On board Gizmo, the last frontier

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

10 Responses

  1. paul shard paul shard says:

    Wow Ben you are brave!
    On board Distant Shores II (and our previous boats) I try to keep the wiring organized and labelled. But we built our first boat ourselves, and bought the others new so there wasn’t time for someone else (enthusiastic amateur) to lay any “booby-traps” as you say. It seems the more people work on a boat the more this happens.
    Great idea making the access door bigger. Next is labelling and organizing?
    Good luck!
    BTW our current boat “Distant Shores II” has an Empirbus distributed wiring system and therefore doesn’t have any such large concentration of wiring. One of today’s projects is to add a switch to turn on the anchor washdown pump, from back at the helm. Adding this switch will be done purely in software. No wiring. Just using the software I will configure the spare panel membrane switch at the helm to activate the bow pump…
    I just found Nigel Calder had done a video review of our model of boat (Southerly 49) highlighting the distributed power system.
    Perhaps Gizmo will get a distributed power system in the future? šŸ˜‰

  2. Michael says:

    I sympathize Ben. Been there and done that.
    Just make sure you put some kind of unique tag on each end of each piece of wire (white shrink tube works well — mark with a sharpie).

  3. Bill Bishop says:

    At first look, OMG Ben, but after blowing up the pic my eye says it looks worse then it actually is. It just takes time and patience to sort out all of the spaghetti, and Gizmo will be better for the surgery. I’d say good luck, but I know you have the ability.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am building a 40ft steel trawler. After owning a few boats with wiring that looked like Gizmo’s I decided to put in conduit everywhere. I used (generously sized) round conduit and access boxes for long runs, and around the panels i used the square conduit with a lid like in the pic below. It keeps things organized and makes is easy to add/remove/rewire things. All the cables are nicely supported and neat. I also invested in an industrial handheld label printer that prints on heat shrink tubing.
    The whole thing turned out pretty organized.

  5. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    When cosmetic surgery becomes open heart surgery, it sure is lucky for Gizmo her owner is a pro.

  6. Sandy Daugherty says:

    Oh, pshaugh! fiddlesticks! and tsk,tsk,tsk. You have it easy, Ben!
    ALL* the cables on a PDQ 36 run through a single 2 square inch chase with a hidden 90 degree bend, submerged in salty back spray from drip holes under the bridge deck! It is packed tighter than a desiccated California Sushi roll, and just as fragile. What makes it worse are the dead cable bundles someone re-purposed for subsequent generations of Marine electronics. And its time for gen4 wiring. AAARrrrghhhh!
    * Page 83 is an elderly (1993) catamaran equipped with everything electronic anybody ever thought of stuffing into a floating platform, and a lot of things wiser men would avoid. And everything worked (momentarily) at one time or another:
    AC, DC, antennae, NMEA 0183 duplicating N2K, Seatalk, NTSC, Garmin network, speaker wires, radar, night vision, ethernet, and a nearly equal amount of unidentifiables.
    So many toys and so little time left in the day!

  7. Philipp says:

    That looks familiar! šŸ˜‰ I actually ended up ripping everything out and I am now in the process of installing an E-T-A bus system. It saves me having to run everything back and forth from the switch panel and it also saves a lot of weight. This is one area where new technology really shines and is useful even on a smallish 38′ HR.

  8. Jeffrey Orling says:

    WOW! I faced a similar nightmare and have the pics to show for it. It took a long time to sort it all out and in the end it’s probably only marginally better. There are simply too many wires from too many pieces of equipment which all are wanting to be in the same relatively small area.
    What I did do… is create drawings which are not schematics but include the color of the wire in most cases so I can look at it all and refer to the drawing.
    I don’t see how this can be done neatly in such a compact space. But organization and order is really important for trouble shooting.

  9. Peter C. says:

    As a marine tech I have nightmares that look like that.
    Am sooo glad I built my own boat which meant wiring it all myself.

  10. peter says:

    I have always said “You don’t do boat repairs. You do boat archeology”

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