Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Installing a Balmar MAX Charge MC-618-H External Alternator Regulator

Installing a Balmar MAX Charge MC-618-H Regulator

Our existing External Regulator is a backup unit from when the Zantrex Power Management System was installed, now replaced with our Victron Power Management System. The old external regulator does not have the features to protect our Balmar 6 series 100A Alternator nor does it consider the battery temperature nor the Battery Voltage. The Balmar MAX MC-618 does ( The H indicated that it is supplied with an electrical harness.)

I purchased the regulator from PKYS online and was surprised that it's cost was competitive with Amazon and it's delivery was at least as good, it arrived early.  When it arrived, I thought I had the wrong item. I sent an email to PKYS explaining that they had sent the wrong item.

But!!! As you can see from the picture above, it's identified as a MAX Charge MC-618 not as an MC-618-H, I found that the label on the underside of the regulator shows it's a MC-618-H I and sent a follow up email to PKYS apologizing for my mistake.

I read through the manual again and realized that I didn't order the two Temperature Sensors, Duh! I placed another order for them. After placing the order, I called PKYS just to make sure they didn't react to my first email regarding the wrong item. They actually picked up the phone and responded to my query. Very helpful. The order for the two temp sensors arrived a day earlier than expected ( ordered Monday arrived Wednesday )

As I mentioned, I read the manual. It's online but I downloaded it and stored it in my 'Manuals' folder for future use. I'm going to print it to keep  on board with my other manuals, just in case I'm ever out at sea and no net connection.

Ok, Onto the Installation.

My plan is to keep the existing dumb regulator as a backup, it works, just not very efficiently.

Here's the rough process:

  • Install the Regulator ( 4 screws ) adjacent to the old regulator.
  • Run the wiring harness into the engine area and connect to the Alternator
  • Run the Alternator Temperature Sensor wiring to one of the Alternator Body Nut-n-Bolt
  • Run the Battery Temperature Sensor beneath the engine area Port side into the Battery bay just forward of the Galley forward bulkhead ( about midships )
  • Run a cable for the Battery Voltage Sense wire alongside the Battery Temperature sensor cable.
Sounds pretty straight forward. Next it's time to program the regulator. I'll need to turn the engine ignition on for that. But first I have to do a bit of work on the Alternator housing.

On our 100nm trip to Lake Worth and back over the Labor day weekend, the engine kept showing intermittent RPM although it sounded great and was running very steady. 

Turns out it was the Drive belt lose again!  I went to Broward Bolt and got a few of these Nord-Lock washers used to keep Turbo Units on cars & trucks from shaking lose. 

I need to adjust the belt tension and lock the bolts in place with these washers.

FYI, I make a point of going to Broward Bolt as soon as I need any type of bolt, nut or washer! 

1560 N Powerline Rd, Pompano Beach, FL 33069

The staff are awesome, they have never been out of stock for anything that I needed and have always been really helpful. Must admit, when I first went there a few years ago, I was expecting they would be expensive but happily surprised that their prices are very reasonable. They are not sponsoring me at all, I just feel the need to promote really good customer service. Give them a call next time you need Nuts, Bolts or Washers ( and drill bits, hole saws and two part epoxy mixes - the type in Tubes like Caulk ) (954) 960-1740

Here's the wiring diagram for this project.

OK, we're headed down to the boat in the morning, I'll try to take a bunch of pics of the install and Alternator Tensioning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Completing the VHF Antenna Cable install

 Back up the mast to complete the install of the VHF Antenna and gWind Transducer cables.

Now that the VHF has tested out ok and the gWind transducer is providing wind data to our Navigation System, it's time to complete the work on the Masthead.

So it was back up the mast today. No rain expected ( ok, none after 10am) but plenty of Sunshine. Steffi Shiffer came down to the boat to collect the left over material from the chair cushions and backs that I made for her last week. Peggy & Steffi were chin wagging while I prepped the gear for climbing the mast.
Today's tools included the Heat Gun, 100' Extension Cable, Pliers, Snips and Knife plus the Safety Harness and Bosuns Chair along with the two ATN Ascenders. Materials required were Heat Shrink tubing, Dielectric Grease, Butyl Tape, and Zip ties. Add a bottle of water for refreshment. I was also going to replace the blocks for the Lazy Jack system and apply some Rescue Tape to the end of the starboard side of the spreader, I got the port side of the spreader done last week.

