New Owner of 1971 E-29, Hull #116

CapnRob85

Junior Member
Hi All,

Thanks for such an active group of owners here. I am a two weeks young owner of a 1971 E-29 (hull #116), with very little information about the previous owner and/or what has been done to the boat, but it looks almost all original and in good condition below deck.

I am doing a DC electrical assessment via multimeter this weekend, hoping to get an idea of what is and isn't working. The E-29 has a dual battery bank, with a switch allowing you to choose either battery, both, or none, to run power to the panel, and separately has a 110V shoreline breaker box, which powers to the AC outlets throughout. There is also an on/off power switch at the ignition box in the cockpit. My boat also has an Atomic 4 engine on it.

A few questions, which would be greatly helpful before I start following wires below deck, for those that know this boat:
1) Does the panel only run on DC, or is there a way for AC to power the panel?
2) Does the Atomic 4 come standard with an alternator, so I can charge my batteries with fuel?
3) Any other comments or suggestions as I go about hooking up the electric to my batteries and test the circuit?
4) Do the Cockpit switch and the below deck switch work independently of each other?

Thanks!
Rob
 

Gary Holford

Member II
Hi Rob, 2) yes the A4's alternator (mine is a 35 amp) will charge your batteries via the isolator switch. Normally one will be a starter and the other house. I have a multimeter wired to the 12V power and can monitor battery power via the isolator. Don't ever switch the isolator to OFF while running or you'll blow some important diodes. BTW a A4 can also be started by hand if you have a handle. Welcome and enjoy!

Gare
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
HI Rob, and welcome to the Viking realm.
:egrin:
After five decades, your boat's systems have probably been modified and added to by prior owners, so you are going to need to make a current diagram. Take notes and pix. Post up some pix here when you get a chance.
Other owners will be checking in.
Basic stuff: does the boat have a shore power inlet and a permanently mounted battery charger?
There are A-4 experts here, and what little I know is that the engine will (or did when new) have battery charging capability.
Regards,
Loren
 

CapnRob85

Junior Member
Hi Rob, 2) yes the A4's alternator (mine is a 35 amp) will charge your batteries via the isolator switch. Normally one will be a starter and the other house. I have a multimeter wired to the 12V power and can monitor battery power via the isolator. Don't ever switch the isolator to OFF while running or you'll blow some important diodes. BTW a A4 can also be started by hand if you have a handle. Welcome and enjoy!

Gare
Thanks Gare, great tips!
 

CapnRob85

Junior Member
HI Rob, and welcome to the Viking realm.
:egrin:
After five decades, your boat's systems have probably been modified and added to by prior owners, so you are going to need to make a current diagram. Take notes and pix. Post up some pix here when you get a chance.
Other owners will be checking in.
Basic stuff: does the boat have a shore power inlet and a permanently mounted battery charger?
There are A-4 experts here, and what little I know is that the engine will (or did when new) have battery charging capability.
Regards,
Loren
Thanks Loren,

Yes the boat has shore power inlet in the cockpit, and here are some photos. You have the isolator switch, DC battery bank with positive charge cables, some additional wire bank which I’m not sure about, cockpit switch, and then more wires hanging from the main cabin ceiling which seem to be antenna and something else.

Any further insights would be hugely helpful. I’m referring to the 27/29 manual and seeing some explanation of schematics for the circuitry but at least the cabin ceiling wires hanging I know are PO installed and not original.

Thanks!
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Thanks Gare, great tips!
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Almost everything in those pictures is post-factory add-ons. The only way to tell what anything does is to trace every wire (and when needed, replace it with the correct one!). I'm a little concerned about the mis-match of wire sizes between the positive and negative posts. And there appear to be black wires (which should be used for negative) scabbed onto your positive bus.

To get AC power to the DC panel, you would need a built-in battery charger, like Loren said. AC --> Battery Charger --> Batteries --> DC Panel.

A lot of the original wiring on my 71 E29 was actually buried into the hull-deck joint. Some of it still works (running lights) but most has corroded away. I just abandoned everything and started from scratch. The original wiring isn't up to modern standards and most anything added later is usually a disaster.

The first two pictures there are antenna and power leads for a radio. The third picture appears to be a set of add-on positive and negative buses without any fuses, which is dangerous.

One big problem with boat electrics is that Stuff Gets Added that wasn't in the plan. I tried to plan the new backbone for every gadget imaginable, even if I didn't ever install them. (Although I have a weakness in that direction...). Still ended up with "add on" messes here and there. But one needs to start with a plan and calculate the correct wire sizes and layout in the beginning.

I don't see where anyone has invoked the bibles of boat electrics, so in case you don't know them:

There are also Coast Guard and ABYC standards for wiring that can be looked up, though they are geared toward manufacturers of new boats. However, if your boat is surveyed for insurance purposes, the surveyor may note where wiring is not up to standards.
 
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CapnRob85

Junior Member
Almost everything in those pictures is post-factory add-ons. The only way to tell what anything does is to trace every wire (and when needed, replace it with the correct one!). I'm a little concerned about the mis-match of wire sizes between the positive and negative posts. And there appear to be black wires (which should be used for negative) scabbed onto your positive bus.

