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Installing a new DC switch panel in an Alden Challenger.

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl 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
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,671
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Nic work Tom... Always a joy to read read your prose and admire your photos.
 
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Jul 8, 2016
22
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.
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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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl 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:
May 1, 2011
1,132
Pearson 37 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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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
what color light do you like for say reading?
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.



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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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl 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