I'm documenting the process that I've been going through for the last several days to do what started as an inverter install, but quickly turned into converting the batteries to very differently-sized-and-placed AGMs, adding an ACR unit, and essentially rewiring the entire power/ground components of the engine bay.
I started out last week by ordering two 8Ds and one 3100T Lifeline AGMs to replace the 3 hodgepodge batteries that came with the boat. Picked up the pallet from the Freight depot and my wife and I had a lovely evening hauling them all down the stairs to the boat.
I didn't want these 163-pound-each behemoths turning into torpedoes in the engine bay, so I had a battery tray fabricated by a welder friend (www.chaserace.com):
Put it in the port-most tray of the engine bay and bolted it down with 1/4" by 1" long SS lag bolts:
Hauled the batteries into the engine bay, shimmed the corners until they were level, then ran ratchet straps through and cinched them down. They ain't goin' anywhere now:
Moved the starter battery over to the starboard side of the engine bay for weight balance, and also because I was tired of having nowhere to step/sit to work on the port side of the engine (you can also see the water filter I've added in this pic):
I'm using a Magnum MS2012 inverter, which has an optional battery monitor with DC shunt to measure current flow, so I wanted a little panel next to the batteries for the shunt, hard battery cutoff and 300A fuse to the inverter, before the big wires disappeared into the boat, so I built something to hold all that:
Measured out what I needed and bought a bunch of 4/0 cable and crimped it at Fisheries Supply. Hooked the batteries up in parallel to each other and to the panel (still need to figure out a solution for covers to the battery terminals):
As part of the rewire, I wanted to add an ACR since manual battery selection is for suckers. Bought the Blue Sea add-a-battery kit and extended the stock battery switch panel to the left to have room for all the necessary fuses and wiring. Also added a bus bar at the bottom. Picture for reference, and more explanation below:
The house batteries come in from the left (to the port) and the starter batteries come in from the right (run along the firewall over to where I relocated it.) I also pulled the engine (starter/alternator) red wire out from the rear loom and ran it down the front alongside the newly-moved starter battery wires, so it can all come into the one nice little spot on the start side of the combine switch. The several house load-side lines are just hooked up onto the "house" pin of the 4-way combine switch right now, so I have a 12-fuse Blue Sea fusebox on the way from Amazon to hook up later this week. I also put a ground bus bar onto the bottom of the panel, and ran a 4/0 yellow wire from the engine ground post up to this new bus bar (for easy merging with grounds of the start and house batteries), and joined the engine ground point with the rear bus bar with a normal 2 AWG line.
After throwing all that together, the engine bay is "complete"! Saturday night around midnight, I had everything re-nylon-strap/zip-tied to its final resting place, and carefully enabled the two shutoff switches one by one, testing voltage along the way. Much to my surprise, house switches all worked perfectly, and the motor fired up and ran -- as soon as the motor fired up, the ACR detected the voltage, kicked in, and cross-linked the two battery banks! Can't believe it worked the first shot, but I'll take it! So, engine bay more or less complete, sans the fuse panel/the few house wires that I'll need to properly stow somewhere. On to the interior work...
I've drilled a small hole in the wood wall aft of the fuse panel cabinet and measured with a fish line how far from where the inverter will go, and bought two 7 foot 4/0 red/black cables, and a 10 foot 4/0 yellow cable (since it needs to go all the way to the bus bar), which have arrived and are ready to go in.
For the inverter, I needed to rewire the AC panel to have a separate switch for the inverter-powered devices, so I took it as a good excuse to upgrade the stock panel to a newer Blue Sea panel and picked up one of the 8074 panels (8 switch + ammeter/voltmeter), which I'll mount on the left, and then the Magnum remote panel will go top center and picked up a little 8058 (3-switch) AC panel for inverter-powered switches right below the remote panel. After looking around the fuse panel area, I couldn't find any way to remove the wood inset panel without completely dismantling the boat (it was stapled in from all sides), so I decided to just cut out most of the stock panel:
I picked up a 1/4 piece of black acrylic, 18 3/8" by 11 7/8", to screw over the empty spot and mount it at the 4 corners, which lets me easily change the panel in the future as I add more things (looking to add a water/holding tank level meter). I finished up cutting out those things and installing the new AC panel in the boat around 12:30am last night, and was too tired to document progress, so I'll have more pictures tonight for the next round of work...