It's always a struggle to don the Safety Harness, my solution is to sort it out while it's laying on the dock and then pick it up with one of the shoulder straps in each hand and lift it up over one arm and then pass the other arm under the second shoulder strap. Then connect the two parts of the chest straps and finally reach down and pull each of the leg straps up between my legs and connect them to the two side clips.

With all of the tools and materials sitting on the top of the inverted dinghy on the foredeck, I sit in the bosun's chair and strap into that. I use a additional strap to pull my butt into the back of the chair so that the chair does not slip bac when I stand in the leg straps stirrups. 

Next I attach the two ascenders to the Halyard that I have tensioned ready for climbing, I'll have to get better at tensioning that line. When I put my weight on the ascenders, it stretches and thus loosens.

Now fully dressed ( where are the pics Peggy? ) I load up the tool bags on each side of the bosun's chair. Clipping the Main Halyard to the end of the Safety Harness shock cord, Peggy takes up the slack and I hook into the Ascenders, one attaches to the Bosun's Chair the other to the Leg Straps with my feet in the Stirrups. Finally ready to climb. 

Peggy takes up the slack as I ascend the mast.

When I get to the Spreaders, Peggy secures the safety line and I reach out to the tip of the spreader. Ok, I can reach it! All I need is my knife and the Rescue tape they are in my tool bags. I lean out with the tape in hand and quickly wraps the tip of the spreader with the tape, cut it with the knife and stretch and wrap the last few inches of the tape around the spreader. Job 1 Done.

Ok, moving up. Peggy takes up the slack and I climb up a couple of feet to the Lazy Jack blocks on each side of the mast just above the Spreaders. The Starboard block had failed, the 'plastic' sides had cracked and allow the Line to ride up over the sheave and then jamb between the sheave and the metal sides of the block. I quickly installed the new all Stainless steel sided blocks, running the new lazy jack lines would be a job for on the way down.

Again, Moving up. Peggy takes up the slack as I climb the remaining distance to the top of our mast which is about 51 feet above the water line. Took a break halfway there for a refreshing drink of water. 

Once at the top, I got to work. First was to put dielectric grease on the VHF Antenna Connection to the Antenna Cable. I slipped a piece of Heat Shrink over and past the end of the cable, applied the grease to the thread of the Antenna Connection, completed the connection and tightened it using the pliers, then slid the Heat Shrink over the connecting ferrule. Calling down to Peggy, she attached the power cord and the Heat Gun up to via the Messenger line ( Spinnaker Halyard) and I sealed the Antenna Connection using the heat gun, that should keep it in good condition for a few years.  

Next, I added strain relief to the gWind Transducer cable with several Zip Ties. I should have put an extra piece of heat shrink over the VHF Antenna cable before the piece I had put on to seal the antenna to cable connection, had I done so, it would have been easy to run it down the cable just to the point beyond where the Antenna Cable passes through the hole in the Masthead. I didn't ! So I sliced a piece of heat shrink lengthwise and wrapped around the cable, sliding it down into the hole where the cable passed into the masthead. I secured it with a couple of zip ties and then applied some heat with the heat gun, just enough to melt the glue. 

Last job was to seal the holes around all of the cables where they pass into the Masthead. I rolled up some Butyl tape into a thin rope and used  that to seal the holes around the cables. 

All done, just needed to take some pics.

The old wind transducer base is still on the mast head. It's through bolted, so no way to get it off without having the nut end drop inside the mast and it would be just my luck that that nut would jamb into some line and cause a problem.

Time to go back down to the Lazy Jack Blocks.

Peggy eased the Safety line as I climbed down using the Ascenders until I was level with the blocks.

Using the messenger line, Peggy passed up a piece of line that was precut ( used as a messenger line when I pulled the old wires out of the top of the mast) and the end of the line for the 2nd lazy jack.

Turns out the old messenger line was too short, so I had Peggy tie a knot in the other line from the drum of line that was on the deck, then I pulled up that line until I got to the knot. Cutting the line below the knot, I pulled up on the other line as Peggy unwound more off o the drum. With enough line fed through the new blocks, I had Peggy tie another knot in the line by the drum.

All done, time to climb down the mast. The temp (according to my cell phone ) was over 100ยบ F up at the masthead, it felt like it. I was ready for a break.

