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Old 14-04-2015, 16:28   #31
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

If you are using a HH GPS as a backup, be sure that you do not store it with the batteries inside it. I have lost more than one to corroding alkaline batteries.
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Old 14-04-2015, 16:33   #32
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

As someone who does a lot of deliveries I do have a soft spot for my Gamin 72 HH. I always take it with me and enter waypoints in places that I am at. Over the years I have a massive amount of KNOWN (as in entered while on the exact spot) waypoints that are reliable and that gives great information, and I download them and store them and can use them in other systems. While I dont use it a lot it has served to create a data store and provide a great system backup. Of course you could do the same with an Iphone etc.
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Old 14-04-2015, 16:34   #33
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Your friend is full of BS or has no business going offshore. If he could use a sextant, there was enough sun to cobble enough of a solar power system together to run a 12v gps.
Such strong words. This must be an internet forum.

He is quite a competent sailor and not full of BS. **** happens.
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Old 14-04-2015, 21:24   #34
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
In case I'm feeling a bit peckish, I cook them up

My understanding is that in the metal oven, it offers protection for electronic devices if the boat is struck by lightening.
Google Faraday Cage. A metal oven, or other metal enclosure, has the same effect, but might not get them well done. ;-)
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Old 15-04-2015, 01:42   #35
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Google Faraday Cage. A metal oven, or other metal enclosure, has the same effect, but might not get them well done. ;-)
I was thinking Faraday Cage but wasn't sure if that was only stopping radio waves or not and wasn't interested enough to be sure on the name to google

Perhaps it would be good to have a SS tool box or perhaps cooking pot? to store the items in when not in use?

The good thing about using a phone or other USB powered devices as the stored safely away backup is that you can store it with one of those USB phone charger batteries. I can be connected making sure the devices are fully charged and be taken out every now and then to be topped up itself.
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Old 15-04-2015, 01:53   #36
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

I had a hand held GPS that sat with my satellite phonein the emergency grab bag. Can you read your position coordinates at the same time as speaking on your site phone? if you can your covered, if not it could be a good idea.
A ball lightning strike fried my NAV system back in the 90s, the only thing that survived was a handheld GPS.
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Old 15-04-2015, 12:19   #37
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

Gosh Don, stuff DOES happen....and perhaps he didn't have any solar panels?? (when I was a teenager, sailing offshore with my parents, we didn't have solar panels either....this was decades before GPS as well....and solar was wicked expensive and not too efficient back then!!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Your friend is full of BS or has no business going offshore. If he could use a sextant, there was enough sun to cobble enough of a solar power system together to run a 12v gps.
Back in the 70's, on one of my parents' cruises, they had multiple issues that prevented most (all) electrical use on-board....sailing from S. FL to England/Scotland, they had depleted batteries after a few days out / about half-way to Bermuda (caused by a bad alt field switch), and although they could start the engine with its own start battery, they had no other electrical power on-board...
Issue fixed in Bermuda....BUT...
But, just 200-250 miles out of Bermuda, heading for the Azores, they lost the main engine (broken piston and connecting rod), so had no means of propulsion other than the sails!!!
And, they sailed the whole rest of the way to Azores and England, including tacking up the river in Falmouth!!
This wasn't a big deal, except for frozen food....as navigation was by compass, DR, and sextant....and it was a sailboat after all!!
(there wasn't such thing as chartplotters back then either!!! and even if there was, they would've taken a diesel genset to run 'em...and heck there was NO GPS back then either, so position fixes offshore would still have been DR and celestial!)

{If you're tempted to call BS on this story above, be careful!!!
My soon-to-be 94 yr old Mom is still not only as-sharp-as-a-tack, she's got her old logbooks in her nightstand, right next to bed at home....and we occasionally get their old logs out, and read thru them and reminisce....and she's got many stories even more surprising that this minor inconvenience of having to actually navigate and sail across an ocean, to relate to 'ya!!! }


My point here is....stuff happens, and not everyone that is an experienced / qualified offshore sailor has everything on-board that they may need, all the time, for everything!!!
Heck, even a electronics nut like me doesn't have everything!!!



FYI, I currently have a primary GPS and second one, both Raystar 125+, (exact replacement/spare, stowed in a metal faraday cage) for output to my instruments and my chartplotters...
....and a secondary GPS (my AIS transponder).
....and a Garmin GPSmap 76 for my DSC radio.
....(and 3 other Garmin 76's, one for my dinghy, one for the ditch bag, and an extra/spare in the metal faraday cage)

...and I have 1100A/H main house bank, 520 watts of solar, as well as a towed water-gen, hi-output alt on the Yanmar, and 90-amp IOTA charger running from a FP 6KW genset, w/ its own start battery....and lots of AA batteries...
BUT....
But although I do use the Raystar 125+ GPS (output to instruments, etc.), as my primary position fixing device....I do NOT use my E-120 and E-80 plotters as primary, as I use paper charts as primary charting....and of course use the AIS transponder's GPS as the AIS's position fix data, and the Garmin as my DSC radio's position fix data...
BUT....

