September 18, 2007 Electrical Panel Rebuild

Since I've just finished the new radio rack I thought I should mention Galena's electrical panel that I rebuilt a couple of years ago.

The original Westsail panel consisted of about 12 breakers. When I got the boat I found the typical rat's nest of wires behind that panel. I spend weeks tracing the wires. Some of the wires just ended under a settee, some ran to important devices but had three or more splices in them.

So I started to rebuild the system. I found a nice switch panel (Paneltronics) on ebay and made that my centerpiece. I replaced the big "1-2-Both" battery switches (there were three of them??!!) with a Blue Seas DC Parallel Panel. Then I added a Blue Seas 120-vAC selector panel and built a frame and box to hold it all.

My battery banks consist of a group 27 starting battery and a pair of 4D flooded batteries for the house. I brought all that into the box with 0-AWG cables and made my own rat's nest there.

The front looks like this:


(Yes, it says "Island Packet" on it. I'll cover that with a Westsail logo SRSN*)


To the right is my GPS (Garmin GPSMap 176) with a long cable to allow me to set it up in the cockpit. Below that is my battery monitor (Xantrax Link 20) and below that the obligatory flashlight.

If you loosen three screws the breaker panel will swing down to reveal my very own rat's nest:



All the wires on the boat come into this box. All the hot leads go to the terminal strips at the upper right (horizontal) while all the ground leads go to the buss bars at the upper left (vertical).

The hot leads run through the terminal strips and then to either the back of the switch panel (folded down in the second picture) or to one of the fuse blocks in the lower right. These fuse blocks are for House (Switched), House (UnSwitched), and Starting circuits, respectively. In the far upper left you can see the back of another battery switch. This switch is on the left side of the box. It's out of the way and is used only to kill the 'un-switched' house circuit (rarely if ever used).

All the wires are marked and mapped. Most are over sized relative to their expected loads.

I always tell people that Galena is a primitive boat. But the more I keep adding things, the less primitive she gets. I may be setting myself up for some of those complex system failures that I mock on other boats.

The DC Panel breakers are for:
1 - cabin lights
2 - cockpit light
3 - auto pilot
4 - refrigerator (rarely used)
5 - Depth Meter
6 - Watermaker
7 - Radio
8 - Anchor light
9 - Masthead white light
10- Masthead r/g
11- Sidelights
12- Electronics
13- Fuel Transfer Punp
14- Panel lights
AC Panel breakers
1 - Main
2 - Outlets Port
3 - Outlets Stbd
4 -
5 - Battery Charger
6 -
Fuse blocks:

House, Unswitched fuse block:
A - Charger (15A)
B - Bilge Pump
C - Link 20 (red, meter power, 2A)
D - link 20 (Blue, sensing) 2A)
E - Battery combiner
F -
House, Switched fuse block:
G - GPS ( 1.5A)
H - CD Player
I - 12-VDC socket (nav station, v-berth)
J - AirHead vent fan (2A)
K - Ham Radio (20A)
L - 12-VDC socket (cockpit) (20A)
Starting, Unswitched fuse block:
M - Charger (15A)
N - link 20 (sense 2A)
O - Battery Combiner
P -
Q -
R -


* "Someday, Real Soon Now"