SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Installing New Battery Distribution & Bilge Pump Switch Panel

We are replacing the original battery selector switch with a Blue Sea Dual Battery Main Distribution Panel.

Photo by Blue Sea Systems.

The 100A Rocker Switch Circuit Breaker will feed to the main DC Panel.  I added a Blue Sea 20A Push-To- Reset Circuit Breaker in the empty spot on the panel.  Our three electric bilge pumps will be wired directly to the house bank via this panel. The upper large pump draws 18A an thus will be wired to the new 20A breaker.  The middle and lower pumps will be wired to the two 15A breakers included with the panel.

We chose to install the new panel in the original location - below the Nav Station bench seat.  The smaller footprint of the new battery selector switch will allow us to install the bilge pump switches in the same location.

Of course the installation began with creating a template with 1/8” luan plywood.  Once pleased with the fit and design, I transferred the dimensions ¼” white starboard.

Overlaying the luan template atop 1/4" starboard

In the image above, I’ve masked the starboard with blue painter’s tape to avoid scuff marks from the jigsaw.

Panel face cutouts completed and luan template modified to represent cut out required for new panel installation.

Once finished with cutting openings and drilling pilot holes in the new panel, I modified the luan template to represent the area to be cut out of Pilgrim’s cabinetry.

Marking the area to be removed for new panel.

The cutout for the new panel is larger than the original.  I used a jigsaw to remove the additional material.

Starter battery will share venue with new panel.

The down side of this location is the potential to have people accidentally come in contact with the switches.  To avoid this pitfall, I added an upper and lower guard to the panel.

New panel assembled and ready for installation.

The bilge pump switches installed in the same order as the pumps (e.g. upper switch = upper pump).  The lower two switches are reclaimed from other projects and include fuse holders unnecessary for this installation due to the circuit breakers in the battery distribution panel.   When wiring the lower two bilge pump switches I by-passed the fuse holders.

The actual panel install went smoothly.  Since Pilgrim is presently without a house battery bank the panel is wired to the starter battery as bank one.  This temporary set up provides power for the lower bilge pump.
New panel installation complete.

The new panel highlights the need to address water damage along the cabin sole… everything in due time.

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