Breaker Panel Mess

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Marc » Fri, 02 Dec 2005 00:35:12


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?

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Wayne. » Fri, 02 Dec 2005 03:50:32

Quote:

>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?

===========================================

My old Bertram was wired up that way right from the factory and it
worked fine.  Use nothing but high quality tinned wire, ring
terminals, and corrosion resistant terminal strips.  Ideally every
connection to a ring terninal should be sealed with heat shrink
tubing.  Bundle the wires coming from the terminal strips to the panel
so that they all "hinge" in the same place.

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Rust » Fri, 02 Dec 2005 04:11:09

Marc

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
neat.

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.

Rusty O


Quote:
> 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?


 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by poundea.. » Fri, 02 Dec 2005 04:44:46

Quote:

>Marc

>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.

In my mind thats a U with the legs of the U parallel to the hinge
pins.
Quote:
>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.

IMHO its better not to spiral wrap the U section everything flexes
better and the door stays closed! A loose twist in the loom keeps the
wires together.
Do not clamp the cable too close to the hinge line.

Snip

Richard

Nb "Pound Eater" Parkend G+S

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Jim Goodal » Sat, 03 Dec 2005 09:59:51

Quote:

>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?

Try this:  Use THHN or T-90 industrial wire, with at least 11 strands in
a number 14 wire, for amperages under 15.  Over that, use #12 for up to
20 amps, and #10 for up to 30 amps.  DO NOT use solid wire... the
advantage of T-90 wire is that it is oil and gas resistant, and has a
temperature rating of 90 degrees C before breakdown occurs.  Also, any
crimp terminals can be sealed effectively with liquid electrical tape,
available from any marine dealer.  That stuff is great!

Jim G

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Marc » Sun, 04 Dec 2005 08:53:19

Thanks to all for the help. As a further simplification, I'd like to
gather all the DC negs to a common off-panel buss and just run one
10ga. wire from the buss to the panel. Any downside to that?
Quote:

>Marc

>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
>neat.

>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.

>Rusty O



>> 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?

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Keit » Sun, 04 Dec 2005 10:11:08

FYI, if you're going to be doing a lot of rewiring, be sure to get a
good set of ratcheting double crimpers and use good nylon insulated
terminals. I get all my stuff from this place:
http://www.terminaltown.com/ and all their stuff is great. They even
have Mil-spec if you really want to go the extra mile. If you have a
wet area, they have some prefilled with dielectric silicone and shrink
tubing.
 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Larr » Sun, 04 Dec 2005 10:45:25


4ax.com:

Quote:
> 10ga. wire from the buss to the panel. Any downside to that?

10 ga is good for about 20 amps.  Let's not have the lights dim every
time you turn on something else, or the bilge pump comes on, pissing off
the wife.  Let's just go whole hog and put in a heavy #4 or #2 ground bus
to battery post cable so it won't drop any voltage just because someone
switches on a fan.

Shhh....don't tell anyone.  Lionheart's ground uses a #0 finely stranded
primary wire used by those boombox boys pulling a thousand amps in their
huge car stereos.  The wiring used for these custom car stereo
installations is the finest heavy cable and is VERY flexible, not stiff
like the cheap battery cable ***from a marine store you can hardly bend
with 2 hands.  The lights only dim a little when the windlass is under a
strain...(c;

Another great cable to use for these very heavy cables is WELDING CABLES
available from welding supply places.  It isn't as "pretty" as car stereo
cable, but is rugged enough to withstand constant commercial use in
welding for years and years.

I just happen to have a stash of car stereo cable pieces when I need
them, or I'd be using finely stranded, flexible welding cable, myself.

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Larr » Sun, 04 Dec 2005 10:47:40



Quote:
> FYI, if you're going to be doing a lot of rewiring, be sure to get a
> good set of ratcheting double crimpers and use good nylon insulated
> terminals. I get all my stuff from this place:
> http://www.terminaltown.com/ and all their stuff is great. They even
> have Mil-spec if you really want to go the extra mile. If you have a
> wet area, they have some prefilled with dielectric silicone and shrink
> tubing.

Great idea....and don't let any of us catch you crimping on a single
SPADE LUG or other open terminal lug onto any wire, either!  NO OPEN
LUGS...RING TERMINALS ONLY!!......or else!

Ve haf our spiez on your dock, vatching you!

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by poundea.. » Sun, 04 Dec 2005 17:37:39

Quote:


>4ax.com:

>> 10ga. wire from the buss to the panel. Any downside to that?

