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Old 03-27-2016, 07:17 PM   #1
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Something to think about....

I was out for a short boat ride. The GF had her daughter and friend out so thought we would just go run around the lake and bay. The music was on and then suddenly died.....I thought the Bluetooth had lost connection....nope...radio was dead. Oh wait...chartplotter...dead...all radios...dead. EVERYTHING on the flybridge....DEAD!!!! Engine instruments were the only thing working.

On my boat there are actually 3 different DC panels. The panel with the big breakers(and also the "hot items" like bilge pumps) is under the companionway stairs. On that panel is a breaker labeled "Flybridge". That provides power to another DC panel on the flybridge where all of my electrical appliances on the flybridge are powered from. Yep you guessed it. The actual breaker fried. It was a 60amp breaker and I have a pretty big stereo up there. Maybe the age and the stress I put on it caused it to cook.

Anyway, my point here is we always aim for redundancy. One breaker that provides power to ALL navigational instruments is not that redundant. It was a nice sunny day so it was really of no consequence. But that one failure caused all of my "redundancy" to go out the window....not redundant at all.

So while one may think they have backups, You may not. If they are all running off of the same bus, not redundant at all!!!! Had I been in a busy channel in the fog, I would have been fooked!! My only back up at that point would be to navigate via app on my phone. There is a high likelihood I would have survived, but it would have definitely upped the pucker factor.
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:42 PM   #2
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No lower helm, huh?
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:52 PM   #3
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No lower helm, huh?
Nope....
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:08 PM   #4
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Same thing happened to us last summer motoring up the Hudson. I like to think I'm a decent sailor who can wing it okay without electronics - and we had charts, and the upper Hudson is pretty well marked - but boy was that an abrupt wake up call. Ran below, all the breakers looked okay. Back upstairs, I popped the access hatch on the upper helm and started pulling fuses like crazy. They all looked good, although I did drop one fuse down the wiring chase to the engine bay (luckily it was the fuse to the AIS unit, not critical). Turns out it was a loose screw on the power bus wire, the big red wire that powered the whole upper helm. When I heard the beep of the chart plotter coming back on, ahhhh, music to my ears.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:18 PM   #5
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Not a fun situation.
That's why my PC Nav (primary) is running 120vac through the inverter or gen and the Raymarine E-120 (backup) runs off a 12vdc electronics source.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:19 PM   #6
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Believe this is one reason at least some commercial vessels are required to have a backup battery servicing at least the bridge's VHF.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:26 PM   #7
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We always have a laptop with Coastal Explorer and a GPS antenna on board as one backup and an old Garmin handheld chartplotter as another. I hope to never have one of those Oh Shoot moments though.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:37 PM   #8
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:43 PM   #9
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3 electronic charts (one powered by it's own battery) and a paper chart. Cell phone with GPS and nav charts in my pocket. And only one way to go- North or South! A little excessive - you bet.

John, get a bigger cable to run that amp and sail on.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
Nope....
Ironic...that...I look on my upper helm as a sort of back up, but only use it on occasion, so everything up there is detachable/replaceable, and nav is on my iPad. The lower helm is my main, and in both places every instrument is powered via its own fused circuit, so short of a lightening strike they can never all go out at once - maybe not even then..? She's 40 yrs old, and the wiring, because of lots of (unanticipated by builders) additions, is like a bird's nest in there, but I know what every one does, and where it goes...
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:29 PM   #11
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Not a fun situation.
That's why my PC Nav (primary) is running 120vac through the inverter or gen and the Raymarine E-120 (backup) runs off a 12vdc electronics source.
What's the power source for the GPS that your PC Nav is using? Just checking
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:44 PM   #12
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Here off the lower east coast of FL, as pitiful as it is, just go magnetic until you see shoreline or hear breakers.Then run the coast until you see sh*t brown water from Okeechobee discharge, follow it in through the inlet, which ever inlet it is and you will be OK.

