What's wrong with this electrical plan?

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Partner
I'm still doing forensics on my wiring but FWIW, for my windlass the PO used a separate, relatively light 100AH Lithium battery in the V berth, connected to a charger plugged into an AC outlet. Instinctively, I don't like it but OTOH, it works, it saves running big cables forward, and covers the different task of charging Lithium (the other batteries are all AGM). I haven't decided whether it's a Rube Goldberg special or just unsightly but elegant simplicity.
How do you charge the battery if you are out cruising?
 

Tooluser

Flǎneur
haven't decided whether it's a Rube Goldberg special or just unsightly but elegant simplicity.

Oho! That’s a really intriguing idea. I can see that especially being a win for 24v windlasses! They get bursty, high-intensity use and then can charge at leisure, at the price of needing their own DC-DC charger (rather than the hit of the inverter, ideally).

I’ll be curious what you decide to do with it, too.

Thank you!
 

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
How do you charge the battery if you are out cruising?
I haven't actually raised the sails on it yet so pure speculation what the PO intended or his cruising habits but what I think so far is he may have relied on the solar panels to keep the 5 AGM house batteries topped up and the Xantrex 2000W inverter/charger to power the AC systems (refrigeration, water heater, Lithium charger, microwave). I believe he was also a marina liveaboard in his home port (the boat came with 4 shore power cords), so perhaps he didn't anchor out much, although the nav gear, charts and single handing improvements make it seem like he either cruised a lot or dreamed of it.
 

southofvictor

Member III
Blogs Author
I’m working on an electrical system refit as well for our 38-200. I’ve been taking this course and would highly recommend it to anyone who is an electrical noob like me.


After a couple unsuccessful tries at reading and understanding Calder’s book I’ve found this to be very easy to understand and full of great discussion as well.

I’ll post my electrical system plans when I have them fleshed out but for now have more questions than answers. We plan to head south to Baja and beyond starting fall 2024. My goal is to keep our system as simple as possible while not being short sighted about what we’ll want once we are out there.

How can I improve access to my switch panel? It seems pretty constrained by the angled joinery at the nav station.
How much existing wiring will need to be or should be replaced?
Will we want an electric windlass vs manual that works well now?
Will we want a water maker?
Will we want Starlink at some point? The owner of the boat I just crewed on says in the real world his draws 8A when switched on and 3A when switched off (?!?)
How can I get the house bank amp hours we want (estimating 400 at this point) out of an AGM configuration? I’m not sold on lithium yet.
What’s the best way to spec a high performance alternator for our 30hp Yanmar that allows us to keep our existing alternator as a spare (OEM 125A Valeo that doesn’t get very good reviews for longevity)?
What kind of solar array will work best for us? Goal would be to stick with panels that can be mounted on existing dodger & bimini. We are too slow for hydro and don’t want a wind generator.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Where to go and for how long changes everything.

If planning to ride the hook in the Marquesas for months, self sufficiency is required.

But if you're just going on a long cruise, with shore power periodically available, simple can work. I have no solar, no watermaker, no radar. I charge three AGMS with a 100-amp alternator.

Few of us make passages longer than a few weeks. It is possible to keep it quite simple if there's a slip at the other end.
 

Tooluser

Flǎneur
There are eleventy-seven threads in your questions, @southofvictor (all of them fun). I'll toss out that there are numerous threads on the greater web around how to make StarLink less inefficient. And @Christian Williams has a great piece on redoing electrical panels on his blog. I suspect that you could make an adjunct panel/box, self-contained, and put it in the nearby shelf. The rest. . . . it depends. Pacific Yacht Systems has a consulting service, as does Sailing Totem, both of which I've heard good things about.
 

Tooluser

Flǎneur
To redo my math on the battery for the windlass:

1000W windlass @ 12v = 83A
running for 10 minutes = 12 AH
Re-anchor five times = 72 AH

A 100 AH lithium battery would be plenty, as all those are very conservative.

Sound right?
 

Tooluser

Flǎneur
FWIW, that's exactly what the PO of mine chose, 1000W windlass,
That's what gave me the idea, to be clear. It's clever. It seems like you could readily do this with a very tiny 'cache' battery; 100Ah would be more than enough.

I'm still unsure whether this is a good way to go if you don't have to, though. I might not replace it if it were there, but given I don't have one, I _think_ I'll still just go with some fat copper rather than One More Chemistry on the boat.
 

