I'm really loving the Blue Sea products. So far everything feels like it's built very well and the wiring is well laid out. An intuitive wiring plan is important because boat electronics get VERY complicated, and the easier things are to wire, the more likely you'll be able to trouble shoot it years after the install when something breaks at 2AM in rough seas.
As the CS27 has a relatively small area for mounting electronics panels, I need to consolidate similar devices into sub-panels that save room on the main breaker panel. It also makes boat operations easier for my family who may not want to search through rows of breakers just to enable a portable DVD player on a 12V accessory plug. Sure, it's ideal to have the VHF on its own breaker to reduce interference, and increase reliability (less dependence on other devices), but at some point you need to consider the big picture. I find the probability of these risks to be very low in my design, and the benefits of circuit consolidation to be overwhelming. I want to keep my boat's interior as clean and uncomplicated as possible.
A secondary benefit of using these panels is that it allows me to locate the aggregation point for device wiring wherever it is most convenient. By including both positive and negative feeds on the panel it lets me bring device wiring directly to this subpanel rather than having to split positive and negative to different areas. This again simplifies troubleshooting, installation, and increases the intuition of the design. If space gets tight in the engine area or electronics locker, I can relocate a subpanel to a locker bulkhead. I love this flexibility!
I will be using one of these to feed the instruments, including chart plotter and auto pilot. A second panel will supply power to miscellaneous electronics including 12V sockets, stereo, and VHF. In doing so, I can reduce my main breakers to a total of eight rather than fifteen. Not only a big saving in panel space, but also in panel cost.
I'll add subsequent blog posts as I begin the installation. Hopefully that will be soon; If I can just get through this bow hatch fiberglass work!