Mariadz was built in 2001, and this was when her electrical system was last overhauled. In the interim, a number of items had been added or removed from the electrical mix and this meant that the switch for a particular piece of equipment was quite random. Apparently, it is logical to switch on the navigation for the 12V charger to be live to charge your phone! Clearly, there was a lot of duplication in the items on each switch which resulted in more power being used than was required, this would cause us problems on our blue water cruising. And we thought it looked dated! So we spoke to Ollie at Seapower in Levington and started talking about how to redesign the electrical panel.There we’re some features of the old panel we liked such as the outline of the Moody with indicators for the lights being on. However, these no longer worked when we went to LED because of the lower draw of power. A simple change however. This would also provide an opportunity to remove the extra standard horizon chart plotter as part of the navigation overhaul, discussed elsewhere, and also give us room for an SSB.
The new panel has zones to logically group related items together. On the left is power management: the control for the generator, shore power indicators, inverter charger and our victron battery monitoring. Next you have the 240v section which includes areas that can be switched on with the inverter, as well as those that require a power source. We added the water heater into the inverter section, despite its power requirements, so that we could have hot water if the solar was working amazingly. However, a good way to use a lot of power is to leave this on for any time, the bitter voice of experience there! In the middle of the panel is the outline of the moody with h light indicators, bilge pump controls and a single gauge that will show either fuel or water levels. Next up are the 12v/24v circuits including lighting and pumps and then finally the navigation and ancillaries.
Below this panel, there is a smaller panel which houses the vhf radio, navtex and eventually any satellite handheld phone. This also has the main breakers for the domestic, engine, windlass and winches. The return that faces the chart seat has the navigation, SSB and a marinised Sony stereo (our third having gone for standard car stereos previously – buy cheap, buy twice!).
The structure of the panels works well for us and it doesn’t take long to know where to look for something or the standard pattern of lights when on shore power and when sailing. The use of an indicator light and the red border on the switch to show it is on could be overkill but we were happy we would know what was on rather than suffering a power drain because we had accidentally left something on.
All this was done some time ago and the panels were recently remade to cater for the SSB and to remove some redundant kit (an old engine hours dial). So no apologies for bumping up n older blog which has been updated to reflect the current situation.