Monday, August 10, 2020

Updating the Solar System

The Solar Problem


When we purchased Eximius, we were told that the Solar Panels were a total of 350Watts with 2 x 100 Watt panels and 1 x 150 Watt panel. The solar charge has never lived up to expectation, and I wondered why!


My first thought was that the supply wires from the panels to the solar charger were undersized and that we were experiencing voltage loss over the length of the wires.

The wires are twin 10AWG and length is approximately 24’ one way, or 48’ round trip.


Looking up in the electrical tables for the voltage loss over that length of 10AWG cable I found that the resistance of that wire is 48’ x .102Ω/100feet = 0.049Ω≈ .05Ω


With the panels connected in Parallel, the max current would be about 15amps

Voltage Drop, Vd, = I x R = 15amps * .05Ω = 0.75v


That's not a huge voltage drop but more than I would expect.

The Solar Panels are mounted on top of our Bimini so we cannot see the underside of them, and we didn’t think to take pics when we had the Bimini off a year ago for restitching. I took photos this week.

The panels are not 350Watts!!!!


We have 2 x BP365U solar panels which are each 65watt panels and 1 x ICP SolarTech 100w panel.

So total wattage would be 230Watts and that was when new, which seems to have been in 2003. They have a 25 year warranty of 80% nominal output. So realistically, we have somewhere between 180watts and 230watts.


So taking a mid point on the 17 year old panels, let’s say we have 200 watts. The panels in parallel should have a voltage of 21v and max current of 14amps. So my calculations above would seem valid.


We have a Blue Sky 251 2i Solar Boost MPPT Controller. Which has a 25v, 25amp capability. Which would seem very capable of handling the output of the panels and the battery charging.


Oh, the Batteries: We have 4 6volt Trogan 105 Batteries connected in series and parallel to provide a total of 12v and 450 Ah at the 20 hour discharge rate.


Upon inspection, we found that the Wire from the solar panels is showing signs of damage and the connections that join the panels in parallel are not up to my spec (they seem to be covered in electrical tape and liquid tape, yuk) also the wire passses through the top of the port side combing through a drilled hole which has been covered with a huge goop of silicone sealant. 


The MPPT controller does not have any management utility, there is an upgraded version that does, but it would be cheaper to replace the unit.


I have decided to replace the wiring, I’ll use individual 10AWG wires and MC4 connectors along with a suitable cable gland where the power line passes through the fiberglass of the boat. I’ll also change the MPPT controller for one that has a remote management facility (most likely bluetooth) in order to correctly tune the charger to the system, which will include a temperature sensor on the battery bank.


Now to decide on the controller and the wiring cables, connectors and the cable clam to provide a waterproof pass throug
  • 30' of 10 AWG Black Multistrand Tinned Copper Wire
  • 30' of 10 AWG Red Multistrand Tinned Copper Wire
  • 6 MC4 Connectors Male/Female Pairs
  • 1 of 1M-3F Branch Connector 
  • 1 of 1F-3M Branch Connector 
  • Twin Cable Clam
  • Victron SmartSolar MPPT 75/15 Solar Charge Controller 75V 15A with Bluetooth

 Found all of those on Amazon. I don't have a crimp tool for the MC4 connectors, hence choosing a kit that includes the crimper and wrenches. Here's a link to the shared ideas list on Amazon 
  - 

We went down to the boat today to further inspect the wiring. The Wire, Terminals and Crimp kit as well as the twin cable clam had all arrived, time to get dirty.

Step one was to remove the Bimini canvas so that we could get to the underside of the panels. The two 65w panels have terminal boxes affixed to their undersides, with the covers off I could see the connections and the diodes, that's a good start, but the larger panel wire is connected to the Stbd side aft panel (65w) via a hole in the terminal box and a large goop of silicone. Grrrr.

So, we tested the panels.

  • Port Side 65w BP Solar panel - 17.9 volts 3amps
  • Stbd Side 65w BP Solar panel - 17.9 volts 3amps

  • Foward 100w Solar Panel - 0.00volts 0.0amps
    • Inspecting the panel, it has no terminal block and I cannot see where any diodes could be fitted! The wiring looks awful and it's connected from the Port Aft corner of the panel to the terminal box  on the Stbd panel. I checked at the inter panel connections that are on this panel and they were all zeros! This panel it no use!


My conclusion is that the 100w panel is beyond my repair and is probably 13 years old.

Time to look for a new panel. I searched for a panel that was the same physical size 60in x 29in and could not find one, but I did find a 170w panel that uses Z brackets and they would extend the size of the panel by about 1.5" with luck it will fit, if not I'll just have to add a wider brace between the two aft panels and the new forward panel.

Here's the updated materials list

  • 30' of 10 AWG Black Multistrand Tinned Copper Wire
  • 30' of 10 AWG Red Multistrand Tinned Copper Wire ✔
  • 6 MC4 Connectors Male/Female Pairs ✔
  • 1 of 1M-3F Branch Connector ✔
  • 1 of 1F-3M Branch Connector ✔
  • Twin Cable Clam✔
  • Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/20 Solar Charge Controller 100V 20A with Bluetooth 
  • Victron Smart Battery Sense Long Range (Up to 10M)
  • BougeRV 170 watts Monocrystaline Solar Panel 12volts
  • BougeRV Solar Panel Mounting Z Brackets✔

Everything has either arrived or is ordered, the last item to arrive is, according to the amazon schedule, the solar panel due on September 3rd. Meanwhile I can get the other wiring taken care of. 