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
How can I improve access to my switch panel? It seems pretty constrained by the angled joinery at the nav station.
How much existing wiring will need to be or should be replaced?
Will we want an electric windlass vs manual that works well now?
Will we want a water maker?
Will we want Starlink at some point? The owner of the boat I just crewed on says in the real world his draws 8A when switched on and 3A when switched off (?!?)
How can I get the house bank amp hours we want (estimating 400 at this point) out of an AGM configuration? I’m not sold on lithium yet.
What’s the best way to spec a high performance alternator for our 30hp Yanmar that allows us to keep our existing alternator as a spare (OEM 125A Valeo that doesn’t get very good reviews for longevity)?
What kind of solar array will work best for us? Goal would be to stick with panels that can be mounted on existing dodger & bimini. We are too slow for hydro and don’t want a wind generator.
SoV,
I found BoatHowTo recently too, good call.

FWIW, I'm trying out diagrams.net for my wiring diagrams, free for mortals and works in any browser. Simple but competent (it, not me), so far.
This example was just trying to trace my battery wiring, doing a real plan should be a fun winter project:
1699850499925.png
I thought I heard there were EY stock diagrams around, but I haven't found them so far.

Regarding panel access, I don't know how the 38-200 is different from the 381 but if it's similar, I've now seen Christian's method of the fold down door done elsewhere and I'm convinced: better for the wires, better for working on them. It's basically a plywood cabinet face so basic cabinet skills should suffice, styled to match EY standards. I have a bit of wood butchery to address on mine so I have the 'advantage' of anything I do being an improvement to those areas.

I don't think I'll replace any wiring that doesn't test bad or look bad or is run/installed wrong. It's old but AFAIK, there's no expiration date.

I think the electric windlass decision should be based on how much you'll anchor out, whether or not you're single handing (using a remote), how much/heavy chain you expect to put out, the conditions you expect to find yourself in, and your physical condition. I kind of tick several of those, so if I didn't have one, I'd probably be looking for one, to help when conditions aren't optimal.

Regarding watermakers, I'm sure you'll get what you need but I saw a YT (I think it was on Emily and Clark's Adventure) about getting a used millitary model. Seemed clever.

Regarding batteries, mine came with 6 AGM-31M's (1 start, 5 house) @ 105AH ea, 3 in the quarter berth and 3 under the salon seat, I don't think I could fit any more in if I wanted (I don't). I see a lot of folks say you have to do a power budget, seems right. Clark, of Emily and Clark's Adventure is currently doing a lithium battery analysis and has some good, easy to understand input about them, as well as selling what seems like a well thought out battery bank manager that charges different batteries differently, as they need. I'm not qualified to say whether he's right but if I was going to buy all new, I'd definitely consider lithium for the house, AGM for starting, and one of his bank managers for protecting the investment.

For solar, mine came with 3 100W Renogy panels and looking into them, they seem to be a common choice. That said, solar seems to be a deep subject, compounded by the conditions of boating, so once you have your power budget, you'll have a better idea whether you can get by with basic stuff or need some of the higher end, higher producing gear (and perhaps flexible).

One thing I think is good advice I've heard, think a bit about what parts may be available where you are headed. Critical things like filters you want to be available everywhere. Optional things you could live without for a month while waiting for something to arrive through foreign customs, twice because of course the first one won't be the right one, those maybe don't matter so much.

Fun stuff.


.
 

Nick J

Contributing Partner
Moderator
Blogs Author
I thought I heard there were EY stock diagrams around, but I haven't found them so far.
In the resource section, there's quite a bit of information including original owner manuals that have diagrams. It's a good starting point, but they should be used with caution as most of our boats are in various degrees of rework. One benefit of the old designs is the wiring color code if previous owners haven't rewired the cable runs.


