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Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:22pm

Post Subject: Wiring diagrams for narrowboats

Can anyone help me, I am an electrician looking to diversify to narrowboat electrics as I live on the river this seems a good direction for me to go. Has anyone got any schematic drawings that they can email me or tell me where I can get some. Are there any books or regulations specific to boats that can be emailed to me or again where can I obtain some? Many thanks for anyones anticipated help. Kelvin Wyld (


Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:12pm

Post Subject: Wiring diagrams for narrowboats

Dear Kevin Although I understand that the latest/forthcoming "edition" of the normal regs are due to have something about boats/caravans in them there are other regulations you need to comply with. Go to the Boat Safety Scheme and download their manual, all inland boats MUST comply with that and also get to know the relevant ISOs so you can ensure your work meets the requirements for boats built under the Recreational Craft Directive. Your public liability insurance company may also have something to say about this. Leaving mains wiring for a moment, the domestic side of things are normally wired much like a house done before ring mains a "looping in" of lights with everything running from some form of distribution box. However the long runs and comparatively high currents make voltdrop calculations vital to both prevent the harnesses overheating and also to prevent voltdrop. Be aware that a fridge nominally rated at about 4 amps might well end up being wired in 15 or 20 sq mm cable if long runs are involved. The engine electrics are pretty much as per a vehicle but battery charging can become a bit complicated with additional controllers and charge splitting between battery banks. The earthing of on-board mains systems is a minefield of differing opinions as is the installation of equipment to prevent mains induced galvanic hull corrosion so take the best and most qualified advice here. Generic diagrams for all the "normal" stuff on my website in the electrical course notes ( but note that they are not designed for professional use. Most of the reputable "big boys' toys" equipment suppliers provide their own diagrams. There are also a number of test books, but some come in for criticism for being just plain wrong in places - my notes may also be wrong in parts. Tony Brooks

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