 

 So there's a few items to arrive, I hope to get as much as I can done before the new pan el arrives in September. I'll take more pics and post another article then. Maybe I can get Peggy to take a video showing what we are doing.


Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Just a bit of Boat Work

New Anchor

Our primary anchor has been a Delta 25lb plough style anchor. It gets great reviews, but we have dragged often even with 90' of anchor rode out in 7' of water, with a 4' anchor roller to water length that's 11' and 7:1 rode would be 77', yet we would still drag even after digging the anchor in by backing down.

West Marine had a new model of anchor that had a list price of $299 on sale for $68, at that price it was worth trying.  

To install the anchor, I first had to remove the existing anchor, the shackle was seized but soaking in WD40 for 24 hours. With the new anchor attached, I next needed to remove our secondary anchor which is past it's best by date by a few years. In order to remove it, I had to pull out all of the rode for both anchors. That's 100' of chain on the primary anchor and a further 250' of 7/8" 3 strand rope. Then the 50 of chain and 150' of 7/8l" rope on the old secondary anchor. 

With all of the rode out of the anchor locker, I was able to give it a significant clean, it's been a couple of years.

There was a plastic cover for an old hole near the top of the locker, I peeled that off and cleaned up the area then looked for a suitable cover.

I found a 'Sample' of formica available at Lowe's for $0.25 including shipping !!! 

I'm guessing that the hole (behind the white piece of formica) was probably the original position of the 12v power outlet which had been moved forwards so that it was out of the way of the flukes of the anchor.

To secure the panel in place, I used double sided duct tape, it stuck really well. The Delta anchor (shown in the lower left corner of the photo at left) does not have flukes that are likely to damage the sides of the anchor locker.

Then the rode for both anchors was put back in place, pretty neatly, by using a boat hook to push down the anchor line into the depths of the locker. 
That mesh bag seen in the right lower corner of that photo is the bag that contains our Snubber. Also in the locker is our Day Marker for when we use the anchor during the day.


Another job was to complete the new backing plate for the shower thermostat.  When I installed the thermostat, I didn't realize that the front of the control could be removed, so the hole drilled in the surface in which it was mounted was cut to allow the control handle to pass through. 
The thermostat is held in place by two pipe supports on the inside using 4 bolts. I replaced those today with countersunk bolts and then covered the hole with another piece of the Formica sample from Lowe's. Again, secured in place by using double sided duct tape.

The result is actually better then expected. The panel fits really well behind the thermostat control knob.







With this panel complete it looks much more 'finished'

The top edge of the panel slides up behind the underside of the teak countertop surround.


Last project for the day was to modify the way that the new fan in the v-berth was installed.

When the fan was attached to the teak on the port side of the v-berth, it was too close to the deck head. Consequently the fan could strike the deck head :( 

Today I removed the fan, screwed an extension  piece of teak about 7" tall to the teak rail and then the fan to the teak extension. The whole job took about 15 minutes, but that included getting the tools ready and the clean up afterwards. 

So today was a nice and quick visit with three projects crossed off the list.

We're hoping to be able to take the boat out on a cruise down to Biscayne Bay starting this weekend, but the weather is not cooperating, We're happy to let it slide for as long as necessary, but if we don't get away by Wednesday we'll take a break and spend a night at a hotel to celebrate. 

Hope to see you on the water.

Paul & Peggy

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Leak from Engine's Raw Water Filter

Leak from Engine's Raw Water Filter


During our Father's Day Weekend Cruisette, when we arrived at the Bahia Mar, we realized that the Bilge Pump had run twice and the Bilge had a couple of inches of water.

Peggy is always good at finding leaks, so while I was out chatting to boat buddies, Peggy was hunting down the leak. Turned out it was from the Engine's Raw Water Filter.

When I looked at it, water could be seen dripping out of the clear plastic cup that holds the filter.

I checked it was screwed onto the housing securely, it was, so I closed the Raw Water Thru hull and unscrewed the filter cup.

The cup has a seal and that seal appeared to have a split in it's surface. Upon removing the seal, I noticed that it was way to big for it's location, probably swollen for some reason. It was certainly not going to go back in place without a struggle which would probably worsen the split.

I had installed that new filter in 2018, and had also replaced the AC Raw Water Strainer with the same type of filter, figuring out that if ever the Engine Raw Water filter had an issue, I had a spare that I could steal from the AC unit.

I considered using the AC Raw Water strainer cup and seal to get us back home. After an extensive online search, I could not find a replacement seal, so I ordered two new Filter assemblies, one to fix the current issue and a spare. As the old filter cup was going to be replaced, I decided to replace the Seal with a ring of Silicone Sealant. After cleaning the Filter Cup and making sure it was totally dry, I applied a healthy coat of sealant in the grove where the seal should be. Then I let it cure for 24 hours.
Sunday afternoon an inspection of the silicone showed it was fully cured. I installed, the now repaired, filter cup and we did a test run of the engine. No leaks. WooHoo!

