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Project Log:  Wednesday, May 13, 2015

After a morning spent on unrelated errands, I got to work on the windlass power cables.  These cables had to lead from the electrical panel area all the way forward to the stem.  Since running the cables straight through the cabin in the shortest route was not desirable nor attractive, the actual route required would be substantially more convoluted.

The only practical route for the large and heavy cables was through the bilge, as the other wiring routes available were either too full or too contorted for this major cable.  Normally I avoided leading any wiring into bilge areas, so to ameliorate the passage through this bilge I planned to hold the wires against the underside of the cabin sole, and also to run them through a continuous flexible conduit (aka hose) for protection.

Starting in the boat, I laid out a length of the conduit I planned to use (1-1/2" black reinforced so-called livewell hose) and determined where to cut it to the correct length.  Then, down on the bench, I pre-installed the red and black cable pair (1/0 tinned copper), plus a 14/2 conductor that would be required for a helm-mounted windlass switch.  I pulled the cables through the conduit, pulling enough through the end to leave more than enough at the forward end to lead from the bilge to the chainlocker in my chosen route.  All the excess cable from my original length remained at the engine room end of the conduit--more than needed, but I didn't want to attempt any guesses at cutting it till it was in its final position.


After lugging the heavy assembly into the boat, I led the forward end through the bilge and into the utility space beneath the v-berth, pulling enough of the conduit through to bring it above the floor of the space.


To get the aft end of the assembly into the engine room and electrical space, I chose to lead it into the after dinette locker, which backed directly against the engine room and where I'd already led other battery cables.  I drilled a new hole large enough to accept the wires and conduit, and with quite a bit of grunting and cursing eventually managed to route the cable and its hose into the tight confines beneath the cabinet bottom and up through the hole, with just enough of the conduit to stick through the hole for chafe protection.



With both ends where they needed to be, I secured the conduit beneath the sole, outside of the hatch openings and using the cable mounts I installed earlier.  This kept the conduit out of the way and above any nuisance water that might run through the space.



Originally, I'd hoped to lead the new cabling through the existing wire chase into the engine room, the one containing the battery cables running to the nearby switch, but I found that it was impossible to get the cables to do what was necessary and run them cleanly through, so I drilled a new hole just above for an additional chase, and led the cables through, protecting the passage through the bulkhead with a length of hose.  I secured the wires out of the way in the corner of the dinette cabinet.


Next, I determined an ample length of cable that might be required to lead to one or two possible mounting locations in the console, and cut off the excess cable, leaving only 4-5' worth to pull into the console through the base.  As with the other wiring here, I protected the wires where they entered the console with lengths of hose, and for now coiled up the excess and left it for final connection later, once the required main windlass breaker and helm switch arrived.


That completed the aft end of the run for now.  At the forward end, I needed to get the cables from the utilility space at the aft end of the forward cabin all the way into the chainlocker.  The only route forward was up and over the water tank, then into the chainlocker through one of the two built-in wire (and hose) chases along the aft corners.  I drilled another hole as needed and led in the wiring harness, securing it to the bulkhead as needed and protecting the chafe points with hose lengths.  Then it was pretty simple to run the harness forward along the water tank, where I pulled it all through the forward most access hatch.


Finally, I snaked the cables down and through the chainlocker wire chase on the port side, which had space available since it contained only the hose for the saltwater washdown pump.  I coiled up the excess cable for now and left it pending the final windlass and solenoid installation, which would happen as soon as the new parts arrived.



Total Time Today:  5 Hours

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