Topics

Distributed vs. Conventional Electrical Systems


Craig Briggs
 

I'd always thought Amel was ahead of the curve with its Distributed Electrical System. That seems to be the direction the industry is going, now with solid state circuit breakers controlled through the NMEA2000 data network. Eliminates the large industrial style circuit breaker panels of yore and adds great flexibility. Check out CAPI2, C-Zone, Octoplex, etc. Seems Amel is going backwards technologically if they're centralizing. Let's see, your anchor washdown pump shorts and rather than it tripping an adjacent breaker it's got to overload a 15 meter long cable run back to the central circuit breaker panel. To say nothing of the excess wiring to give all equipment a "home run". Must be missing something in this discussion.
Cheers, Craig SN68 Sangaris


---In amelyachtowners@..., <sailw32@...> wrote :

Tom, There are many pieces of equipment throughout the boat located much further from the power source , with their breakers located next to the equipment. This has always concerned & puzzled  me , as we have long runs of hot wires not protected until they reach the breakers. Thursday evening Diane and I had the pleasure of having the owners of SM Kerpa , Paul and  Kerstin and Olivier as well , to our home for dinner . I asked about this set up , with breakers remotely located . Olivier pointed out that Amel now locates all the breakers in a central location , assumedly at the nav station and close to the batteries . This not only makes it much easier and quicker to locate the breakers , but provides protection from dead shorts . I think it was very good for Amel to adopt this electrical configuration . On our model , I think we need to assure that wires are bundled with minimum  movement and protected from chafe. Obviously, if Amel had a do over on our model , they would adopt this new configuration . We may get down to Rock Hall before , Nov , if so we"ll stop by .
Have a good trip,
Pat
SM Shenanigans


-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas Peacock peacock8491@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>
To: amelyachtowners <amelyachtowners@...>
Sent: Sun, Oct 15, 2017 8:46 am
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] "Permanent" on 12v/24v

 
One last thought or two:

To answer your question directly, no other reason to have an always hot Sailor transformer.

As a question to you and others:

I have just replaced the battery monitor due to the original unit going bad after 18 years (they don’t make them like they used to). Tracing the wiring, there are two permanently hot wires going from the battery to the monitor; each wire is fused, located in the battery compartment. The monitor instructions indicate that the fuses should indeed be placed as close as possible to the batteries. That all seems great and as it should be.

I was concerned about whether the permanent Sailor unit was fused in a similar fashion. However, the wiring as it exists goes through the breaker (but somehow bypassing it) in the hanging closet. That breaker dos not cut off power to the Sailor unit. The Sailor unit does have fuse, as per Olivier. Am I correct to assume that the lack of a fuse more proximal to the battery is still safe?

Thanks.

Tom Peacock
SM 240 Aletes
Chesapeake Bay


On Oct 15, 2017, at 4:04 AM, gary@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Greetings!

As I've been engrossed in the bowl-of-spaghetti called "wiring" it has been a true learning/labeling/discovering/pondering process.
I've pulled a lot of 'deadwood' wiring out, upgraded and updated some of the not-so-stellar runs and connections and made a couple of (what I think are) improvements to the back-and-forth wire runs I've discovered.  
The wire Chase's were all stuffed soooo tightly, and when the old equipment came out (years ago, I guess) the cabling was just left in place. It's all good now,but I have a question about the three "Sailor" 24v-to-12v converters.
They appeared to be routed through one of the three breakers in the wet locker area (on the aft wall of the nav station) but one is marked "Permanent" which would seem to indicate it's 'hot' all the time.
Except for keeping data in the CD Player, is there a compelling reason this converter could not be switched off as well? I mean it probably draws next to nothing (all three of them combined are less than one amp when idle) but every quarter of an amp counts :)
As near as I can tell, all the 12v equipment (VHF, Autohelm, B&G computer, Chain Counter, AIS and stereo system) would not suffer from a switchable supply.
Is there something aboard, either 24v or 12v, that definitely requires permanent power?
Thanks in advance. It's been a heck of a project so far .. started out chasing a lost GPS signal and have been rewiring for two weeks now. The wire-tie folks love me :) 

Gary W.
S/V Adagio
Marmaris, Turkey



greatketch@...
 


Craig,

I think you (and Amel in the "old days") are simply missing the point of circuit breakers.  They are most certainly NOT there to protect the anchor washdown pump, or the thruster motor, or any other piece of equipment.  There is nothing a circuit breaker can do to "protect" the pump motor, or other device:  If it shorts, it has already died! If, in normal operation, it draws too much current for the wiring to support, then the wiring is undersized.

Circuit breakers are there to protect the WIRING and prevent the catastrophic results that can occur if a short occurs ANYWHERE that overloads the wiring.  This can occur from many faults, none of them likely, but all with disastrous consequences.  Wire chafe is probably the most common cause on boats, but others happen. I'd guess loose connections are a close second.  

Having a breaker at the far end of the wire, away from the battery, completely misses the point of why it is there in the first place. In my opinion, if you have a circuit breaker at the point of use of the power, you might as well just replace it with a switch--it is essentially useless. 

When I ran a service department for a large charter company, one of the annual safety meetings I ran for for my staff was to dead short circuit a 12 volt battery through 14 gauge wire.  Watching solid copper wire burst into flame and literally explode was a sobering experience for people who could easily get into the habit of thinking "its only 12 volts." It really made the point about why fuses and circuit breakers were essential.

