CS27 Ravat Blog‎ > ‎

Progress on the AC System

posted Sep 4, 2011, 6:19 PM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated Sep 7, 2011, 1:49 PM ]
I'm happy to report that Ravat nearly has an AC system again.  Fortunately, the Blue Sea Systems ACR has been working so well that the trip in and out of the channel has really been sufficient to keep the banks well charged.  The only electricity I really use is the sailing instruments and monitoring the VHF, so at the moment it's not much of a demand to meet.

I selected the combing cavity on the starboard side over the galley.  This is where my shore power inlet is located, so it made sense to concentrate the AC components here.

I've added a Yandina galvanic isolator, which is hard to beat for its price.  Two mini-busses serve ground and neutral.  Finally, the host lead passes through the main AC panel which houses a 30A main breaker and two 15A circuits.  Once circuit serves the ProMariner charger, and the other serves the outlets which a scattered throughout the boat.

I'm not a big fan of AC on a boat, but there are so many times I want to plug in a power tool or vacuum when at the dock that it's hard to argue with having it installed.  It's also very convenient to be able to run the charger if I ever had low batteries.  Just about anything else that is available in 12V DC will be run from DC instead.  I have no plans to install an inverter as they are so inefficient with amp-hours.

Although I typically advocate separating AC and DC, I'm going to be making an exception to the philosophy in this area.  There just aren't all that many good locations for switches on the boat, so I will be using this compartment to also house the bilge pump switches, and most likely the back-lighting switches.  They will be below the AC panel though, so it shouldn't be a problem.

In the process of this AC system overhaul I'm replacing the steel outlet boxes with plastic remodeling boxes which are less likely to rust or conduct electricity.  Unfortunately, in a cruel twist of fate, these boxes require me to modify the bulkhead cut outs slightly.  That means a new mess in the boat, which I'm not pleased with.  I really thought I was done making clouds of dust.  Oh well, gotta do what I gotta do.  Those empty outlet holes look lousy.

One more improvement which isn't altogether obvious in the picture is that while the lower panel was out I gave it two coats of epoxy to water proof it.  This is the horizontal surface which water can find its way to in any number of vectors from the companionway.  There is an area in the sheet already that shows some water damage and delamination,  but after saturating with epoxy it was "good enough" to run with.  There's no structural load here, and for the most part it doesn't show.  At least I now know it won't get worse; The epoxy did a great job of shoring it up.