Thursday, March 17, 2011

11. BOAT WIRING… ROUND 2

The list of projects to bring our boat up to where we want her is extensive. It includes: tanks, electrical panel, plumbing, LED’s, electronics, safety equipment and a little custom stainless steel work. Today, however, moving one step closer to understanding the wiring puzzle was on the agenda.

Syrah has wires running in the bilge, through the bottom (and top) of cabinets and lockers, hidden behind strips of finishing, and all over the place in the lazarette (see photo). After 30 years and, no doubt countless modifications, we have found wires leading to dead ends, terminal bars and bus blocks with wires leading to nowhere, and a general maze of wiring throughout the boat. We like things to be simple and organized as it makes it much easier to understand, troubleshoot and repair.

An Example: One little red wire took two hours and a pulled shoulder muscle before it was completely removed. The end was hanging in the lazarette just behind the larger wires on the left of the photo. To remove it required stretching two inches more than humanly possible into the above maze and cutting several zap straps (a.k.a. cable-ties or tie-wraps) then crawling into the aft cabin (behind the grey ‘bulkhead’ or wall) where several panels had previously been removed to expose the wiring. Next was the pull test… you take one of the two identical red wires and pull. If you have the right one then it *should* come easily since the other end is not attached! When that is done another dozen zap straps have to be snipped, and then several meters of 30 year old, sticky, red electrical tape must be  removed. Finally when you have finished following and removing the red wire from the aft cabin you reach the main electrical panel only to… wait for it… find that the last two hours were spent following a wire to another dead end (cut wire) that was zap strapped to some other wires on the back of the panel.

What’s next? . . . why the white wire hanging loose in the electrical panel cabinet of course!

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