Archive for September, 2009

Can anyone identify this windlass?

And give me a link to a manual for it?  I have no idea how to take it apart and service it.

I know it needs servicing because every fifth crank or so I move the handle without anything happening.  It feels like the pawls don’t want to catch, or something.  Regardless, the windlass is important, and no doubt it looks like all hell inside, knowing my luck and having experienced everything else breaking on the boat.

Replaced engine water temperature gauge and sender

Not sure if the old gauge and sender were operational or not.  Even if it worked, I hated the old gauge because it had one uncentered tick mark between 180 and 240 degrees, so it was impossible to tell what the actual temperature was.  What good is that?  I only care about the temperature in that range anyway!

I was under the impression that the gauge and sender have to be matched to each other or else they won’t be accurate.  I still don’t know whether or not this is the case, though I have since discovered that there is a standard for the senders (separate for american and european) so that in theory any american sender should work with an american gauge.  Regardless, I didn’t want to take a chance so I just ordered them as a set from Sherri at Transatlantic Diesel.  When they showed up I was frustrated, because the gauge had the same shitty problem as the original one, and I was disgusted by the idea of replacing our old gauge with one that was equally useless.  So I bought another one, a digital one off the internet that came with its own sender.  Of course when it showed up I discovered that the sender is too small to fit in our 1/2″ npt spot for it on the engine, and even though I have an adaptor that accepted it, it still wouldn’t work because the sensing tip on the sender was too short to protrude through the adaptor plug.  Just figures.  So I borrowed Jim’s thermocouple (Jim’s on Kanga down the dock from us) and set up a jury-rigged little science experiment in the galley, consisting of a pot of water on the stove, with the thermocouple and the sender in it, wired up to the gauge, which was jury-rigged to the back of the electrical panel to give it some power, and then I sat there over the stove, holding the sender in the water in one hand and the thermocouple in the other while the pot of water heated up, and tried not to burn myself as the water got all the way up to boiling.  Crude, but the experiment convinced me that the gauge and sender are compatible.  The gauge appeared to be reading ~8 degrees low, or else only a few degrees low and just lagged behind the response of the thermocouple.  I should have waited to see what it read while the water dropped also (to resolve that question) but I was out of patience and in the middle of a shitty conversation with jonny.  So I am satisfied with that level of accuracy for now, and I’ll use the thermocouple in the holding tank of the engine eventually to check it again.

So I mounted and wired the temperature gauge into the panel.  Now of course I have to change around my master wiring diagram because it’s pretty different from what it used to be (I had to move around a number of the hot and gnd supplies for the other gauges, since they had been piggybacked onto the old temperature gauge).  But anyway I have faith in the temperature gauge and I’m ready to start the engine back up and see if we still have an overheating problem, or whether either the new cam in the seawater pump or else the new gauge have resolved the issue.

fyi Gordon May’s info on testing engine gauges is extremely well written and valuable advice.  I have uploaded the pdf “GaugeTesting” to my site, so that it still exists when the original post goes away.

Tried to repair delamination; made a mess

There was one remaining area of the cabintop just forward of the hatch over the galley that was  delaminated when we bought the boat, and never got around to fixing it.  My sense was that the delam was not due to water penetration, but rather just a spot where the deck came unglued from the core, and that’s why it wasn’t a top priority on my list.

Since we are currently refinishing the deck, it is time to take care of it now.  I took the hammer around and tapped in a few other spots and found more delamination (big surprise–go looking for a problem on a boat and you are bound to find it).  I took a pencil and the hammer and circled the area that was sounding hollow.  Then I selected a drill bit sized to the syringe that I have for injecting the epoxy, and I drilled a number of holes all over the place in the area.  Then Karen and I mixed up bowl after bowl of epoxy and injected it into the area.  Karen jumped down below to make sure it wasn’t finding a way into the boat, and saw nothing.

The next day I showed up at the boat to discover a cured puddle of resin covering the galley sole, and stalagtites of resin around the hatch above the puddle.  I spent an hour and a half grinding the resin off the floor with the belt sander (36 grit) and another hour and a half chiseling apart the ceiling trim and panels.  Now the floor of our galley has a large spot of ugly bare wood that I need to polyurethane, and I still haven’t successfully fixed the delamination on the deck.  That sucked.

