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Old 11-05-2022, 03:57   #1
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Electrical DC main panel

I have posted this months ago as part of our complete DC system, but post it here separately because I have found no more flaws and am now starting the process of putting this in CAD for manufacturing it.

For most boats, the main DC functions are an afterthought put onto a breaker panel. This means all sorts of devices, switches and breakers need to be added elsewhere and that is where the mess starts. This panel is the solution. I will be ordering from a service where you upload your design as CAD files and they will manufacture and ship the panel in a couple of days.

The attached image is an impression of the panel. It is designed for our boat, s/v Jedi, which has three watertight compartments. This means that we need three times as many bilge pumps as many other boats; you can probably eliminate 4 switches and automatic fuses. If you also have just one house battery bank, you can also eliminate one battery monitor and control switch for the remote battery switch, making the panel much smaller. All other functions are used for almost every boat. I will explain main functions below:

For each house and starting battery there is a Victron battery monitor and a Blue Sea Systems remote battery switch. This allows operating the big battery switch without having to get access to it under bunks, in cabinets etc.

Below the battery monitors is a selector switch for electronics power. This allows the selection between a DC-DC converter to provide clean power (no surges from chargers, alternators, starter motors etc.) or a 12V battery for backup… or to switch it to off during lightning storms.

To the right of the electronics power switch is the so-called “always on” section. These switches and fuses always have power, even when main battery switches are switched off. The traditional use is for bilge pumps but we added gray water pump as well. For most boats this would only be 3 switches but you may want a couple spare positions as well. The fuses are automatic, so no need to replace fuses in stressful situations.

The right side of the panel has some automatic fuses and two vertical rows of switches. The left side is also “always on” and for navigation lights, spreader lights etc. The right row is for the remote switches of solar controllers, dc-dc converters etc.

I will post links to CAD files as I get them.
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Old 11-05-2022, 04:14   #2
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Who makes the blue ringed breakers
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Old 11-05-2022, 04:18   #3
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Electrical DC main panel

Iím currently redesigning my panels , based around this conceptClick image for larger version

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This is now on the boat
Click image for larger version

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The next one is the AC panel followed by the DC breaker panel

My breaker panel incorporated programmable e-fuses rather then physical breakers so that both tighter current ranges can be specified as well as current monitoring etc.

Each illuminated light is a 5050 rgb capable led so a range of colours can be shown to indicate different issues ( currently blue for illumination , green for on , amber for warning and red for alarm )

The whole series of 5 panels are linked to each other and various sensors using LIN bus.

The electronics and software are all designed in house

The panels are 3mm opaque white acrylic sprayed black and laser cut and engraved

Iím switching to remote battery contacting but the panel will just have two small key switches.
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Old 11-05-2022, 04:29   #4
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Electrical DC main panel

The one thing Iím debating is my e-fuse design allows me to readily separate the e-fuse reset button ( also acts as on off ) from the actual e-fuse itself which I could place elsewhere this could allow me to move all the dc bus wiring to the battery area and remove the rats nest behind the dc panel. But equally I may want to replace the panels with the original Bavaria when I want to sell

The other advantage is a few buttons one marked ď go sailing ď that can programmatically switch on all the correct sets of breakers to power up the instruments , vhf , autopilot etc.

Iíve just finished the design of the 100A e-fuse for windless and other high power applications
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Old 11-05-2022, 05:02   #5
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Who makes the blue ringed breakers
Those are switches, not breakers. They operate either directly on equipment like the remote on/off switches of Victron gear, or we use momentary push buttons for navlights which connect to controllers that switch so that multiple positions for switches can be made (switch deck lights and nav lights from cockpit as well as from main panel). The blue ring is actually an indicator LED that connects to the controller for feedback.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 11-05-2022, 05:08   #6
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Iím currently redesigning my panels , based around this conceptAttachment 257581

This is now on the boat
Attachment 257583


The next one is the AC panel followed by the DC breaker panel

My breaker panel incorporated programmable e-fuses rather then physical breakers so that both tighter current ranges can be specified as well as current monitoring etc.

Each illuminated light is a 5050 rgb capable led so a range of colours can be shown to indicate different issues ( currently blue for illumination , green for on , amber for warning and red for alarm )

The whole series of 5 panels are linked to each other and various sensors using LIN bus.

The electronics and software are all designed in house

The panels are 3mm opaque white acrylic sprayed black and laser cut and engraved

Iím switching to remote battery contacting but the panel will just have two small key switches.
I abandoned my ďsmart breaker panelĒ project. Not because it was difficult but because I find it overkill and probably less reliable. I had decided a miniature OLED display and microcontroller per channel, then a power MOSFET for DC or solid state relay for AC channels. I would need a 3D printer to make it the way I want and just donít have the time available tto get into yet another adventure as Iím in the midst of so many already
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Old 11-05-2022, 05:52   #7
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Those are switches, not breakers ...
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Interesting.
Apiele, Yueqing Shi Aopi Electric Co, Ltd, specialises in the development and production of [1,000+ styles] metal switch, rocker switch, industrial switch, relays, etc
https://www.apiele.com/
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Old 11-05-2022, 06:19   #8
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Interesting.
Apiele, Yueqing Shi Aopi Electric Co, Ltd, specialises in the development and production of [1,000+ styles] metal switch, rocker switch, industrial switch, relays, etc
https://www.apiele.com/
They are surprising high quality. The ones I linked to have tactile and audible feedback, NO and NC contacts and inline resistor for direct 12V to LED, while 5V still provides enough illumination. I actually use 12V PWM to dim the LED ring to whatever level I want depending on ambient light.