We had lunch in the Air Conditioning of the Cabin. Back to it, tide up all of the tools and the gear and lines.

Tools - Good
Gear - Good
The Lazy jack lines - Good - well half were good, the Stbd side lines were secure but  the port side lines decided to run through the blocks - how nice and easy it ran! 

That means I have to go up the mast again on Friday to fix the lazy jack lines.   Grrr. At least it will keep me fit.

Getting better at climbing the mast, it went a whole lot easier today.  Both new Lazy Jack lines are not run through the new blocks on the mast.

I can cross this job off the list. The Service history log is updated.

There are no projects that would stop us going sailing, plenty of projects still on the list, but none that impact our sailing options. So we're planning.

See you on the water.


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Final Part of the Victron Power Management System Install

Mounting the Victron GX 4G LTE Modem & GPS Antenna

The Victron system installation has been working great for nearly a month now. It communicates with the Victron VRM on the Internet via a GX 4G LTE Modem. That has a small Stick Antenna and I was not happy with having that in the open down in the cabin, too great a risk that someone might nudge it and thus disconnect us from the net or worse, damage the modem. I had a Remote Antenna from a Wilson Cellular Extender that never worked well on our previous boat so I replaced the Stick Antenna with the Extension Antenna - Worked great when I left it just sitting on the shelf above the Nav Table until verified it worked ok.
Similarly, the GPS puck which connects to the 4G LTE Modem was just sitting on a shelf above the Nav Table,

The Pic shows the two cables from the GX 4G LET Modem (that's the unit with the blue light) 

Today I relocated the Antenna and GPS Puck to their permanent location. 

All I have left to do is run the wires from them to the LTE Modem. That should tidy up the installation significantly. I also replaced the 5m Network Cable from the Cerbo GX to the Victron Mk3 - USB interface with a .9m cable and, again, vastly improves the cable management.

Just to brag a bit, here's a screen shot of my Laptop at home showing part of the VRM data display.

Next job on the boat is to loom the new VHF Cable and the new gWind Transducer cable into the existing looms to secure them in place.  We're close to taking the boat out for an overnight really soon.

So, "See you on the Water" is not an empty promise. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Replacing the Masthead Antenna Cable - a Friend Indeed.

 Another trip up the mast, 3rd time in a couple of weeks.

Before getting ready to climb the mast, I had secured the lower ends of the two wires we were replacing with Heat Shrink tubing to individual messenger lines - 1/4" Braided Poly line. The tubing hot melt glue did a good job of join the tubing to the wires and the line.

Getting better at climbing the mast, the new Ascenders from ATN work really well, especially when they are attached at the correct length from each other to suit my body length.

My Dock Neighbor, Doug, took a bunch of pics while he was lazing in his Pool and I was the local entertainment.  Peggy was too busy managing the Belay Line ( safety line ) at the winch in the Cockpit.

I was wearing my Safety Harness, Bosun's Chair, tool pouches. Long sleeved top with Hoodie ( something around SPF 50 ) hard soled shoes. In my tool bags were a Cordless Drill, a bunch of lines ( for use as messengers, safety lanyards to prevent tools taking a dive, etc.) Pliers, Needle nose Pliers, Drill set, Self Amalgamating Rescue Tape, Bottle of Water, etc. etc. I probably was pulling up about 180lbs when climbing. 

The good news is that it is so much easier now that I have the process down. Even Peggy noted that I reached the top a lot quicker this time and I spent much less time getting kitted out before starting the climb.

Once at the top I got to work. Step one was to remove the Silicone caulk that was covering the VHF Antenna Cable, the old Wind Transducer cable ( original from when we purchased the boat but unused as the old transducer was broken ) .

With the Silicone out of the way, next it was time to pull the old wires out of the top of the mast. The VHF antenna cable had about a foot of wire above the mast head. The Old Transducer wire only had about 2" of wire sticking out of the mast head. I tied a line to that wire, then I called Peggy on my cell phone and she started to feed the Transducer wire up through the hole at the base of the mast.

Gladly, the wires pulled up out of the top of the mast quite easily, I was able to pull about a foot of wire with a singe reach. As the wire came out, I let it dangle down from the mast. With the top of the wire secured with that line I tied earlier, the weight on the line was only about 1/2 the total weight. Once a wire was all the way out and the Messenger secured to the mast head, I dropped the wire down to the deck. To prevent freaking out Peggy, I  advised her that I was doing that so that the sound of something clattering down onto the cabin top.

