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Old 23-07-2007, 09:30   #16
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July 19th - Doin' the Charleston Re: And Aw a-a-a-a-a-y-y we go!

July 19th - Doin' the Charleston

We pulled into the Charleston area early in the morning after an absolutely
marvelous sail. Lydia had gone down to sleep after letting me sleep longer
than the expected midnight change, and in return, I kept at it until past
dawn and our entrance. That sleep deprivation would come back to haunt me
later, as the out of sequence posting demonstrated a few days ago.

We got Larry on the phone and were directed to a special entrance we'd
missed both when looking at the electronic and paper charts of the area. We
were also directed to the City Marina as necessary for us to accomplish what
might be refrigeration repair (more difficult for a service person to dinghy
out), electrical troubleshooting, instrument repairs and the like. As much
as it's against my religion and our budget, we bit the bullet and signed up
for the Franklin plus daily fees to be at the (very VERY long dock - the
MegaDock, where the big guys park) end of the outside floating dock.

Larry had his hand-held VHF radio with him and was able to hear our traffic
with the control for docking and thus was waiting for us when we landed. We
quickly connected to shore power and commenced to troubleshooting while
Lydia went off to discover who she'd chat up in THIS marina (if you let her
off the boat, she's gone for hours, as there isn't anyone she meets who
doesn't turn into a conversation, some of which involve geneology, let alone
hail-fellow-well-met).

We quickly determined that we weren't getting nearly enough power to the
batteries which appeared to be OK, but very low. Larry's first supposition
was that the batteries were dead, but futher digging showed that the charger
wasn't putting out anything like the 70 amps it was rated for. Out come the
manuals and to cut it short, the charger and its controller were fried,
literally (see gallery pix). So, the first order of business, as long as
we're on someone else' (expensive - a surcharge of $6 per day) electricity,
we need to get something to accelerate the charging, so it's off to West
Marine. New charger installed, we're topping up the batteries.

To do our tests, we've turned on everything we can find to generate lots of
load. If our charger is up to the task, it should shoulder all the load and
have some left over. However, as we put all that we can find into the
system's
load, it turns out that it's high enough to take all the charger has to
offer. As it's a relatively small charger, that's not really surprising -
we have lots of time when connected to regular 110V power, so it's not
worrying. However...

Then, while it's working, we check the alternator (the busy thing on the
engine which is supposed to not only supply the electrical needs while
operating, but have lots left over to bring the battery up to cover the
non-running times' consumption. We'd assumed we had high output alternators
based on the markings on at least one of our spares. NOT! Just like the
case marking sez, they're suitable for charging the starting battery, and
nothing else. No wonder we've got low power. We've been assuming all along
that our alternator was not only keeping up with the running load, but could
easily cover other loads (like this computer!) as well. Instead, we've been
steadily sucking out the supply, rendering us nearly bankrupt in power
terms. (You look at a boat's electrical system like income and spending,
with the bank - except it can't be filled beyond a certain point - supplying
the extra, such as drawing from your savings. We were making far less than
we were spending, and our "bank account" - the battery bank - was nearly
empty...)

It does its thing overnight - so, now it's the 20th. More working in the
engine room. As it's cooled down a bit, I go in with one of the two spare
alternators I have, and change it out, on the thought that perhaps the one
which has been on the engine since we bought it was somehow defective. Ever
hopeful, perhaps this one is 70 amps? Nope. Same basic output. If we
load up everything possible at the same time, it's more than the alternator
can supply, let alone fill the battery with the excess.

All this alternator testing makes for a very hot engine compartment, and
heats the rest of the boat. Our marvelous extraction fans do a great job of
pulling the hot air out of the engine room, but are awfully hungry for
electricity to feed them. As we're trying desperately to charge up the
batteries, that's not a good thing. So, I continue to work on in the heat.
Making it worse, I got only a few hours of sleep last night, as we were up
until the wee hours. Tonight's no different - I was so out of it from the
heat and lack of sleep that I posted our third day of the trip before the
second!

So, we'll continue this saga at a later time. In the meantime, it's been
great to actually meet the guy with whom we've been corresponding, skyping
(internet telephone, with pictures, sometimes, even), phoning and otherwise
picking his brain. Later, we'll do some basic touring, but save the high
activity levels for our return trip when we're not trying to get to NYC.

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at Flying Pig Log | Google Groups and/or
TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 23-07-2007, 20:37   #17
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July 21st - Hot time in the old town tonight Re: And Aw a-a-a-a-a-y-y we go!

July 21st - Hot time in the old town, tonight

So, now a few days later, we're correcting these electrical problems before
trying to determine exactly what's up with various instruments. One clue
about all this was found last night on the way back from the showers:

As I walked down the extremely long dock, I noticed what seemed to be a
strobe light atop someone's mast.
That someone was me, and the wind speed instrument's cups were interfering
with the view as they went around, making it flicker. Once I had that
figured out, as that phenomenon stopped as I got far enough along
to have the cups in front of (rather than obscuring) the view of the lens,
I continued on. Then it looked as
though it was dimming/burning. I stepped back, and it stopped. Forward and
it started again. WTF???

The way navigation lights work, in order for people who are looking at your
boat at night, is to have certain lights visible from certain angles. When
you get past that angle the visible light disappears. So, what I'd been
seeing wasn't our anchor light - it was the green light showing from the
right side of the top of the mast. I'd thought it looked a bit odd, as the
white anchor light is very bright and sort of blue in color. No wonder...


But, back to the story, as I got closer to the boat, I found the green light
disappeared (which is how it's supposed to do) - but not before the red
light started to show up and confuse the view. Being much lower than the
mast and not off a half mile or more, the view was very small as compared to
the output of the light. Thus it looked as though it was getting dim - but
in reality, it was showing both red and green together, and as I got closer,
red only. Because I was nearly directly under it, I didn't get much of the
light by that time, making it difficult to determine what it was. Walking
further down the dock allowed me to see more of the light, to the point
where the red and white were visible at the same time. BRIGHT red light...

