Monday, March 10, 2008

Power supply

Power supplyI've mentioned this before, but I really need to get a grip on the mains power supply on Lady Jane.

Mains power is 240 volts here in the UK.

Here you see the space where this is all destined to happen, after a tidy up obviously.

The 24 volt system in place currently provides light to most of the essential spaces on Lady Jane. Beyond that I use mains power through extension leads for everything else.

Even the fridge is run off of an extension lead.

I remember Dave laughing progressively harder at each new extension lead I found when we were first on board, nearly four years ago now. As I recall, he nearly fell overboard he was laughing so hard when I found the, melted, 40 metre extension lead.

Since then I've been out and bought even more extension leads!

To get a grip on this situation, I initially need to get a sensible method of switching between the various incoming power sources I have.

Right now I have 3 separate 240 volt generators, of varying sizes and applications, and two invertors, one a pure sine and one a higher wattage pseudo sine invertor. I potentially also have shore power input as well.

With incoming power sorted, I need to install an RCD distribution board, proper spec wiring then mains sockets at places throughout the boat where I need the power. Waterproof sockets on deck of course.

It would be so good to have a proper earth, correct fusing and power distribution taken care of for once and for all.


  1. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Watts up ??? Sounds like it could be a shocking situation Tim.Good luck in sorting it.Tony Roberts,St.Anthony.

  2. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Hey Tony.....I got quite a jolt from your comment!

  3. Sounds like it's time for you guys to come back down to earth.


  4. Anonymous1:04 PM

    Is any of the existing wiring on Lady Jane servicable? Can you run new wire through existing conduit?

    This seems like a huge job. Have you had a qualified marine electrician in to consult on the scope of what needs doing?

    You're a braver man than I.

  5. Hi anonymous

    The existing cabling is either redundant, or is still being used for the 24 and 110 volt systems.

    Though it's a big job, it can be done a piece at a time.



  6. Hi Tim

    I lie awake at night thinking about the electrics on the Strathspey, and what systems to use ,whose inverter or inverters to use etc etc.....
    The two front runners seem to be Sterling or Victron for a mixed system of 240v ac and 24v dc .Like you I have antiquated 24v and 110 v systems.I shall keep the 24v for ships operational gear ,Radar Nav equipment plus some lighting,and get shot of the 110 system and run all domestic on 240 either from inverters and or my 10 kva generator .
    I hope my thinking is right that a 240v system is pretty straight forward apart from having a good earth system.It should be like a domestic system in a house ???
    The biggest fear is looking at all the current wiring and thinking where the hell do I start.
    All the best; Andrew

  7. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Tim, will you keep your 110V setup? Do you have a lot of 110V kit that you have to keep powered up?

    110V kit would be possible to come-by from North American sources. You could theoretically keep, maintain and expand a 110V setup. But why not just get rid of it totally?

    Can you cut-over the 110V stuff to 240V? Replace the fixtures, equipment and whatnot, but keep the wiring?

    It sounded like, from one of your other posts -- one with Andy on the floor -- that much of the wiring had been chopped up, disconnected and otherwise rendered useless. Is that a significant factor?

    Is any of the existing wiring going to be safe to carry potentialy lethal voltages? Do you have a method for checking for short-to-earth or leakage currents in the wire runs before you put them in service?

  8. Hi Andrew

    I really like the Sterling equipment, plus I had an inverter that failed that they replaced without any hassle at all.

    Good service gets my loyalty every time.

    As to the systems - much head scratching and planning before actually doing anything ahead.



  9. Hi Anonymous

    Yup, I'm planning on keeping my 110 volt kit, as it works.

    Bilge pump
    Steering hydraulics & gear

    No point in fixing something that works.

    The 110 volt system is a DC system, so not really compatible with North American voltages sadly.

    The existing wiring to the lights etc. that is in place is perfectly fine, and is some cases can be re-used.

    The main problem I have with the existing wiring is so much of it has been arbitrarily cut back.

    Deck lights - all the wiring has been cut back.

    110 volt heating system - all the wires have been cut back (I did some myself)

    Engine gauges, winches, lights, generators etc. have all had their wiring cut back for no apparent reason.

    It's looking sensible that I keep all the boat's lighting on 24 volts, keep the existing 110 v DC stuff and develop anything new in 240 volts.





  10. Oh yes - I forgot to mention I have 2 110 volt dc generators, one really huge one, that would be hard to get out of the engine room, let alone replace.