As was common with all ships built around the 1960's, the MS Freyr was originally equipped with DC electrical systems throughout the ship. It was only when Radio Caroline aquired the Ross Revenge in 1981 that major AC electrical modifications were required to facilitate modern day electrical appliances and the stations`broadcasting equipment.
The ships original DC electrical systems were centered around the engine room Main DC Switchpanel (pictured left), and to some extent this is still the case today. As you can see from the vast array of rotary switches and circuit breakers just about everything was energised and isolated from this panel.
In addition to supplying all of the local engine room plant and machinery, the main switchpanel provided power to a host of sub-distribution boards located around the ship. With exception to a few DC distribution boards, namely the Crew Cabins | Bridge Distribution Board and Engineers Workshop, the majority of the original sub-distribution boards have now been taken out of service.
Whilst the front of the panel provided a safe working environment for the ships engineers, the rear of the panel left a lot to be desired - caged with exposed live conductors. Pictured right are the panels 600A blade switches housed within asbestos flash guards.
Unlike AC electrical generator systems where consideration needs to be made for sychronising speed and phases before they can be connected together, the ships DC electrical design allowed for multiple supplies to be connected to common essential and non-essential busbars. Taking a closer look at the panel you can see that whilst the panel appeared as one unit it was in fact made up of 7 separate sections, five of which were each fed by independent DC supplies.
The main switchpanel, together with the DC sub-distribution boards were manufactured in 1959 by Rudolph Schultze and installed early 1960. The fact that these panels are still operating without issues almost 60 years later is testamount to the great German engineering of that time.
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