When we got home on Monday, the new filters were waiting on my doorstep.

Life is good.

See you on the water.

Father's Day Weekend 2020

Celebrating Father's Day with the HISC

Father's Day fell on Sunday June 21st 2020 (last weekend) right in the middle of the Pandemic which has caused most of us to be in some form of quarantine since the middle of March.

We joined other club members at the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale, there were 6 boats in attendance from the club with a total of about 20+ crew.  The event was held after the Nederlanden Coastal Race from Hillsboro Inlet down to Port Everglades, but we (Eximius) did not race, we just went directly to the Bahia Mar from our Dock an hour away.

The Bahia Mar Crew were happy to see us, their business is picking up as Broward County Opens up, but they are still, correctly, practicing Social Distancing and every staff member that we interacted with were wearing Face Masks, both outside and inside their offices.

The Pool was open, and some of the HISC crew cooled off from the 90º+F  Temperature and commented that it was not too crowded, compared to normally there being probably a hundred folks swimming and dining up there. Peggy & I did not go up to the Pool, we're being a bit more aggressive about maintaining Social Distancing - at least we're trying.

The Celebrations really consisted of the club members sharing Pizza, Fish, Water Melon, Klondike Bars while staying, mostly 6' apart and wearing Face masks when getting any closer. It sure was nice being able to chat and share stories with our friends after being away from club activities for so long. True, we've had Virtual meetings and Happy Hours online, but there's really nothing better than meeting with good people.

We stayed at Bahia Mar Saturday & Sunday, departing on Monday, Affection was there on Friday & Saturday nights, everyone else arrived on Saturday and departed on Sunday. Weather was glorious except for the storms on Friday Evening, the rest of the weekend we barely got wet - well, except for the results of the very high temperatures. Luckily, our AC on the boat worked just fine, we do need to consider a Sun Shade over part of the hull, the underside, in the cabin, gets surprisingly hot.

Sunday morning there was a huge boat parade on the ICW, we saw at least 50 boats dressed up and celebrating Gay Pride, they were certainly having fun. 

We departed Bahia Mar on Monday at about 10:30am just as the tide was reaching slack and had an easy motor up the New River, no crazies around, I guess most folks are getting back to work. A couple of big yachts were heading up river under their own power, in fact we didn't see a single boat under tow, a rarity. 

Because of the time we planned to leave Bahia Mar, we had plenty of time to prep the boat for unloading, it's surprising how much we take on the boat considering how much we keep onboard at all times. But preparing for the unload that way really reduces the time from arrival at the dock to being on the road for the drive home. We called the local Thai Restaurant and ordered take out so that we didn't have to prepare lunch. By 13:40 we were settled in at home eating Thai Chicken Red Curry and Chicken Lo Mein. 

Great weekend with some great people. 

Hope to see them again on the Independence Day.

See you on the water!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Stuck KNOT Transducer

Our Speed Transducer stopped working

Not the first time and it's typically due to getting a piece of floating grass or the ilk caught in the paddle wheel. Still, it's a pain as we compare our GPS speed to our 'through the water' speed in order to determine the water's current & direction. ie. GPS speed of 5 knots and Water speed of 3 knots means we have 2 knots of current on the stern, or GPS speed of 3 knots and Water speed of 5 knots means we have 2 knots of current on our Bow. That helps us plan for going alongside or as we are approaching a bridge that needs to open.


Our Speed/Depth/Temperature transducer is mounted in a through hull that is inside the Bathroom cabinet, along with 3 other thru-hulls (Engine Raw Water, Sink Drain and Shower Sump) and despite my recent update to the Fresh water plumbing, the Transducer is a bit awkward to reach (it's a boat!), however, not to difficult. 

To clean off the transducer, we can reach over the side from the dinghy with the boat brush and wipe off the surface which is just in reach underwater, it takes a while if we don't have out dink in the water already, so the alternative is to pull the transducer from it's thru-hull and plug it until we have chance to clean the transducer. Doing this does put some water in the bilge, typically about a 1/2 gallon, more or less.

This weekend we were at the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale and met with a friend on his boat 'Cookie Monster' among other things, we discussed the transducer issue. He explained that he normally takes out the transducer when the boat is at the dock and replaces it prior to departure. What a Great Idea!

 On Sunday morning, I pulled the transducer and plugged the hole with our new True Plug Mini just to check out the plug.
It worked great, cut the water flow from the open thru-hull completely.

The Transducer Thru-Hull is an older version and does not have the internal water trap hinge that a modern Tranducers Thru-hull does, I've got one and might change it out later this year when we plan on a haul out.

To make sure I had the correct Thru Hull plug, I pulled the True Plug Mini out (more water) and inserted the spare Airmar plug. Again, it fit just fine and no water flow. 

Cleaned the transducer and spun the paddle wheel to check all was well, Peggy confirmed that we had apparent water speed on our GPS display.

One more time, pulled the plug and inserted the Transducer into the thru-hull. We should be good to go now.

