Electrical System

Sparkle Plenty - 1980 Mariner 36 (New Hampshire)

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Port Lights Bottom Electrical System Propane Locker Repower Main Traveler

Here are the components to the refurbished electrical system. During the Winter of 2002-03, I began a major electrical renovation and upgrade. My goal was to bring the system up to ABYA standards. SP is setup for extensive cruising, but like all older vessels, the electrical system is layered with old wiring and many original components are ready for replacement. (Click pictures for a larger view.)

The upgrades I settled on included a new Newmar galvanic isolator; new Blue Sea AC and DC panels (the original Mariner panel was combined); a new Freedom Marine 2500 watt inverter/charger; a new Xantrex LINK 1000 inverter controller/battery monitor; and a new Blue Sea battery switch with house bank, starting, and combiner switches. The system already includes a a recent Leece-Neville 95 amp alternator; a Heart Interface In-Charge regulator; an Air Marine wind generator; a high cranking starter battery; and four 6 volt Trojan golf cart batteries for the house bank.

Spring 2003: the new electrical installation is 95% complete.
Here is the new 120 volts BlueSea AC panel (8074) and Xantrex Link 1000. The AC panel has:
  • One double-pole 30 Amp AC main circuit breaker
  • Five 15 Amp circuit breakers
  • Three blank positions
  • 0-50 Ampere ammeter with remote sensing coil
  • 0-150 Volt AC Voltimeter
  • Label Backlight System

New BlueSea AC Panel and Xantrex Link 1000
The Link 1000 provides complete remote control for the Freedom Marine 2500 watt inverter/130 Amp charger. It also provides extensive monitoring functions for the battery system.
Here is the new Blue Sea DC panel (8264). It features:
  • 24 circuit breaker positions
  • Fifteen 15 Amp breakers installed
  • All positive, negative and grounding buses installed, fully pre-wired
  • Label Backlight System -- This is a great help at night. The top left switch turns on the backlighting as well as red courtesy lights throughout the saloon.

Blue Sea DC Panel
Bluse Sea DC Panel - Interior All wiring was run to a buss behind the panel including older wires from cabin lights as well as new DC wiring. Spare buss positions allow easy wiring of new circuit breakers as needed.

An Incharge Heart Interface regulator had come with the boat but was not hooked up since the existing alternator had its own built in regulator. We detached the built in regulator and  wired in the Heart (remounted above icebox next to steps) to give us smart charging under power. This worked for a while, but the regulator just wasn't up to it and burned up. Incharge Heart Interface



AMPTECH Alternator AMPTECH Alternator - front view
So I replaced the old unit with a high output "S" series AMPTECH 125 amp alternator designed to work with the Heart Interface regulator. This model is able to deliver high output on a single standard engine belt and pulley. It's specifically made to charge deep-cycle house battery banks.

Battery Box beneath settee - new fiberlass lining. I refurbished the house battery box beneath the "L" under the port settee. The previous owner had mounted the four Trojan golf cart batteries beneath the nav station. In consolidating the electrical system, I relocated them back to the battery compartment on the centerline of the vessel. To protect the bottom and sides of the compartment, I installed a raised plywood floor over the existing teak and holly planking. Next I laid fiberglass cloth over the new bottom and up the sides, and saturated with resin. I then painted the interior with epoxy bilge paint.
Battery Box under setee - painted

I also applied a coat of West System epoxy to the underside of the compartment hatch. Before installing the batteries, I repurposed the old battery boxes to add an additional protective lining to provide a tight fit for the four batteries.

Fuses and wiring leading into battery compartment

Fuses, battery cables and inverter wiring leading into house battery box.


Winter 2004: we upgrade the propane control panel.

Trident Gas Control Panel and Blue Sea Battery SwitchThe Trident Gas Control Panel next to the Blue Sea Battery Combo Switch installed earlier. I really like this switch. It isolates the house and starter banks. You don't have to worry about switching to A or B. Just turn on your house (toggle switch upper left) and when your ready to start the diesel, turn on the engine switch (knob switch upper right). If your starting battery runs low, turn on the combiner (key switch bottom right) to access both starter and house banks to start the engine. The LED schematic (lower left) shows which switches are on. The Trident Gas Control Panel turns the propane solenoid on and off. It also has a built in circuit breaker and sniffer alarm. See Propane System Project for more details.


Electrician Andy FegleyMarine electrician, Andy Fegley (Yacht Electronic Systems) works on rewiring. I worked as his gofer and tried to learn as much as I could. Note the inverter mounted in the storage bin behind the port settee. We bolted the unit to the bulkhead separating the two bins.








Original Mariner Panel Front The original Mariner DC/AC panel with 3-position battery switch.
Original Mariner Panel Detail Original Mariner Panel Detail

Visit Salvia.com for more info about Sparkle Plenty's owner.