A POWER-ful Adventure - The Electrical Refit Part 1
The electrical situation aboard Dulcinea was pretty sad. it was one of those things that gradually got added to over the course 37 years. Very much like a house that gets modified over the course of many years. It started out bad, then just got worse. The FIRST problem was the location of the electrical panels....
First, go out into the cockpit, and open the Port side Lazerette. Do you see where the long handled brushes are going?
|Inside the port lazerette, looking forward|
Yeah, this is the rats nest of electrical wire that runs all of Dulcinea's electrical stuff, both DC and AC.
This is an accident, or worse, a boat fire, just waiting to happen. It reminds me of a house that I was renovating once... a lot of electrical connections and splices, Not done to code, then hidden within the wall. It is not a question of if it will fail, just matter of WHEN it will fail.
So, this was going to be my winter project, and it indeed, took me most of the winter to complete it. When I Redesigned the Navigation Station, I had planned to move all of the electrical stuff to it. So that is where everything was going to go... in my mind anyway. Getting there looked like it was going to be a real adventure. But that is why I have a boat, right? for the Adventure!
I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but as the old saying goes, "The Journey of a Thousand miles begins with a single step." So, the first step... DISCONNECT the batteries.
Step 2, take out, then trace each wire back to its source, and label it, one wire at a time.
I used my label machine to make identifying flags for the Positive wires of all of the appliances and devices, as NOTHING was labeled. It wasn't anywhere near as daunting as I feared... Red wire Positive and black (or yellow) wire negative. It appealed to the logical thinker that I tend to be. it just took a long time, as trying to trace wires in a boat is NOT easy. There is lots of Boat Yoga involved!
|Main and secondary DC panels pulled. You ca see some the the label flags attached to the positive wires.|
|A view from the Back side of the bulkhead, looking into the cabin. I took a lot of pictures along the way to verify that I put things back together correctly, and to remind me of how things looked before I removed it all... all the DC is out...|
Next, I cut out full scale templates of all of the items, and laid them out on the Nav station door. Yup! they all fit! Then it was carefully tracing everything so I could cut mounting holes for them.
To cut out the openings for the DC and AC panels, I decided to use a tool I don't use a great deal, but when you need it, it saves a lot of time. That is my Mortising attachment for my Shopsmith. It basically cuts square holes. There is a drill in the middle of a box, that has very sharp edges and corners, which turn the round hole square. This would be perfect!
|The Mortising tool, set up to go to work|
|In the Middle of a cut|
|Two Holes cut|
|Cutting 4 holes eliminates a lot of work with the saw|
Once I cut the square holes, it was time to connect them with straight cuts. I was concerned that if I use my jig saw, that I would chip the formica, so I turned to my new favorite tool, my Dremel Multi-tool. It made short work of the cuts, with no chips in the formica!
|The blue painters tape on the blade of the Multi-Tool acts as a depth guide, so I know I have cut through the door. Note I have some scrap underneath... (OK... I know... I cut the lines first THEN I drilled the holes, but you get the gist!)|
Next thing on the list was to mark and drill the holes for the screws that would secure the panels. So I set up the Shopsmith in Drill Press mode, and it was a snap to drill all the holes.
|Ready to drill|
All that was left now, was to attach the panels and guages to the board. A few minutes work with a screwdriver, and VOILA! Looks good, eh?
|All secured and ready to install in the Navigation Station!|
|Looking aft.... at the carnage that a refit brings about....|
|Looking forward... I had to take my lunch breaks in the Marina's Tenant Lounge, as there was nowhere to sit in the cabin, and it was too cold and wet to sit in the cockpit....|
Till next time!