Sunday, March 04, 2012

Pulling Wire

Last week I managed to pull a bunch of wiring throughout the boat which included
  • 120VAC service for outlets and appliances
  • 24VDC to the starboard side
  • Network/Data/AV wiring
Data, 24VDC, 120VAC wire runs
These are the "bridges" to the starboard side

This is like wiring sockets in your house. The AC outlet sockets are the same, so are the gang boxes. But that is where similarities end. You need marine grade triplex wiring, which is tinned stranded copper wire, not solid copper like the household stuff. So you can't just strip the wire ends and stick them into the holes in the back of the sockets. Instead, wire ends must have a crimped on a ring terminal and sealed with heatshrink (ideally). They are securely screwed into the socket terminals  for all three wires: hot (black), neutral (white), ground (green).

The Westsail will have a number of separate AC circuits:
  • wall sockets
  • microwave
  • appliance 1
  • appliance 2
  • forward A/C
  • aft A/C
  • heat element assist (for hydronic heating)
Not all of these will be utilized at first. Consider it "pre-wire" for future planning.
Temporary placement of AC outlets
The wall sockets have been mounted in the general areas where we want them. Some will be concealed in a cabinet, some will face out, depending on how the interior trim works out.


The primary 24VDC leg has been run to the forward starboard side of the boat, using 8AWG duplex "safety wire". It is called "safety wire" because the ground wire is colored yellow instead of black. I guess too many marine repairmen have accidentally cut black wires, thinking they were DC ground, only to discover, quite suddenly, they were in fact the 'hot' side of a live AC circuit. So, yellow is the new black for DC wiring.

Anyway, this starboard DC wire will connect to one of the Mastervolt Distributed Power switching units to control DC devices for that side of the boat.

Details are still coming together for the DC system

Network/Data/AV wiring
Four runs of CAT6 wiring, fallen from the "trap door"
This includes:
  • four runs of CAT6 wire, color coded red, yellow, white, green
  • two runs of 18AWG duplex wire for stereo speakers (starboard side)
CAT6 wire is actually four pairs of small twisted wire, all in one jacket. It is the same stuff used for computer network cables. At least one run of CAT6 will be used for controlling the Mastervolt Distributed power system. The other three are for use "as needed".

I must say, having the split loom conduit "pre-routed" under the side decks made wire installation pretty easy. The steps were essentially

  • let out the spools of wires to run (if it is thick wire, straightening out the coil from the spool helps),
  • tape the ends all the wires together with duct tape
  • insert the wire bunch into one end of the conduit and push through
  • if the wire hangs up in the split loom, locate the hang up, open the split loom and push the wire on through


Tate said...

sigh... How I envy you.

Anonymous said...


I'm a long time reader from Italy, so please excuse my (english) mistakes.

I have a brief extract of the rules that govern the electrical system for small craft. The ABYC has perhaps other number order, but not different rules with some recommendations regarding digital switching wiring.

If interested and before going too ahead I can send it by email (which I don't have)