But, I also have sextant, almanac, and tables on-board....and although it's really just for fun these days, I DO know how to use 'em and I used to be pretty darn good at it!!
BUT...



But, the REAL reason I'm posting this is to highlight the point I made above....stuff happens, and just because someone's boat isn't as well equipped as another's, in MY OPINION that shouldn't be a reason to jump to conclusions that he "has no business going offshore"!!



Don, maybe you've had a bad day....or were just a bit "off"....and if that's the case, no worries here!
We've all had bad days!!!

I just wanted to add my 2 cents, that stuff DOES happen....and good seamanship dictates that we make do with what we have, the best that we can....and it seems like evm's friend did just that...
Quote:
Originally Posted by evm1024 View Post
I do have a friend who was on his way from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest who experienced a total failure of the entire boats electrical system. alt out, solar out. batteries flat.

His handheld, battery driven GPS and charts got him more than half the way back. For the last 6or 7 days he was using his Sextant.


Fair winds...

John
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Old 15-04-2015, 16:45   #38
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

I apologize, but still think the original story is a bit off--"solar out...so he used the sextant". If you have more than one solar panel, its very unlikely that a competent seaman can't get some power out of the array if its clear enough to use a sextant. Where he was headed it is likely to be overcast the last part of the trip, so the sextant would be out too.
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Old 15-04-2015, 17:15   #39
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I apologize, but still think the original story is a bit off--"solar out...so he used the sextant". If you have more than one solar panel, its very unlikely that a competent seaman can't get some power out of the array if its clear enough to use a sextant. Where he was headed it is likely to be overcast the last part of the trip, so the sextant would be out too.
You've really never had all of your electrical systems down? You must have a newer boat because on an older boat, dead batteries and electrical head aches are by far the most common problem.

I wouldn't assume somebody who has experienced dead batteries is a B.S. er, I would assume they are like most sailors with more than a few hundred miles under their keels.

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Old 15-04-2015, 17:29   #40
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

From a personal pov, I have a portable GPS in my abandon ship bag for emergency use. In a total emergency, you can only grab so much.

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Old 15-04-2015, 17:42   #41
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I apologize, but still think the original story is a bit off--"solar out...so he used the sextant". If you have more than one solar panel, its very unlikely that a competent seaman can't get some power out of the array if its clear enough to use a sextant. Where he was headed it is likely to be overcast the last part of the trip, so the sextant would be out too.
I'm recalling the story from what I was told by him shortly after he got back in (gosh was it that long ago) in 2008 (but don't quote me on that).

I'll see him tonight and ask for more details.

His boat is a Jason 35, not exactly a big boat. I thought he only has one small solar panel. I do recall that he had a problem with the alternator that blew the alt's diodes.

He had gone to Hawaii in the spring and was returning in Aug or so. Plenty of sun in the pacific.

He is a fully competent sailor and learned his celestial from USPS courses. But I don't recall that he is especially well versed in electronics.

Regards
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Old 16-04-2015, 08:55   #42
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

Don,
I agree that even if his "solar was out", there is almost always a way to get something out of panel...
Even with a cracked/broken panel, you can cut it up and splice together a half-dozen cells to get 3 volts....but that does take time and maybe the sea state didn't allow easy solar panel construction / repair!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I apologize, but still think the original story is a bit off--"solar out...so he used the sextant". If you have more than one solar panel, its very unlikely that a competent seaman can't get some power out of the array if its clear enough to use a sextant. Where he was headed it is likely to be overcast the last part of the trip, so the sextant would be out too.
And, since all he really needed was a compass, to get to the PNW, I also wondered about the "sea story", but thought it was pretty irrelevant to the original poster's questions....


No worries here, my friend...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 16-04-2015, 10:20   #43
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

I did talk to Randy last night to refresh my memory.

It was 2010 and they (he and his wife) were on their way to Hawaii in their Jason 35 (the return trip to the PNW was uneventful). He did not have solar and was relying on the engine to charge their batteries for the trip.

6 days into the 18 day passage a fault happened with the battery selector which blew out the diodes in the alternator and thus left them without a way to charge the batteries.

As the batteries ran down they switched over to the handheld Garman 76 which had batteries but not a lot. The 76 was turned on for "noon sights" and he took celestial sights to backup the Garman and to refresh his memory on how to take sights.

Thus the 2 errors in my memory were:

1) I thought that he had solar - He did on the return trip but not on the way there.

2) that his handheld failed and he had to rely on celestial - he conserved his handheld GPS batteries and used celestial as a backup in case of a further failure.

Do these failures of my memory constitute BS or show a lack of skill on his part? I think not. Further this is CF not SA. I at the least hope that we attempt to maintain civil discourse here on CF and refrain from invective.

Lastly, the joking but equally true adage here in the PNW is that it is easy to navigate to Hawaii and even easier to get back. Just follow the airplanes there (they don't go anywhere else) and to return go north for 10 days then turn right, (you cannot miss the continent).
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:06   #44
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Re: Handheld GPS as backup, why bother?

I have two old garmin 12 handhelds that I use as backups. My main gps is a garmin 72 handheld.
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