New panels; painting

Last Wednesday evening, Neo from Best Marine Electrical came by to drop off the electrical cabinet door with new DC and AC panels installed.  Here they are from the front:

And here they are from the back, with leads installed and organized by the electrician:

I was pretty happy with the job they did.  It’s doubtful I could have done as well myself.  They also used tinned wire as I asked, and made nice long leads that will make installation a lot simpler.  He also delivered a BEP DCSM mounted in a nice plastic faceplate which looks like it should be reasonably straightforward to install, and brought along a bunch of wire terminals, some bus bars, and some terminal strips.  He didn’t bring the new battery switches since he wasn’t sure how I’d want to mount them.  I think I’ll also get a few new panel labels from him as I really have no need for some of the switches (e.g., “BLOWER” — I don’t have one).  Not quite sure why he didn’t just use the list of labels I sent him a month ago.

I spent the entirety of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday working on the electrical system and related stuff.  Friday, Doug and I finished labeling and stripping out everything that hadn’t already been removed from the main and auxiliary electrical cabinets.  Here’s the main cabinet with the AC/DC panel removed and most of the wiring pulled.  The starter was too complex to remove so we left it as-is.

Here’s the auxiliary cabinet (below the galley sink).  I removed the watermaker, which I may as well leave out for now until I can find someone to service it.  The only things we left in were some plumbing, the windlass cables (which are huge), and the main AC switch; it’s being replaced by the new AC panel in the other cabinet and in the meantime we needed AC power for the air conditioner (hey, it’s hot), sanding, etc.

I also removed the house batteries from the crawlspace beneath the companionway.  They were pretty heavy.  That freed up lots of space to organize stuff behind the scenes.  For now most of the outgoing wiring is coiled and cable-tied.  I put the old panel in the crawlspace to hook up the AC while we’re working elsewhere:

By the end of the day Friday, the cabin was pretty much looking like a tornado had blown through:

Saturday morning I masked off everything in the main electrical cabinet, sanded, and cleaned it out as best I could.  Forty years of grime is a little hard to remove.  Then I painted.  I tried some oil-based auto-finishing paint, which is really glossy and looks pretty good, but it took four (!) coats (despite being a really thick paint).  It also smells pretty bad.  Next time I’ll (a) use a primer regardless of instructions; and (b) try my hardest to find a latex-based exterior paint instead of an oil-based.  It’s unfortunately kind of hard to find good exterior paints in Singapore because nobody actually has to paint the exteriors of any houses here.  I also found that since I was laying on such thick paint, normal brushes didn’t work very well, but foam brushes gave a nice smooth finish.

It ended up being Sunday afternoon by the time I was done painting, although I did take a 4-hour break somewhere in there to go shopping for a bunch of hardware around Jalan Besar.  Here’s the end result:

That didn’t leave much time for any actual electrical work.  I reorganized the bilge pump wiring a bit to eliminate some spaghetti, and then in the end just hooked up the cabin lights and water pump to the old DC panel in the crawlspace — and hooked up the DC bus to a couple of the new batteries — so Doug could have some light and water.

So, it was a successful weekend, but not nearly as successful as I was hoping for.  Looks like I’ll be crawling around doing wiring work all of next weekend too.

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