Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Installing all the electronic / electrical /mechanical bits....

When you own an older "classic plastic" sailboat you quickly realize that much of the above mentioned equipment has been changed over the years. Electronic equipment is the most obvious victim of constant change. Not many 30 yo boats will have the original VHF, depth finder, autopilot etc fitted. Radio Direction Finders have gone the way of the Dodo, thank God, I always hated them. The original electrical fit will probably have survived, but it will have received many "upgrades" in the form of additional wires piggy backed on to existing switches, new inverters etc. Mechanical water pumps will have been replaced numerous times and the manufacturer will have made sure that the securing holes are never in the same place. Water Heaters will have been added, refrigeration may have been replaced.

Many of these replacements will have been undertaken by a marine technician who has three overriding principles;

1. Mount the item where it is convenient to him/her, based on their arm reach, ability to work inverted etc.
2. Ignore anything below/under the new item which may have to be changed out in the immediate future.
3. Never, under penalty of flogging, remove the wiring/piping from the old item which is now redundant.

As TIH is in effect an "empty" boat none of the above rules apply to me. My preference is to mount everything on the saloon table, where I can work on it sitting on the settee. That's probably not going to happen.

My second choice is to give everything as much open space as possible and where I can access it for repair/replacement. Keep as much electrical stuff out of the bilge as possible (except for batteries). Keep as much electronic stuff (inverters etc.) out of the Engine Room. And try and get it all done before my wife realizes what I'm up to (Ocean Dove's comment about closets is correct).

Watch this space....


Ocean Dove said...

I am guilty of installing electronic in my wife's closet.
This winter I installed a galvanic isolator on the aft bulkhead in the closet. I wanted to be close to the shore power connection ground wire. (shhhh the Admiral hasn't seen it yet). Because the doors on the closet are narrow I had some difficulty installing it and the wires.
I noted that you do not have the structure around the closet where you planning to install your inverter. I would suggest that you install the closet walls and doors before you install the inverter that way you will know how difficult it will be to work on if needed and you will not be able to say
"What did the builder do? Install it then build the boat around it!!!!"

I said that many times myself and the answer is always YES!!!!!!

Ocean Dove said...

"Never, under penalty of flogging, remove the wiring/piping from the old item which is now redundant"

On Ocean Dove I have pulled hundreds of feet of what I call "orphaned wires" bare wires cut off. After you chase thee orphan wire all over the boat you find they are cut off at the other end, or they are LIVE!!!!!

The Incredible Hull said...

Already thought of that. No way will I fit through the doors, so the plan will be to remove the complete panel if I need to do any work.

I agree with the galvanic isolator but I may go for the next step up and install an Isolation transformer.