Next task was to make a new hole in the Mast head large enough to pass the new VHF Antenna Cable. The cable is 3/8" dia, so I drilled a 1/2" hole close to the original hole. Then I drilled between the two holes and cut out the sliver of metal (Aluminum) between them so that I could move the VHF Antenna Messenger line between the, small, original, hole and the new 1/2" hole.

Using the cell phone again, I called to Peggy to pass up the Antenna Cable and the Transducer cable. I had not wanted to carry them with me when I climbed the mast, it was another 15lbs - the Antenna cable is 90' long and the transducer cable is 82' long.

Peggy attached the rolls of wire to a spare halyard and we pulled them up to my work station 52' above the water.

I had trimmed off the outer sheath of the VHF cable before climbing the mast. I used the Rescue tape to join the messenger line to the VHF Cable and had Peggy start to pull the messenger line out of the hole at the base of the mast as I feed the Cable down into the new hole in the mast head.  The first 30' went well, but it more difficult for Peggy to pull it out of the mast base. 

I called my Son, he lives nearby, and left a message asking if he could call me back when he got the message as I needed some help on the boat. Next I called a sailing buddy, Atilio. He has the same model boat as Eximius and he lives just a few blocks from the Boat. Without hesitation, Atilio dropped everything  ( it was Saturday ) and drove down to help.

With Atilio ( Hero ) down in  the Cabin, he was able to pull the messenger line as I continued to feed the cable into the hole atop the mast head. Eventually, with a bit of push and pull at both ends, we got the connection from the Messenger line and the VHF cable out of the base of the mast. That left another 40' of cable, I could only imagine the sight of the wires & messenger lines down in the cabin.

Once the VHF cable was fed down the mast head with about 18" to go, we stopped and I attached the connector on the end of the cable to the VHF Antenna. One job down!

Atilio was ok to stay a while longer so we repeated that process with the new Wind Transducer cable. It was a lot easier, probably because it was a lot more flexible. There were a couple of places where it required a significant pull on the Messenger line, I'm guessing that it was as the messenger/wire joint was passing the rivets that hold the conduit through which the cable pass down the inside of the mast to stop them getting chafed by the mast internal halyards. So I have a slight concern that the wire it ok, we'll find out when we go back to the boat on Wednesday/Thursday (weather dependent) 

Atilio passed me the new Wind Transducer and I pulled that up. A couple of minutes later, it was installed and the Transducer cable was connected. 

I secured the cable to the Transducer support tube with a piece of line. I'll add a few Zip ties later. 

I'm really pleased with progress this far.  I had anticipated several possible issues, like: Not being able to pull the lines up through the mast head, The messenger lines separating from their cables, cables getting stuck inside the mast and a whole lot of other issues including what would happen if I had a medical issue while up the mast. That last item I just cast off. Anyone could have an issue while climbing, at the top or while descending. Rig could fail. How about the sudden urge to go to the bathroom! That's the scariest thought. 

Fortunately, none of those fears came to fruition. I'm lucky in that I don't worry about those things when I'm on task. My usual practice is 'Just Deal with It', a practice that has served me well during that past 73 years.

At that point, everything was done at the mast head until I have done the testing of both the VHF Radio and the Wind Transducer data at the Nav station at the helm.

Peggy & Atilio moved out to the Cockpit and prepared to lower me rather then me having to climb down the mast.

As I descended, I caught my feet on the aft side of the Mast Spreaders and had to perform a bit of gymnastics. Further down a bit further, my right leg got snagged on a line and time for more gymnastics. Note to self, next time have someone check as I'm descending that I'm not going to snag a line. It's a lot easier to avoid a snag than it is to practice Aerial acrobatics to get out of the snag.

Back down at the deck, I was sat on the dinghy and it was easy to get out of my climbing gear. Once free, I went aft to thank Atilio and we all went down into the cabin to see how it tuned out. 

As we talked about boat projects ( there's always more projects ) I wound up the cables  and tidied the boat.  After a snack and more fluids, we were ready to quit for the day. Atilio, our Hero, saved me from having to climb down the mast and back up later to get this far. His help was a game changer! Thanks Atilio!

