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Old 22-02-2017, 09:40   #1
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Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

My first post here!
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Okay, on to business!
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I'll start off with a story... one day (a few days ago), a man (me) decided it might be great to own a moisture meter while looking over boats. He was very determined to find the very best boat(used) for his dream( )
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He read thread-after-thread, post-after-post, and blog-after-blog and soon decided on 1 specific meter.
Then he got the brilliant idea ( ) to write the company that makes that meter and see if it would work on fiberglass, because in reading the online user's manual, it mentioned many types of measurable surfaces EXCEPT fiberglass!
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Here is the company's response...
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"Hi Mac,

Thank you for your most recent email inquiry.

Extech model MO257 will not fulfill your specific application needs. We do not have a moisture meter that will work on fiberglass.

Please contact us if you have any further questions. Thanks.

Best Regards,
Brian J. McAuley
Team Leader - Technical Support
FLIR Commercial Systems, Inc.
9 Townsend West, Nashua, NH 03063, USA"
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This is just one of three recent experiences where I went further than the common practices and general information to discover there was more to the issue(s) than what most people were offering.
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Uhhhh.... what's the question again?....
"stay focused... stay focused... stay focused...."
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How far do you go when looking for information to help you out with an important decision?
What is your stopping point before allowing one question to engulf your whole life, consuming time and brain energy?
What do you count as factual, or verified information... or useless verbage (like my first post? lol)?
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The other two recent questions I have dealt with are:
1. "I might start up as a diving hull cleaner again... I wonder if those scrubber machines are worth the expense for boats under 50'?"
--- this lead to discovering that the hard scrubbing of hulls in water can possibly release toxins into the water, some ports are not allowing that anymore... blah blah blah
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2. .... mmmmm..... okay, for the life of me I can't remember #3... no, 5!... "...2 sir!".... but WHEN I DO... rest assured I'll come back and let you know what it was!
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So there you are!
If you read all of this...
If it makes sense to you...
Here's the number of a VERY GOOD therapist I used to use until I figured out SHE'S CRAZY!
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OH! And welcome to my world!
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:15   #2
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

A moisture meter is a tool and it can / will lie to you depending on circumstances, it requires experience and knowledge to interpret it. it is not a simple place on surface and read meter.
I think you got in touch with a rare salesman who told you the truth, pretty uncommon in my experience.

This is a excerpt of the manual for my dive computer, another rare, honest company

This computer has bugs. Although we haven’t found them all yet, they are there. It is
certain that there are things that this computer does that either we didn’t think about,
or planned for it to do something different. Never risk your life on only one source of
information. Use a second computer or tables. If you choose to make riskier dives,
obtain the proper training and work up to them slowly to gain experience.
This computer will fail. It is not whether it will fail but when it will fail. Do not depend on
it. Always have a plan on how to handle failures. Automatic systems are no substitute
for knowledge and training.
No technology will keep you alive. Knowledge, skill, and practiced procedures are your
best defense. (Except for not doing the dive, of course.)
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:15   #3
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

My mom says my first sentence was "See how it works!", as I handed her the screws from a baby gate I was previously on the other side of.

I'm one of those annoying kids that continually asks "Why?" and is never satisfied with the answer.

It doesn't matter if it's a mechanical system, electrical system, or procedural system, I want to know how it works and why it was designed the way it is. I wouldn't have stopped at "Does this work on fiberglass?". I would have followed with "Well why not?" Of course, in that situation they likely would not have said, but I'd look for the answer online.

As I've aged and dealt with a huge variety of technologies I've come to realize there is a price barrier for how many questions I ask. If the service or tool is cheap enough I might actually buy it without asking any questions and just field test it myself. If it's a bit more expensive I might ask a few questions but I'm not going to wear out the sales guy as he's probably not going to have the answers I need anyway (I have a particular distaste for salespeople). But if it's going to cost me full day's wages, or more, I'm probably going to be particular about it actually fulfilling my needs before I drop the cash for the product.
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:32   #4
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Wow! Two replies! I'm on a roll!
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I've been reading online information, buying/borrowing books and reading them, and asking actual boat owners and at least one Chandler questions for months now in my quest to enter the sailing world a bit smarter and prepared.
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The moisture meter issue took me by surprise, but I'm glad I contacted this company.
My first question after reading that email though was, "Does a Team-Leader of Technical Support actually know the engineering concerning their product or are they just reading company sales literature?"
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I'll probably check with a couple more outfits to see what they're take is on using their meters on fiberglass boat hulls.
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:37   #5
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pirate Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

It has been known for a lady to sit next to me at a bar and strike up a conversation.. then after a while buy me a drink..
I don't ask questions.. I just know she needs glasses..
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:39   #6
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Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Here is contact for a surveyor in South Florida who has posted a lot about using and interpreting moisture meter data. If you contact him him may be able to advise you about which meters to look at and how best to use one.

Surveyor :

From Cruisers Forum for South Florida
Captain John Banister, SAMS and infrared thermal imaging
Suenos Azules

Surveyor@SuenosAzules.com
tel:561.255.4139
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:46   #7
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

How about asking someone who uses such a meter, such as a surveyor or an expert in fiberglass boat repair?
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:49   #8
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pirate Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

This one claims to work with GRP/Plastics but its not cheap..
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tramex-SMP-.../dp/B005FPKSNY
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:51   #9
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudMusic View Post
.... I wouldn't have stopped at "Does this work on fiberglass?". I would have followed with "Well why not?"
It doesn't matter 'why not'. That would be like asking why a ferrari can't be used offroad, when a Hummer can. After all, they are both 4 wheeled conveyance vehicles.

