Electrical nightmare...

  • April 15, 2011 2:50 AM
    Message # 571116
      I can't bite my tongue any longer.  Whomever wired Sweet Cheeks (previously Jenelle) after the factory built her is an idiot and has no business messing with electricity!  
      The 110v side was a mess when I brought her back to Tacoma.  I thought that I had found all the weak points and sloppy work and fix it all, shame on me.  

     I awoke this morning to a profound coppery smell in the cabin of Sweet Cheeks.  After extensive sniffing in the dark I found the culprit, burned 110v wiring inside the nav station desk where all of my paperwork is kept.  This would be the third time I've found charred wired!

      The first was a makeshift junction box/110v out distributor/110v ground bus.  Second was the water heater 110v supply that was spliced to too small gauge wire at the water heater for the load.  And lastly, the nav station desk outlet.  

      I intend to give the surveyor an earful later today, wiring is in accordance with ABYC my @!*$.  As for the person who thought they knew how to perform electrical repairs;
     I truly hope this message finds you and I pray that you take the advice of someone who has been properly trained to work on electrical systems.  


      To understand why I'm so upset, I live on the pier that has the fuel dock. And I've relied on that outlet while my wife and daughter stayed with me almost 3 months.  

      As for anyone else who reads my early morning rant, I apologize for the harsh rant and I hope you never have to understand firsthand how upsetting this is to me.

      Lastly, if you are about to rewire something or fix wiring and have never sat through a school, military or civilian, pick up a book devoted to the subject specifically for boats.  I've been trained to fix military aircraft and not boats, even I spent the money on a book to understand a boats electrical system.  I'm more than happy help if anyone needs it.


  • April 15, 2011 6:18 AM
    Reply # 571221 on 571116
    Deleted user

    And, if after reading any one of those well written marine electrical books, you still don't understand how electricity works and why wire "size matters", then STEP AWAY FROM THE BOAT. Hire a (certified) marine electrician/competent yard.

    As for surveyors, many are just as incompetent as the boat owners. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to call yourself a "marine surveyor".

    I read this this morning, which I think applies here, lol

  • April 15, 2011 7:11 PM
    Reply # 571659 on 571116
      After a nice day at the demolition range blowing up stuff I got off work early and spent about an hour installing some new wire to the nav station.  Easy work when you have the proper materials on hand and experience fixing wiring.

      I took a closer look at the wire that I pulled out and found the culprit.  The wire run from the breaker panel had been short by 2ft so the wire was spliced, failure #1.  The splices had been crimped and had not been heat shrunk individually, Failure #2.  The Splices were covered using electrical tape which eventually let moisture in to corrode the unsealed butt splices, failure #3.  

     I am unsure why the burned paper fail to continue combusting, but am very glad it didn't.
    The circuit breaker tripped as it was designed to.  The lack of smoke failed to set of the some alarm just over three feet away, had there been that much smoke I doubt I'd have posted the 2am rant.

    Lessons learned:
     1. Never trust somebody's electrical work if you don't know them well.

      2. After buying a used boat inspect every inch of wire to include the hidden and hard to see stuff.

      3. Keep a fire extinguisher near your pillow (or within reach of the bunk if you tend to toss about at night)

      4. Some surveyors are lazy idiots that are quick to check the block and send a pretty piece of paper to you after they cash the check.

      5. A victory beer tastes really good after you realize how bad it could have been.

    I'll post some pics of the paper and wire.

  • April 15, 2011 8:00 PM
    Reply # 571685 on 571116
    Pics and blog are up;

  • April 16, 2011 10:56 AM
    Reply # 571982 on 571685
    Deleted user
    Robert McQueen wrote: Pics and blog are up;

    WOW. That is some blackened char. That could have ended in a real disaster. 
  • April 18, 2011 2:00 PM
    Reply # 573067 on 571116
    Deleted user
    I  will not add to the surveyor bashing as I have bash them Hard in the past, and doing it again will only hurt my fingers. 

    1.) As some one who works with wiring you know it is all done with smoke (right), and  when you let the smoke out, it all stops working (right).

    2.) Tip for those who want to check for the above problem before the smoke gets out.
     a.) take the wires off the connections (at the circuit breaker both the + and the -)  or the Hot and neutral and measure the resistance with a multi meter/ the expected run length. Yes you have to short the other end. But you can find hidden shorts this way.
     b.) Remember, no one will live up to your standards, so darn it, you have to check others work and for some people you have to check them out before they start doing it wrong.
     c.) At About 150 miles off shore there is only one person responsible for everything (yourself i.e. the captain)

    It sounds like a good time to start checking other system Fuel, heater, and DC?

    I am glad no one was hurt. As I see it life is 80% luck and 20% busting you backside.

    Here is Hoping a four leaf clover pops up at your feet.

    p.s. For those who don't do it right and run a new wire, if you splice one side 1"= shorter  than the other you can mostly avoid the above mentioned smoke.



    Last modified: April 18, 2011 2:00 PM | Deleted user
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