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Old 24-03-2013, 11:40   #121
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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Crazy is obviously a good thing, you put The Fear of the Lord in those hydro shops.<G> Once you stick one head on a pike, the rest of the merchants show you a lot more respect. Or as Francis Bacon once said, if you hit a mule with a stick, you may not win his love but you'll get his attention.

I skipped the section on old Alu tanks, have they totally banned hydros on them?? Or just required eddy current testing first? (More nonsense badly implemented.) You never know, if you contact the manufacturer(s) and ask about a paperweight exchange program, sometimes they'll step up and do SOMEthing for you, even if they don't have to.


Nic-
I would ask a local pharmacist but suspect an antifungal foot powder, something made of talc (not cornstarch!) with tin compounds might work very nicely. There are various antifungal cleaners on the janitorial market, but without kludging around...maybe just clean and dry and then seal it up?

Permatex makes a universal o-ring kit, where the material gets cut to length then the ends glued together, so the seal on the cannister certainly could be made up the same way. The cannister should be able to react to pressure changes by oil-canning, I wouldn't expect it needs to breath but if it was sealed up on less than a bone-dry day, there might be a condensate problem inside. Maybe some generous addition of desicant packs and oxygen absorbers would be a good idea? The food industry has certainly benefitted from them both.

Sealing the canister gasket should be simple, just use a dab of caulking. What's the worst that will happen, the raft will tear the foam and deploy, and just one little bit will keep the halves hanging open together like an empty clamshell?

I'm guessing the choice of the proper gasket material (closed cell to prevent breathing? firm enough so atmospheric pressure doesn't displace it, but soft enough so it DOES tear easily on deployment? is worth some consideration along with the question of whether to let the canister breath.

Probably if the raft is vacuum sealed, and then the canister allowed to breath around the sealed bag, you get the best solution. The supersized Space Bags really do work pretty well, and you can always seal over the suction port to help ensure that. Hopefully they also would tear apart during inflation. I'll bet there's government grant money to be had for testing that.<G>

This whole life raft paradigm needs some improvement. Bill Gates' foundation just put up a $100k prize for a better condom (honest) maybe they'd put one up for a better lift raft too?

We've seen oil rigs change their "lifeboat" equipment from junk to, literally, launching tubes and submersible lifepods. Change isn't impossible, even freighters have converted to the lifepods and launch tubes in some cases. Toy life rafts...maybe that's overdue for a change too.
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Old 24-03-2013, 11:53   #122
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

It will probably not be sealed unless the gasket is a continuous loop. If the gasket just has two cut ends that meet up it will usually not be tight at that point. This is sometimes done by cutting the ends of the gasket at a slant (a scarf joint) and then super gluing the ends together.

Also make sure the bottom edge of the joint is very clean so the film adhesive adheres and seals continuously around. Then you only have the top edge of the joint to be concerned about.

Then of course the hard case has to be properly designed to compress the gasket.
I'm afraid it really is unrealistic to think it can be truely sealed. The foam gasket itself will be permiable. There is also the matter of the pull chord. It passes through a gromet just below the gasket. Even if everything else is hadled meticulously, the case will breathe at the gromet and the rope as well. I think the obviously marginal foam gasket is planned to tear on activation. I think that a vacuum bag for the raft and careful attention to the single tiny penetration at the rope will be an improvement.
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Old 24-03-2013, 12:27   #123
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

"The foam gasket itself will be permiable."
Only if it is open-cell foam. Any hardware store or RV supply can sell you closed-cell foam. And the holes can be plugged with something reasonable, a low strength caulk perhaps. I'd say beeswax but obviously that won't last past the first sunny day.
Perhaps more important to simply install the canister so that those penetrations face down, making them into drain holes for any condensate.

And a thought on "gunk-icide". If the raft is vacuum bagged, maybe put some powdered sulphur (from the gardening store/aisle) inside the cannister? That's also good for killing off wee critters. Should be other fungicides in that same aisle, too.
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Old 24-03-2013, 14:18   #124
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I'm following this thread after the PO of my boat produced a reps king receipt in excess of a boat buck. If I can learn to repack he life raft (Avon) all the better. I prefer to do my own work whenever possible.