The question should be "Which moisture detectors are used by surveyors on fiberglass hulls?"
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:52   #10
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

If you have not already read our own MaineSail's excellent articles about moisture meters, I suggest starting with this link first:
https://forums.sailboatowners.com/in...meters.102980/

and this one on his own site: Understanding the Moisture Meter / Electrophysics CT-33 Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

These things do not directly measure moisture, but only galvanic resistance down to a depth of about 1/2 inch, and then interpret that as moisture. An embedded metal plate for mounting deck hardware will drive it nuts, for instance. They were originally designed to grade lumber, so the moisture percentage is calibrated as if you were measuring wood. The actual moisture in fiberglass is about 1/5 of that number. There are conversion tables, but most people just use the percentage from the meter and say that anything under 15% is good.

As far as mechanical bottom cleaning, Fast Bottoms did an article with video last year: https://forums.sailboatowners.com/in...eaning.180806/ I guess you're in salt water. We fresh water sailors wouldn't dare dive on our boats in a marina for risk of stray current!
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Old 22-02-2017, 11:03   #11
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Thanks Tayana42!
And thanks to the other posters also.
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I come mainly from a medical background... street(EMS) and institutional (hospital labs mostly), and I have spent a fair amount of time learning to educate patients and their families on medical mythology, in a manner that doesn't sound condescending or offensive.
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Something simple like, "Your blood is really blue until it hits oxygen!", is one of the fallacies I've spent time educating adults and others on.
People either have heard this from someone they must feel is credible in their exclamations, or maybe they just looked at their veins and thought, "Gee... that blood vessel looks blue, ergo my blood is blue inside that oxygen-deprived tube must be blue!"
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SPOILER ALERT! The basic understanding is this... Red blood cells are always red... not blue... and since our veins are not 'see-through'.... and our skin absorbs some of the color from the spectrum... those vein walls might appear blue to some folks.
All blood contains some amount of oxygen so this whole notion of, "...when it hits oxygen it turns red..." is totally false.
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Anyway... as I learn more about sailboats, sailing, and that type of human being drawn towards such things ... my shift from land-lubber to sailor will be a long, drawn-out process I fear!
One that when I mention this dream once again to my 20-ish y.o. daughter she exclaims, "DAD! You're not SERIOUS are you?"!
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Old 22-02-2017, 11:11   #12
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Trusty View Post
If you have not already read our own MaineSail's excellent articles about moisture meters, I suggest starting with this link first:
https://forums.sailboatowners.com/in...meters.102980/

and this one on his own site: Understanding the Moisture Meter / Electrophysics CT-33 Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
When in doubt, learn who the trustworthy contributors are on this and other boating forums.

Maine Sail is one of the go-to folks. Calder's book are another.

If I had a penny for every electrical system question or incorrect reply on boating forums , I wouldn't be sitting here helping out, I'd be on a 57 foot yacht cruising the South Pacific. Since I'm not , I put this together,, many excerpts I have used to answer individual questions. It includes many links to posts Maine Sail has made on other forums than his own website.

Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101

That's how I learned. Books, internet, "trust but verify."
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Old 22-02-2017, 11:12   #13
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsmac View Post
Anyway... as I learn more about sailboats, sailing, and that type of human being drawn towards such things ... my shift from land-lubber to sailor will be a long, drawn-out process I fear!
And starting it out with worrying about moisture meters is not a good sign.
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Old 22-02-2017, 11:14   #14
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

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Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
It doesn't matter 'why not'. That would be like asking why a ferrari can't be used offroad, when a Hummer can. After all, they are both 4 wheeled conveyance vehicles.

The question should be "Which moisture detectors are used by surveyors on fiberglass hulls?"
I disagree. Your comparison is not apples to apples. I can look at a Ferrari and a pile of rocks and know why it doesn't work offroad. I can't look at a moisture sensor and know why it works on one material and not another. And I want to know WHY. Knowing why will help me in future product selection, when the salesperson of the next brand doesn't know what they're talking about and says it does work on fiberglass but I know it uses the exact same technology as the previous one where the salesperson said it doesn't work.

It's about educating yourself and not just accepting what you're told. Even the surveyor could be using a tool that doesn't give accurate readings.
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Old 22-02-2017, 11:16   #15
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Re: Do you accept common practices without deeper investigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bean View Post
How about asking someone who uses such a meter, such as a surveyor or an expert in fiberglass boat repair?
I will be contacting our local surveyor soon, and I'll be sure to ask then.
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But I wonder how many surveyors just pick up a meter because someone else uses it, but no one has ever ensured that meter works on fiberglass.
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I've worked in several different trades and I have always found people in them who do things or use certain tools just because, "That's what everyone uses" or "That's what I was told to use/do"... and it turns out to be outdated or erroneous information.
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I question a lot.. it's my in my nature.
But... I realize at some point I need to determine for myself whether I've gotten enough information to come to a conclusion I can stand by.
In the case of moisture meters... with no disrespect meant towards any surveyor... I'm more inclined to take a suggestion for a particular brand/model and contact that company to make sure it works for my intended purpose.
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Let's go to another issue... stoves.
From what I've been reading, and what I've actually heard from various boaters/sailors, some of the different types of fuel are shunned primarily due to people not understanding how to store/use them.
Alcohol stoves, for example, have been labeled as dangerous by a few people I've spoken with. Now, I have experience with stoves and fuels from a land-based perspective, but even when translating it out to the open waters, I can understand that any stove/fuel combo will be as safe and effective as another.
It's more a matter of educating oneself on the properties of the fuel, the operation of the stove, and meeting your own expectations of what you want from a stove.
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See? I open up the floodgates of my mind and the words come pouring out!
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lol
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