>10 ga is good for about 20 amps.  Let's not have the lights dim every
>time you turn on something else, or the bilge pump comes on, pissing off
>the wife.  Let's just go whole hog and put in a heavy #4 or #2 ground bus
>to battery post cable so it won't drop any voltage just because someone
>switches on a fan.

>Shhh....don't tell anyone.  Lionheart's ground uses a #0 finely stranded
>primary wire used by those boombox boys pulling a thousand amps in their
>huge car stereos.  The wiring used for these custom car stereo
>installations is the finest heavy cable and is VERY flexible, not stiff
>like the cheap battery cable ***from a marine store you can hardly bend
>with 2 hands.  The lights only dim a little when the windlass is under a
>strain...(c;

Interesting, thats what I use when feeding breakers in a door. very,
very flexible, perfect when the door opens and closes.Not heard of
others using it before
The only downside is one needs "bellmouthed" crimp lugs as trying to
insert in standard chamfered lugs is a PITA

Quote:
>Another great cable to use for these very heavy cables is WELDING CABLES
>available from welding supply places.  It isn't as "pretty" as car stereo
>cable, but is rugged enough to withstand constant commercial use in
>welding for years and years.

I always use Welding cable for battery connections. The flexibility
allows access for top up.
Quote:

>I just happen to have a stash of car stereo cable pieces when I need
>them, or I'd be using finely stranded, flexible welding cable, myself.

Me likewise!

Richard

Nb "Pound Eater" Parkend G+S

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by johnh » Sun, 04 Dec 2005 21:42:36

Are these cables tinned?


Quote:

> 4ax.com:

>> 10ga. wire from the buss to the panel. Any downside to that?

> 10 ga is good for about 20 amps.  Let's not have the lights dim every
> time you turn on something else, or the bilge pump comes on, pissing off
> the wife.  Let's just go whole hog and put in a heavy #4 or #2 ground bus
> to battery post cable so it won't drop any voltage just because someone
> switches on a fan.

> Shhh....don't tell anyone.  Lionheart's ground uses a #0 finely stranded
> primary wire used by those boombox boys pulling a thousand amps in their
> huge car stereos.  The wiring used for these custom car stereo
> installations is the finest heavy cable and is VERY flexible, not stiff
> like the cheap battery cable ***from a marine store you can hardly bend
> with 2 hands.  The lights only dim a little when the windlass is under a
> strain...(c;

> Another great cable to use for these very heavy cables is WELDING CABLES
> available from welding supply places.  It isn't as "pretty" as car stereo
> cable, but is rugged enough to withstand constant commercial use in
> welding for years and years.

> I just happen to have a stash of car stereo cable pieces when I need
> them, or I'd be using finely stranded, flexible welding cable, myself.

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by poundea.. » Mon, 05 Dec 2005 01:48:25



Quote:
>Are these cables tinned?

Some Welding cable is. The Hi-flex other cable that I use is not.
Bear in mind that I wire boats for freshwater Inland Waterways in the
UK. Your query is certainly valid for true Marine applications, point
noted.

Richard

Nb "Pound Eater" Parkend G+S

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Larr » Mon, 05 Dec 2005 09:07:27



Quote:
> The only downside is one needs "bellmouthed" crimp lugs as trying to
> insert in standard chamfered lugs is a PITA

No, one needs SOLDER CUP lugs...(c;  Soldering is NOT a sin!  I checked
with a priest.  My whole 1973 Mercedes Benz 220D uses solder cup
connectors and has for the past 32 years.

I pulled one apart with fine-stranded #0 welding cable that was soldered
in a cup to see how strong it is.  The solder held past when the copper
up in the cable parted...Strong enough?  A crimp isn't near as strong.  
New solder is much stronger than old LEAD solder.

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by Larr » Mon, 05 Dec 2005 09:10:12



Quote:
> Are these cables tinned?

Yes, right after I put the big soldering copper iron to them properly.  All
big lugs are properly soldered and are stronger than the cable, itself, by
actual test....not old wives tales of 1930.

No battery cable is crimped.

 
 
 

Breaker Panel Mess

Post by johnh » Mon, 05 Dec 2005 12:21:35

Do you use the same kind of lug that you use for crimping?   I wish I hadn't
just put in new cables.  What a pain getting them to the switches.  Maybe
I'll replace them.


Quote:


>> Are these cables tinned?

> Yes, right after I put the big soldering copper iron to them properly.
> All
> big lugs are properly soldered and are stronger than the cable, itself, by
> actual test....not old wives tales of 1930.

> No battery cable is crimped.