I recently replaced most of the wiring on my boat due to a project that accessed an area of wiring that is otherwise difficult to access. I only had one issue with the old wiring (low voltage to a light due to a bad connection), but the effort did identify some areas of the original design that could use improvement:
  • Non tinned wire was used.
  • All connections are like 3M's IDC (https://www.mscdirect.com/product/d...S6044VbDwdghFjfNFJgaAhIDEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds). These seem to work, but it was the source of my low voltage issue and the wire around the connection was corroded despite being tucked under the side deck headliner.
  • shared return. Again, not a big issue, but it leaves the system vulnerable to a single point of failure
The workmanship was excellent on the original install with adequate cable support, clean runs, and an easy to follow wiring color code. I just think products have improved and there's way more information available to owners now then there was when our boats were first delivered. I

For cabinet space and panel placement, I found replacing the shelf area outboard of the nav desk with a face frame cabinet provided more than enough room for bus bars and other various wiring. https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/finishing-mahogany-to-match-teak.18413/
 

Vtonian

E38 - Vashon
For cabinet space and panel placement, I found replacing the shelf area outboard of the nav desk with a face frame cabinet provided more than enough room for bus bars and other various wiring. https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/finishing-mahogany-to-match-teak.18413/
Thanks much, Nick, the original diagram should help.
I saw a couple of those smash and grab connectors in my wiring and assumed they were owner provisioned. Ick.
Impressive rewire and cabinet solution you've done there. I now have panel envy.
 

southofvictor

Member III
Blogs Author
Regarding panel access, I don't know how the 38-200 is different from the 381 but if it's similar, I've now seen Christian's method of the fold down door done elsewhere and I'm convinced: better for the wires, better for working on them. It's basically a plywood cabinet face so basic cabinet skills should suffice, styled to match EY standards. I have a bit of wood butchery to address on mine so I have the 'advantage' of anything I do being an improvement to those areas.
The layout is different and looks problematic (if not impossible) as a fold-down configuration because of the <90 degree angle between the panel and the bulkhead just aft of it. See pick below. Has anyone else built a hinged access with this configuration?

IMG_9599.jpeg

On a separate note has anyone built a cover for the AC panel wiring on the OEM panel per ABYC standards? It looks pretty tight and I’m not sure how I’d pull it off solidly.

IMG_9602.jpeg

I‘m debating with myself whether to change to new 12v and ac panels. I like the idea of keeping the traditional look (and avoiding the additional cost) but I wonder if its adding more complication to the project than it’s worth and I’d be better off with modern panels in the long run. Anyone out there whose made the same decision have input on that one?
Thanks!
 

Nick J

Contributing Partner
Moderator
Blogs Author
The layout is different and looks problematic (if not impossible) as a fold-down configuration because of the <90 degree angle between the panel and the bulkhead just aft of it. See pick below. Has anyone else built a hinged access with this configuration?

View attachment 48612

On a separate note has anyone built a cover for the AC panel wiring on the OEM panel per ABYC standards? It looks pretty tight and I’m not sure how I’d pull it off solidly.

View attachment 48613

I‘m debating with myself whether to change to new 12v and ac panels. I like the idea of keeping the traditional look (and avoiding the additional cost) but I wonder if its adding more complication to the project than it’s worth and I’d be better off with modern panels in the long run. Anyone out there whose made the same decision have input on that one?
Thanks!
I posted a link to the thread where I detailed my cabinet build out above, but here it is again:

https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/finishing-mahogany-to-match-teak.18413/

I would replace the panel with something from Blue Sea Systems as well. The originals have done their job and it's probably time to move on. You can probably get away with replacing the breakers and using the original sheet metal, but by the time you purchase all the parts to refresh the old panel, you'd probably end up with way more invested than a new panel.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Here is a past thread with a picture of the insurer-required ABYC protective cover over the AC breaker backside portion of our panel. Still there and doing its job! I do appreciate the protection for my arm or hand every time I need to access that area to check a circuit, too.
:)
 
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southofvictor

Member III
Blogs Author
I posted a link to the thread where I detailed my cabinet build out above, but here it is again:

https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/finishing-mahogany-to-match-teak.18413/

I would replace the panel with something from Blue Sea Systems as well. The originals have done their job and it's probably time to move on. You can probably get away with replacing the breakers and using the original sheet metal, but by the time you purchase all the parts to refresh the old panel, you'd probably end up with way more invested than a new panel.
Thanks for reposting the link Nick. Frankly the first time I looked at it I was so amazed by your handiwork - woodworking and electrical - that I kinda made up my mind I didn’t have the skills for that and didn’t pay very close attention. I’ve gone back for a second look and got some good ideas.
 

southofvictor

Member III
Blogs Author
Thanks for that Lauren! While searching I also found this old thread that has a
couple different 38-200’s with photos of their panel rebuilds. Here’s the link in case anyone ends up here with my question:

 
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