When we left the dock, it was nice to see that the Water speed was now working fine.

Normally we take about an hour to unload the boat back at our dock and we're typically exhausted, today was no different. We're going back down to the boat on Wednesday and at that time I'll pull the Transducer and insert the Airmar Plug (keeping the mini plug in place when not needed is not a good idea.)

See you on the water!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Re-plumbing Catalina 34 Mk 1 - part 3

Success - New Plumbing finally passed the Pressure Test.

Tuesday May 26th 2020.

What was intended to be a quick trip to the boat turned out longer because things came together so well.

On Saturday, we completed the install with the exception of a leak where the new plumbing connected to the old Shower Thermostat. Turns out that was caused by a sloppy removal of the old hose in which I had to cut a slit in order to get the tube off of the fitting. The knife blade not only cut through the hose, which was the plan, but it also cut s slit in the surface of the fitting. That slit was the source of the leak.

So today I went armed with a replacement fitting and new hose. Replacement complete, I did another pressure test before re-securing the Shower Thermostat in place. All of that took about an hour.
With everything working, it was time to start putting the boat back together again. Bathroom Cabinet replaced and Under Sink Cabinet door replaced. 




In the Galley, I tidied up the electrical wiring that I had relieved in order to run the new piping. That included repositioning the Drinking Water Filter System UV Lamp power unit. In order to disentangle the wire from the lamp to the power supply where it was twisted around the sink drain pipe and the Pump housing, I had to remove the lamp from it's housing - Grrrrr! I could hear the inner glass of the housing snap as I pulled out the lamp! Note to self - next time remove the entire UV Lamp housing from the filter assembly before extracting the lamp. I bypassed the UV lamp system for the time being. and then replaced the Galley under sink cabinet and cutlery draw. 

With the water pressure turned on, a last check of all joints to inspect for leaks. I was certain there were none as the pump automatically turned off when it got up to pressure and it stayed that way while I put all of the cabinets back in place.

Other than having to replace the quartz glass sleeve for the UV Lamp housing, the job is finished. Oh, one more thing to do. Print out nice labels for the Water Selector Valve - Mid Ships  -- Aft -- Off





Hardly a big HuRaaa! but sure feels good to know that the new pipe joints are solid. As expected, water pressure at all faucets and the shower is still plenty high and I could hardly notice if there was any drop in the pressure compared to the previous hose piping system.


Here's the Re-positioned Water Pump and the UV lamp power source.

Much neater and I anticipate that it will be easy to change out the pump when it eventually fails.

I had broken the UV Lamp housing glass tube: That's the tube in which the lamp is inserted and allows the UV light to pass through into the water chamber.

I was able to get a replacement tube and a spare lamp from Atlantic UV online. It took all of 5 minutes to replace the lamp tube and put it back together.

In this pic, the galley drawers are removed for access.




This is the inside of the galley unit showing the Three Way Ball Valve. 

It's held in place by two SS screws from the outside face.

Not so clear but it also shows that the access to the Galley Sink Drain Thru-hull, so it's a lot easier to operate the Thru-Hull.












And, Finally! the new Fresh Water Tank Selector valve is complete with natty little labels to avoid confusion.

Having finished the job, we spent a couple of hours cleaning up the cabin, stowing everything that was removed or relocated to access the hidden areas of plumbing.

We have already booked a weekend at a Marina for our first trip since the pandemic hit. We'll be practicing safe distancing, and meeting with sailing buddies. 


Time for the next projects - new Spinnaker, Sock and running rigging. And fix the ding that we put in the port side 3 months ago (March)

Now to pull from these posts for a Magazine Article.

Stay Safe and we'll see you on the water.


















 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Re-plumbing Catalina 34 Mk 1 - part 2

Re-plumbing the Fresh Water System on our Catalina 34 Mk 1


The Plan - Diagram of the Fresh Water Plumbing on our Catalina 34 Mk1

It turns out that despite spending hours selecting the materials for this project, I still had to make a few changes when it came to purchasing them. The 1/2" PEX Barb x 1/2" FNPT Elbow adapters were not FNPT, and I could not find the right fittings, so I had to go with Straight Adapters. Not a big deal, it just forces me to use a 1/2" PEX Barb x 1/2MNPT Adapter.

Everything is on order, and should arrive / be available for pickup at the store in the next week or two.

I'm not in a hurry to rip out all of the existing plumbing, as that will basically tie us to the dock. With our current 'Social Distancing practice, if I get the chance to take the boat out, I will! So patience is the game for now.

First item to arrive was the 3 Way Ball Valve, but it had a defect, it was only operating as a 2 way valve.
ie. The selector handle was limited to routing the central (common) valve opening to one of the 2 valve openings. To me, that's a 2 way valve. It did not allow the 3rd position that would shut off both inlets. 10 minutes with a sharpie knife and it now does act as a 3 way valve. That would be 'Aft Tank, Mid Tank and Off.

Update 4.26.2020 - The materials are gathering in my garage. So far I have a bunch of stuff from Lowes, 2 more items in the pipeline from them. And I just got an email from ACE Hardware that all of the items, 3, from them are ready for pickup. It's Sunday, so ACE will wait till Monday.

