David Parker illuminates the space behind his boat's switch panel with step-by-step instructions on the basic electric installation skills and equipment required for the job
Step-by-step guide to fitting a locker light PLUS a guide to using a multimeter
“Don’t look in there,” he said. We were in front of the wiring locker. The owner selling me my motor boat smiled. He was trying and failing to pass off his comment as banter. I looked, of course – and shut it quickly. I could see what he meant. The tangled array was a sorry sight. The small space was jammed full of multicoloured cables randomly knitted like a barrel full of monkeys had got hold of them. The wiring locker on my boat has always been something of a challenge, but I’m glad to say that much wasteful wiring has now been removed and it’s a lot better now.
However, one job I wish I had prioritised early on was to clear a space to install a decent locker light. Tracing cables is a consuming pastime and the novelty of working with a torch in your mouth wears off after a while, as indeed does the enamel on your teeth. I progressed to using a headlight, then a lead light in the locker, but the fixed light is so much better. When I actually got round to installing, it was a pretty straightforward job. It makes general working in there much easier, but the real reason I did it was that if I should ever have an electric fault then a good light wired directly to the main terminal would hopefully make identifying and curing the fault much quicker.
Various designs of light are available in chandlers and online and while traditional soft glow cabin lights look more attractive on board, here I wanted something practical. Garishly bright would do just nicely, but it needed to be compact too. For this reason I chose an LED Trilite to which I could add additional tubes for greater illumination. But I would advise having a look at the design options if you can; while you can judge output from the specifications, seeing the actual light itself gives a clearer idea of its size and its shape. This helps you decide on how easy or difficult it will be to install in the space you have available. As fitting components go this is a relatively straightforward installation, but the key thing with electrics is to take a systematic approach. Draw a simple wiring diagram and take a bit of time to plan the job to get the detail right.
How I fitted this one is described in the following pages.
Trip the light fantastic: the confluence of wires is less daunting when lit up