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Isolating your electrical equipment?


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I’m having a non heated conversation about what equipment is isolated on your boats . Do you all hard wire the vhf or is that on your instrument side? And bilge pumps do you hardwire them or run through the isolation switch? 

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The bilge pump should be wired direct to the battery via a fuse ............. everything else should be wired to the isolator .............

However, there is a school of thought that says the radio should also go direct to the battery, so that you can isloate the boat and still have a radio ............ I dont really subscribe to that school of thought, as if you had a problem where isolation is urgently needed then it is probably an electrical fire which would most likely render the radio useless anyway .........

My boat is factory built and the radio goes via the isolator. If you run the radio direct to the battery, then sods law says you will forget to switch it off and end up with a flat battery next time you use the boat ..........

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1 minute ago, GPSguru said:

 

The bilge pump should be wired direct to the battery via a fuse ............. everything else should be wired to the isolator .............

However, there is a school of thought that says the radio should also go direct to the battery, so that you can isloate the boat and still have a radio ............ I dont really subscribe to that school of thought, as if you had a problem where isolation is urgently needed then it is probably an electrical fire which would most likely render the radio useless anyway .........

My boat is factory built and the radio goes via the isolator. If you run the radio direct to the battery, then sods law says you will forget to switch it off and end up with a flat battery next time you use the boat ..........

Makes sense, I think my bilge pump goes through the isolation switch, as the man/auto switch is at the helm. I will look at this again this week. The wiring on Arvors isn’t great. 

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Depends what you want Jon.

If you do have an electrical fault that takes out the main, do you want to lose the ability to radio for help? If you have a manual only bilge pump, then it may as well go through the isolator. If you have and use an auto setting then it needs to be direct wired.

Yes, it's possible to leave the radio on and flatten the battery, just as much as a bilge pump float switch can jam and run the battery down, and even burn the pump motor out..... You pays your money and takes ya chances.....

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4 minutes ago, JonC said:

Makes sense, I think my bilge pump goes through the isolation switch, as the man/auto switch is at the helm.

 

I doubt it ......... almost always the bilge pumps are wired direct .............. mine also has the control on the helm (AUTO / OFF/ ON)

The idea being, you moor up, isolate, and leave the boat .............. if any water collects in the bilges, then the pumps activate vis their float switches ...............

 

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2 minutes ago, suzook12 said:

just as much as a bilge pump float switch can jam and run the battery

Most modern pumps have an electronic sensor, which does seem a whole lot better ...................

 

 

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Everything is isolated on my boat. Both batteries are isolated from each other with a dual isolation switch and the ellectric winch is isolated seperatly too. The panoptics transducer is also seperately wired and isolated.

Theres nothing in the system that can be left accidently to drain the system flat if the the main dual battery switch is turned off. 

If the whole battery system was to fail I still have a handheld radio, plb, epirb, Garmin inreach, phone, flares, v sheet, signaling mirror and a pair of arms to wave!!!!

If I kept my boat on a mooring, I would most likely leave one battery on with an 80w solar panel and small regulator to maintain any bilge pumps if the vessel wasn't self draining. 

Edited by JDP
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1 minute ago, JDP said:

Everything is isolated on my boat. Both batteries are isolated from each other with a dual isolation switch and the ellectric winch is isolated seperatly too. The panoptics transducer is also seperately wired and isolated.

Theres nothing in the system that can be left accidently to drain the system flat if the the main dual battery switch is turned off. 

If the whole battery system was to fail I still have a handheld radio, plb, epirb, Garmin inreach, phone, flares, v sheet, signaling mirror and a pair of arms to wave!!!!

You surprise me Jon, the distances you go out, I would have thought you would want the main radio available as long as feasibly possible, lots of extra range in comparison to a handheld....... But again, it comes down to what the user wants as to how it gets wired. As long as it is safe and reliable are the main factors, every thing else is secondary.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, suzook12 said:

You surprise me Jon, the distances you go out, I would have thought you would want the main radio available as long as feasibly possible, lots of extra range in comparison to a handheld....... But again, it comes down to what the user wants as to how it gets wired. As long as it is safe and reliable are the main factors, every thing else is secondary.

 

 

I would think Jon would generally spend a lot of time outside vhf coverage for shore based stations? 

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4 minutes ago, JonC said:
12 minutes ago, suzook12 said:

 

I would think Jon would generally spend a lot of time outside vhf coverage for shore based stations? 