Replaced cam in seawater pump

As mentioned a few posts ago, I pulled the seawater pump off the engine expecting to notice wear on the back plate.  I didn’t find that, but I did notice that the cam appeared worn.  For $50 I got us a new one and installed it.  Haven’t run the engine yet to know if this will help with the overheating.  You tell me, does it look like the old one was that bad?

Refrigeration, pt 5 (FINAL)

Pt 1
Pt 2
Pt 3
Pt 4

I installed gauges in the countertop above the icebox: a thermometer (convenient to have one outside the fridge so you don’t have to open the box to check), a green LED that lights up whenever the compressor is running, a red LED to show faults, and an hourmeter to use in measuring the duty cycle.

Here is the wiring diagram for my system:


Also, here is a pdf for the Danfoss BD50F_compressor.

I did not install the plumbing or the pump for the water-cooled condenser–I’m going to wait to buy that stuff until hotter climates (other projects take priority).  Up in the bay area the air-cooled condenser is more than adequate, and more efficient than running the water-cooled condenser anyway.

The whole box is painted with two coats of Primekote and two coats of Perfection.

The icebox has stayed 32-38 for the past three weeks, so it’s working well.  We have been having some issues with the compressor short-cycling (coming on for two minutes, going off for three, back on, etc).  The situation started to worry me when we started getting the intermittent fault code of three red blinks: indicating “rotor blocked or pressure differential too high”.  I speculate that the compressor was trying to turn on again too quickly–before the pressure differential had sufficient time to equalize through the evaporator plate.  My research on kollman’s forum and the rparts forum tells me that the short-cycling is a result of too much of the thermostat sensor touching the evaporator plate.  I have pulled all but an inch of the sensor tubing off of the plate, coiled up a few inches away from it.  It seems to be working better, but I haven’t got a trustworthy data set yet to be sure.  Aside from that, the box is totally finished:

Replaced batteries in house bank

Two of the old batteries wouldn’t hold a charge, and the other two were low capacity, unfortunately mostly due to neglect (not being kept topped off with water).

The old ones were 4 Rolls-Surrette EIGH 262, each of which is 6V and 262Ah (at the 20hr rate).

The new ones are 4 Rolls-Surrette S460 (pdf datasheet here), each of which is 6V and 350Ah (20 hr rate).  They are marketed to the solar energy crowd, which is why they quote the capacity at 460Ah at a 100hr rate, which just isn’t the way us sailboat people measure it.

The new batteries are exactly the same footprint as the old ones, but about 5 inches taller.  As a result, we had to remove the old battery box and modify it to allow for more headroom (there are things mounted over the batteries close enough to have prevented them from fitting).  I cut out the bottom of the box on the left side and dropped it down, cut side pieces, lightly screwed it together, then jonny glassed over it, then we painted it with a couple coats of Primekote epoxy paint.

Remaining: fabricate new acrylic cover to go over the top (to protect against tools, or the furnace cover, from shorting out on top of the batteries), and add buckles to the webbing straps.

Installed echo charger

The echo charger siphons charge from the house bank to the starting battery, up to 15A.  It follows the voltage of the charging source, and cuts the circuit whenever it is below ~13V (a one-way valve to keep the starting battery from draining, and charged up).

We have a Xantrex Freedom 20 inverter/charger that has a built-in echo charger.  After we installed the starting battery a year ago I wired this up to the starting battery.  However, at some point it stopped working, and it would cost more to pull out the large unit and ship it off to be fixed than to buy a new echo charge ($120).

I mounted the new stand-alone echo charge above the batteries in the engine room; so far it is working as it should.


discovered lumps

While sanding the boat pre-painting, we discovered three lumps (one starboard, two on port) inboard of the shrouds, where the knees underneath are exerting upward pressure on the deck.  No word yet on whether this should be cause for alarm.  Here are some pictures; it’s hard to see.  The blue is where I sanded through the gelcoat on the lump.