I started to put the 3 way valve system together, this part is easy but I need one of the parts that's at not arrived at Lowes yet. I've thought through the whole process, figuring out which way the pipes will run and where the challenges will be, the order in which to build / install each section as some of the joint locations will be difficult to crimp in place. I'm hoping I can make the install really neat and tidy. Ship Shape!

Saturday May 2nd.

The last piece of the puzzle arrived today - the 4 port manifold.

Sunday May 3rd.

Finished building the 3 way valve and the Manifold (Attach the 3/4" PEX Barb to 1/2" PEX Barb)

Monday May 4th.

Headed down to the boat today with the Tools, all of the Piping and Materials.
If I were being paid for doing this, I would be working at least an 8 hour day, but I'm not, and with the current restrictions imposed because of the Pandemic, I'm not in a hurry, so will probably spend no more than 4 hours each day and not every day.

Here's what we got done:
  • Drain the Tanks✔
  • Remove the Aft bulkhead in the Aft Cabin to gain access to the Aft Water Tank✔
    • Had to remove the Aft Berth Port Side bulkhead too!✔
    • All of this was a waste of time! The Aft Tank outlet connection is on the front, center underside of the tank.
    • Decided to keep the hose in place from the Aft tank to where it reaches inside the Galley Cabinet and convert from Hose to Pex at that point.
  • Drill the hole in the Galley cabinet just below the Cutlery draw for the 3 Way Valve. The laminated (Glass,Wood, Glass) galley cabinet is thicker than the max wall thickness for surface mounting the 3 way valve, so I measured the amount of the valve shaft sticking out of the cabinet and planned to trim down the handle in the morning so that the handle would not rub against the cabinet surface. The valve location seems to be just fine. Inside the cabinet it's not in the way of the Hot water tank nor the pump. It's easily reached and is hardly noticable.
Review of Monday:
As power was out on the dock, we had to setup the Generator and shore power cable in order to be able to run the Air Conditioning, Temps were expected to get up into the 90º again today. We spent most of the time figuring out where the Aft Tank Connection was located and then reinstalling the Bulkheads! Grrrr! We also spent a while reinstalling the Dry Bilge Pump which is out of the way - which means awkward to get at!
Oh, while reinstalling the Aft Cabin Port Bulkhead, I crimped my pinky finger between the wood and the small metal ring around one of the screws while using my electric screwdriver - that cut out about a 1/8" round by 1/16" deep slice of my finger tip! Luckily I have a Nurse on board! After taking care of that I wore Vinyl gloves to try and keep it clean. Thankfully, I heal pretty quick!


Tuesday May 5th.

  • Removed all of the existing pipework under the Galley Counter.✔
  • Found that the Filters are not 1/2" MNPT but 3/8" MNPT. I have enough to get the Galley area done, but not enough to do the Head. Ordered more from Ace Hardware.✔
  • Removed the existing 1/2" MNPT - Hose Barbed connection on the Midships Tank.✔
  • Removed the connections on the Fresh Water Pump - They are 1/2" FNPT✔
  • I had to totally disconnect the disassemble the Drinking Water Filter System in order t attach the 3/8" MNPT Elbows✔
Review of Tuesday:
Got a late start today, but got right down to business. We used the Dry Bilge Pump to drain the bilge after disconnecting the hot water tank which put 6 gallons of fresh water into the bilge.
Most of the day was spent on demolition. It looked like a huge amount of piping to pull out. There were over 50 hose clamps 12+ Barbed Hose Connections and about 10' of hose in short lengths. The work area looks a lot clearer now.
I started to get some of the new Pipe work put together. It's a case of measure and cut all of the pieces from one connection. eg. the Filter Input, to the next, eg. 3 Way Valve output. Make as many of the joints prior to putting the piece into place in order to minimize the number of crimps to make in place. It is certainly the case that the PEX tubing running in straight lines with Elbows to redirect the next piece in the correct direction is a whole lot neater than flexible poly tube bent this way and that.  
Ordered additional 3/8" MNPT - 1/2" PEX Barb Elbows from ACE Hardware. Also figured I'll need another 50 1/2" PEX Crimp Clamps, but they are available in store at Lowes.
This brings the total cost up to $199.18  The good news is that I will be able to return some of the tubing. 

Some pics:
The Drinking water filter system.
The connections were push to fit 1/4" tubing, so I removed those and found that the filters have 3/8" fittings.
The UV lamp system is not yet reinstalled, that will come later.
 The old Tank selector Valves - Plural! are removed.
The shaggy looking foam on the right side of the pic is the additional foam the PO put around the fridge freezer.

I hope to clean up the surface of the plywood that supports the Fresh Water Pump

 The white cylinder is the 'Whole House' water filter, that too has 3/8" connections.

The UV lamp housing for the Drinking water filter system is laying on top of the Hot Water Tank.

The first piece of PEX white pipe is between the two filters. not connected yet, just sizing it up. That will go to the 3 way Tank Selector valve.



Thursday May 7th.