To get AC power to the DC panel, you would need a built-in battery charger, like Loren said. AC --> Battery Charger --> Batteries --> DC Panel.

A lot of the original wiring on my 71 E29 was actually buried into the hull-deck joint. Some of it still works (running lights) but most has corroded away. I just abandoned everything and started from scratch. The original wiring isn't up to modern standards and most anything added later is usually a disaster.

The first two pictures there are antenna and power leads for a radio. The third picture appears to be a set of add-on positive and negative buses without any fuses, which is dangerous.

One big problem with boat electrics is that Stuff Gets Added that wasn't in the plan. I tried to plan the new backbone for every gadget imaginable, even if I didn't ever install them. (Although I have a weakness in that direction...). Still ended up with "add on" messes here and there. But one needs to start with a plan and calculate the correct wire sizes and layout in the beginning.

I don't see where anyone has invoked the bibles of boat electrics, so in case you don't know them:

There are also Coast Guard and ABYC standards for wiring that can be looked up, though they are geared toward manufacturers of new boats. However, if your boat is surveyed for insurance purposes, the surveyor may note where wiring is not up to standards.
Thanks very much! All useful information. Will review, inspect further, research the resources, and report back.
 

CapnRob85

Junior Member
Hi All,

Checking in. Did some wire chasing over the weekend. I am looking at replacing that bus bar, with a new positive and negative DC bus, with fuses. This is one I had in mind (blue sea systems ATO/ATC positive and negative bus).

A couple follow up questions:

1) Does the back of the panel look okay or should I replace some of the wires.The fuses, are all good and seem to be recently replaced. I'm tracing some of the wiring, and a lot isn't connected anywhere (bilge pump, water pump, etc.) so I think I am looking at connecting some of these to the panel and others to the accessory, or replacing the panel entirely (would prefer the original panel though).

2) I have a 2nd battery, which I'm planning to connect. I'm fairly sure our E29 was designed to incorporate both in a 24 volt circuit, but I'm not using the inboard engine for now, so I'm looking at tying it all together with all engine wiring left disconnected. But, I want to make sure the DC isn't somehow connected to the engine wiring, or otherwise to end up in an open circuit somewhere. I'll be going back down to follow the wires, but I'm showing the reverse (2x pics) and front (1x pic) of the ignition panel here too.

Any ideas, or comments would be much appreciated as always.

Thanks!

-R
 

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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Observations: when your boat was built, the number of fused circuits was considered 'high end' for a production boat, albeit an expensive production boat. Looks quaint, now. (!)
Wiring was not tinned wire, but then neither was the "ancor" brand wire in my '88.
Best by far to re-wire, and tidy up the runs. A lot of us have also changed/added a negative bus bar behind the panel, and also added terminal strips behind that panel. This is one of those Off Season projects that adds a lot of peace of mind, and real-world reliability. Tedious work, but there are great books to reference and on-line tutorials.
Read the book first... no one has to "qualify" in order to pose as an expert boat electrician on U-Tube. :(
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Yeah, pause, read the book, then make plans.
I threw out the original panel because half of it didn't work any more. Which was the reason for some of the previous owners mess. The only way to tell is get a multimeter and test each component. It would be possible to replace any failed components and rehabilitate the original panel, but I had bigger things in mind.
Certainly not a 24V system. The books listed above show several different ways to wire a 2-battery system. Usually one is dedicated to start the engine and the other to run house loads. You can switch or combine them to charge or in case one gets run flat. Given the small engines on our boats, another way is to run everything off a single battery and use the second as emergency backup.
I thought I had a blog entry or two on the re-wiring project, but if so, it must have got lost in time.
 

CapnRob85

Junior Member
Toddster,

Your boat looks fantastic and definitely a lot more electronics than I'm planning for now. You also made your own cushions? Wow. After receiving a few quotes, we're trying to find ways around paying someone a fortune to make our interior cushions as well. I'm about to start searching for (and possibly posting another thread on) cushions for E29's in Southern California as well.

But first, to your point: The Boat Owners Mech/Maint Manual is arriving tomorrow. Have a solid multimeter in the toolkit already. I'm going to try rehabbing the original panel, with addition of a new pos/neg bus including fuses for safety.

Thanks again,
Rob
 

CapnRob85

Junior Member
Observations: when your boat was built, the number of fused circuits was considered 'high end' for a production boat, albeit an expensive production boat. Looks quaint, now. (!)
Wiring was not tinned wire, but then neither was the "ancor" brand wire in my '88.
Best by far to re-wire, and tidy up the runs. A lot of us have also changed/added a negative bus bar behind the panel, and also added terminal strips behind that panel. This is one of those Off Season projects that adds a lot of peace of mind, and real-world reliability. Tedious work, but there are great books to reference and on-line tutorials.
Read the book first... no one has to "qualify" in order to pose as an expert boat electrician on U-Tube. :(
Thanks! Def reading first.
 
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