Electrical Upgrades

Time: Many Days on-and-off.
Level: Advanced - Not for the Faint-of-Heart
Bravery Level: 5 Star
To help better understand you electrical systems see Electrical Systems & Trouble Shooting.
The first thing I wanted to do was add a house battery.  My outboard is hard to pull start.  Running down the starter battery was not an option.  I knew that adding a house battery was going to complicate the electrical system.  After giving it some careful thought I decided that a more robust electrical system would give me the security that the only draw on the starter battery was the starter itself.
Pictured at left is a re-draw of the electrical system taken from the 1977 Catalina 22 Owners Manual.  
This is a layout out the Christopher-Jin's electrical panels.  Agreed it's not for the faint-of-heart, but it does accommodate modern wiring needs.
My electrical
system was old and in bad shape and I was not happy with it's location on the side of the stern dinette seat.
I did love the vintage Catalina Mains panel so I upgraded it with new switches and multi-colored LEDs.
I mounted the old panel on a nice piece of oak plywood with lots of
room for ground busses, an amp meter, and a battery combiner switch.
Where the mains panel
used to sit I put a duplex outlet.  On the back of the duplex, under the stern dinette seat is another box with a single outlet and a fuse for all the outlets.  I use that "hidden" plug for the two battery chargers.
Originally, I tried using one battery charger and a dual battery regulator but the regulator failed after one year.  It was much cheaper to buy a second charger and scrap the extra electronics.  You can find reasonably priced battery chargers/maintainer that are quite compact and have excellent mounting hardware from Harbor Freight 
www.harborfreight.com.  I found that the addition of a rubber pad between the mounting brackets and the fiber glass reduced the hum from the chargers considerably.
I had to replace the original 2 prong through-hull mast electrical plug and jack with a 4 prong plug and jack.  This allowed for separate control of the steaming light, the spreader light and the anchor light.  I found that if you use good grade white marine electrical cable you don't have to worry about trying to hide the cable.  Just support it well with screw-down cable clamps of the appropriate size and then hide the cable when it's convenient, like behind curtain rods or behind shelf lips, that sort of thing.
I just added a solar panel this year (2009) and do not know yet if it is actually charging the house battery.  I didn't have a chance to test it before the season ended.  Our boating season here in Michigan runs from about May (April if you're really anxious.) to about October. (The end of October if you are brave.)
Electrical System Revision 5 - 27 May 2010
If you are starting to get to know me then you will understand that I can't leave anything alone for too long!!!
Yep, it's time to upgrade the electrical system.  This year I've added a Tri-Color Mast Head Light and, finally, wired the Windex Light.  I would also like to add some powered ventillation to the Christopher-Jin.  It gets mighty hot and muggy in the cabin when she's baking in the sun all day, not to mention the load it puts on the refrigerator.
So, here is the new plan.
I've added a third fuse/switch panel,
a second test voltage button for the starting battery,
the Windex Light, the Tri-Color Mast Head Light and a connector box in the base of the mast.
The connector box is a simple plastic project box.  I epoxied a terminal strip inside and ran the mast wiring into it.  This allowed me to have a single, 4 conductor cable run from the mast to the 4 pin connector on the deck.
I also added a second 2 pin deck connector to handle the additional equipment on the mast.  The third electrical panel (shown in dark gray) is being added to accommodate the additional equipment.  The second Battery Test Button was placed on the Third Electrical Pannel.
The hole in the oak board is a little rough because I just bought a new scroll saw and I'm not quite used to it yet. 
Mounting Brackets Failed
The mounting brackets show above failed.  Because the screws were so small the quickly became loose and eventually stripped.
The fix was to make wooden brackets using larger screws as shown below.
Note: I intentionally staggered the screws and the upper bracket is slightly tilted to get aroud the 40 Amp fuse holder.
This photo says it all.  Electrical Panel up-grades are not for the faint-of-heart!!!
 This Photo show the Power Connector that I placed on the port side of the cockpit.
This photo shows a close up of the mast tree.  You can see the Lightning Dissipater, the Tri Color Light, the Anchor Light,
the Windex and Windex Light, and the Antenna.  The block on the front edge of the mast is attached to the Spinnaker Crane.
You should be able to see that the Spinnaker Crane holds the block forward of the fore shroud.  The Crane is actually a loop that allows the block to swing from side to side.