Tank Management and Pump Control

This last weekend I started working on the first control panel for the engine room. This panel will have the bilge pump controls and tank monitoring functions.

Cutting the panel from plywood

Rather than have a gauge for each and every tank, I am using a couple of these units (from WEMA) that can monitor up to seven tanks with one gauge. There are seven selector buttons that can be programmed to indicate fuel, water or waste levels. An optional feature is the unit can activate an alarm when a fuel tank nears empty or a waste tank nears full. I have more than seven tanks, and there are two more waste tanks yet to be installed, so there are two of these units for monitoring up to fourteen tanks total. There will be a couple monitoring circuits left over.

Two multiple tank monitors

Also on the panel are the controls for the bilge pumps. In the picture, the top left and top right are pairs of switches for the aft and forward bilge pumps. One switch for the crash pump, one for the dry pump, fore and aft.

Bilge pump switches above the tank monitors.

I still have to place some more switches on the panel, hence the wide spaces between the devices. The panel has hinges so can be unbolted from the top and hinged down to easily get at the wiring.

Opened to get at wiring. Still need some bits to help manage wires.

This is a “test” panel, made from quarter inch plywood, to determine if I have the right electrical bits to do a nice and tidy installation. It is also a test to determine the best layout for all the switches and stuff. I since discovered that I am out of some primary wire and butt connectors. The final panel will be cut from plastic laminated half inch plywood.

Ultimately, I will be monitoring tanks electronically via the (future) NMEA 2000 network. The analog gauges will provide a backup. It is behind this panel where the NMEA interfaces will be placed to connect to the tank sending units.

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