Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Running Wires for Solar Panels & Wifi Antenna

Last week, we featured Jeff and Anne's installation of new solar panels on their boat. Now that the panels are installed, they still need to be wired into s/v C'est la Vie's electrical system...
Pulling wires though small openings and running wires along tubes pretty much describes my afternoon  Wires from the new solar panels now snake over the bimini, along the stern rails, and thorough the deck via a new through deck fitting installed  starboard side aft.

One #10 wire from each panel now runs down along
the starboard stern railing and through the deck.
We purchased a WirieAP which serves as a wifi antenna and creates a wireless network for the boat.  Our decision to go with the Wirie was based on a Practical Sailor review and additional internet research.  I must admit the the fact that the creators of the device and owners of the company are live aboard sailors won them some favor as well.  

the new WireAP mounted on the
stern wind generator tower
The unit is self contained in a waterproof box.  The only cabling is a wire for power.  The unit is sold as a 12V DC system, but a 120V AC adapter is included in the box.  The unit also includes a mounting bracket for 1" to 2" poles.  Experimenting with different installations on C'est la Vie, we elected to bolt it through the angle brace on the wind generator tower.  This does place the antenna close to the pole, but once again life of a sailboat is a series of compromises (or is that true of life in general?)

With the antenna mounted, I returned to running wires.  Fortunately a through hull fitting already existed for the Wirie cables.

Pulling all the wires below decks forced me to excavate the contents of both the lazurette and the starboard side cockpit locker.  

work zone or obstacle course?
The cockpit quickly became an obstacle course / work area.  

As light began to fade from the sky and the hungry Everglades bugs began to take over, both the wifi & solar wires run into the starboard side cockpit locker.  Hopefully tomorrow I can complete their journey to C'est la Vie's electrical panel. 
[Editor's note: C'est la Vie was dismasted on July 5 off the Frying Pan Shoals.  Jeff and Anne are fine, and C'est la Vie was able to motor under her own power to a safe harbor, where whe is currently hauled out.  You can read more about this here, herehere, and here.  There are some important lessons to be learned from this - I encourage you to read Jeff's account of the event.]

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