Gizmo schematics, key to troubleshooting and updating
Something I was very pleased to find on the ever more likely future Gizmo is extensive documentation on its DC and AC wiring. In that fairly random sampling above you can see a conceptual diagram of major systems, detailed panel flow charts and layouts, and — most impressive, really — a hand drawn schematic made when a second 30 amp shore power input was added sometime in the boat’s relatively short history. There’s much more, including cable by cable wire chase assignments and voltage drop calculations, and most of those cables are physically labeled. Thank goodness, as this is the aspect of the yacht I’m the dumbest about. I won’t feel like Gizmo’s truly able master until I better understand her electrical systems, and what to do when troubles arise. Plus, despite being thoughtfully and carefully put together in 2000, there’s so much useful electrical and electronic updating that could be done in 2009…
Now, if I should own this boat in a couple of weeks, I’m not going to tear up its systems right away. That would be really dumb. But eventual possible improvements include: networked and redundant navigation systems; better engine and electrical monitoring; networked WiFi and/or cellular Internet connections; solar charging system, LED lighting, and more efficient heat/air (not invented yet); better sensors of all sorts, and a NMEA 2000 network to share them; AIS Class B transponder to be sure; etc. etc. Marine electronics have evolved a lot since 2000!
My good luck — besides being able to get the boat itself — is that in many cases I won’t have to make long term gear decisions. Instead I’ll borrow systems, install them, compare them, write about them, return them, and look for the next new, new thing. But even if I was just doing ‘normal’ updates, this boat’s fairly good electrical documentation would help a lot. I hope to keep the schematics and wire labeling up to date, maybe even improve on them, because I’m pretty sure that there’s a special place in heaven for boat owners and installers who leave good information for the next owner or installer 😉 What’s also going to help is this particular boat’s accessible wire chases and the hunkiest mast I’ve ever seen on a power boat this size. That’s me standing on the ends of the port side spreaders (look here to see the whole mast), which didn’t even twitch under the load. Did you say “antenna farm”?