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Author Topic:   Wiring AC Outlets
irishcreamer posted 05-12-2009 01:47 AM ET (US)   Profile for irishcreamer   Send Email to irishcreamer  
Where would the AC outlets be in the wiring diagram? Many thanks!
jimh posted 05-15-2009 01:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Adding shore power and AC wiring to a small boat is not something I can try to describe in a narrative manner in a discussion forum. I know how I would do it, but I cannot describe in it a reasonable way in this sort of discussion. I suggest you get a good book on Marine Electrical Practices, particularly one that has a strong focus on AC wiring, and study it.

The only AC-operated device I have installed is a battery charger. I just have the cord and plug for it coiled up, and when I use it I just plug it into an extension cord. You could install a fixed connector, but that's just another big hole in the boat, as far as I can see.

If you plan to leave your boat in the water and moored at a dock, and you want it connected to shore power, it may be worth the effort to install AC wiring on the boat.

irishcreamer posted 05-15-2009 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for irishcreamer  Send Email to irishcreamer     
Thanks, Jim. I can see that with your knowledge you are way out in front of me on this one.

I think I misinterpreted part of bluewaterpirate's post regarding AC as I am not looking to fully wire my boat for AC. SO, to keep it simple for now, is it relatively straightforward to:

Include a battery charger in the rewire like bluewaterpirate did? Looks straightforward. Though I think I will forgo the hole through the console.

Include a DC-->AC converter from the house battery for laptops, phone chargers, etc.? Just wondering if this as simple as adding the converter or somehow much more involved or a BAD idea for some reason.

Thank you.

jimh posted 05-16-2009 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In my experience, 18-foot open boats at sea are often quite wet and expose to weather, winds, and waves. I would not feel comfortable generating 120-Volts of alternating current in those conditions. The shock hazard is quite high from 120-VAC on a wet deck.

To provide power for charging a cellular telephone, wire a cigar lighter receptacle to your vessel's 12-volt distribution. Use a mobile charger with a cigar lighter plug to provide power for your small devices like cellular telephones. Since these devices are frequently used in cars which have a 12-volt DC system, you can take advantage of those accessory power devices on your boat as well.

An 18-foot open boat while underway is a somewhat hostile environment for a laptop computer. However, if you wish to power the computer from your vessel electrical system, I suggest you get a mobile charger for the computer that has a cigar lighter plug. This is a much more efficient way to provide electrical power for your laptop computer while your boat is underway at sea than by installing a DC-to-AC inverter and wiring an AC electrical distribution system on your 18-foot open boat.

For powering all sorts of electronic devices from 12-Vdc sources, I can recommend very enthusiastically the products of LIND ELECTRONICS of Minnesota.

ASIDE: Even though the people of Minnesota are somewhat aberrant politically and have elected a professional wrestler as their governor, an All-Pro NFL defensive lineman as their supreme court justice, and, apparently, a SNL comedy writer as their senator, as manufacturers of small battery operated electronic power supplies which are actually made in America, Minnesota is in the forefront of this technology. LIND ELECTRONICS is a good company, with good products, good service, and real people answering their telephones. Using one of their power supplies to run your lap top computer on your 18-foot open boat while at sea and underway will be an excellent solution to your power problem.

If you need to power larger 120-VAC devices such as a refrigerator, freezer, or microwave oven on your 18-foot open boat while underway and at sea, I suggest getting a dedicated generator set. A small HONDA generator will provide plenty of power. Using DC to AC convertors is generally not a good solution as they will require a huge battery set to maintain any sort of power-hungry device.

irishcreamer posted 05-16-2009 03:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for irishcreamer  Send Email to irishcreamer     
Thanks, Jim.

Minnesota is great (in the summer).

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