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Expert advice from the team at marinechandlery.com | View this email in your browser

* TOP TIPS TUESDAY *

107. ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC CHECKS AND PREPARATION - A STEP BY STEP GUIDE  FROM THE TEAM AT MARINECHANDLERY.COM
Secure Battery
Switch Pannel Wiring
This last weekend's weather hasn't helped however if you are now on the home straight with the launch in sight so what have we still got to do? Check out our electrics and anything electronic. If your batteries have been stored at home, kept fully charged (incidentally lots of folks are now using one of the excellent C-Tek 8-stage battery chargers to do this) you probably don’t have much to worry about however you should always check their condition before reinstalling (this can be done by using a battery analyzer). If they are not of the sealed variety, check that the cells are fully topped up, however at this stage don’t connect.  Assuming securing straps are fitted, make sure that they are secure and hold the batteries both fore and aft as well as athwartships. If no straps, 25mm webbing, webbing plates and sensible sized fastenings are strongly recommended. If over the winter a battery has failed for whatever reason, do not be tempted to purchase an automotive battery you should go for a good quality deep cycle one for domestics, or a dedicated starting battery for engine starting. Now check your shore side power source; first check the cable for any damage to the outer casing then take both plug and socket apart, clean contacts with that excellent specialist fast drying contact cleaner, reassemble then spray with Boeshield and finally check that you are obtaining power to your RCD. If you were unlucky last year and found all the marina outlets full, consider purchasing a 3-way splitter. Remove your external power source and make sure that the RCD is clean and that the trips are working. If you haven’t got one perhaps consider purchasing a Metermaid, it gives you the opportunity to monitor your shoreside power consumption! Finally check out your 240 volt sockets assuming they are fitted. Incidentally, if you have a trailer sailor or similar. Why not consider investing in a mobile mains power unit, comes complete with its own built in RCD.
Shore Power Socket
3-Way Splitter

Now check the condition of the battery isolator switches. Are the contacts clean? If not, clean them and reattach the terminals ensuring they are secured firmly and free from corrosion, finally connect the battery leads to the battery posts after smearing a little Vaseline/petroleum jelly on both post and the internal bearing surface of the terminal, connect the positive first and then the negative. Don't forget the posts are of a different diameter to prevent connecting the wrong way round. Turn your battery isolator switch on, then with the stop control pulled out (assuming a diesel engine), turn the engine over a couple of times, turn off the engine isolator switch and push the stop control home. Now turn your attention to the house battery's isolator, are terminals clean and corrosion free? If any electrical items have been added since you last checked, is the main supply cable to your distribution board still suitable for the increased load? Making sure the house batteries are not turned on, open up the distribution panel, check for any signs of corrosion and ensure contacts are clean. Any push on connectors (bullet, spades etc) should be pulled apart and checked for dirt or corrosion and treated accordingly, finally spray all surfaces with Boeshield and replace panel. Turn on batteries then turn on all electrics one by one to check everything works and all components that should be interfaced are still communicating. Check all interior lights, including the reading light in the aft cabin, the neon tube in the engine bay, forward cabin light, and don't forget the 12 volt DC socket at the nav table, often used in conjunction with the Dual USB Charger Plug due to our ever increasing dependance on portable electronics such as iPads and tablets. To "tidy" things up perhaps consider fitting a Dual USB Charger Socket.

Duel USB Charger Socket
Compass Bulb
Compass Bulb
LED Interior Bulb
Often neglected and hard to find at a lot of chandlers is the tiny compass bulb, make sure it’s working and, for what they cost, always carry a spare. Consider perhaps substituting existing filament or halogen bulbs with LED's to cut your power consumption down if shore power is not available. It goes without saying that you should of course check that your fixed VHF is transmitting/receiving clearly, if not check antenna connections ie deck plug and socket. Check, if its a DSC/VHF, (most are these days) that it's getting position data from your GPS/plotter. If the boat is new to you, don't forget to contact the relevant authority (OFCOM) and get your details added and the previous owners removed.
Electronic Chart Updates

Speaking of plotters, is the electronic chart card up to date and relevant for the area you are going to be using the boat in?

Wind speed and direction, do they need calibrating? Remember to write it in your logbook as you cannot do it on dry land! If, like my co director, you are not that confident with the boats electronics, make sure you have a fall back reference book should you need to seek advice, Rob swears by Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual.

Happy boating and we look forward to seeing you on the water.

We hope you find our "Top Tips Tuesday" feature useful and look forward to hearing about the topics you would like covered. Email your suggestions to: toptips@storrarmarine.co.uk. Alternatively, information on a number of topics can be found on our Blog and Knowledge Base as well as on our social media pages, as linked below.
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