Electronics? electronics? Don't need no stinking electronics.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:58 PM   #13
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Electronics? electronics? Don't need no stinking electronics.
You don't NEEEEEEEEED them...but they sure are nice. To be quite honest, the VHF radio really is missed more than I would think. It does contribute a lot to situational awareness. You don't need it, but it is comforting....most be the pilot in me. Radio chatter gives me the warm and fuzzies I guess....
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:57 PM   #14
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Baker, good point. Currently my chartplotter is the only electronic nav unit that I have. Radar is integral to it as well. I don't have any other electronic navigation setup on my boat, not even ipad, computer, or smartphone. Something to look at and consider. I would make sense to have a spare breaker along with spare fuses.

However, I do have actual paper charts and the ability and experience to use them in my inland cruising range.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:05 AM   #15
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Electronics makes it easier to be less scared of the dark, fog and heavy rain.... and reasonably safe to travel in when you want to.


The ACIW without a depthsounder would be really interesting at any time.


Other than that sure day, VFR....heck who even needs a compass! I would rather have good binoculars... ...


well a compass would make it less scary...... and so the circle goes....
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:49 AM   #16
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What's the power source for the GPS that your PC Nav is using? Just checking
Interesting point...I'm going to have to find a solution to that. Funny thing is I even set up my AIS to supply a secondary GPS signal in case my primary failed to the PC.
It truly never ends.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:08 AM   #17
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John, when I installed my current plotter the manual says not to let it run if voltage drops below a certain value, like when you start the engines. When I started the engines all the electronics de-powered and after the engines started they all came back up. This is a no-no.

So I posted a question to solve this and psneeld came up with a solution he uses on his boat and that was a separate 12v battery to power all the electronics. Under this plan your electronics are on a completely separate power source. It's a bit of a hassle to wire because you have to include diodes on the electronics battery charging circuit and of course charging cables.

I've just got into the habit of not powering up any electronics until after the engines are started.

The other option would be to run a separate circuit to the radio and radio amp. Below is a wiring diagram of what your panel probably looks like under the companion way stair. You would have to drill a hole for a new CB appropriately sized on the panel. The power would be from the Feeder Post. The Feeder Post is powered from the battery bank selected on the battery switch.

You probably already know this but if you look at the diagram you can see why you must have the battery switch either selected to batt 1 or 2 when running the engines. If the feeder post becomes unpowered (by switching the batt sw to off) the current from the alternators has no where to go, thus blowing the diodes in the alternators. Likewise all the current from both engine alternators will go to the battery bank selected on the batt sw. You can confirm this by looking at the volt gauges on the helm, which indicate battery bank voltage, not alternator output voltage.

However the battery charger current goes to both battery banks and the generator start battery regardless of the position of the batt sw.

Probably more info than you wanted.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:22 AM   #18
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We have two laptops with older and newer Nobeltecs and separate breakers and GPS receivers. Also NN 3s at upper and lower helm with third GPS receiver on separate breaker. Then a fourth older RL70 plotter/GPS on its own breaker. Surprisingly they all get used.

Oh, lest I forget 2 smart phones, an IPad with Navionics, complete set of paper charts and a Nuvi.

However, none of this junk precludes a log strike so my wife takes her lookout pill every morning.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:53 AM   #19
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TIM!!!!! Is your boat really named "FLYIN' LOW"?????!!!!!!!!!! That was the name of my Mainship Pilot!!! I am gonna have to ask...did mine or yours come first??? I bought that boat in October 2006. Strangely, I have always had that name as a vanity plate that I have never used(I am too cheap to pay for vanity plates). At the time, Texas was only allowing 6 characters....so my never used vanity plate was FLYNLO. That was also my username/handle on all of the car forums I was on. Anyway, I never knew that was your boat name. I really wanted to name that Mainship "Pilot's Discretion"...since the boat model was a "Pilot" and so was I and it was my discretionary income that provided for it. But my wife at the time didn't really "get it". So "FLYIN' LOW" it was based on my username in car forums since the late 90s.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:03 AM   #20
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John, yes it is. When we bought the boat in 2010 I came up with several names and let my wife choose which one she wanted. Thus Flyin Low.
I did know your previous boat name was Flyin or Flying Low and that's how I got that name. I told my wife that name had already been taken but she liked it so much she didn't care.

I found this graphic on the internet and had a local sign shop reproduce it for us, the one to the left of the entryway.
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