Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 23, 2010.

Things have been moving along here. The weather is still hot as hell and Christy is still making peoples brightwork look fabulous while I’m still doing the boat repair thing.

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been doing some major upgrades to the wiring on a cruising boat that’s being readied for a circumnavigation. The boats 20 years old but in good shape with the wiring suffering from decades of multiple owners piggy backing all sorts of wiring onto existing circuits.

The biggest part of the upgrade was changing out the worn out lead acid batteries for some brand spankin’ new AGM’s.
Along with the new 1000 amp house bank and 8D starting battery was the installation of a second alternator to keep the amps flowing.

The boat already has a 90 amp alternator cranking out the amps but in addition to that I was charged with adding a second, 185 amp alternator. The new alternator is huge, weighs a ton and demanded a staunch installation.

So now at peak charging the system can put out 275 amps. The run from the engine room to the batteries is kinda’ lengthy so it forced me to use 4/0 wire. This stuff is as thick as my big toe, very heavy and not very pliable. Working with it was a challenge but things went well and the boat now makes just a tad less power than most nuclear submarines. They can now hit “vaporize” rather than “puree” on their blender.

In keeping with my reputation I did manage to shock the heck outta myself. The ironic part of that was that I was putting safety dividers into an electrical panel to keep the 110 side away from the 12 volt side. The dividers are to keep the next guy from being inadvertently zapped while farting around in the panel. I just happened to be the dolt that got the jolt while installing these fabulous safety devices. So while there was no incredibly beautiful yet somewhat frightening shower of sparks there was a bit of electrical hijinks. On the bright side though, I think I may be developing an immunity to electrocution.

My other biggy for the past week was the replacement of the head bolts in the Entec generator on a catamaran. It’s a small, high revving generator with 4 bolts keeping the head from launching into orbit.

One of the 4 bolts had broken and needed to be replaced. As they say in the real estate game…..location, location, location. The gen set was under the berth in the forward part of the port hull. It was easy to get to and actually comfortable to work on. The same job in most other
boats would have been a nightmare but here it was a dream. I just sat on the edge of the bunk with the genny between my knees with my tools at arms length. Broken boat crap nirvana.

I got the broken head bolt out with the help of a torch to burn away the Loc-tite holding the broken threads in place. Then for shits and grins the owner had me replace a second bolt as well. Another liberal application of heat and the second bolt was out as well. I was obviously on a roll and the afternoon flew by as I put everything back together before heading home to the Veranda.

This evening I had to help replace the batteries in a cruising catamaran. While I lugged the old batteries away “Bob” made all the connections on the new system. Once he was done we had to reprogram the external regulators on both engines to recognize the new batteries size and type. After that was done I ran through the Link 1000 battery monitor and reset the parameters to match the new batteries.

The Link monitor was mounted above the navigation station so it was at arms length while I ran through the setup review for the owner. This is where the reminder of just how hot it is here cropped up. While I was talking to the captain there was this annoying drip, drip, drip sound. It was then that I realized that it was a near constant stream of sweat pouring off the elbow of my outstretched arm onto a pile of papers on the nav station. I thought I might have gotten away without anyone noticing until I was done prepping the owner and “Bob” handed me a hand rag…..oh well, sweat happens.


Deb said...

I've really been enjoying your work posts and I'm learning a lot. I especially enjoy your sense of humor. Your "black hole of a coworker's cluster" had me absolutely rolling after a long hard day of the same kind of coworker. Thanks for the laugh!

P.S. - you going to be at the boat show in Oct? We'd love to meet you.

S/V Nomad

S/V Veranda said...

We're headed south just after the show so we'll be here and we look forward to meeting you as well.

Jon and Arline Libby said...

I know the feeling of being immune to shock. After 30 years of being an electrician I've had my share of jolts. At times I'd test a circuit from finger to thumb, you have to know where the electrons flow and where the potential is and you can live a long time as an electrian. We are busy in our up state NY marina building new docks, electric service, and plugging in where every one else misses a beat. We have only seen one boat that made us miss our boat. I'm counting just 14 weeks till we head back to our boat.
OH good news, if we did bring our boat back to NY and live on it this summer we would have been de-masted on Weds, A tree fell onto the spot where we would have been. We would have had a tree jump right into our vee berth, both roller furles would have been gone and the mast well it might not have been in the locked and upright position!!! Shit luck, I don't think so!

S/V Veranda said...

I'm glad to hear that the boat is safe especially after all the work you've done to make your boat yours.