We needed a 12 volt DC distribution panel for SV Rad Mode. After considering constructing our own panel and pricing out items for this panel, it became clear that (considering the time, cost of equipment, and our inexperience in such things) it would be best for us to go with a pre-made panel from a company with a good reputation.
So about a week ago, I started asking people I knew in the sailing community which company if they could recommend if any. By name, Blue Sea got more recommendations than any other company.
I began the search after creating an Excel spreadsheet that laid out our current and future needs for a distribution panel and the 13 position panel with the analog meters not only seemed the best bang for the buck but also had enough switches to help make SV Rad Mode what we wanted her to be.
We purchased the panel from Amazon for right around $417 dollars, which was quite a bit lower than the MSRP and Westmarine’s price. I looked for a good bit and it was the cheapest I could find it. It came well packed and my initial impression when pulling it out of the box was that this was certainly a good, quality piece of equipment.
The panel seems very well constructed and has a solid, durable feel to it. There is great consistency in the feel of all of the switches and the panel had a clean layout. The size of it, I want to say it’s about 7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″, would be perfect in the space we’d chosen to place it and would leave plenty of room for any other thing I might want to put in the same bulkhead in the future.
The instructions are pretty clear for someone like myself that does have some experience with 12V DC systems but not tons. Also, everything on the panel was labelled in a clear manner. I found that really great. Another thing that I noticed was that not only was my panel inspected and and tagged by someone named “Rick M” but pretty much everything on the panel was stamped by their quality assurance people. Wow. You don’t often see that these days and I was impressed by Blue Sea’s desire to go above and beyond what you normally see. It also came with a 50A fuse that was not listed as included with the panel.
There was only one thing I could find wrong with the panel and that was a slight chip that was starting to form out of the upper right corner of the panel. I beat everything up that I own so there was no sense in making a fuss of it.
Even considering the blemish, this panel seems very much worth the money and I’m looking forward to installing it on SV Rad Mode and getting the boat operational! I’ll most likely follow up review this item once it’s seen regular use for at least a year but given Blue Sea System’s reputation and the apparent quality of this product, I have no doubt that it will meet my expectation. It’s always great to have confidence in a product from the moment it was placed in your hands.
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