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Old 19-05-2011, 16:54   #46
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

They work! The ABT service tech arrived at 8:00 sharp and first did a visual inspection. I have to brag a little - he commented to my wife that most professional installations don't look as good - so we passed inspection. The only thing he adjusted was to reposition one hydraulic hose a little bit to provide more certain clearance as the cylinder moves through its full swing.

Working through and testing everything, he found a low fluid alarm that was stuck on. It's a float mechanism, and sometimes it gets stuck during shipping. A little shaking freed it up.

He also found a pressure sensor that wasn't reading properly, but was able to bypass it for the sea trial.

Then we were off to test things out. It was pretty foggy, and I was having trouble configuring my radar (it's a new system and I haven't figured out how it works yet), but we had 1-2 miles visibility so we continued on. The harbor was empty except for two coast guard patrol boats doing exercises. There is a station right here, so they are out all the time.

We did a couple of runs up and down the outer harbor at different speeds so he could calibrate everything, then we headed outside to try things out. All in all it was a pretty calm day, but we were able to pick up some 2-3 ft side swells and the system certainly works. It hold the boat nice an flat, and you can clearly tell the different between when they are on and off.

Once back at dock, the tech dug into the pressure sensor problem and concluded that a replacement part was needed. It's being overnighted to us and he'll install it tomorrow and finish up. This is great customer service. He's leaving no stone unturned, and staying as long as it takes to get everything working properly.

From here, there are just a few odds and ends to finish up. I had a stainless plate cut to properly mount the oil cooler and that needs to be drilled and installed. I also have a couple of hoses and cable bundles that need to be secured in a few places, but I think that's it. Oh yes, one other thing - I need to add ground bonding wires to the actuators. Can't forget that.
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Old 19-05-2011, 17:03   #47
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

Wow! Don't doubt that there are a lot of us following this install.
Oh, and very nice work!
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Old 20-05-2011, 08:31   #48
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

Awesome!

There is nothing like getting a compliment from a pro!

Don't forget to keep posting the follow ups. I am bookmarking this thread for the future.

-dan
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Old 20-05-2011, 16:06   #49
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

As is typical at the end of a project (at least for me), there is always one more thing to do. So I don't get discouraged, I'll just talk about the one LESS thing I have to do as I pick off the final details.

The comissioning is complete and the few issues sorted out. The replacement part arrived at 8:00am today and was installed in short order. That fixed one issue, but surfaced another which after some troubleshooting turned out to be a bad plug end on one of the cables. After swapping the plug, everything worked fine.

After the ABT guy left, I finished up the mounting plate for the cooler. My local shop cut the plate, but I had to drill it and file all the edges smooth. The cooler is now all secured.
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Old 23-05-2011, 18:02   #50
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

And now, for the bottom line.

I'm sure a number of people are curious how the costs shaped up for this project. I haven't kept an exact accounting, but I think I can nail it within a $1000.

First, Here's the breakdown for out of pocket costs, i.e. everything except my labor:


Hull modifications and reinforcement $8,500 ZF transmission PTO kit $600 Glendinning relay interlock kit $300 Hydraulic hoses & misc $1,200 Misc supplies, awlgrip, interprotect, epoxy $1,000 Equipment from ABT $30,000 Total $41,600
The biggest cost was the equipment itself at about $30k. Collectively, the installation cost $11,600. The biggest installation cost was the hull work. If we had not needed to relocate a stringer section, I expect this cost would have been 1/2 to 1/3, but you would either have to get really lucky to not face a similar challenge, or have a much bigger boat with larger spaces available. The hydraulic hoses were a bit less than I had estimated, coming in at about $70 each where I had expected $100. The Awlgrip and Interprotect are very expensive, especially after you get all the extra potions to thin, activate, clean, etc., accounting for about half of the $1000 of misc supplies.

My labor is harder to value, both because I didn't keep track of it, but also because I was doing everything for the first time and hence taking a lot more time than I'd expect someone who's done this before. Regardless, here's what I think is a reasonable estimate.

The project took 6 weeks of elapsed time. Some of those weeks I only worked a day or two, and others I worked 7 days. I'd say on average I worked 4 days a week. Some days I worked 8 hrs, but others I got in no more than 3-4 hrs of productive time. On average I think it's fair to say I worked 6 hrs per day. Running the math on that I put in 144 hrs.

