Compass Marine: Installing a battery monitor & much, much more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 4, 2012

I've long been meaning to give a hearty shout out to a slightly odd site called Compass Marine. What's odd is that the author -- RC Collins, an ABYC certified marine electrical technician and sailor -- is using an online database designed for photographers to create excellent how-to articles on subjects like Installing a Battery Monitor. But once you get used to the captioned illustration format, I think you'll be amazed. As suggested in the screen shot above, RC built a demo 12v power system so he could photo illustrate the Victron BMV-602S installation to near perfection, and he even annotates some of his photos to further make his points. This amount of work is not trivial. Collins could use a copy editor (me too!), but he really knows his stuff and he goes to extraordinary lengths to explain what he knows...

A favorite Compass Marine entry of mine is titled Marine Wire Termination. You'll find more valuable detail on crimpers and crimped terminals than anywhere else I know of, and toward the end Collins proves the strength of his preferred adhesive-lined type by hanging anchors totalling about 95 pounds on a 12 guage butt connector. This is boat wiring geek fun! 
   There are many more interesting entries at Compass Marine, and Collin's how-to expertise extends well beyond electrical topics to rebuilding thru-hull fittings, winterizing water systems, re-bedding deck hardware, and much more. You can also see his Sailing Photography here. Yes, RC is a Mainer, and anyone with a boat near Portland should probably consider him for electrical work. I'm hoping he'll move his content to a web site that supports better formatting, higher res photos, and maybe some advertising revenue that might encourage to post more frequently. In the meantime, the only way to thank RC for sharing as much as he has so well is with a donation.



+1 Ben

RC, aka Compass Marine, aka Maine Sail, aka MaineCruising has generously (& meticulously) shared his knowledge with the marine community across sailnet and youTube

Glad to see him getting recognition from you on your blog!

Posted by: Ted Arisaka at January 4, 2012 10:34 PM | Reply

Ben, good on you for publicizing RC's great web site. His entry on stuffing box repacking was a great help to me the first time we did that job on our Nordhavn (even if our shaft diameter is a bit larger than his).

But it's certainly true that his content, while very deep, isn't easy to find; the site doesn't seem to have much Google "juice." Hopefully your post will help improve that.


Posted by: Adam at January 5, 2012 1:26 AM | Reply

Excellent choice Ben, to highlight Rodd's great DIY/info site.

One of the nice things about making such detailed info available publicly is that it may give some prospective DIY types pause before getting into trouble. Sometimes (often?) it's better to just hire the guy who obviously knows what he's doing...;-)

Posted by: Oceanplanet at January 5, 2012 8:54 AM | Reply


Thanks for the kind words! I'm always glad people can actually find my site and do read it. I do need a copy editor as I am NOT a writer by any stretch. I also need to upgrade my site into the 17th century at least. I am working on that.

As for higher res images if you click on any of the photos on my pages they will go to full resolution.

Again, thanks for the kind words.

RC Collins
Compass Marine Inc.

P.S. This is the real "crimper geekery"...

Posted by: RC Collins / Maine Sail at January 5, 2012 5:29 PM | Reply

RC really knows his stuff. He is also about half the hourly rate of any boatyard and he will do twice the quality job. And he comes to your boat.

Posted by: Tkronaboat at January 5, 2012 7:41 PM | Reply

AMP 59239-4-P - do they really cost $1,100?

Posted by: HenryD in reply to RC Collins / Maine Sail at January 5, 2012 9:31 PM | Reply

This is a great site. So glad to see it featured here.

I have used the articles on glass repair with great success, and really appreciated the recommendations for crimping tools and crimping techniques.

Posted by: Dan Corcoran (b393capt) at January 5, 2012 9:36 PM | Reply

I am, and countless others are, greatly indebted to Maine Sail for all of the posts that he has made at Sailnet, and His comparative analysis of LED Lighting is better than anything that I have seen in any of the sailing magazines. Through his post I learned how to correctly install through hulls with backing plates. I am very glad to see that his work is being recognized outside of the "sailing community."

If I recall, however, he goes to some effort to not reveal his identity because of an incident in the past. I understand this, and have tried to respect his privacy.

Ben, you may want to edit some of the posts here if you are able.

Posted by: Ed Herlihy at January 5, 2012 9:49 PM | Reply

Ed, I think now that he has gone full time with his business, he has accepted the fact that his identity will be known. No more glasses for Clark Kent!

Posted by: tkronaboat in reply to Ed Herlihy at January 6, 2012 9:41 AM | Reply

Is it possible to join you by mail Mr. RC Collins ?

Posted by: Benoit in reply to RC Collins / Maine Sail at January 8, 2012 5:14 PM | Reply

Benoit, RC's email is at the top of his Compass Marine site:

Posted by: Ben in reply to Benoit at January 8, 2012 6:06 PM | Reply

arf... thanks I hadn't looked out there

Posted by: Benoit at January 8, 2012 6:37 PM | Reply

I have been reading Panbo just for the last several months and find it very useful. I found it interesting that you post about compass marine here as I had recently done the same type of post on clubsearay as seen above.

I really like the compass marine info. I have often sent links from his site to other people if I get a question about something.


Posted by: John at January 9, 2012 2:21 PM | Reply

My battery has been dying for what appears to be no reason and I have been looking for some clear instructions on how to install a monitor to help me diagnose some of the issues, this is by far the best most clear concise article for doing this project, Thanks!

Posted by: Scratched Windows at February 27, 2012 9:05 AM | Reply

As a fellow ABYC member and journeyman marine electrician (union), I heartily endorse this site. The information is accurate and invaluable. Major Kudos!

Posted by: David at May 29, 2012 11:14 PM | Reply

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