So, Thanks to Atilio for helping out today, and thanks to Doug  and taking the pictures.

We tidied up the boat, secured all of the lines and headed home - calling Annies Pizza en-route to order a Calzone. We stopped there and picked up our lunch.

So, the status of the project:
The VHF Antenna Cable is connected to the VHF Antenna at the mast head.
The New Wind Transducer is installed at the Mast head and the Data / power cable is connected.
Both cables are wound up in the cabin. 

The VHF cable has to be loomed towards the AIS Antenna Splitter and have a new Connection made up to the end of the cable when the length is known.
I'll leave some slack near the mast base so that I can cut the cable when I have to pull the mast. I'll add an inline connector so that future disconnects are possible without having to extract the cable from the loom. 

The Wind Transducer cable has also have to be loomed up to the Garmin GND10 and the new connection made up to the cable. As that connection is easily assembled or disassembled, I'll make it up to the cable before looming it to the GND10 and just make it onto the end of the cable, then connect it to the GND10 - just so that we can test the cable. We should be able to see the wind data on the Garmin Instruments.

The last thing, assuming that everything works as expected, is to return to the mast head and close up all of the cable holes. I'll use Butyl Tape to do that.

Ok that's it for now. 

See you on the water - Sooner is Better! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Refinishing the Non-Skid on deck

Refinishing the Non-skid deck surface.

The Non-skid on deck of Eximius is crying to get refinished and it's time.

Sometimes, things become a lot easier when I take the time to write out the details of the job, and that's why I'm writing this post. Of course, it might help others and that's a benefit. if you would rather read about some of our cruising antics then skip this one, but if you need to refinish your boat deck, it may be worth the read.

Port side Anchor Locker Cover

Stbd midships deck

After discussing the project with the guys from Catalina Yachts, I concluded that the following is a process I can handle.

As the non-skid is a diamond embossed surface and the masking tape will not affix so neatly, I anticipate that it will be easier to refinish the areas outside of the Flat Grey and Grey Non-Skid first and then refinish the Grey flat and Non-skid areas second.

Get the materials.

  • 3M 233+ High Performance Masking Tape
  • 3M 2090 Scotch Blue Painter's Tape
  • TotalBoat Dewaxer & Surface Prep.
  • Awlgrip Polyester Urethane Topcoat Base Quart
  • Awlgrip Awlcat #3 Topcoat Brush Converter
  • Awlgrip Flattening agent
  • Scotch Green Pad Scouring pads.
  • Paper towels - lots of them.
The epoxy paints:

The 545 Epoxy Primer will be used where necessary. I could only find it in 1 gallon cans and coverage should require about 1.5 Quarts, I'm sure I'll find a use for it elsewhere on the boat.

Refinishing the regular (flat) areas of the deck.

This is probably the difficult part of this project. I'm leaving the hardware on the deck in place but making sure that it's well masked off and any chips or hairline cracks repaired as necessary. 

Step 2: Prep the Deck

The non-skid on the deck could be original, it's a diamond pattern however, the finish is badly worn due to frequent foot traffic, in some areas there appears to be roller marks. ie. Swaths of the surface color about the width of a paint roller are obvious. In other areas, the surface is actually worn away - particularly, the tops of the Anchor Locker Covers. On those covers, the underlying fiberglass strands can be seen. The good news is that the covers are solid fiberglass so there's no risk of damage below the fiberglass. The rest of the deck is in great shape, it's just that the non-skid surface is worn away.

I spoke (online chat) with guys from and they were very helpful, they even had a guy that had done a technical course with Alwgrip, so my confidence in their help was high. Matthew sent me a link to the document that covers the Alwgrip application process if very granular details. (link to manual

The preparation sounds pretty simple but the manual indicates that there's a few tests that should be done to ensure really good adhesion. (It's on Page 17), so I'll be doing that test on the worst part of the deck. I expect the job will require priming, hence the addition of the Primer to the list of materials.