  • Made up white piping from Midships Tank to 3 way valve.
    • This included a 1/2" MNPT to 1/2" PEX Elbow and 3 PEX Elbows.
  • Made up White piping from Aft tank hose to 3 way valve.
    • This included a Hose Barb to 1/2" MNPT connector - a 1/2" MNPT to PEX Barb adapter.
  • Made up White piping from 3 way valve to Whole House Filter
    • This included the 3/8" MNPT to 1/2" PEX Barb Elbow that I installed yesterday and 2 1/2" PEX Barb Elbows
  • While putting the piping from the Whole House Filter to the Fresh Water Pump inlet, I found that the inlet is not NPT! Grrrr. So that put a stop to the work in the galley as I really wanted to get the Pump inlet system complete before working on the Manifold and the Hot Water Tank.
  • Dissemble the Fresh Water connections to the Head Faucet and the Shower Thermostat. Pics below. 
Review of Thursday

Everything went well today up until I found that the Pump inlet connections are not NPT, but rather than stop there, I made progress by dissembling the fresh water system in the Bathroom. The hoses run from the Sink faucet, down and aft of the engine bay, through 2 holes in the aft face of the engine bay floor support, then under the engine bay floor and forwards to inside the galley cabinet where they connect to the Pressurized Hot and Cold water supplies.

The existing system has 10 components between the Faucet and the supply hose and 6 hose clamps. The new setup will have 3 components and 4 clamp crimps. That's a reduction of 12 components and 8 clamps and does not use any hose clamps. 










It will also run much neater under the cabinet. I'm hoping I can put some sort of chafe protection where the PEX piping passes through the holes at the back of the engine bay.

It will be fun trying to get the piping to run through those holes and up to the galley cabinet, there is not a lot of room and the PEX Clamp crimps will need to be made up prior to running the piping.





It was much cooler today, so we didn't need to run the Air Conditioning.

Here's the Midships Water Tank supply outlet.
That's a 1/2" MNPT fitting with pipe thread tape and a PEX Elbow where the pipe turns aft.

One surprise was that while tightening up the fitting, the tank shifted! It looks like there's nothing holding the tank down besides gravity, I think I'll remedy that! Some wooden bars at the ends to hold it down, not that I ever intend to be out on water where we might turn turtle. But!!!!!










Here's the inside of the 3 way valve, the pipe on the right in the pic is the Aft Tank Connection. The Left Pipe is the Midships Tank Connection and the Center pipe is output of the valve that connects to the Whole House Filter before connecting to the Fresh Water Pump input.














Here's the sunny side of the 3 way valve. The Cutlery draw is currently removed as is the Galley counter cabinet draw set removed. I'll put labels to indicate the 3 positions Aft - Mid - Off.















Back at home I took a trip to Lowes and found a suitable connection for the Fresh Water Pump it's a 1/2" PEX Barb to 1/2" FNP rather than a 1/2" FNPT. I grabbed two of them but will look to see if I can find them in and Elbow format. I found them online at Lowes and ordered them, should arrive by the date that the additional 3/8" connectors arrive at ACE Hardware.

So, today was not as productive as I had hoped , I'm forever the optimist. But what progress I did make was good work and I'm very pleased with the way it's turning out, very neat, very clean and a huge reduction in failure points.

Friday May 8th

There's more demo to do in the bathroom:- Remove the hoses from the Thermostat and to the Shower head control valve. That will take about a 1/2 hour. I should be able to re-plumb the Shower Control valve to the Thermostat and that will take about an hour, it involves removing the cabinet over the shower seat, the Control valve and the Thermostat in order to connect the PEX fittings. Definitely going to be a challenge wiggling around in the cramped area of the bathroom.

I went down to the boat today while Peggy stayed at home to practice her Guitar lessons. My intent was to start on the bathroom demo and review the galley and bathroom plumbing plans. I'm really into visualizing a project, it helps make the decisions on what and how to do things. Today was an eye opener.

When I was planning this project, I focused on the schematics and the types of fittings needed. Then I focused on each part of the project as I begun them, figuring out which route the pipes would follow and the order in which each connection needed to be made. Today I was focused on how to run the pipes from the galley to the bathroom. My initial thought was to use the existing pipes as messengers for the long connection between the two cabinets. I had thought that the hot and cold pipes ran from in front of the hot water tank, beneath the flooring, under the engine and out of the rear of the engine compartment. Turns out they took a detour coming up through the floor on the port side of the engine bay before continuing aft and through the engine bay's aft bulkhead. PEX piping would not bend sufficiently to follow that route, at least, not the Red and Blue PEX piping, they do make a white pipe that is more flexible, but I really wanted to be able to identify the pipes by their coloring.

So, plan B.

I have two choices:
a) Use the existing 33 year old poly pipes between the galley and the bathroom with adapters on each end to change from hose barbs to PEX fittings.
b) Use PEX piping but run it on a straight line, under the floor, from the Galley to the Bathroom - the same route that the Bilge Pump Hoses follow.

I ran a test pipe under the floor as per choice #2 and it was easy to get the pipe in place. It will be a bit of a challenge to get the PEX fittings on to the ends of those long pipes, but I can see how to do it. It will maintain the pipe color coding and consistency of fitting types (PEX) and not use any Hose clamps.

