Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media 2006-2020. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.


Earthed, wind and fire

Close, but not quite. Annoying, this.
This is a replacement solar panel for the one that fell off the boat a couple of winters ago. It's from the same maker, Kyocera, and it is the same form factor as the other three, but the flange to which the "rivnuts" (or "swage nuts", the terminology seems inexact) are mounted is about one-half inch more narrow than the older panels. The panel is otherwise identical, save that it delivers at peak output five more watts. Of course, the custom-built solar arch has hard-to-drill 1/8" stainless steel mounting tabs welded to the pipes, so I have been presented with a dilemma.
The old bits of tape were used to indicate where the two backstays transit through the arch.
Luckily, the man who is doing other fabrication jobs aboard, was aboard, and suggested we secure the outboard side with rivnuts as planned, and simply make up an aluminum 1/4" thick "tab on a tab" throughbolted to the existing stainless, and then rivnutted (that doesn't look right) from aluminum tab to aluminum frame. Pretty sure I can handle that job, and the galvanic isolation it probably wants doing.

There can be many versions, and I left a phone message today with a couple of further refinement suggestions.
Andrew was visiting the boat for an "as social as possible under the circumstances" reason, as well as further discussion on the fabrication of a pole for the Air-X wind generator I am finally installing to complete our renewable energy scheme, at least from the "watt creating" side.

You don't have to put out the red light...
Speaking of wind, I installed a Caframo "Maestro" 12 VDC fan in the galley. This involved drilling, wire-stripping, crimping, heat-shrinking and circuit-chasing, this time in the galley's DC subpanel. The fan has a bright white LED and a dim, red one, good for evenings, and its speed is controlled by a simple rheostat that clicks off.
I put in a little rocker switch, seen to the left of the pair of wires. The mounting plate of the propane sensor with necessary 3/4" hole for the mass of its leads is below.
Unfortunately, the rheostat appears worked on the test run, in which I provisionally wire together the circuit to check for flaws before I dog down everything and drill multiple holes, and the light switch works fine, but it's "always on full" when attached to the terminal strips. I mean, I could turn it off, along with all the cabin lights forward, from the main DC panel, but that's just awkward. So I put in a little rocker switch from A1 Electronics on North Queen (25 cents, probably) and it works fine now. Still full on, but now with added off.
Yes, it works. I have a propane torch nearby for test purposes.
Mounting the new propane sniffer/alarm was a touch more involved as it required a hole through the cabinet (and cutting down some trim pieces and a hole through the bottom of the cabinet so that the sensor lead could go down to the front of the stove near foot level, where propane is likely to "flow" if we had a leak of it. Those wires will be cleaned up and mounted neatly later.

It's becoming a busy time. Eight days until it's home again.


It's alive, again...

Just a brief one today. As part of the Drive to Reboard, 2020, we do the annual Tightening of the Hose Clamps. This is an exercise in preventive maintenance, as it claps eyes on our stainless steel hose clamps that keep the hoses on the dozens of barbs...which keep the water out of the boat...and which aren't always as stainless nor as clamped as we would prefer.

This consists of issuing to my wife and myself two socket wrenches and three (7, 8 and 9mm) sockets and methodically crawling about the boat tightening and peering, sometimes with headlamps, to Suss Out Current Events. Special attention is given to below the waterline (BTW) points, where the stakes are a little higher (and the boat, lower) should a clamp or two fail to keep hoses in place before the crew notices an issue or hears the bilge pump cycling. We also have a chance to examine these areas for corrosion or even paint fatigue, and apply touch-ups before problems occur.

Apart from the obvious areas of standpipe-related seacocks and galley drains, there are quite a few points on the engine (exhaust fittings, waterlock muffler, fuel supply and return, oil filter setup, etc.) that need to be assessed and serviced. Some of those, like an oil or coolant change, were done last fall and the need to do them again will depend on hours put on the engine this season. Others are simply "as needed"...for instance, there's a "calorifier" setup whereby we can get hot water to a sort of wall-mounted kettle that provides us with heated water from our tanks...that's been a relatively low priority we can do at dock some time in the next month.

So, about a hundred clamps (not an exaggeration) later, we felt it was time to fire up the engine to clear out the winter coolant. Gratifyingly, the Beta Marine 60 fired up immediately and the cooling circuit worked as it was meant to. Huzzah! Please pardon the dusty's on the to-clean list.