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Author Topic:   Small Boat Electrical System: Upgrades This Season
jimh posted 10-13-2009 10:55 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Here is a recap of some of the electrical projects on my small boat this season:

--moved all electrical cables from the chronically damp rigging tunnel to a nice, dry, high run under the gunwale;

--moved the SONAR transducer back to the rigging tunnel after I noticed interference from being bundled with all the other electrical cables;

--replaced the 17-year-old original connectors on the stern pole navigation lamp, even though they were still working; used DEUTSCH two-pole connectors, boots, and dummy plugs;

--replaced the wiring from stern pole lamp to console with new marine grade ANCOR 16-AWG wire; this replaced the replacement wire I put in last season that had one splice to reach the console;

--installed NMEA-2000 network backbone using a mixture of DeviceNET connectors and LowranceNET Blue connectors; powered network from the engine IGNITION circuit.

--installed I-Command 3.5-inch digital gauge on NMEA-2000 network;

--installed I-Command interface cable to E-TEC engine on NMEA-2000 network;

--installed I-Command memory module;

--removed original OEM tachometer to make room for I-Command gauge;

--rewired battery negative (or ground) and battery positive (from IGNITION) to instrument panel after removing tachometer; used OEM Amphenol rubber body connector to mate with the original tachometer cable from engine wiring harness for neat installation;

--found bad connection in OEM sump pump control switch wiring and made repair, twice;

--replaced engine's battery cables with new cables of similar gauge;

--restored isolated ground to analogue TRIM gauge which was omitted from new wiring harness for new E-TEC engine; this fixed problem with gauge illumination circuit sneak path.

On my boat trailer electrical system:

--replaced tail lamp assembly after lamp socket became intermittent after 17-years; also corrected orientation of lamp assembly to improve diving bell principle of water resistance.

--[Forgot this one in my original list] repaired cabin lamp fixture which had jumped out of the ratchet mechanism for holding lamp in position.

There are still many projects left for next season!

jimh posted 10-13-2009 10:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
How about you? Any electrical system improvements to report?
newt posted 10-15-2009 11:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Jim, I completed only a fraction of the electrical upgrades that you did.

1. Replaced both batteries.
1A. Removed and reinstalled new batteries while diagnosing a no start problem only to find that I neglected to hook up one of the ground cables. In the process discovered that you can still measure a 12 volt+ differential at the starter relay even without the battery negative cable connected.

2. Replaced the 50-amp circuit breaker located in the starboard stern storage compartment.
2A. By-passed the now only 4-month-old-failing-circuit breaker-purchased-from-theft-marine with a pigtail and wire nut in order to salvage a day on the water and was only 1 hour late getting to the ramp.

I would say, electrically speaking, that you were much more productive than I this year.

Peter posted 10-15-2009 03:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Here is my list:

- removed 16 year old dedicated Apelco RADAR system;

- removed Garmin 182c GPS;

- installed Garmin 4208 NMEA 2000 compatible display;

- installed 18 inch Garmin HD radome;

- installed Garmin 17X GPS (NMEA 2000 networked) antenna;

- installed basic NMEA 2000 network backbone connecting Garmin 4208 display to Garmin 17X GPS antenna, backbone wired to house power bus which is connected to battery selector switch;

- replaced Navman F3100 fuel flow computer with malfunctioning LCD display with Northstar F310 fuel flow computer;

- replaced one battery; and

- replaced two broken 6W solar panels with 7W solar panels, each dedicated to a battery.

17 bodega posted 10-15-2009 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
The idea of bringing wires out of the rigging tunnel to a high and dry location is something I have been considering. When Tony owned the boat, his/our mechanic had run all the rigging in a very funky manner along the side railing of the boat in plastic flex tubing. It looked like one of the robot arms from "Lost in Space". It worked because the boat had a starboard oriented console.

I moved all the rigging to the tunnel to convert the boat to a center console, and everything began to get wet. Although there are no wire terminations of any kind in the tunnel, the wire insulation is subject to constant water and moisture.