If it took me 144 hrs bumbling along with a lot of head scratching, I'd expect an experienced installer to do the job in 80-120 hrs. A couple of installers told me 1 week for two guys which supports the 80 hr number. At $100/hr, that's $8,000 to $12,000 in labor. Let's pick $10,000 as the mid point.

If an installer had offered to do the installation job for $21,600 (my out of pocket installation costs plus $10,000 in labor), I probably would have hired them. But the best proposal I got was $25k, and I still needed to do the hull work, so the total would have been $33,500.

Looking at it another way, buy doing the job myself rather than paying $25k to someone else, I got paid $152/hr for my 144 hrs of time. That's not a bad rate for bumbling around, getting to know my boat inside and out, and gaining the satisfaction of a job that I know is well done. I'm glad the project is done, and I have no regrets doing it myself.

So there you have it. Yesterday I finished securing all the hydraulic lines and the couple of dangling cables. All that's left are teh bonding wires and today I picked up the wire ends that I needed to finish that last piece off.

Now it's time for some cruising!
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Old 30-05-2011, 15:58   #51
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

I'm ready to declare them done!

All the wires are dressed up, the hydraulic lines are sheethed where they contact another surface, and the bonding wires are all installed.

Today we went out for a few hours and had a better chance to see how they work across a variety of seas. It wasn't particularly rough, but we had several opportunities to get into some swells from a variety of different angles. At one point I turned them off to see the difference. The boat got rolling pretty good as we plugged along at 5 kts or so, then I turned them back on. The boat flattened right out and stayed that way. I couldn't be more pleased with the results.
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Old 30-05-2011, 16:09   #52
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

Congratulations on a job very well done and thanks for posting this wonderful thread. Happy cruising.
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Old 27-07-2011, 18:29   #53
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

I've got a couple hundred miles on the stabilizers now and thought I'd report back on how they are working. I'm happy to report I'm still thrilled with the results and the performance. We've been out in a wide variety of seas, the worst being around 4-6 ft. We've had lots of opportunities with head seas, following seas, and quarter seas. With few exceptions, the boat just runs flat - that's all there is to it.

The other day I figured out how to get our roll displayed on the Maretron display and can now actually put some numbers to it. Under most conditions the boat won't roll more than 1-2 deg in either direction. The worst I saw was 5 deg, and that was with a really difficult side sea. With the stabilizers off, I was seeing 12-15 deg rolls. In this worst case situation they are taking around 70% of the roll out, and I'd say under typical conditions they take 95% of the roll out.

Mechanically, things are also going well. There is no sign of leakage, either water or hydraulic fluid. I do have a small ooze from one of the raw water pipe fittings at the oil cooler, but it's almost non-extent so I'm planning to deal with it over the winter.

Speaking of the cooler, the hottest I've seen the hydraulic fluid is 100F, and the starboard engine (the one providing the cooling water and running the hydraulic pump) operates within 1-2 deg of the port engine and so far the max temp I've seen is 172F. From all this I'm comfortable that the extra power load and cooling load are just fine.

Happy Camper and I.
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Old 28-07-2011, 12:57   #54
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

Awesome.

And thanks so much for the report back. That's a valuable part of the write-up.

-dan
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:57   #55
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Now I am back to Singapore after a long break to Denmark.

We have not ourselves had enough time to test our Grand Banks 47EU since we had the GB factory to refit Trac Star Stabilizers.

We recognise however your enthusiasm on the effectiveness of the system. We have had a bit of shake at low speed. We have had a few parameters changed which helped. I shall revert later once we have had more time to try.

What is your observation with regards to lost speed and increased fuel consumption?

I added a few photos on our homepage www.askaer.com from a wonderful cruising in Copenhagen on a factory new GB47 - look at the blog. Kind regards
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:49   #56
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

Hello Heine,

Sorry I didn't see your post here until today.

Yes, at very low speed it does occasionally feel like the boat just got a gentle bump. But my fins only go active when the engines are in forward gear which means a minimum of about 4 kts of headway. I noticed the bumps when we were commissioning the system at the dock and the interlocks that halt the system while stationary were disabled. The fins were responding to boat movement, but there was no water flow over the fins so they were not having much effect. But on an otherwise still boat, you could clearly feel them twitching.

