Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another little project

I knocked another little item off my project list last week - I installed an electrical sub-panel.

My main DC panel was full, and I need room to install some new circuits soon.  I need room for a water maker switch, as well a circuit for the SSB.  I also wanted easier access to the various lights from the cockpit.  I'm setting this boat up for single handing and every little thing I can do to make this easier will be welcome one day.

I decided on a 8 switch Blue Sea waterproof panel.  I wanted access to it from the cockpit as well as below in the cabin, so I installed it on the side of a cabinet I can reach from both places.  The installation went fairly smoothly.  I bought a new Fein tool which I used for the first time to cut the hole in the teak - the cut wasn't very clean (my fault, not the tool) but the panel overlaps the little ugly sections in the cut, so it ends up looking good.

The panel has switches for: tri-color, compass light, running lights, steaming light, spreader light, windlass remote panel light and the autopilot.  There is one spare circuit at the moment - I'll leave it for a while and decide on what I want - perhaps the deck wash circuit.

The main panel has three new spare circuits.  In the past many circuits controlled more than one thing - the compass light was controlled by the running lights for example.  I've split the GPS and instruments circuits out into their own, and there is a sub-panel circuit so the whole sub-panel can be turned on/off at once.

Lastly, I took the opportunity to clean up behind the main panel.  I cleaned up that area last year, so it was looking much better than when I first bought her, but this time I installed new grounding buses (there used to be three ground buses, now there are two with lots of empty terminals.)  There is also newly freed space where I removed a fuse panel controlling GPS, windlass light, 12 volt plug and nav instruments.  I will use the space to install something new (probably my NMEA network connections to clean up the terminal strip currently above my AC side, which I'll do after my new GPS goes in.)  The first picture is during the project, and the after picture follows:

There is lots more to do, but it feels good to be making progress again.