So... The red light's lit - at least for now. I'd lit the nav light when we
were powering everything we could touch in order to see how much the
alternator was putting out, and had forgotten to turn it off. If in fact
it's not broken, I presume it to also be a voltage issue (most of our
instruments have been misbehaving - see the "how revolting" post - we
presume them to be under-supplied).

So... Perhaps all of our electronic glitches (the radio aside - one of my
contacts has provided the link to the solution in our Ham and SSB radio) can
be resolved merely with the application of adequate power.

Today has been somewhat of a lay-day, in boatyard terms, in that not a great
deal has happened. I've restowed the maelstrom, which resulted when Lydia
emptied our storage that hid the wiring I needed for final installation on
the new charger. In the process, I uncovered the other spare alternator.
It's got labeling on it saying it's 70A. I'll install that tomorrow, along
with a new belt, as the one that was on it has pretty well been used up.
There's also some possibility that the worn belt was a contributing factor -
who knows? - maybe they are *all* 70A and we're just not able to pull it out
of them?

I'll also be making the final wiring of the charger. It's been in a
temporary location as we were doing our testing. If the new alternator and
belt *does* produce that higher amperage, then we'll keep it. If not, we're
in for some higher output, new, charging on the engine.

Tonight we had a lovely evening aboard an Island Packet whose owners have
been following our adventures on line. We find we're notorious (in the
definitive, not pejorative, sense of the word) as a result of the internet.
Earlier today there were a half-dozen dock-walkers from other boats who
stopped by and marveled at what we'd done and been through. They also
admired the burnt-out hulk of our old massive battery charger, sitting on
the dock, waiting for removal...

I've also worked on pictures. I absolutely detest Shutterfly, but if one has
only a dialup connection, those tiny thumbnails will be visible without
waiting an entire day to see them. So, there are pix at
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...0CcN3DFqybMXNw. However,
there's also pix at our gallery Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web - click the
first picture, and follow the links. The thumbnails in those galleries are
as big as the shutterfly full pix and can be clicked to see larger detail if
you like. Getting those together and up kept us up late again, so I'll try
to sleep late before I head back into the engine room!

As I write, it's now Sunday Morning, and I'm off to deliver the USB hard
drive I copied 20Gigabytes of music onto for our Island Packet friends,
coffee in hand. Then it's back into the engine room!

Having now exited the engine room, there's lots done there. It remains to
test it all. However, the battery condition is now in the "charged" zone for
each of the dozen cells, where none of them were there on our first reading
a few days ago.

Unfortunately for me, the alternator which I put on (the one with the 70A
label) had a stripped mounting tab, and I had to come up with a bolt which
would go through in order to put a nut on it on the other side. Dad's
Hardware Store (the name the kids used to give my supplies at my land-based
home, cuz any time they needed something, it was available, in stock) has
migrated to being Dad's Chandlery. While it's still being stocked, and
therefore we didn't have the truly proper bolt for the application, we did,
indeed have a makeshift solution. That temporary fix will be resolved as we
get confirmation of whether or not the alternator will actually keep up with
our loads, and fill the batteries as well.

Now that our refrigeration (34.3 currently) and freezer (7.1 currently) is
no longer a concern, and we don't have to worry about a repair person coming
aboard to work on it, we'll probably ditch the lovely electrical supply
here, and anchor out to test out our ability to make power on the hook.
We'll no longer be able to leave our laptops up all the time, but when we're
cruising, we won't be able to do it then, either. So, we'll get into our
cruising mode.

And, perhaps, tomorrow, we'll do our electrical loads test, recording each
and every thing we use as to how much power it consumes. From that, we'll be
able to develop a power budget, making sure we always have more power coming
in (over the long haul) than we are spending. We have what, for most boats
this size, is a massive battery bank, so our storage should be sufficient to
handle low-power-generation days. We just need to be able to identify our
loads, and utilize our power judiciously.

So, I'll leave you here, and we'll go get some dinner. Fortunately for us,
it's moderated in heat recently, which makes being below in the engine room
much more pleasant. That's the forecast for the next couple of days; perhaps
we can get all of our heavy lifting done before it gets hot, and concentrate
on some seatrialing to prove out what we've done.

Stay tuned :{))


L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at Flying Pig Log | Google Groups and/or
TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at Flying Pig Log | Google Groups and/or
TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 29-07-2007, 15:27   #18
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Boat: The Jon boat still, plus a 2007 SeaCat.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach
Today we started fishing in earnest. We put out our trolls, and quickly
caught a Bonita (sort of like a tuna, but extremely bloody - we cut him up
for bait for when we're in the Gulf Stream), two barracuda (which we tossed
back), and then a mackerel. A lovely fish, we filleted him immediately,
hoping to catch another for dinner.


boated a 48" king mackerel. I said
she because there was also a huge egg sac. We decided we'd better put away


from that single catch. We've just finished a huge meal, immediately roasted
on the grill, which was more than awesome, not to mention filling. There's
still a gargantuan amount of fish left from the first half, which is all we
had room to cook. The second half is being saved for other delicacies -
sushi, sashimi, ceviche, a salad, and sandwiches, among others.
Butting in here.

I have read a bunch of your posts and a fair amount of your site.

At least you are out there doing it.

I have one in high school yet and a wife that is still.......maybe.......wants to keep the big house and all........so that won't do will it?!!

Those large Kings should not be kept on any account as they have a lot of mercury in them. I believe over 35" should be throen back.

Don't want mercury to add to your troubles.

US FDA - Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish
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