So, my choice is to go the straight route using PEX. I'll put Swivel connections on the end so that it's easier to make the end connections.

While at the boat I looked at what was needed to refinish the Fresh Water Pump mounting shelf. I removed the pump, 4 screws, to examine the shelf. It just needs a quick surface prep, sand and prime then follow that with a coat, or two, of some high gloss white paint.



I also looked at the plumbing for the Bathroom Sink and Shower Sump discharge. Ideally the through hull stop valves would be rotated slightly in order to make them easier to operate, but that's a job when the boat is out of the water - I made a note for the December Haul Out. The Shower Sump and Head salt water supply hoses were both on the same thru hull stop valve, but we don't use salt water to flush the head, so that is being disconnected along with the T joint so that Thru Hull will only act as the Shower Sump drain, making more room in the under sink cabinet.

In the Pic the Clean White tube down by the shower sump pump is the Test PEX piping that is routed from the aft most bilge access by the Hot Water Tank. Plan is to run the pipe upwards close to the shower seat bulkhead 

Back home I received an email from ACE Hardware that my latest order (3/8" MNPT to 1/2" PEX Barb fittings) had arrived. A quick trip and I had the fittings and a small can of primer and high gloss white paint for the Fresh Water Pump Shelf.

Next trip to the boat is planned for Tuesday May 12th. Hopefully the new Swivel joints will have arrived. 
I hope to get the shelf prepped, primed and 1st coat of high gloss. While waiting for primer to dry I'll start the pipe runs from the Galley to the Bathroom and perhaps some of the bathroom fittings.

The gloss requires 6 hours between coats, so 2nd coat will have to be Wednesday.

I'll look into re-routing the bilge pump hoses while I'm in there, the current layout is nasty to say the least.

Tuesday May 12 (we took a day off for our Wedding Anniversary)


Got to that boat around 10:15am and set to prime the Fresh Water Pump Shelf - a quick sanding and the primer job was done in less than 20 minutes.

Then on to the Bathroom Plumbing; First I removed the Shower Thermostat in order to determine if I should replace the ploy hose with PEX or adapt. I chose adapt.

I made up hot and cold water setup.
In the image one can see the Hose barb connections on the left and the Faucet connections pointing down in this pic. The long PEX tube will be positioned downwards when the setup is installed. The lower end of that tube will have a Swivel fitting and attach to a 1/2" PEX to 1/2" MNPT adapter. That will allow for the future removal of that setup if ever needed.



  • Before we left, I applied the 1st coat of Hi-Gloss white to the shelf. It's looking good but will add a 2nd coat Wednesday.
  • This now shows where the Fresh Water Pump will be relocated further forward of the cut out that allows access to the Galley Sink Drain Thru hull. It should be a lot easier to open/close.

  • The pic also shows the final position of the (Blue) Water Tank Selector valve handle. And there is enough room behind the new location of the water pump to allow change of the Whole House Water Filter (White) 
I'll sort out the electrical cabling as I finish up in this area. The Water Manifold will be located forward and above the Hot Water Tank. That will allow future removal of the Hot Water Tank without having to disconnect any of the Manifold connections.






Wednesday May 13th.

Just a quick trip down to the boat today. 2nd coat of High Gloss on the pump shelf. Test run of PEX pipe from below the galley to the bathroom cabinet under the flooring. Clean up the electrical spaghetti just forward of the hot water tank and then home.

The electrics have been updated many times during he 33 year lifespan of Eximius. This is a typical view of the electrics, in fact it's not so bad compared to the disaster behind the electrical control panel. There's one heavy duty cable, no markings, not even a wire size among that wad of cables. It is not connected to anything and, I found out by opening all of those wire ties, it runs down the inside of the cabinet and then under the flooring via a glassed in conduit and into the aft end of the holding tank locker.    I was able to locate where it arrived inside that locker and started to ease it out of the tube, but it's really jammed in there and is not that easy to reach down and get a decent purchase. It can wait till another day, I did cut it off so that when I re-organize the bunch of cables it will not be included.


Thursday May 14th.

Made great progress today:
  • Fixed the Fresh Water Pump in place on the newly finished shelf
  • Connected the Pump intake piping from the Whole House Filter
  • Connected the Pump output to the Manifold
  • Connected the Manifold to the Drinking water filtration system.
  • Connected the Manifold to the Galley Faucet Cold water.
  • Ran the pipe from the Manifold to the Hot Water tank's Cold Water input fitting location (still waiting on the final fittings from Lowes.
  • Ran the pipe from the Manifold to bilge area where the elbow where the pipe turns aft to go under the floor to the bathroom
  • Ran the Hot water pipe from bilge area to the bathroom
I also cut the piping needed to connect the Hot Water from the tank to the galley faucet. I ran out of Elbow's and clamp crimps. 

When I arrived home, I realized that I had configured the pipes for the hot water outlet of the hot water tank the wrong way around (they were configured to the cold, input for the tank)

Luckily, I did not crimp the clamps! So when I go down to the boat again, I simply need to reconfigure them, about 10 minutes of work. Even better good news is that the new configuration will be even neater.

Picked up the 1/2" PEX Swivel adapters from Lowes, but the 1/2" x 12" MNPT adapters have not arrived yet and they are crucial for the connections on the hot water tank.

