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  • Esteban

Electrical Wiring Woes

We've had a lingering problem on City Dogs with a couple of the electrical outlets in the front cabin and forward head receiving insufficient voltage to charge anything. We're talking something like 40 volts instead of 120, so we needed to do something about it.

I methodically traced the wire back, found out it was a gray wire, specifically marine wire, 14 gauge triplex tinned copper -- pretty good stuff.

Only, when I tested some of the connections coming out of the back of the AC circuit breaker by gently tugging on them, the black wire of one of the gray sections of triplex wire that had already been spliced before gave way, pulling completely loose. When I tried to look at it, the old wire was so brittle it crumbled away, utterly corroded. It was literally impossible to strip what was left of this wire, it was unusable.

So I decided to trace the line back a bit farther to see if I couldn't free up some slack, only when I pulled off the next electrical panel on the port side of the galley, I noticed there was a section of gray triplex cable which must have been wedged directly against the short blue plastic box housing the outlet that either must have rubbed against the wire over time, causing it to wear through.

Either that or it burned through? We're not 100% sure what happened to it -- hit us up in the comments if you have an idea.

Just replacing this small section of electrical cable was quite a task. If we had to pull the whole gray cable, I'm not even sure we would have been able to do it. Regardless, we changed out the section from the circuit breaker box to past where it was worn through and when we plugged back into shore power and turned the juice on -- voila, we had working power outlets in the forward compartments!

And when I tested them on our good old voltmeter, they gave us the somewhere around 120 volts -- right where we want to be! Hopefully this means the rest of the gray cable is fine...

Now, I'm no electrician -- and we normally would hire someone qualified to do this kind of work -- but we're in Honduras and if you want the job done right, you kind of need to do it yourself.

So with some very much appreciated help from our good friend Mitch we got the job done the right way under budget before dinner time. We had to make a second stop at Ace hardware and the marine supply store, but that's what happens when you're living on a boat and have limited space for tools and supplies.

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