Major DIY-age

March 31st, 2008

The long bank holiday weekend over Easter is traditionally time to begin big DIY projects (and then leave them part-finished for most of the next year!) and I decided that it would be an ideal opportunity to do all the electrical work that I’ve been planning since virtually the day I bought the boat.

The new battery tray, with two new domestic batteries and the engine battery

So, what’s been done? Well, I fitted the four new batteries I bought back in November, replacing the one old and knackered one that’s been on its last legs since I bought the boat. They’re all connected together with heavy-gauge cable, and the plan was to connect them up to a Victron Phoenix MultiPlus combination inverter/battery charger. The Phoenix unit duly arrived (although I ended up buying it from a more expensive supplier as my first choice cheaper supplier mucked me about) but once it was mounted on the kitchen wall it became clear that I had a problem.
The manual recommends very heavy 70mm2 cable to connect this unit to the batteries. The cable I had ordered in from Barden UK, and because the manual didn’t specify any kind of connector, I went for bare ends on the cables to the inverter. Opening up the unit, however, reveals that the cables should have a crimped terminal fitted to them. Unfortunately, once these terminals are fitted to the cable, the terminal is too big to go through the strain relief gland on the bottom of the inverter. I’ve now worked out that I can take the glands off the bottom of the Phoenix, thread them on to the cables and then take the cables down to my local electrician’s supplier who have agreed to crimp the terminals on for me – you need a special hydraulic crimping tool, as the terminals are massive! Unfortunately their tool is out on hire, so I’m hoping for a call at some point this week and then I can finish that job. Once fitted, the Phoenix will give me mains power from the batteries and also act in reverse to charge the batteries when the generator is switched off.

Inverter wiring
The Victron inverter and chaotic wiring on the kitchen wall

Other jobs involved assembling the new office desk and filing unit in the office area, and wiring 12v and 240v power through to the desk. I’m now sat at the desk with my PC, which is marvellous! I still need to sort out the floor, though, which is messy – some old ceramic tiles need to be lifted and I need to lay some consistent flooring over the whole office area.

office desk
The office desk

LED spotlight
LED spotlight for the office – very bright blue-white light – came from Screwfix!

boats in the snow
Dreaming of a white Easter – it got worse than this, about 4cm fell in total!

2 Responses to “Major DIY-age”

  1. Random Writings » Blog Archive » Mains on demand Says:

    […] now have a working inverter/charger on the boat! Back at Easter I started a big electrical upgrade of the boat, fitting new batteries and some new internal wiring. […]

  2. Nic Says:

    Gads Mike it wasn’t that clean when last I saw it! :p Where’s that Rothera video???

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