|Ye olde main switch.|
Warning: Loads of photos in this one.
I have maintained for some time that the reason I have taken so long to do jobs on Alchemy is that I have felt it critical for the safety and well-being of myself and my family that I understand all the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic devices aboard that I have installed, or have yet to install. Given my utter absence of any sort of practical instruction in such matters, and the fact I never took even rudimentary "shop" class in high school, and that I don't own a car nor did I grow up with greasy hands from repairing them in my parents' driveway, it's been a bit of a slog.
Sometimes, delay is indeed about ignorance or inexperience. Now, I've had plenty of help from friends, professionals and friends who do their boat work at a professional level. I have also not hesitate to contract out work (generally to my own designs and measurements) that I am too inexperienced to do, even if I had the right equipment. The Aquadrive thrust yoke and the engine stringers fall under this category. Other times, however, hold-ups can be about a missing part or parts one needs to do the job correctly. Not that I didn't have a lot of parts at hand to revamp the diesel's 12 volt system:
|Just some of the bounty from the closing of the Dock Shoppe, now reopened as "The Dock Shoppe".|
|This rather nice examples of my crack at "Maine Sail"-quality crimping and heat shrinking technique will be repurposed with the house battery bank. This stuff is too pricy to waste.|
|Blank, long or short-barreled, angled three different ways...who knew? Now, I know.|
|I estimate the "kick" of the current draw of the starter to be about 170 amps. So a 250 amp fuse would've worked|
|Ah, that's more like it.|
Because I wish (in the future) to have "switched flexibility" with my starting options, I had to calculate for starting the engine from my as-yet unbought house bank. Basically, I want to be able to pump amps at specificed voltages into said bank, which, when topped up, will "spill" via relay/echo charger current into a starting battery, which, when full, will not overcharge. But I also wish to have the option, should I experience a failure in the starter battery or circuit, to start the engine from the house bank, or vice-versa. This is actually just the start of a system I hope is robust enough to do the job, but flexible enough via switching to stand unanticipated outages. Because in cruising, unanticipated outages are best anticipated.
|New, beefier main switch means bigger studs, meaning bigger ring terminals...oy.|
|About five bucks per light, and I should get two or three years per doorbell battery, maybe more for infrequently accessed stowage spaces.|
Off to Mississauga I went on my bike to A1 Parts. It's quite a bit what Active Surplus used to be like: chaotic, but they somehow know where slightly obscure ring terminals would be. I got some dandy wee LEDs and assorted holders for my future "open a locker hatch, light goes on" project.
|The labeller has been getting a workout, and so have all the big and little fancy crimpers I've acquired.|
But I digress, even though my legs were getting a decent workout cycling out to Mississauga. That's where all the obscurities are. Now, one of the slightly odd things about my Beta Marine 60 is that it comes in, as with all Betas, evidently, a multiplicity of variants: There are gensets, there are keel-cooled British canal boat diesels, there are several gear box options both mechanical and hydraulic. Betas are known as a basic, decent diesel (made by Kubota) that has been customized for the typical "motor cave" in modern sailboats, which, quite typically, lies under the companionway stairs, which tend to hinge upward. Revealed, the Beta will have the "consumables", the belts, filters, and engine controls, within easy reach, at the front of the engine. That's their charm. I did not require charm, and I got an engine with (for instance) a fuel filter that did not have a priming button, but rather a little device with a tiny priming lever. The diagrams that came with my Beta (and the various manuals I've been able to download) do not precisely match my engine's layout. The fuel intake and return is well aft. There's a mysterious hose. I had to work by feel and extrapolate. You'd think I'd be getting used to this by now.
|The positive post on the starter: this was a process of elimination, really, as it doesn't match the blueprint so well.|
A mirror and a strong light came in handy. Of course, positive and negative posts are differently sized (3/8" and 5/16", or their metric equivalents, of which there is quite a lot on the Beta) and so there were a couple of crimping errors involving 1/16" of an inch.
|That digital caliper/micrometer cost me $9 and I use it a great deal. So, it was a great deal.|
Why worry? Because a tight fit to the post or bolt in question gives maximum conductive surface area, tends to exclude moisture a little better, and is less likely to vibrate freely. It's a steel boat. I wouldn't want these cables in a condition of "full of amps" flopping about.
|Before: As shipped, all that red wire suggests this is the needful place.|
|After: there's a small "blade" type fuse in there that's 40 amps. Guess what I can't find above 30 amps?|
|Slightly out of focus are the various cutting and crimping tools I have been using for some time now. I have yet to regret buying decent tools.|
|It only looks half-assed. It's merely temporary to ge tme moving before haulout.|
|The terminal block with the Fuse of the Gods. And the cover of the Fuse of the Gods.|
|And this was with no fuel supply.|
|The fuel lines are in a somewhat unexpected place, but it's accessible.|
|NOT TO CODE|
|There should be water hitting that water.|
|I've had to get inventive working alone. This is holding the Perko seawater strainer at the precise height I needed to reposition it 2.5 inches lower.|
|About $250 to replace the entire pump. This compares to $450 to replace the Sherwood F-85 pump on my old Westerbeke.|
|Sometimes when you shut down, the crankshaft will reverse a half-revolution, leading to "backwinded vanes"|
The impeller looked OK, but I will probably pull it and keep it as a spare and put in a Globe "Run Dry". As one does.
|That's just hot air, much like this blog.|
So I fired up, briefly, again. Still no water out of the exhaust. Shut down. Ponder. Wonder if there's a blockage in the standpipe. Unscrew the cap. Here the hissing of inrushing air, suggesting a partial vacuum. Ah, of course.
|Looks like a Dalek's gotten into the bilges.|
|LOOK INTO MY DEPTHS AND DESPAIR!|
|Meet the 'plan': a bottle brush on a boat hook|
|And lo, the throughly mixed exhaust moved upon the face of the waters.|
|The author pretending to have another idea.|
|I was too busy remembering how to steer 15 tonnes of inertial mass to over-emote, but this was clearly a big deal.|
|Your correspondent, not entirely visible at the helm. Please ignore the wayward tarp...it's there to cut the heat on an uninsulated metal pilothouse roof. Also ignore the dirt and dust: I'm refitting beside an airport, after all.|
I freely admit that I am pleased with myself and I won't deny it. I may open up the good stuff tonight.