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Installing a new DC switch panel in an Alden Challenger.

Discussion in 'Alden Questions, Answers and Advice' started by TomY, Feb 8, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    1,025 posts, 488 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    now tom , we need more sailing dog photos
     


  2. Stormalong

    Stormalong

    Joined Jul 8, 2016
    22 posts, 2 likes
    Marvelous work as always, Tom! Thank you for taking the time to post your photos and project descriptions.

    Adam
     


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  3. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,197 posts, 724 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    Posted on our Alden Facebook page, is this old panel. It's the original on a 1930's Alden, design # 309.
    This panel makes the 1961 Alden panel, look space age.
    Alden 1930's switch panel .jpg
     


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  4. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,944 posts, 2,090 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Nic work Tom... Always a joy to read read your prose and admire your photos.
     


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  5. Stormalong

    Stormalong

    Joined Jul 8, 2016
    22 posts, 2 likes
    Now that's an electrical panel! Somehow I can't help but think of a certain doctor howling "It's alive!" whenever I see those double throw knife switches... :biggrin:

    Adam
     


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  6. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,197 posts, 724 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    LED bulbs on sailboats, another benefit.

    Like many older boats, mine has old cabin light fixtures that work with a 12VDC, household size bulbs. Nice light, but they are real energy hogs!
    gale.jpg


    When I first started looking for LED replacements a few years ago, there were very few available. Today, there are tons.

    No doubt the market for 12VDC household bulbs has grown with recent interest in off the grid living on solar power. Now, I find various brands, wattage and color/temperature range, online. And the price has come down. Average $5 per bulb.

    The wattage of incandescent bulbs I took out varied(60 to 15watt), with an average of 35 watts. That's 3 amp.hrs, per average fixture.

    I bought LED 10w (60 watt equivalent lumens), 7 watt and 5 watt.

    How does that compare in energy use? You could turn on all 8 LED fixtures in the boat for an hour, and drain the bank slightly more than what it took to burn one incandescent, for the same time period.

    These will help extend our sailing time between charging. Our entertainment onboard, is reading books so this is significant.

    The other benefit concerns voltage drop. The original fixtures were wired in 1961 with 16 gauge wire on three circuits. One circuit port side, another circuit starboard, another aft.

    With 3-4 fixture on a series circuit, if you were reading in the vee berth on the port side, and somebody turned on the light in the head, you had to put your book down. What were they thinking at Alden with 16 gauge wire?

    LED's are sensitive to voltage but because of the small draw, I turned them all on below and there is no dimming. Apparently they are less sensitive to voltage drop, than I expected.

    I have a few small LED lights to mount in the engine room and in the new panel.
     


    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  7. kappykaplan

    kappykaplan

    Joined May 1, 2011
    796 posts, 124 likes
    Pearson 37
    US Lusby MD
    :plus: to LEDs throughout. Did that several years ago on my boat and it's made a big difference when I cruise with the Boy Scouts or Sea Scouts.
     


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  8. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    1,025 posts, 488 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    what color light do you like for say reading?
     


  9. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,197 posts, 724 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    The 60 watt equivalent say they are 3000K on the color spectrum. I'm happy, warm but not yellow, and no blue cast. I'm going to get some more of these 60 watt, and replace a few of the lower wattage.

    [​IMG]

    They tend to get warmer at lower wattage, same as incandescents.

    We've converted to LED bulbs years ago in our house and use them everywhere. I find the only LED light I don't like, are the cooler whites. Some go to blue.
     


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  10. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,197 posts, 724 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    Wires, wires, wires. Tools and wiring parts strewn all over the place, I jump onboard for an hour or so, and make a connection, or two, and leave everything out (saves time). I'm running out of dangling wires, so it must be coming to an end...

    All of my circuits to connect to the new panel, come in from the back (accessible from the engine panel in the cockpit, and starboard locker). Running wires is tight in spots, but much better. I've added fusing to both battery banks as well as the alternator circuit that also powers the ignition panel.

    The Blue Seas ATC fuse blocks are great! They give me an additional 24 (-) terminals, on top. Handy for 24 hr. circuits that are not switched in the panel. There are lot's of terminals left open.

    Terminal connections 2.jpg
    This close up below, shows the two large nylon straps I mounted toward the back. All my circuits (+-) come in through the two loops, then down the 2 troughs between the outer terminal strips(2) and inner - buss bar.

    The 1/4" Lexan chafe panel lays on top and is held by 2 posts. Removable but eventually, I won't need to access the connections. But I can view them, which is nice.


    Terminal connections.jpg
    Mounted a small LED light in the top with a switch. This lights both the switch panel, and the wiring behind, when the panel is folded down.
    Panel LED_.jpg
     



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