All Buttoned Up

This morning I removed the last protruding broken rivets around the door frame with a sledgehammer and chisel. I was able to insulate this cavity by piecing together a few carefully-cut slabs of 2″ and 1″ Thermasheath, leaving room for the mass of cables.

Here’s a close-up of the forward dimmer switch wiring, which branches off a single helm cable that serves both lighting banks. My Y-splits (or “piggybacks”) are done by spreading a female spade connector open enough to receive two male connectors. Then I crimped each one tight with pliers.

Next I finished wiring the helm back up. First the AC circuits, then the DC circuits. I had bought a couple of Blue Sea Systems bus bars but I guess I’m too lazy to install them. Especially when I know I should use a fuse block instead. But that’s something I can install later, once I figure out where to put it. Probably right smack in the middle.

And once again, I felt like I was playing that classic Operation! game because of all the delicate surgery while dodging live wires. Some of the DC panels terminals have up to five ring connectors on a single screw. But this time, I didn’t drop any screws thanks to my big black stuffed towel trick.

I tested each circuit as I connected it and everything worked great on the first try! (So maybe I know what I’m doing now?)

This afternoon I installed the wall panel and the top corner panels, mounting the power strip and reconnecting the HDTV antenna jack. I also mounted my Star Trek electronic door chime above the light switch. That gadget detects movement through the doorway and sounds either a “red alert” alarm or the trademark “swoosh” sound.

Here’s today’s view from the rear. There are a few more power cables to conceal, and tomorrow I’ll mount the Apple TV and AirPort Extreme.

And here’s a close-up of the Rover solar charge controller and the stainless steel cable gland, shot from below. The empty LOAD terminals are useful for dead-battery situations. I made a starter battery jumper cable that can plug into these terminals and recharge the starter battery (not the house batteries) either from shore power or via the solar panels. You may recall I tested this a couple months ago when my starter battery was actually dead, so it does work — and within 20 minutes. I’m curious if I could hook up a defibrillator here?

The wall panels are officially done now, so this is a major milestone. My only work left to do is the galley plumbing behind panel D2, and I’m not really looking forward to that. But I’m done for the day, and I’m basking in the glory.

So tonight, Friday, Olivia and I plan to watch Game 3 of the World Series on the RETROpad’s tailgate area, with a fire pit, hot dogs and a growler of beer straight from Pelican Brewing in Pacific City. Some day, we will drive the RETROvan there and camp on the beach. 🙂

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