You have the stabilization at rest feature which I don't, so if you are experiencing it at low speed or at anchor, it may just be an artifact of that capability.

Also, there is some different feel to the boat while underway, but I've always attributed it to the fins doing their job, and don't even notice it anymore. I liken it the odd feel of any boat that you are operating for the first, but after a few rides it all becomes natural.

As for speed loss, ABT predicted 0.5 kts top speed loss. I don't have very reliable data because

1) There was different loading (as in fuel and water) for the various measurements I've taken

2) My GPS speed readings typically fluctuate +- 0.5 kts to over a kt depending on sea conditions, so I estimate an average.

The result of all this is that I probably can't measure a difference of 0.5 kts which tells you how important a loss it is. But if I had to guess (which I'm happy to do), I'd say I lost between 1/4 and 1/5 kt. Now that's off cruise speed of 20+ kts where the drag will be at it's max. At displacement speeds I'd say there is no loss, and my measurements might even suggest there is a gain.

All the same applies to fuel consumption. The bottom line with both is that I think any losses are insignificant.

Nice pictures from Denmark!
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:20   #57
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Dear Twistedtree:

Great to hear from you. You are absolutely right that the boat acts differently in the sea not least due to the counter balance movements by the fins. I am very impressed on their effectiveness. My observations are however that I am 1-2 kts slower, that the fuel consumption is up by perhaps 0,5 liter per Nm and with more noise in the cabins while activated. They work fantastic at rest and we have succeeded to remove the shake at low speed (5-6 knots). I have not had any other issues and I am very pleased with the result overall.

That let me move on to another question that perhaps you may be able to address. In fact I wanted originally to install the Seakeeper Gyro System without fins. Unfortunately as an after installation it would have ended up too far at the aft (additional 500 KG) that I did not like. Have you any information or comparison between the Seakeeper Gyro Stabiliser system and that of TRAC fins for Grand Banks or similar boats? Any out there who could provide pros and cons! I have watched some videos of Seakeeper stabilizers that looks as effective. Is that the case?

Kind regards from Singapore.
Heine
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:49   #58
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

I don't have any first-hand experience with gyro stabilizers, but can give the reason's I didn't pursue them;

1) Physical size. The only place they would fit in my boat was in the laz, and as you say it would have put a lot of weight far aft, and consumed valuable storage/utility space. The active fins don't consume any space that was otherwise usable. This will of course depend greatly on the details of your boat, configuration, size etc. Other boats will not have this issue at all.

2) Weight. I don't know the exact weight of the fin system, but I'd estimate 500 lbs. Not a huge difference compared to a gyro, but 2x none the less.

3) Power. I run my genset only occasionally when needed. It does not run all the time when I am on board. Gyro's all (at least all I've seen) run off AC, and a lot of it, which would require 24x7 gen set operation. It might be possible to rig up some sort of hybrid with an inverter and batteries, but it's a big load to be doing such a thing. By the way, my unwillingness to run a genset all the time (legacy mentality from my sailing days) effectively precludes any form of stabilization at rest since I don't have a power source. If you have a boat with 24x7 power, this too is not an issue.

4) This is all hear-say, but I've heard enough reports of marginal performance regarding gyro's, where I've never heard anything other than complete satisfaction with active fin performance.

I'd say much of the decision was particular to my own preferences and the specifics of my boat, but the last point I don't think can be ignored.

Regarding lost speed and fuel consumption, that's a significant difference. At the same time, you report almost exactly the same speed @2400 RPM as I get. Perhaps your earlier numbers were with a lightly loaded boat? I do see a clear difference between a light and full (fuel and water) boat.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:56   #59
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Re: Stabilizer Installation


Thank you, Twistedtree.

This thread, now about a year old, is Cruisers Forum at its best.

Any further experience or evaluations from you will be appreciated, as will be similar commentary from your Singapore counterpart.

All the best,


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Old 02-10-2012, 10:51   #60
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Re: Stabilizer Installation

Thanks for the thanks. The stabilizers continue to work flawlessly, and we put over 2800 miles on them this year with about 1/2 of that out in very open water. Unless we are on a river or a lake, they are on all the time.

I haven't heard from Heine, but hopefully he's still reading CF and will chime in.
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