Dillon Francis Oberholzer
Power generation - Power Storage - Wiring
These systems I know intimately.
I will briefly outline some features of marine electrical systems design, fabrication and installation. This is an important and evolving field, with many inherent pit-falls.
One can never be totally up to date on the very latest of gadgets but the fundamentals never change.
When I get the time the sub categories will have links to their own pages with work I have performed on different vessels.
New Boat Installation
Knowing where to install what equipment, is one of the fundamentals as the navigational components are sensitive to both electrical and magnetic fields. Having electronic compasses facing the right way and keeping a standard theme running through the wiring diagram and the harness is important for identification and maintenance later on.
Working with a new boat is a lot easier than having to re-wire an old boat. Most systems are designed and decided upon before the boat is built so the wiring channels and conduits have already been catered for.
Re-wiring an old boat and retro fitting equipment or just installing new lighting can be a nightmare.
Retro-fitting equipment on a newer boat can be a pleasure. Especially if you are just upgrading the existing equipment.
Space allocation has already been thought of. Location still needs to be checked as people are not infallible.
A simple thing like the re-set button on a charging system that is hidden out of sight can cause the owners anguish! Especially when the cost of equipment runs into thousands of Dollars.
Power management and distribution is a field that the normal boat owner never does fully comprehend. It is the technicians job to have a wiring diagram designed and clear labels made for each circuit.
Some time it is necessary to explain and run through the operation of a system with the captain or boat owner a couple of times to make sure he understands how the system works.
Grounding. Marine grounding and feed back current and "Dark Current" are always present in marine systems!
This is due to stray current in the marina water. If the boat next door is wired incorrectly or the marina has faulty wiring the leakage can play havoc with your electrical systems.
Switch board wiring
These can be a right royal pain. The first bit of advice I can give when designing the lay-out of a switch board is to have as close to 100 % of the systems installed first if possible. Then make sure all your wires are at least 12 inches longer than necessary.
Half way through the install a refrigerator might need to be installed and you have a path change which makes you entire harness short !
There could be a book on each topic here so I am merely outlining some of the funky experiences I have had to deal with.
Navigation & Power management wiring system
Some of the newer motor gauges and the navigational systems do have electrical field sensitivity.
This must be taken into account when designing the lay-out and positioning of the components.
Working on a GRP or composite bulkhead is a lot easier than having to work in a steel or aluminium boat.
Swaging and shrink wrapping the terminals are part of the work. I prefer to solder joints after crimping the terminals and finally to either coat or to shrink wrap with a heat gun.
Not all OEM connectors supplied with the components are water tight or air tight so check the connectors and replace with a brand you trust.
If in the case of a production line, just call the component manufacturer and order the connectors you prefer.
Remember; accessibility, simplicity, and labeling. Logical layout and positioning may require running more wire but it groups your equipment and components in locations that are easy to find in an emergency.
I could really write a book on the different jobs and projects I have worked on. Below I have listed a few more subjects that need to be expanded on. Again if you require any info please contact me. If you have found this page, you have my contacts.
Anchor windlasses ( Winches)
Plumbing Systems & Electrical Toilets / Vacuum toilet systems
Holding tank electrical systems and black water remediation systems
Desalination Systems - installation and wiring
Wind generator placement
Solar panel placement
Shore Power - management and current fluctuation control
Antennae & Signal Transceivers - UHF / VHF / Radars / GPS / Cellular / Satellite signals & systems
Hydraulic motors - position, orientation and wiring