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2014-06-05

Incrementalisms

The nature of my work demands my presence at a home office, and while this is a far more amenable setup for me and my anti-social tendencies than in an office, which I gave up at the end of the 20th century, it does mean I occasionally have less time to do boat jobs than I would prefer. Take yesterday: I couldn't leave the house until 1430h, leaving about four hours to play with before dinner and family time would call me back to shoreside. So instead of tackling some of the remaining, if time-eating, engine jobs, I thought to do some small things. I have to do them sometime, and it's better than sitting at home awaiting developments.

The pilot berth is the "before" shot. Actually, there are items visible that are getting installed next.
I tidied up my bits and pieces locker, which contains various small tools and designated plastic boxes labelled "plumbing bits", "self-adhering tape and electrical tape" and "marine-grade wire". And so on. I've found smallish tackle boxes and similar plastic tool boxes (many of which have been salvaged and repaired by myself) a logical way to parse order from chaos in the boat bits biz. I was driven to this some years ago when I had to tear apart Valiente looking for a flaring tool. Well, that tool is now in the black box with the green painter's tape. The action of labelling is, for me, the act of remembering. Wouldn't be the first paradox I've encountered in this process.

Relatively robust plastic box: $2 at Active Surplus. Skinny gaps are prevalent aboard, and slotting things like this between bigger tool boxes reduces movement and chafe. Or so I hope.
Removing an elderly nuts and bolts set of plastic drawers to a more prominent position (which I had to do as I couldn't access "BRASS SCREWS" without hazardously lifting the whole five-kilo mess free of the locker) made space I could use. I've noticed as I've been ramping up the electrical work that I use the above four tools (two kinds of crimpers, a really nice Ideal wire stripper and my beloved $9 used Klein cutters) in conjunction, and so it made sense to pack them together instead of leaving them on the helm or hanging from a clamp. And lo, they fit into something I'm guessing held Internet installing tools in the '90s, and which cost a few coins.


The recently acquired Powerpole spares have come in handy for the various test leads and runs I'm doing that have to be disconnectable. This includes the fairly considerable runs that go through the pilothouse roof. At some point, I will be laying down spacers to isolate the aluminum from the steel frame, and I'll be sealing the flange from water ingress with a combination of HDPE spacers used as bushings and washers,  EPDM rubber stripping and good ol' butyl tape. The new Tricrimper, by the way, is giving me great results in a way that the otherwise fine Ancor crimper was not.

A little loud in more than one sense, but surprisingly effective.
One of the reasons I like our new Standard Horizon GX-2200 is that it has a number of secondary functions that I am actually likely to use beyond the usual "VHF and AIS" functions I've already mentioned.  One such function is the PA/Fog Horn. Above is pictured a 7.5 watt/8 ohm "PA/talkback" horn I got at the closing of Kromer Radio a couple of years back, again, for a handful of coins. While I've already ordered the "official" PA/Fog Horn from Standard Horizon, I thought to see if I could get this working, despite the impedence difference. Let's say I wasn't planning on alerting the fleet.

Well, it works, all right. While I had to be careful with output levels and the inevitable feedback, I was able with this antique to both use it as a reasonable PA and to hear the variety of sound signals the GX-2200 is able to produce. I've sailed in fog, and my wife or son is quite accustomed to standing on the bow with an airhorn of some description even in clear weather, as we've encountered kayakers emerging from behind seawalls before. Andnot only is the ability to make sound signals mandatory, I think it's useful to be able to make yourself audible in tight situations or to unlit and unbeaconed vessels, such as fishing boats. Again, this is a situation I've had before, where I've heard someone (in bright fog) and have narrowly avoided a collision. The GX-2200 will run AIS and fog signals simultaneously, which is also a plus. Anyway, even temporarily wired, the thing works, and it was a little odd "listening" to the outside noises in "talkback mode".  I would imagine I'll use this particular speaker for intercom or external speaker use, like to hear Ch. 16 if I go below decks. What is interesting to me these days is how items I essentially purchased "on spec" are now actually getting installed. Yay for me.

Who doesn't like red balls?
The old black one cracked and fell off. The new one is more lurid. Something similar will eventually show up on the outside helm. Dual levers are more "powerboaty", I think.
 
Not seen: a bag of Power Lugs. Seen: $1 LED sticky lights for the underside of locker lids and so on.
This is the MaineSail-recommended FTZ battery lug crimper. As mentioned in the last post, a lot of luggery is approaching, and this is the right tool. It took some time to source.

Squint and all is revealed.

The legend on the labels gives guidance on the die settings. Seems pretty straightforward, but then I've been trying to get this one right, as the ability to make up my own cables in as conductive a manner as is possible is important to me...and important to keeping my expensive batteries content, if that's a term one applies to lead plates in an acid bath.

Crimp, rotate lug 90 degrees, and crimp again. That'll never come off, or so it is hoped.
The dies are coded and rotate in order to make a crimp tight enough, if done correctly, to exclude moisture ingress, to mechanically bond to the conduit, and to make the electrons within think "I didn't even notice I was leaving that battery!"  And these and some other little and less photogenic jobs made up my late afternoon.  I also met my new dock neighbours, Kris and Jenny, of the Mumm 36 Ace, mentioned in this blog which appears to be written by one of their crew. Now, I've never seen a Mumm 36, although I've seen plenty of Mumm 30s (there are several at our club), but it looks like a pretty hot sled, especially from the early '90s. Let's just say that the contrast between Ace and Alchemy is pretty obvious, but while I appreciate and enjoy a well-built race boat, I know what I prefer to take offshore.

The next-dock neighbour's ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoYV0T6lhDE 
Don't know why it's failing to embed!

2 comments:

Silverheels III said...

Ha! Nice crimper indeed! Keep a checklist when crimping large battery cables. After 1-1/2 years I yanked on one of ours and the wire came off. Further inspection showed a neatly installed cable inside the lug, insulated with adhesive heatshrink sleeving but NO CRIMP!!! Gee Doctor, sorry but IthinkImustaleftaspongeinsidehtepatient !

Rhys said...

Good advice as always, Ken. I do the recommended "double crimp" in which I make a crimp near the flared end, rotate the piece 90 degrees and make a second crimp. Then I do the same thing closer to the barrel end. Then I do the heat shrink. Then I pull on everything because I'm paranoid and inexperienced. That tool is the bomb, however: I have done about a dozen lugs so far and it's gotten to the point where the results look good. May I ask what made you think to yank on the battery cable in the first place? Were you getting signs of a partial disconnection?