Thursday, 9 April 2015

Constructing the new control panel

As described in the previous post, I was planning a new control unit to move the ignition and gauges from behind the throttle lever. I had done a lot of preparatory work but the final construction would have to take place on the boat.

The key (and rather scary) points are that 1) I would be making this up as I went along to some extent as it would be a totally custom made unit and 2) at some point, I would probably have to break the boat when I removed the old control unit before final connection of the new unit. One possible plan was to make the new unit plug into a large connector near the engine allowing me to retreat if it all went pear-shaped. However this turned out not to be viable... Scary! This gives an idea of the state of the wiring in the engine hole before I started.

That corrugated trunking looping round and round in the engine hole is, according to the manual is not meant to be longer than 1 metre ...

Anyway, I had prepared as much as possible at home. The various gauges, switches and lamps were fitted to the box lid and the shoreline connector to one side of the base. An LED strip on the other side of the base would be a cunning light that would help with late night returns to the boat.

This shot shows a trial run to position the new unit and work out how to run the wires into the engine hole (which involved drilling and filing smooth a new hole in the deck!).

The next couple of shots show the painted box being firmly fixed with self-tapping screws to the back wall of the cabin and the shoreline wiring being routed in.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any more pictures during the actual wiring of the engine controls as I was a bit busy... But I was quite pleased with the outcome!

The old control unit looked a bit sad though...
So I had to make a trip to B&Q in Crewe to buy some aluminium bits that I would be able to work using the tools I had on board. Then took the boat on a little trip towards Wrenbury and made a new cover for the throttle unit while moored up by the side of the canal. Et voila!

A pretty successful end to a fairly long and, at times, scary process!

There were a couple of minor complications which surfaced later which I will cover in the next post... 

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