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2016-09-27

Better light than never


Now capable of sailing, motoring, bilge pumping and beer cooling.
This is a recent, if dim (because I shot it just after sunset) picture of S/V Alchemy. Plenty has been going on, but not much of it is visible in this shot. I just thought the absence of the Mumm 36 one slip over was a good chance to get a profile shot without deploying the Portabote. The most recent round of DC-side improvements, which will conclude with a new start battery and the installation of an ACR, have progressed with a notable lack of magic smoke, for which Mrs. Alchemy and Cabin Boy are presumably grateful.
 
Of course, I still work for a living and have other duties. This is Craig Lahmer, a member of the mooring committee and a diver whose job it is to inspect the chains and related subsurface gear in our mooring field. I tend to drive the workboat from which he deploys, and the weeds he bears amused me one recent morning. But back to business. This is the house bank state of charge after a day off shore power. Not bad.
That tiny "AC input" merits further study. The AC side charger breaker is off here, so why 0.8 A?
Yes, there was a load: Our NovaKool fridge was on for 24 hours. Yep, we have beer and pop and cold water. The head's working again, too, but hey...priorities.
Cheapo temperature sensors are surprisingly useful aboard. The fridge part of the top-loading reefer reads 32F, so I turned it down.

The freezer portion read 14F, really, that's overkill. It's now cycling less frequently.
Cursory readings of just the charger panel (as I have yet to install the amp-hour usage meter) suggest three to four-amp draws when the boat's pretty toasty, such as 33C. That's fine. Real-life usage will differ and will dictate if more insulation is required.
Another long-anticipated change is the shifting of tools from the aft cabin to the workshop, you know, in case one day we'd care to actually sleep in there. The bungees are provisional and "good enough for Lake Ontario" in terms of keeping that box still, but I plan on installing fiddles and tensioned strapping to guarantee lack of undesirable movement.
Yeah, the worklight was fun and all, but I've wanted "general engine bay illumination" for ages.

Another improvement: a 12 VDC LED floodlight in the engine bay. The leads run back to a dedicated breaker (I still have several spares) and make a difference, particularly at night. Not pictured is a new "unswitched" DC subpanel to which the bilge pump leads have been run; the fridge and the bilge pump are now permanently on, unless switched off at the device itself. The bilge pump control panel is now above the LED flood light on the aft bulkhead of the engine bay and is accessible, if needed, from a removable panel under the lowest companionway stair in the pilothouse.

Speaking of lighting, I took a couple of hours to chase down the various dusty conduits for Alchemy's nav lights. Evidently, I found them:

Proper wiring determined through "no, no, YES! RED!" from the dock.
The lights are a new Lunasea trilight/anchor combo, with which I am well pleased, and Aqua Signal 41s, 25 watt fixtures. Technically, our LOD is 39 feet, 11 inches, or a few millimetres short of the 12 metres that demand that size of nav light, but it's no sin to be visible.

 The stern light was never disconnected, and proved to be intact.
 The two pilothouse-side lights both had dead bulbs: I had a 10 W spare of the right base...
...and a 25 W spare for the starboard side. I am so going to 25 watt-equivalent LEDs for these...they draw just three watts.
The steaming light is intact, too. The deck lights are blown or loose...which troubles me not. We have a couple of sailing things planned before haulout and the days are now fewer than 12 hours long: we needed working nav lights.
As if the Lancaster flying over wasn't enough...
 And sail again, we have. JOY!
Felt good.
It's not much of a change, but it's considerably deeper.

After we haul, I want to confirm the "bus bar performance" theory posted (heh) here. I've never heard of it, but it makes a sort of sense.








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