If the final parts arrive today, I should finish the system on Saturday, we'll wait and see.

Note:

Peggy asked why I was being so detailed when writing this post. I have promised the editor of the Catalina Mainsheet, C34 association that I would supply an article on this for the next edition. I'll use these posts to compile that article.


Friday May 15th - Nothing, poured with rain all day - did some baking.


Saturday May 16th. - Still waiting for the 1/2" MNPT x 1/2" MNPT adapters for the Hot Water Tank. 

Monday May 18th. 

Stopped by Lowes over the weekend to get stuff for another project, while there I picked up a few more items that I knew I needed for this one.

In order to connect the Blue Pex Pipe to the 3/8" MNPT Elbow on the Drinking Water Filter System, I had to remove the filter system (easy, just lift it off the holding screws. Must remember to secure it back in place after testing). But it wasn't sufficient, so I crimped a new piece of pipe to the elbow and will join that with the piece already in place using one of these.

Lowes(Link)
$9.98 pack of 5






I also purchased a pack of these (10), I'll replace the nails with SS screws to secure the pipes in place in several areas.

For certain, at least one will be used to support the piping near the Manifold as that has 5 pipes attached to it.

Another will be used to secure each of the PEX Pipe ends where they connect to the Faucet flexible pipes.
Lowes(Link)  $2.68 pack of 10

In addition to those two items, I also picked up another 20 PEX Clamp Crimps and a 5 pack of PEX 1/2" x 1/2" Barbed Elbows, I have used up nearly all that I purchased originally.

When the 1/2" MNPT x 1/2" MNPT PEX Adapters arrive, I'll also pickup the new Filters as now would be a great time to replace them. I may have mentioned that earlier.


Monday May 18th.

At last, the 1/2" MNPT to 1/2" MNPT adapters arrived at Lowes. While at the store I picked up 4 new Water filter inserts and two new Water Filters for our house. The filters for our current home under sink drinking water system are $35 each and are the type that are encased in a heavy plastic tube, they are changed out by just turning the water off, twisting the filter units and releasing them, the new are as easy to replace. However, I really don't like that I have to toss out a big chunk of plastic that will last 4E4 and even then will not decompose. 
The new filters are the same as used in the boat. So to change the, the filter housing has to be unscrewed (water pressure off), removed and the old filter extracted, new inserted and the filter housing screwed back in place. It may take 5 minutes more to change the filter, but the new filters have far less plastic and are $15.99 a pair!!! that's 25% of the price. On the plus side is also the fact that I now only have to maintain one type of filter for both the boat and the house.  
Oh! The dual filter systems available typically cost about $150 to a lot more, but they really are only a pair of the simple single filter units attached together in series and attached to a metal or plastic 
mounting piece. The two single filters have all the bits needed to connect them and each has it's own mounting plate. The single filter units are $36, so only $72 a pair. No brainer!

Tuesday May 19th.

House work day. Installing the new kitchen sink drinking water system and doing some yard work, a couple of banana trees have fallen due to the heavy rain over the past few days and they are laden with about 40lb of bananas each. And tomorrow is a big day! Due to being pretty well stuck at home except for trips to the boat and the store where I wear my facemask, tomorrow is big garbage day! Must be Wednesday. Sad, we note what day it is by the events that happen every week.



Thursday May 21st.

Installation Complete!
We were down at the boat by 9:30am and quickly got on with the remainder of the installation work.
Completed the Hot Water Tank - Hot and Cold piping connections including the Checkvalve in the Cold water line to the Hot water tank.

Completed the plumbing in the bathroom, it took some creative effort to get too much of my torso inside the bathroom cabinet (with the door frame removed). 

I had to detach the 3rd bilge pump hoses in order to be able to make the connections of the hot and cold water pipes, however, the access inside the bathroom cabinet is already much better and when I re-route the bilge pump hoses the access to the thru hulls will be much cleaner. I could not connect the shower cold water supply hose without getting a kink in the hose, so I'll have to install and barb elbow joint where the kink is.

So the plumbing install is complete and ready for a leak test tomorrow, Friday. At that time I'll also reinstall the 3rd bilge pump hoses, the Shower Sump pump hose to the thru hull, organize and secure the electrical wiring in the area of the forward midships corner of the hot water tank.

The replacement fan for the bathroom arrived, so we'll install that as well, assuming that no leaks eat up our work time on Friday.

So Friday plan:-
  • Fill the midships water tank
  • Pressure test the system
  • Flush the pipes out (should be clean, but better to flush them)
  • Fit pipe holders to secure the bathroom piping and the galley under sink piping.
  • Reinstall the Bilge pump hoses
  • Reinstall the Shower Sump Pump hose to the thru hull
  • Dry up the bilge. 
  • Oh! And take loads of pictures to include in the wrap up post.
It was a hot and humid day, by the time we got back home it began the afternoon pour down. Temp got to 92ºF on the boat. But we got it done.

That's it for this post. It should provide plenty of material for the article in the MainSheet magazine.

We could be out on the boat as early as Saturday! WoHooooo!

See you there - just stay 50' away  :)