Given the number of electronic devices that end up aboard, it is only a matter of time that you decide that you need another distribution panel. Also for monitoring battery charger, battery status, and inverter operation it is critical that a location be dry and near your components to avoid running wire all over the boat.
The space above the chart table is perfect located above the inverter, battery charger and batteries. It can be seen from the majority of the cabin area, and uses space that would otherwise go to waste. There is about four inches of space between the top of the chart table and the bottom of the panel to allow the table to fully lifted up to have access inside.
This board used for the panel is solid teak, 3/4 inches thick and approximately 38 inches long. I left space on the board for additional items to be added on it later (to the right.) It is best to lay all your components that need to be on the board before cutting the length, which is what I did minimizing the amount of wasted space.
The board is attached to the shelf using screws from the top through the shelf. I drilled the holes for the screws from the bottom and then put them in from the top using a 90 degree screw driver. To help the screws go in easier, I predrilled pilot holes into the top of the mounting board. After the board is initially hung you can measure the board for the end to close the forward end of the panel. This would be best done using thin teak plywood, but I used more of the 3/4 inch material which I had left over. I joined the two pieces with a 90 degree aluminum corner which screws from the inside. To give the unit a little more stability a wooden block is mounted on the aft bulkhead with screws. The board is fastened to the block with three screws from the front side. By using screws all around the entire board can be removed in a few minutes to allow access to work on the back of the panel to modify the wiring. (Having a fair number of screws to remove also discourages me from adding or changing things on the board without thinking it out first.)
To cut out the holes for the panel, switches and displays I simply laid the inverted component on the board and lightly draw a perimeter of it. I then estimate how much material should be removed insuring that I leave space inside this perimeter of the outside edge. It is not an exact science since the hold will not be visible. To cut the holes I predrilled as much of the hole out as possible using the largest size bit possible and then worked with keyhole saw and chisel to finish up.
On the board I have mounted from left to right, inverter remote display, Link 10 battery monitor, 3 breaker distribution panel, Rule bilge pump switches and the battery charger remote display unit.
Who knows what will go on it next?