Terminal strips to land the 'Field' wiring is a great way to wire a panel.
The wires from the breakers to the terminal strips can be bundled neatly. If
the breaker panel is hinged be sure to use two wire support clamps where the
bundle leaves the panel and again where it lands on the non-hinged
structure. Having the bundle shaped into a 'U' as it leaves the hinged panel
will allow for less stressful bending when opening the panel. I hope that's
clear. I don't recommend flexing the larger battery cables.
You can also wrap the wires from the breakers to the terminal strips with
spiral wrap or split loom to protect them and keep everything neat. Another
good practice is to wire the breakers to the terminal strips in a one-to-one
fashion. That is, the top breaker wires to the top terminal, the second
breaker to the second terminal, and so on. After setting it up like this you
can replace any non-marine wiring in the boat a piece at a time without ever
changing any wires from the breakers to the terminal strips. Another slick
trick is to mount the terminal strips on stand-off spacers up to two inches
long. The bulk of the wiring can then be routed between and under the strips
and landed where necessary. This makes for easy troubleshooting of problem
circuits because you can actually see where to use your volt meter. You can
also fit more terminal strips in a smaller space and still keep everything
Use a good quality marine wire, like that made by Ancor, of a large enough
size to handle the full rating of the breakers and there shouldn't be any
problems with current loss. Unless you're going to extend the wires a long
distance. Then you would want to use a size larger.
As for reorganizing the panel, I have mine divided into two panels with
sections for Electronics, Services, Pumps, and Lights. The Pumps and Lights
panel has a section at the bottom with voltage and current meters and rotary
switches to select which battery bank to view. If you have any AC circuits
they should be on a separate panel that requires the use of a tool to open.
This keeps casual fingers safer. By the way, a key is considered a tool.
Hope this helps.
> My boats breaker panel is such an unholy mess that it is almost
> impossible to remove and get enough service slack to do any work.
> There are numerous problems ranging from the battery leads being too
> short to impossibly stiff (non marine ) wire. I am going to get longer
> battery leads, but for the low amperage circuts, I am thinking of
> running all to terminal strips behind the panel and then run new,
> appropriate length, wire from the terminal strips to the panel.
> Am I looking at any current loss problems with such an arrangement?
> Any other ideas as to how to reorganize the panel?