I'd love to some pictures when you're done Jim.


gyzmo47 posted 10-16-2009 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for gyzmo47  Send Email to gyzmo47     
Jim would be great to see some photos of the upgrades
bluewaterpirate posted 10-16-2009 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
cable run on my 210 Ventura .... and yes it's right sided but can be done on a center console. Ventura%20Cable%20Runs/1.jpg?t=1255719764 Ventura%20Cable%20Runs/2.jpg?t=1255719964 Ventura%20Cable%20Runs/3.jpg?t=1255720019

jimh posted 10-16-2009 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The cable run under my boat's starboard gunwale is not encased in a flexible plastic conduit as Tom has shown above. Boston Whaler kindly ran some of the wiring under the gunwale in the original installation. I used the existing wiring, which was nicely run through metal cable clamps with rubber bushings, as a hanger to attach my wiring, using nylon cable ties. Actually, I used a mixture of nylon cable ties and some velcro wraps. I have added and removed so many cables in the past two years that I got tired of cutting off nylon cable ties and changed to velcro wraps.

Tom--I like your under-gunwale indirect cockpit lighting. I keep planning to add that type of lighting to my boat, but it is still on the project list.

Also, I don't see any mildew under those gunwales. That is a sign of very good boat keeping.

By the way, when I do cut off an existing nylon cable tie, I make the cut just behind the head on the end of the tie. That way I can keep the length of the tie as long as possible. I often re-use the cut tie in another location where a shorter tie will work. I guess my Scottish ancestry is at work there.

Ed S posted 10-24-2009 05:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed S  Send Email to Ed S     
Jim, would you show some photographs of your wiring? I have a 1983 22 Outrage Cuddy that I plan to work on this winter. The wiring definitely needs attention.
Thank you.
jimh posted 10-24-2009 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My current electrical system is not particularly photogenic. It is quite functional.
6992WHALER posted 11-01-2009 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Summer 2009 projects

1992 23 Walkaround
GPSMAP172c and antenna
GDS20 black box sonar
Left the transducer in place

Garmin marine network:
GPSMAP3206 and 17x antenna
GDS22 black box sonar
GDL30A Weather receiver and antenna (waiting till next summer to get the XM radio subscription)
GMS10 hub

Still need to connect my VHF radio and Navman 3100 fuel flow monitor to the system (NMEA-2000). Both of these units are mounted in the hardtop so running wires will take more time then I had this summer.

The plug and play connections made the system very easy to install.

1966 16’ Sakonnet
New deep cycle/starting battery
Garmin GPSMAP172c and antenna
GDS20 Black box sonar
New transducer
Duracell battery maintainer (found at target for $12.00 in the clearance rack)
Installed electric horn
Installed an accessory outlet in dash.

Replaced the old wiring from the battery to the accessory fuse box in center council and replace the old fuse box.

Replaced the left rear taillight assembly on the 16’ trailer
Added additional clearance lights to the 23’ trailer and made a set of removable taillights to clamp on to the whaler drive (saltshaker bracket).

JMR posted 11-18-2009 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for JMR  Send Email to JMR     
Summer to present (assuming weather holds boat with not be hauled till early December):

1. replaced broken Rule float switch and rewired portions of stern bilge pump.
2. cleaned wiring and reset two Walbro fuel pumps, Guest battery switch and two bussess in transom including repairing the wooden runner that they are fastened to with epoxy wood filler.
3. upgraded wiring to helm pump to make salt water washdown work.
4. put all electronics/radio/VHF on a separate Blue Seas blade fuse box with separate cable to port battery (at the moment I am piggy backing on the [virtually unused]windlass circuit breaker at the battery).
5. sorted out wiring clutter at main Blue Seas blade fuse box by rerouting the negatives to their assigned place on the negative buss for the twelve E-T-A circuit breakers on the helm panel.
6. installed Jensen radio/CD.
7. removed circa 1987 Raytheon 24" radar dome and R40 display.
8. removed circa 2001 ICOM GP-360 GPS display and related GPS sensor on the radar arch.
9. reset coaxial cable & connectors from radar arch antenna to VHF.
10. researching features and cost for self installation of new radar & GPS --- possibly also fishfinder/sounder & transducer --- maybe a heading sensor if I really need one for radar chart overlay --- also maybe some NMEA 2000 type sensors for fuel and trim tabs (carbed engines are 13 years old). Reading up on Broadband versus the new HD pulse radars and various offerings (frustrating time to buy because so much is changing; clearly Furuno is good but expensive, haven't yet fully figured out the respective Lowrance HDS/Simrad NSE niches, neew stuff from Raymarine etc etc). I don't need to keep track of the Bismarck or the Queen Mary in the North Atlantic but I need something coastal that will not be obsolete by 2012.

David Pendleton posted 11-19-2009 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I attached an RJ connector and compatible plug to both my Raymarine RL70-CRC chartplotter/RADAR and Raymarine Ray 55 radio to make NMEA connections a snap.

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