H260 Electrical Upgrades Page
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Disclaimer: This page is for entertainment only. Check with a licensed electrician before wiring any boat. Use of any part of these procedures is at your own risk. Your decisions, adjustments and actions must be based strictly on your own knowledge and research. A lot of these ideas I got from sailboatowners.com  

Because I want to do a little coastal cruising on the Great Lakes and Florida, I need some enhancement of the electrical system. That means an additional battery, DC cabin & cockpit power points and AC shore power. Plus the normal VHF and GPS capability. Don Casey's "Sailboat Electrics Simplified" was my bible. Saved me a lot of grief and increased my level of confidence. Also the archives in http://www.sailboatowners.com/ was a great help in working out the install of these items. I also found the information at this link useful: http://www.sailmail.com/grounds.htm

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This project took a couple months of steady work, but hey, what else can ya do when there is 3 foot of snow on the ground? Running the wiring was the most difficult part.  Make sure you measure the wire carefully; You don't want any splices. I got over confident and it was an expensive mistake. It takes a lot more wire than you think. Hunter installs conduit for running wire from the top of the compression post to the starboard light over the stove, and under the aft bunk. However, you sometimes have to do some creative pushing and pulling to get it all done. The starboard stanchion blocks the conduit where it exits over the stove light, but you can get wiring through with use of a wiring snake.

One tool most people don't have that you'll need for the DC wire is a heavy duty crimper for the lugs. You can buy a cheap one that you hit with a hammer. I've included  simple wiring diagrams (w/o grounds) to give an idea of what is involved. 

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Boat Schematic

DC Switching


Although the experts recommend at least 4 ga. cable for the DC circuit, I went with 6ga wire because it is easier to work with and I don't have any significant loads on the longest circuit. I've checked the voltage drop on longest run of wire (22 foot) and there is virtually no measurable difference on this circuit. After three years of use, the installation is trouble free.  

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DC conduit behind
aft wall


AC & DC conduit
 under aft floor

I decided to use 1" flexible conduit to run the 6 ga. wire throughout the boat. This results in a neater installation and protects the wiring from corrosion or chafing. Don Casey suggests putting holes in the conduit at the low points in case water gets into it. I did not do that because I sealed both ends of the conduit. The conduit runs from the aft wall under the aft bunk floor and to the locations for the two batteries. The conduit is totally hidden under the aft bunk floor and head and galley sinks. This flexible conduit is the same stuff used for underground and wet environments. Except for a couple spots where I ran out of conduit, I used gray conduit for AC wiring and white for DC circuits. I used a magic marker to identify the the DC and AC circuits.

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Battery Locations
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Starter Battery & breaker under Galley

House Battery & breaker in port locker

Hunter supplies one 2" conduit under the aft bunk floor, but I also needed access for an additional conduit. I drilled a 1.25" hole in the stringer under the the aft locker for the 1" conduit the port side of the floor for the house battery. This conduit runs through the clothes locker, under the galley sink to the port cabin lazerette.

Regarding wire size. I don't suppose it makes any difference which battery feeds the house circuits, but I figured that the starter would draw more amps than the house so I gave it the shorter run. The run to the port side is 22 ft and the starboard side about 10 ft. Preinstall the 6 ga. wire in the flexible conduit (4 ga. wire is preferred but is too large for 1" conduit). Running the wire through the flexible conduit is easier with the wire pulling grease you can buy at the hardware store. If you install the house battery in the clothes locker you won't have any voltage drop.  

There is a factory installed 40 amp in-line fuse to protect the existing house circuit; I've replaced that with a 25 amp "maxi" fuse because they are easier to find and replace. 

It would be a lot simpler to put the house battery in the starboard side clothes locker, but I did not want battery acid/fumes near clothing and wanted to save that space for clothes. Also I felt it would be easier to check the battery in the port locker. This choice has worked well for me. If you use AGM batteries maybe putting the house battery in the clothes locker makes more sense, because they are install and forget, and you don't have to worry about checking water level, damage from battery acid or fumes from the battery. 

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Cabin Circuits AC Breaker Aft bunk DC Switches/Charger Shore Power

If you are just adding or relocating a battery and want the ability to switch between them this is a pretty simple job. However, I also did shore power and DC power points so it got a lot more complicated. 

If you have limited experience with installing Alternating Current on a boat, do your homework by reading up on the needed precautions. Don Casey's Sailboat Electrics Simplified is an excellent first source. Remember that if not properly grounded,  AC can also be fatal to swimmers as well as people on the boat.  Make sure outlets are GFCI protected. The West Marine Advisor is also an excellent source of information. Also, don't forget use of power tools; if not plugged into a GFCI protected circuit, use a portable GFCI which can be installed inline on the power tool’s extension cord.

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Water Pump switch

Powerpoint over table

Powerpoint in cockpit

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AC outlets under table

AC outlets under table

DC Lights

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DC power for GPS

To repeat, unless you have a lot of experience doing this kind of stuff, I highly recommend Don Casey's Sailboat Electrics - it helped me a lot. 


Don't know what it cost - afraid to add it all up.

Let me know if you have any questions. E-Mail: gkobernus

Disclaimer: This page is for entertainment only. Check with a licensed electrician before wiring any boat. Use of any part of these procedures is at your own risk. Your decisions, adjustments and actions must be based strictly on your own knowledge and research.