Also, they have a connector with wire pigtails so that you can mount the switch after finishing the wiring. That is high quality as well.
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Old 11-05-2022, 07:14   #9
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Great design Jedi!

Where are you planning on manufacturing the panel? Will it be metal or acrylic with engraving/backlight?

I designed a panel for my fuel management system using front panel express, but they only make it in metal.

I think I may make another one for the cockpit (winch switches, heat pump, etc...), but I would prefer to make it in acrylic.
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Old 11-05-2022, 07:29   #10
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Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I abandoned my ďsmart breaker panelĒ project. Not because it was difficult but because I find it overkill and probably less reliable. I had decided a miniature OLED display and microcontroller per channel, then a power MOSFET for DC or solid state relay for AC channels. I would need a 3D printer to make it the way I want and just donít have the time available tto get into yet another adventure as Iím in the midst of so many already


Actually my solution will probably be more reliable then anything on the boat , but as you say these projects take time , my AC panel will be the next in and the DC panel will be a winter 2022/2023 project as I now have all the development tools on the boat.

All the e-fuse modules are instantly replaceable , auto reconfigure and have mechanical fuse backups.

I really want to move away from flipping on and off large combinations of breakers , so that I can have a few buttons marked ď go sailing ď , ď in port ď etc that reconfigure everything at one touch. I currently have 22 dc breakers abd the new one has 30 , too many to be pressing individual buttons. !!!
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Old 11-05-2022, 07:34   #11
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Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
Great design Jedi!



Where are you planning on manufacturing the panel? Will it be metal or acrylic with engraving/backlight?



I designed a panel for my fuel management system using front panel express, but they only make it in metal.



I think I may make another one for the cockpit (winch switches, heat pump, etc...), but I would prefer to make it in acrylic.


The 3mm acrylic panels are quite rigid ( Iíd like to try polycarbonate ) and offer the ability to be backlit , which is awkward with metal panels.

The main issue of you backlit is you have to design light shrouds if you want different colours on at the same time. Of however your just want general illumination the white acrylic works really well and in daylight the white writing can clearly be read without any illumination
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Old 11-05-2022, 23:01   #12
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
Great design Jedi!

Where are you planning on manufacturing the panel? Will it be metal or acrylic with engraving/backlight?

I designed a panel for my fuel management system using front panel express, but they only make it in metal.

I think I may make another one for the cockpit (winch switches, heat pump, etc...), but I would prefer to make it in acrylic.
Yes, Iím working with Front Panel Express as well. Iím thinking on ways to improve durability after they have manufactured it. Simplest methods would be to apply one of those high tech coatings for cars (I still use RejeX but thereís many claiming much better results) or just simply spray and buff with Boeshield T9 (works for my cast iron sewing machine).
I have considered a wrap with transparent vinyl as well but think UV will kill it eventually leaving me with a huge mess.

Itís 15 years or so ago that I designed our fuel system that I have posted about many times. I could use a panel similar to yours! What rotary valves did you use?
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Old 11-05-2022, 23:07   #13
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Interesting.
Apiele, Yueqing Shi Aopi Electric Co, Ltd, specialises in the development and production of [1,000+ styles] metal switch, rocker switch, industrial switch, relays, etc
https://www.apiele.com/
Widely available on AliExpress etc , I have similar , as I didnít recognise the picture of them in nicks mockup
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Old 11-05-2022, 23:10   #14
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanvet View Post
Great design Jedi!

Where are you planning on manufacturing the panel? Will it be metal or acrylic with engraving/backlight?

I designed a panel for my fuel management system using front panel express, but they only make it in metal.

I think I may make another one for the cockpit (winch switches, heat pump, etc...), but I would prefer to make it in acrylic.
Personally as I’ve used a few Chinese stainless motorised valves , I’d move to electric actuated valves ( which include a manual override feature ) and remove the need to bring piping to a panel , it also means the panel can be very small. I’ve change my water divert valves to electric , the 5 wire interface allows you to sense valve movement and end poisition , so with appropriate electronics you can verify movement and final position.

I have dissembled these Chinese valves and are happy with the basic engineering , simple geared motor , with manual override and a cam based sensor and microswitches to indicate ball position.
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Old 11-05-2022, 23:20   #15
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Re: Electrical DC main panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Actually my solution will probably be more reliable then anything on the boat , but as you say these projects take time , my AC panel will be the next in and the DC panel will be a winter 2022/2023 project as I now have all the development tools on the boat.

All the e-fuse modules are instantly replaceable , auto reconfigure and have mechanical fuse backups.

I really want to move away from flipping on and off large combinations of breakers , so that I can have a few buttons marked ď go sailing ď , ď in port ď etc that reconfigure everything at one touch. I currently have 22 dc breakers abd the new one has 30 , too many to be pressing individual buttons. !!!
My DC distribution panel is very boring except for the labels that will be engraved instead of those ugly stickers. Also, I eliminated the LEDís completely because I donít see the advantage when using the style breakers I use.
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