The dark arts.

Electrics that is !.

Near the end of my christmas cruise the boats electrics completely packed in and my basic level of electrical problem solving :poke around a bit ! just wasn’t up to sorting the problem out.   I thought about it for a bit and then went down to the boat one day just to at least try and solve the problem although i also had a good idea that i would end up re-wiring most of the boat : just going back a few years when i had to refit the Frances i had to take this approach because the salt water had destroyed a lot of what was there and things like the new engine control panel would be installed new anyway.

When i got around to the Frances re-wire i knew i was going to have to do it myself because i couldn’t afford anyone elses work (the marine sparky wanted to charge £60 an hour plus all the materials) at that price i could well afford some books on the subject and the time spent learning.  Having learnt how to mostly re-wire a boat i figured that it would be a good exercise to try and problem solve this one.  Ok so it took me 2 hours mainly because it was the first time with a very posh multi-meter and i had to take that up to the car and test it first on the cars 1v batteries just to find out what i was doing wrong with the meter first.  That sorted i soon worked out that the boat battery was live and i had power at the battery selector switch but beyond that couldn’t find a live circuit anywhere.  It should have been obvious but i just couldn’t trace my way through the odd coloured spaghetti of the switch panel.  Many brews and much swearing later the logic became obvious and i suddenly realised that there was no power at the main switch panel…BECAUSE THERE WAS NO POWER AT THE SWITCH PANEL…doh ! and yes it was a broken battery selector switch.

It does change things in that i haven’t got to replace everything in the boat , many of the wiring runs are ok but it does need several new things and a huge tidy up.  Its going to get a new 12v switch panel mounted in the cabin, a new PV panel mounted today, new charging regulator and the main thing will be a huge new sealed jel battery to go in the space under the cockpit.

The appearance of the wiring right now is that of a complete amateur bodge, obviously messed around with several times over the years.  The kind of standard i am shooting for is what i achieved with the Frances of which this is the best example..the switch panel itself.31933996831_77c7c279dc_z31933997561_9ccc54ecfa_z


I don’t have the luxury of that amount of space this time but it will be good to see how neat and functional i can get it.



  1. Hi Steve very tidy job, better than many installations I have seen ! One must have tool for cable ties is a pair of flush cutting side cutters it saves a lot of skin removal in the future, as it avoids the sharp ends on the ties and any one who cuts them at an angle should be forced to do multiple insertions of bodily parts into the wiring, I have just had some work on boat like that !


    1. With that in mind i tried to buy a pair of these today at the electronics store and by the reaction i got you would have thought that i was trying to buy drugs over the counter…..see todays blog.


  2. I have given up on the local electronic suppliers, RS online can be bit more expensive but a whole lot less stress, I needed some Aphenol plugs and sockets try that in Whangarei ! couple of clicks and they arrive in the mail along with a new pair of flush cutters item 536-329 light weight but great for ties. The Amphenol eco mate stuff make great deck plugs (item 540-1868 they have a number of different pin combinations) they are really waterproof as opposed to marine rubbish.


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