 

With a fixed radio you will need to be approximately 30 - 40 miles out to lose the Ch16 shore stations ...................but then you are usually in the shipping lanes and there are plenty of boats that will answer you ............. I would have thought you would always be in range in the Thames estuary ?

At 40 miles out we still sometimes get DSC general calls for the CG ...................

Most boats are wired with the radio via the isolator, and the bilges direct ................

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1 minute ago, JonC said:

I would think Jon would generally spend a lot of time outside vhf coverage for shore based stations? 

I would like to think if someone was in a fast boat 5 miles away that I could reach them..... Yeah I know there are many variables in a what if scenario, just personally, I would want as many options available as possible.....

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2 minutes ago, GPSguru said:

 

With a fixed radio you will need to be approximately 30 - 40 miles out to lose the Ch16 shore stations ...................but then you are usually in the shipping lanes and there are plenty of boats that will answer you ............. I would have thought you would always be in range in the Thames estuary ?

At 40 miles out we still sometimes get DSC general calls for the CG ...................

Most boats are wired with the radio via the isolator, and the bilges direct ................

I meant jonD, he goes some serious distance. 
I’m As you say in the Thames area I am never out of coverage. I also nearly always get 4g on the phone. 

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3 minutes ago, GPSguru said:

 

With a fixed radio you will need to be approximately 30 - 40 miles out to lose the Ch16 shore stations ...................but then you are usually in the shipping lanes and there are plenty of boats that will answer you ............. I would have thought you would always be in range in the Thames estuary ?

At 40 miles out we still sometimes get DSC general calls for the CG ...................

Most boats are wired with the radio via the isolator, and the bilges direct ................

JonD mate.... Yeah. it gets confusing lol...... If JonD found himself in the thames estuary he would have more than a VHF to worry about 🤣

 

As far as "most" boats go, that their electrics work at all is nothing short of amazing

 

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2 minutes ago, JonC said:

I also nearly always get 4g on the phone. 

 

We lose GSM (4g) at about 15 miles out .......................... depends on the network, Vodafone is generally the best because it is a lower frequency which travels a little further

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4 minutes ago, JonC said:

I meant jonD, he goes some serious distance. 

If I went the sort of distances he does, then I would carry a satellite phone ..................like a Garmin 'in-reach, or an iridium ..............

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Thanks for all the input people. I will have a little poke about in the snakes nest to see how my pumps are wired in. It desperately needs tidying up, the fuse board is just hanging there with wires going all over the place. 

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1 hour ago, JonC said:

This is more like mine 

470DF56E-9E28-43F0-A533-3D9B68C1BA27.png

No worse than a lot of Quicksilvers and MF's that I have worked on ......................but yes, tidy electrics are safer and easier to quickly fault find ...........

 

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13 hours ago, GPSguru said:

 

The bilge pump should be wired direct to the battery via a fuse ............. everything else should be wired to the isolator .............

However, there is a school of thought that says the radio should also go direct to the battery, so that you can isloate the boat and still have a radio ............ I dont really subscribe to that school of thought, as if you had a problem where isolation is urgently needed then it is probably an electrical fire which would most likely render the radio useless anyway .........

My boat is factory built and the radio goes via the isolator. If you run the radio direct to the battery, then sods law says you will forget to switch it off and end up with a flat battery next time you use the boat ..........

 

13 hours ago, GPSguru said:

 

I doubt it ......... almost always the bilge pumps are wired direct .............. mine also has the control on the helm (AUTO / OFF/ ON)

The idea being, you moor up, isolate, and leave the boat .............. if any water collects in the bilges, then the pumps activate vis their float switches ...............

 

What he said ☝️ 👍

On both of mine the VHF is switched and the bilge pumps are wired direct for auto activation with manual overrides.

 

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Yes I'm often out of vhf range, hence the Garmin inreach. This still allows me two way coverage anywhere on the plannet and can be bluetoothed to my phone so I can speed messaging up by using the phone keypad.  Here I use the Garmin several times per week simply checking in while out in remote areas inland where we have no phone coverages. The good thing about the Garmin is that every message has my lat & long imbedded into the message, even my speed and direction. I only use my free pre-set messages but in an emergency I can send any message I choose. It's also good to give to my kids when they head into remote areas.

Ive never had an ellectric problem on any of my boats where a radio couldn't be used. Basically power heads up from a battery to the main terminal and from there to the radio, not sure what problems people are concerned with apart from the radio itself failing. 

 

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