Electrical, AC Receptacle, Galley, Starboard Side, Part 1: Analysis and Installation

The AC receptacle, temporarily installed in place
Alternating Current, or AC for short, provides many comforts on a cruising sailboat that Direct Current, or DC, cannot. I have already discussed this at length in two previous articles, "Electrical, AC Distribution Panel," and "Electrical, AC Receptacle, Galley, Port Side." For this reason, I will move directly to the subject of the present article - my reasons and my method for installing an AC receptacle on the starboard side of the galley of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

Prior to this job, I had given a lot of attention to the port side of the galley, where I had installed many of the components of the AC and DC electrical systems.
The AC distribution panel that I installed in this area could support up to three separate circuits. I decided that the first circuit would be dedicated to a single receptacle, and that this single receptacle would be dedicated to the air-conditioner that would sit in the companionway during hot and humid weather.
I had built a special box to house the window-unit style air conditioner that I would use.
On the starboard side of the galley, I had decided to install a battery charger.
This single charger, manufactured by Iota Engineering, would serve both the house battery bank and the reserve battery bank. In the picture below, I am lifting the hinged cover that I built to protect the charger. For more on all of this, see my article, "Electrical, Battery Charger."
Above and below, you might notice that I have taped a white plastic AC receptacle plate to the bulkhead, adjacent to the charger. I did this to give myself a better idea of where exactly I needed to locate both the charger and the AC receptacle in this area. Yes, this Iota 45 charger would run on AC power, and given that it would draw over twice as much power (11 amps) as the air conditioner (5 amps), I decided to dedicate the second circuit of the AC distribution panel entirely to this receptacle.
I began carefully drilling holes in all four corners of the rectangle I had scribed on the bulkhead. I knew there was a cavity of some sort behind the bulkhead. It seemed, from what I could tell, that it might be empty. Nevertheless, I took my time.
Just as I had done before, I continued drilling holes around the perimeter of the rectangle.
This made it easier for me to cut as straight line as possible with the often unwieldy Dremel. The pointed bit that you see is one that is designed specifically for fiberglass-cutting. This bit was essential for many projects on this boat.
There was indeed an empty cavity behind the bulkhead. There was exactly three inches worth of space, just enough for a normal-sized electrical box. Please try to ignore the embarrassing mildew on the bulkhead. At this point in the refitting I had far more to focus on than surface appearances.
I used what is called an "old work" box as opposed to a "new work" box. Old work boxes are designed to slip into existing holes - normally existing holes in residential sheetrock, i.e., drywall partitions. Pay no attention to the wires in the pictures. These are remnants of the old electrical system. I allowed some sections of wire from the old system to remain here and there to give me an idea of how they had originally routed it.
Then I installed the GFCI receptacle into the box, just to see how it all fit together. Notice that I have screwed the box into the bulkhead with stainless steel pan-head screws. Notice also that on the top right and bottom left sides of the box there are empty holes. In these holes there had originally been screws. These screws held small plastic tabs, which normally help to hold old work boxes in place. Since I was dealing not with relatively weak residential drywall, but with a much tougher material - fiberglass - these tabs were unnecessary.
After this, I screwed the stainless steel face plate into place. Not bad looking, I thought, and well-balanced, since the other side of the companionway contained the same type of receptacle in essentially the same location.
This was the easy part. The more challenging part would come with the routing of the wires. That is the subject of the next part of this two-part article.

This ends this posting on the steps I took in the installation of an AC receptacle on the starboard side of the galley in Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

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