There is nothing at all wrong with distributed CONTROL of an electrical system. That is just fancy electronics.  But... you can not "distribute" protection of the wiring. I have never heard a  good reason to run long lengths of un-fused wiring on a boat--or anywhere else.  It is just dangerous--and for absolutely no benefit.  Dangerous overloads rarely occur because of equipment problems.  They occur because of wiring faults.  Do they happen often?  No, not at all. But when they do, it is truly terrifying.  

C-zone, Ocotplex, etc, are NOT wiring protection systems.  They are not "circuit breakers".  They are CONTROL systems.  Very different animals.

I have seen several boat fires at much closer quarters than I ever hope to repeat, and most of them were electrical in origin, all from things that shouldn't have happened--but did.  

Bill Kinney
Sm160, Harmonie
Back Creek, Annapolis, MD




---In amelyachtowners@..., <sangaris@...> wrote :

I'd always thought Amel was ahead of the curve with its Distributed Electrical System. That seems to be the direction the industry is going, now with solid state circuit breakers controlled through the NMEA2000 data network. Eliminates the large industrial style circuit breaker panels of yore and adds great flexibility. Check out CAPI2, C-Zone, Octoplex, etc. Seems Amel is going backwards technologically if they're centralizing. Let's see, your anchor washdown pump shorts and rather than it tripping an adjacent breaker it's got to overload a 15 meter long cable run back to the central circuit breaker panel. To say nothing of the excess wiring to give all equipment a "home run". Must be missing something in this discussion.
Cheers, Craig SN68 Sangaris


-


Alan Leslie
 

well said Bill,
BUT that's exactly what we have on our SMs....the anchor windlass, the genoa furler etc have the breakers at the "other end" of the cables that run from the house bank...and...on the standard setup, there are NO FUSES near the battery connections. 
I've put large Blue Sea fuses in the battery compartment on each of my 3 banks of 4 6V series batteries to try to address these issues.
What have you done ?
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437


Craig Briggs
 

Alan,
That seems an excellent idea. I remember that in 2001 I totally redid SM Miss Lindy's wiring (don't recall the hull number) after it completely burned out for the third time. All the heavy cables in the engine room, from battery to starter to generator to main house feeds had melted solid. As I finished up I still had low volts from the engine to the battery.  Traced it to the starting cables having chaffed about 12 inches down inside the PVC pipe from the battery to the engine (that was supposedly there to prevent chafe). Your solution would have prevented much heartache and expense. 
Will be interested in Bill K's bounce. Perhaps the modern distributed systems do incorporate that.
Craig SN#68


---In amelyachtowners@..., <divanz620@...> wrote :

well said Bill,
BUT that's exactly what we have on our SMs....the anchor windlass, the genoa furler etc have the breakers at the "other end" of the cables that run from the house bank...and...on the standard setup, there are NO FUSES near the battery connections. 
I've put large Blue Sea fuses in the battery compartment on each of my 3 banks of 4 6V series batteries to try to address these issues.
What have you done ?
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437

Craig,

I think you (and Amel in the "old days") are simply missing the point of circuit breakers.  They are most certainly NOT there to protect the anchor washdown pump, or the thruster motor, or any other piece of equipment.  There is nothing a circuit breaker can do to "protect" the pump motor, or other device:  If it shorts, it has already died! If, in normal operation, it draws too much current for the wiring to support, then the wiring is undersized.

Circuit breakers are there to protect the WIRING and prevent the catastrophic results that can occur if a short occurs ANYWHERE that overloads the wiring.  This can occur from many faults, none of them likely, but all with disastrous consequences.  Wire chafe is probably the most common cause on boats, but others happen. I'd guess loose connections are a close second.  

Having a breaker at the far end of the wire, away from the battery, completely misses the point of why it is there in the first place. In my opinion, if you have a circuit breaker at the point of use of the power, you might as well just replace it with a switch--it is essentially useless. 

When I ran a service department for a large charter company, one of the annual safety meetings I ran for for my staff was to dead short circuit a 12 volt battery through 14 gauge wire.  Watching solid copper wire burst into flame and literally explode was a sobering experience for people who could easily get into the habit of thinking "its only 12 volts." It really made the point about why fuses and circuit breakers were essential.

There is nothing at all wrong with distributed CONTROL of an electrical system. That is just fancy electronics.  But... you can not "distribute" protection of the wiring. I have never heard a  good reason to run long lengths of un-fused wiring on a boat--or anywhere else.  It is just dangerous--and for absolutely no benefit.  Dangerous overloads rarely occur because of equipment problems.  They occur because of wiring faults.  Do they happen often?  No, not at all. But when they do, it is truly terrifying.  

C-zone, Ocotplex, etc, are NOT wiring protection systems.  They are not "circuit breakers".  They are CONTROL systems.  Very different animals.

I have seen several boat fires at much closer quarters than I ever hope to repeat, and most of them were electrical in origin, all from things that shouldn't have happened--but did.  

Bill Kinney
Sm160, Harmonie
Back Creek, Annapolis, MD




---In amelyachtowners@..., <sangaris@...> wrote :

I'd always thought Amel was ahead of the curve with its Distributed Electrical System. That seems to be the direction the industry is going, now with solid state circuit breakers controlled through the NMEA2000 data network. Eliminates the large industrial style circuit breaker panels of yore and adds great flexibility. Check out CAPI2, C-Zone, Octoplex, etc. Seems Amel is going backwards technologically if they're centralizing. Let's see, your anchor washdown pump shorts and rather than it tripping an adjacent breaker it's got to overload a 15 meter long cable run back to the central circuit breaker panel. To say nothing of the excess wiring to give all equipment a "home run". Must be missing something in this discussion.
Cheers, Craig SN68 Sangaris