Tuesday 18 February 2014

BSC Looms

Electrical switchgear
February 2014

I had a most helpful letter from the Trust this week - a reminder that my BSC will be due for review in a couple of months. This is a really helpful service and not one I remember from BW - I knew it was due this summer but wasn't sure exactly when.

With an inspection booked I have set about fixing all those things which are non compliant following the recent rule changes.

The bits

As well as the little niggling jobs like blacking the gas locker I also had a significant electrical fix to attend to. The new rules say we have to have a switch which selects the 240 volt power source but prevents two sources being live at the same time and crucially prevents the exterior power inlet being live when the inverter is on.

The new hole 

When I fitted the inverter a couple of years ago my electrical coupling was a bit Heath Robinson with a split supply into the domestic consumer unit, but this carried the exact risks the BSC seeks to avoid. So now its time for a proper fix.

I called in at Midland Chandlers are was shown a big black box with a couple of pretty green lights but an unimpressive £70 price tag. I looked along the shelf and there was a much more discrete barrel alternative from Sterling Power for a price tag of £19. Sterling make great kit even if their instructions tend to lapse into techno babble and fly right over my head. But with a good look at the instructions and some help from the staff it was clear how it works. Apparently loads have been sold since the rule change - and at £19 this is really excellent value.

Fixing the consumer unit

Of course, I hadn't taken my hole cutter with me, but managed a decent job with a drill and a jig saw so I was soon onto the electrical installation phase.

Armed with a  couple of metres of blue multi core cable The links were made to the inputs from the inverter (option 1) and the shore line (option 2) and then the output to the consumer unit. Of course this was all undertaken in the gloom of the wardrobe but a couple of hours of cutting and crimping had it all secured into place.

 Finished switch front and back

I was surprised at the relative simplicity of the process and a test showed that it was all systems go - all nice and safe ready for the test in March.


Peter Lee said...

Hi Just to be picky, the back of the panel seems to have lots of dangerous possibly live terminals on that switch! Should have an insulating cover over it labelled "230V AC beneath" or "Danger live terminals" etc. The cover should only be removable using a tool. Could save your life sometime in the future when delving into a dark cupboard!

Anonymous said...

We've just had ours done and were very glad of the reminder - I wouldn't have believed that it was due - tempus fugit and all that :-)

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Halfie said...

An extremely useful post, Captain. I need to do the very same thing to Jubilee. It was picked up on the survey a couple of years ago, but it's one of those jobs where I really needed to be "properly" on the boat, if you know what I mean.

Weird that Sterling have put their name upside down!

Halfie said...

Nice title, by the way!

Andy Tidy said...

Halfie - yes, odd about the name

Andy Tidy said...

Peter - not picky at all and you are quite correct. The insulating cover is siting in my workshop waiting to be fitted. The sign is a good idea. Andy

Alf said...

An even cheaper way is to fit a 13a socket on the incoming feed, then with a plug on the feed to the consumer unit you can only use one feed at a time (shore supply or from the inverter), negating the need of a switch.

Andy Tidy said...

Alf - fair point and that was my preferred option till I found the cheap switch from Sterling.