25 December 2014

Winter project II - adding another lighting circuit

Tartan is great for putting all these lighting fixtures in the engine compartment and in the aft compartment where the steering is. The problem is that they hung them on the "Lights 3" circuit which is also shared with the aft cabin and the refrigerator light.

Since they are in difficult-to-access areas, one wants to leave the switches on and then control them from the breaker panel. Doing this means that we don't get a refrigerator light because we would have to turn on the breaker whenever we wanted to open the fridge door and then remember to turn it off.  (We would usually forget the turning OFF part and leave the engine room lit without us knowing it).

Fortunately, there are plenty of spare breakers on the panel so it is possible to run another circuit for these work-area lights.  The electrical part is not rocket science (or even boat science).  The difficulty is in physically running the new wire along the existing wiring harnesses (and to do it in a way that looks Tartan-quality).

From the breaker panel, there are a few "raceways" that the wire must run through. Then it runs through a long pvc pipe into the aft steering compartment. From there it has to get over to the port side to a terminal block. It required forty-some feet of wire.

New yellow #12 wire in the bundle and fed into the raceway
I used a household wire snake to pull the wire through the conduit to the aft compartment. From there, getting over to the port side was the slow/difficult part because the wire had to be run through existing plastic wire "hose". This was slow going.
Wire snake emerging from the PVC conduit into the area behind the breaker panel

new yellow almost pulled through

new yellow still taped to the wire snake pulled through the PVC conduit into the aft steering compartment

new yellow terminated at a spare terminal on the main distribution block on the port side. I'm sitting in the sail locker. My legs are in the engine compartment and to the right is the aft steering compartment
Ready to test

Once the new yellow wire was terminated at the block, I moved what I thought would be just the engine room light wire from the "LT3" terminal down to where my new wire was terminated. With everything wired up, I went over to the breaker and turned on the new spare breaker. I was all ready to see just the engine room light up and congratulate myself. But to my surprise, the refrigerator light ALSO came on.  Well, that was a sub-optimal result. Somehow the fridge light is still branched from the engine room lights.

After pulling some of the sound-proofing insulation down over the engine, I found where they spliced in the fridge light. It was just forward of the middle engine room light fixture.

Here is where the fridge light is branching off from the engine room light circuit
Finally a working fridge light
After tearing up enough of the metalic HVAC tape on the engine room insulation, I as able to splice on a new length of blue #14 to the fridge light feed and get that on the Light-3 circuit.