On the sealing topic what about butyl tape?
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Old 31-03-2013, 19:16   #125
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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As someone who just paid $1,150 to have our life raft reinspected and packed, and even paid for the company's brand name stickers, your solution sounds great. The only problem is that coast guards around the world will consider it non certified. If you have a life raft it is expected to be certified. If you don't have a life raft, no problem. That is an example of misguided bureaucracy.


Too many people will be unable to afford to have a life raft.
What difference to "authorities" around the world who packed it? Its not a requirement.

Misguided is totally correct. To presume that people who can navigate tha entire planet, build a boat, rebuild an engine are too incompetent to inspect & pack a rubber boat is right up there with arguing that women are too stupid to be trusted with the right to vote or drive a car. (or the boat).
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Old 31-03-2013, 19:42   #126
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

Here is what I found:

AVON 8-person. It has spent the last 10 years in port or in my basement. I opened it last week in the living room and eventually moved onto a tarp. Other than stinky mold, it pumped up hard and has held for almost 10-days now. I have scrubbed the mold off with water and bleach and treated it with Concrodium. It just smells like rubber now. I welcome any advice on an anti-fungal treatment that won't put the raft at risk. I lean towerd powdered zinc and talc. Sulphur compounds might become acid and attack the rubber. Flares were old but no sign of problems. The emergency bag was a time capsule. The batteries all turned to the consistnecy of wet talcome powder. The 'fishing kit' listed on the case did not exist. Med supplies were laughable. The paddles were home-made from a dowel and a piece of crappy plywood. The hand pump was crushed almost to useless. About a gallon of water pouches look OK. Most important, the gas bottle appears as new with no trace of rust. It will get weighed.

I was surprised that the raft was not plastic vacuum bagged and that a number of vulnerable packed items were also not bagged.

I will replace the IC dome lights and power with modern stuff. New flares and launcher gun. I wll add a Cuban reel and lures. I have collected tiny dive lights with LI batteries and a waterproof solar rechargable. I also added a LI powered emergency light-water activated. I bought collapsable paddles from Cabelas. I also added a signaling mirror, compass, wistle.

What is clear is that the ditch bag on your boat is far more important than the stuff in the lifeboat. Also clear is that the professional packing stations don't expect to be around to account for their failures. If you pay to have it packed, include the cost of being there to see it and to assist in the re-pack. Otherwise, take dice along to roll on deck. You have no idea what is in the box.

Admiral is out of town so I will wait to re-pack after she returns. I really want her to see the whole thing and what to expect if disaster happens.
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Old 02-04-2013, 20:11   #127
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
What difference to "authorities" around the world who packed it? Its not a requirement.

Misguided is totally correct. To presume that people who can navigate tha entire planet, build a boat, rebuild an engine are too incompetent to inspect & pack a rubber boat is right up there with arguing that women are too stupid to be trusted with the right to vote or drive a car. (or the boat).
What....women driving boats... whats the world coming to

I will be doing my life raft myself at the end of this season.
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Old 03-04-2013, 18:07   #128
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

[QUOTE=belizesailor;911540]Yes, I would prefer to use lithium batteries, but the installed lights are only 1.5v and expect the 3v of lilithiums would fry the light without also adding a circuit build project to my list. Ultimately, I would like to replace whole light set-up with LED and lithium batteries, but for now will just strip the old damaged batteries out of the installation. At least DIY packed I can easily inspect and change batteries.


My auto batteries looked exactly like yours - wet talcom and split housings. Consider that the automatic lights are to illuminate your way into the raft in the dark. For this, switched lights are insufficient. I chose instead to buy a top quality water activated combination LED & strobe with water activation. Its intended for life jackets. It is fixed on a short lanyard to the vestibule area on the outside where it will get wet. Its loaded with AA lithium batteries. I think this will provide the same functionality and it can be retrieved and swiched off. Likewise, I added a few silver-dollar sized LI battery LED puck lights for the dome and outsided roof flasher. If you want a really reiliable light, add a LI powered small dive light. I will also pack a SOLAR recharged or shake lighe in vacuum pack.

