge
Pumps, Navigation Lights, then Deck
Lights. I have room for future expansion.
I also have a separate panel for the windlass
and is a catch-all for things I forgot to add to the Switch Panel (bilge pump
resettable breakers, a toggle for low-luminosity aisle lights along the cabin
sole). For the windlass
, I have the breaker, a 2-pole switch that disconnects the positive and negative cables
that go to the windlass, and the fuse for the low current
wire that goes to the switches (Maxwell VWC 1500). As you can see, the Switch Panel and this Windlass Panel look very different because I didn't have the forethought to design it into the Switch panel.
I have a few other panels that contain toggle switches in different parts
of the boat. For example, I have a panel in the galley
that has toggle switches for lights over there (lights in cabinets, light in fridge, lights over the sink and over bridge desk, as well as the propane
solenoid and it's LED indicator). This is another Front Panel Express panel. I have a few other panels that contain toggle switches in different parts of the boat. These are just varnished wood
panels with switches in them.
Because of the way this project
evolved, I wasted a lot of time rerouting wires and removing cabinets to run more cables
. In the end, there are many feet of wires running around the boat, but using the panels is easy because they are all clearly labeled.
The other aspect of this project was ensuring that all wires have the correct overcurrent protection and are the right size for ampacity and < 3% voltage drop (I have a spreadsheet that has every wire run and its properties). Complicating all this is that there are several circuits that are unswitched (bilge pumps, aisle lights, charging
sources, and a few others) that are wired differently from the switched devices, but their actual toggle switches are on the same panels as the switched devices.
Lastly (at least for this post), if you have a separate starting battery, can you easily switch the system to you can use the start battery to power
the house side and use the house battery to start the engine?
Don't shy away from complicated wiring if it makes using the system easier
PS. This was all mostly built out before I saw Jedi's "hardened" system diagrams.