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Date: 28 September 2023. 8awg Selector Switch Needed.

janice142


In the beginning, aka the 50 Amp 125/250 Volt Power Plug Wiring How-To (4-wires) article, the dockside fellows and I were attempting to track down why one leg of a yacht's power was not functioning. The critical side is of course the one that is not working. The switch powering the air-conditioners functions perfectly. The one supplying power to the battery chargers for both 12-volt and 32-volt battery banks, along with the refrigerator, staterooms, and main salon has zero voltage. Isolating what part needed replacement is the next step in the troubleshooting process.
 

We definitely have 125/250 volts into the vessel. From the side deck inlets power is fed to two switches. These switches are your basic On-Off-On, labeled 1-Off-2. They are large enough to accept a lot of 8 awg wires.


Selector #1 indicates shore power. Center is Off. #2 is for power incoming from the onboard diesel Onan generator.

 

This is the back of the switch:

 

Both the Port (on left) and Starboard (on right) power distribution switches are shown here:

The switch on the left powers the top air conditioning panel. The one on the right feeds power to the bottom house panel.
 

On power issues the standard process is to start at the source. Wherever the power stops is the problem.
 

This is the complete power panel for the vessel:

Each of the breakers are labeled. The top section is powering the four air conditioners and circulation (cooling) pump aboard this yacht.
 

The first set of meters is for the air-conditioning breakers. The meter on the
right shows 125 volts incoming. Thus we know the 1-off-2 switch on the left functions.

 

To repeat, there are two switches above the 120 volt AC distribution panels. The one on the left (port side) provides power to the Air Conditioners on this boat.
 


This is the Air Conditioning distribution panel. It is powered by the 1-off-2 switch on the left (port) side.

The amperes meter at the top shows zero power being used. That is because all of the air conditioners are turned off at present.


Travis is at the lower helm located in the main
salon of the yacht. There is an air-conditioner on that level.

 

The ac unit for the main salon runs off that top ac distribution panel via the main switch on the left.

 

We do have an anomaly: the bottom section of the ac distribution panel is not receiving power. Was this due to a broken connection between the shore inlet plug and the switch? To test that the onboard Onan generator was started. The results were unchanged.


When checking the power panel the same results occurred:


 

This second distribution panel is honestly the most critical of the two. The House breakers are for important things like the galley, all three staterooms, a 12 volt battery charger, the 32 volt battery charger, plus lights and more. Frankly, this one powers the "house" whereas the other makes it cool and comfortable aboard.


The 32-volt battery charger on that lower distribution panel is vital for charging the 32-volt battery banks.

The owner does not have a portable 32v charger, so having the house distribution panel functional is important.


I wrote about replacing those 32-volt batteries in the
St. Pete's Electro Battery article.
 

The AIR CONDITIONING BREAKERS SWITCH is shown on the left. To the right is the HOUSE BREAKERS SWITCH.


Aboard this larger vessel are four air conditioners which provide zone cooling. Thus the need for a separate power panel for those AC units. The House is basically everything else running on standard *125 volt power, including the refrigerator/freezer, water heater, staterooms and heads, etc.

*125 volts: Though in this article we are using the term 125v, actually I use this interchangeably with 110v and 120v. This is your standard house power. Indeed 125 volts does reach the vessel. Aboard Seaweed I see 118v or so. Everything electric works fine.
 

The back of the distribution panel is a mass of wires:

 

Notes are also on the bulkhead regarding power cables:


 

 

Side Note for vessel owners: It is ALWAYS a great idea to make notes in an easy to see place on your equipment. One of the best implementations of this is described in the Life onboard Lily Maria (Thompson 44 M/V) article.

 

 


There are a lot of wires aboard a larger yacht. It is complex.




 

 

Electrical gurus may be interested in these pictures.
Click (or double click) to get the full sized versions.

 
 

The fourth picture and the one below each have two circle gizmo thingies on wires. I do not understand them, though I am curious.
If you know could you please enlighten me? Either comment or send an email please to me at janice@janice142.com Thanks!

 


The top AIR CONDITIONING BREAKER PANEL has 125 volts of power, thus the switch on the top left works.
Because the bottom HOUSE BREAKER PANEL has zero incoming power I believe the switch on the top right is broken.


This is the back side of the selector switches shown above.

As a reminder, this is the back side... thus the problem switch is on the LEFT,
versus the right. There are a boat-load of 8awg wires feeding into those switches.


The proper way to verify that the bad switch is indeed not functioning would be to remove the wires from both switches and swap them. Quite frankly, that looks incredibly intimidating to me. All testing has proven power gets to both switches (verified via multimeter) however nothing passes though to the House Distribution panel from that second switch.
 

So, the decision was made. Replace this switch:

 

Here is the problem: The switch was manufactured in Austria. It was purchased some 20-odd years ago. The numbers do not match to anything I have seen online. That said, I am not great at searching. Can you help with a source to purchase a replacement?!?
 

The numbers written on the back of that switch are:
C63 63 amp.
50hp 600 V 3ph
A 211

 


 

What say the experts? Is there a work-around we have not considered? All of us here on the docks would appreciate your ideas. If you know where to buy a replacement, that would be ideal. I am hoping one of my online friends can help. Thanks!
 

That's it from the water. I thank you for reading.
 

Do you know where a replacement switch capable of accepting a boat-load of 8 gauge wires can be purchased?
And, what does that circle gizmo do on those wires? Is it to prevent radio interference?
 

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2023

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