If you want to replace your IC dome lights you can also pick up LED lights at Radio shack that match your batteries.
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Old 03-04-2013, 18:30   #129
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

Actually it is the "lithium" rechargable batteries that are ~3~4 volts, while lithium "primary" (throwaway) batteries are commonly available as 1.5V AA batteries, under the Eveready brand at Radio Shack and other sources. Typically about 4x the price of alkaline batteries with 4x the service life, shelf life, etc. so not altogether unreasonable for long storage applications. And fwiw, both eveready and duracell are now finally hyping the "extended shelf life" of their batteries. I think the complaints about batteries leaking (particularly Duracell) finally got through to them.

The water-activated emergency light batteries are supposed to be stable for a very long time as long as they are kept bone dry. But if they're exposed to moisture, they are after all supposed to start reacting and breaking down.

There are so many LED lights on the market, so many battery options, it shouldn't be impossible to find something suitable to every taste.
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Old 03-04-2013, 20:58   #130
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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Actually it is the "lithium" rechargable batteries that are ~3~4 volts, while lithium "primary" (throwaway) batteries are commonly available as 1.5V AA batteries, under the Eveready brand at Radio Shack and other sources. Typically about 4x the price of alkaline batteries with 4x the service life, shelf life, etc. so not altogether unreasonable for long storage applications. And fwiw, both eveready and duracell are now finally hyping the "extended shelf life" of their batteries. I think the complaints about batteries leaking (particularly Duracell) finally got through to them.

The water-activated emergency light batteries are supposed to be stable for a very long time as long as they are kept bone dry. But if they're exposed to moisture, they are after all supposed to start reacting and breaking down.

There are so many LED lights on the market, so many battery options, it shouldn't be impossible to find something suitable to every taste.

I found this dandy little guy that is a nice direct replacement for the water activated batteries. Rig the pull ring so it activates the LI power source as the raft unfolds. It has a small steady interior and bright flashing exterior light with on-off switches. I have not yet found a US marketer.


http://www.lonako.com/upload/2012-11-19/MED%20specification%20of%20LNK-LR-02C.pdf


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Old 05-04-2013, 21:27   #131
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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I have a 1994 vintage Avon 4 man ocean raft. The raft, itself, is in great condition. I recently brought it to a service company who, in checking it out, found that the cylinder valve leaks and they cannot get a replacement “poppet assembly” to fix it because the valve manufacturer is out of business. The bottom line is that they cannot complete servicing the life raft.

Has anyone heard of this problem? Any info would be helpful.

Be careful about purchasing an older Avon life raft. It may be unserviceable.
I think that is what I am facing as well. The thread is 3/8 parallel pipe with a flat face seal. The hose has similar fittings. Connections tothe raft are Banjo fittings. It may be necessary to get a newer bottle withthe same charge weight as the original and replace the hoses and perhaps the Banjo fittings. By weight, my tank is down to about 20% of its proper charge. If I can't replace the O-rings or valve then I'm looking for a tank.
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Old 05-04-2013, 21:30   #132
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

BTW, if you do a search for AVON gas bottle this is what you find. (AVON novelty perfume bottle)

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Old 05-04-2013, 23:21   #133
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
I think that is what I am facing as well. The thread is 3/8 parallel pipe with a flat face seal. The hose has similar fittings. Connections tothe raft are Banjo fittings. It may be necessary to get a newer bottle withthe same charge weight as the original and replace the hoses and perhaps the Banjo fittings. By weight, my tank is down to about 20% of its proper charge. If I can't replace the O-rings or valve then I'm looking for a tank.
I just had mine re-certified and refilled about 3 weeks ago. You need to find your local company that does recerts and refills of fire extinguishers and mixed gases. It's basically CO2 with a Nitrogen mix by weight.

It's getting the thing refilled with the special puncher seal, that is the problem. It takes a special fitting to fill it and then seal it while it's full. My Plastimo was near impossible to refill so I had them put a different valve on the bottle which they could fill with their regular adaptors. And it cost me less then $100.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:40   #134
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Re: Life Raft Self-Service

I found my leaker. The threads at the bottle release a tiny bubble under water every two minutes or so. The valve is OK. I just need to remove the valve and re-seal the threads. Then its off to find a thread adapter.
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Old 23-04-2013, 12:55   #135
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Just upacked and inspected my life raft today. Found a couple of items to replace but raft in excellent shape.

Really prefer annual self inspection to shipping off this mystery box to somewhere and then hoping its all good when I try to use a raft I have never even seen before...no doubt in the dark w raging seas.
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