Sorry about the gaps between posts – dealing with some personal stuff and it’s really hard to get motivated to write.
Anyway, onto the post…
So on my last post I had confidently declared ‘The last part of the AC rewiring project…’ which turned out to be as untrue as it was hubristic (is that a word?). As part of the DC wiring project I put in a Victron Multiplus charger/Inverter (SPOILERS) which sits wired into the AC between the shorepower input and the AC panel.
After it had been in for a couple of weeks I noticed it was supposed to have a breaker BEFORE the Victron unit. Whoops. Rather than buy a new 30amp breaker switch, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and upgrade the 30 amp breaker in the AC panel to an ELCI (like I had on gudge), buy a standalone empty breaker panel and then put the (now spare) 30amp breaker from the old panel into it.
So that’s what I did.
Quick explanation of an ELCI – it’s like a GFCI but for the whole boat. It senses a current leak from the AC system into the DC system and then shuts off the AC if it detects it. This is important because my AC ground is connected to my DC negative bus, which is grounded to the engine/prop, so if I was running my inverter (or someone was diving in the marina when I was plugged into shore power) then they could get electrocuted. This doesn’t happen very often in salt water, but I still feel better knowing I’m protected. New boats come with them as standard, old boats often don’t have them but since I have all my tools out anyway…
Taking out the old breaker was the easy part, wiring in the ELCI was a big pain. I also lost a breaker as the ELCI takes up an extra ‘slot’, so went from Dual Breaker Main / Outlets / Water Heater / Charger to ELCI (3 breaker spots) / Outlets / Water Heater. This didn’t matter, as the charger switch is now it’s own panel (SPOILERS!)
Look at all them wires
Once that was done I had to remount the panel
Presto! All done, except for the labels (which are really hard to find but now I have on order)
And for reference, this is the old panel.
Notice the lights all shifted as well, and this was actually one of the trickiest bits to do involving snipping the old wires and then a lot of fiddly rewiring. Coulda just moved the label I guess but when the OCD kicks in…
Then, it was time to install the new breaker.
First, I added the 30amp breaker I took off the old panel
Then I had to cut a hole in the side of the bulkhead where the shorepower went in, cut the cable, wire to the switch and then screw the whole thing in.
Finally, it was done (in this pic I haven’t screwed in the screws to screw it to the wall, also missing the white plastic bit between the breaker levers. Both of these were added after I took the pic and I am too lazy to retake the photo). I also waiting on the label for this one as well!
So not the MOST exciting work, but the boat is now really safe, at least on the AC side! And hopefully, I will not have to do any more AC work ever again!!