Macwester Malin heads refit – part three

May 12, 2016

Light switch solder

I was disappointed by the clunky marine products available having searched online for small, high-quality light switch suitable for our Macwester Malin. In the end I opted for a non-marine 19mm stainless steel latched momentary switch with an integral illuminated ring. It took me a while (days) to fathom out how to wire the switch up, as there are five connections on the reverse. After much testing, hair-pulling, and googling I figured it out. Hurrah.

Then after spending some time on YouTube, I tried my hand at soldering for the very first time. I bought a battery-powered soldering iron for about a tenner on the line. There were substantially more powerful mains-powered alternatives for a couple of pounds more, but I reasoned that I didn’t need anything more than a low-power, low-use solution …and that I could do the job (and less damage) with the battery-powered ‘Daler’ that I opted for.

It worked well, and my soldering was effective and robust …if a bit agricultural.

Wiring junction boxes finished

The wiring for the lights was pretty complicated for a novice like me, but I took the time to work out what was required in terms of components and eventually it all made sense when I looked beyond the heaps of cable and connectors. The cabin lights in the forepeak were always a nuisance as they were on the same circuit as the main cabin, meaning that the main cabin lights had to be on to use the forepeak lights. I took the opportunity to run a new [tinned] cable from the main switch board to allow the forepeak lights to operate independently. In terms of the installation process, I made all of the wiring long enough to enable the wiring work to happen outside the cupboard prior to installing it in its final location.

When it’s finished, the heads light switch will illuminate when the lights are turned on, with a concealed LED strip at waist height and floor lighting. There’s also a small window and air vent which provide natural light.

Blakes Lavac air bleed valve

Once I had cracked the electrics, I test fitted the hoses. The inlet hose shown above is 19mm sanitation grade hose. I used blue tape to mark where the Blakes Lavac Popular bleed valve would be situated while it was up at its highest point, then brought the hose back out to drill the 5mm hole and insert the small plastic bleed plug. The shot above shoes the bleed plug in-situ, before the hose was returned to its final installation location at the top of the cupboard.

Blakes Lavac Popular pump hoses

With such a tight space to work in, as with the wiring and inlet hose, I ended up assembling the outlet cables to the pump outside the cupboard. I needed to heat the hose to get it to fit on to the pump unit and there’s no way I would have been able to do this at arm’s length in a dark space with some of the components out of sight. The image above shows the pump orientation as it will sit inside the cupboard of our Macwester Malin, with the hose on the left rising from the toilet (out), and the hose on the right looping upwards and then back down to the seacock (out).

Are we there yet?


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