  • Mask off the area to be processed.
  • scrub the area to be painted with the Scotch Green Pad Scouring Pads, it's a lot of work. 
  • Apply Alwgrip Primer.
  • Apply 2 coats of Alwgrip Paint with flattening agent ( prevents glossy finish)
The good news is that the deck can be processed in clearly defined areas, so it does not have to be completed in a single step. I'll break it down into 13 areas. 6 Port Side, 6 Stbd Side and the Center panel above the cabin access cover. The 6 areas are listed below. Each area is demarked with a plain finish strip between the Non-skid areas. All of the Non-skid areas have edges of the same color but plain finish.
    1. Anchor Locker Cover
    2. Foredeck 
    3. Mid deck 
    4. Aft Deck 
    5. Cabin Top
Ok, so all the products are in and I have the plan, but have to wait till it's cooler, so plan is to do this sometime after September. So stay tuned :)

Sunday, July 24, 2022

3/8" & 1/2" Template Marking Device

 Making a Template Follower

I do quite a bit of Sewing: Biminis, Dodgers, Screen covers, Tank Covers, lots of Cushions and a plenty more. One consistent issue is marking the covering material to be 1/2" greater than the template for the Foam on a cushion.  

If I place the foam or a cardboard cutout, as a template on the material and run a sharpie or chalk pen around the foam ( or cardboard cutout ) then the Fabric is the same shape as the template, but I need to add a 1/2" seam allowance. If the edges of the template are straight lines, then it's easy to just use a ruler. If the template has a curve, then I can use a bendy rule but it's awkward.

I cam up with the idea of making a Template Follower

The concept is simple. Insert a Sharpie pen inside of a tube, then hold the tube vertically against the template (Foam or cardboard cutout) laying on the material to mark up. Then move the Template Follower around the edge of the template, the tip of the Sharpie marks the material.

The Follower is easily made: Just cut a piece of 1/2" Pex piping about 1" long ( it actually needs to be long enough to allow the Sharpie to be inserted into one end such that the tip of the Sharpie is protruding from the other end of the Pex by at least 1/8" of an inch. Then that piece of Pex is pushed inside of a piece of 1/" PVC Piping about 4" long such that the PEX protrudes about 1/8" from the PVC Piping.

That makes a 3/8" Template Follower. A 1/2" PVC pipe connector will slip (tightly) over the 1/2" piping, so I simply cut a 1/2" PVC Piping Connector in half across it's diameter and with that slipped over the 1/2" PVC piping, it converts to a 1/2" Template Follower.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Victron GX Touch 50 Menu

Victron GX Touch 50 Menu

This Post is based on my Victron System, a system with other components will be somewhat different.

The new Victron Power Management System that I recently installed on Eximius has an extensive system management menu on the GX Touch 50 Display/Control panel. It has well over 300 Menu options and navigating through the menu in order to find a particular setting or info display page can take hours! I built the spreadsheet included in this post to assist me in locating any setting or info included in the Menu System.

Note. My MultiPlus 12/3000/120-50 120V is named 'Eximius MP3000

I hope you find this useful, please leave any suggestions on improvements in the Comments.

Here's the Menu Structure

If an item in the spreadsheet is White Text on a black Background, that reflects the top item of the current Menu. In the real menu, that line also may show the current status of the display. 

My display includes the Location Icon, the Connection Type and Bars and the current time. 


Try searching for a Menu item using your browser's 'Find' option 
( Chrome = Ctrl+F )
eg. If you're looking for the 'Reboot' menu item, Press Ctrl+F
Then type in 'Reboot' (no quotes) and the word 'Reboot will be highlighted wherever it appears.

I have found this info really useful as I navigate around our new system on our Sailboat. The sheet was constructed by navigating each of the Menu item as displayed in the VRM Remote Console. The actual display on the boat is almost identical but functionally it's the same.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  If you would like to have your own copy of the spreadsheet so that you can modify it yourself to match your system components, just ask in the comments and I'll send you a link to share the Google Sheets file.

See you on the water!


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

ATN Ascenders

Using ATN Acenders

I have climbed Eximius' mast quite a few times, the most recent was this past week when I decided to replace the rechargeable battery in our Garmin gWind Wireless mast head transducer. 
The outcome of that trip up the stick was that it's not the battery so I need to see if the transducer can be repaired or replace it with a Wired gWind Transducer. 

That means I have to do at least two more trips up the mast more likely three.

The method I use to climb the mast is using the following setup.
  1. Secure the end of the Spinnaker Halyard to the base of the mast and cinch up on the other end at the cleat on the Mast.
  2. Secure the end of the Spare Halyard in the same fashion.
  3. Detach the Main Halyard from the Mainsail and secure that end to the Bosun's Chair.
  4. Tie a Prusik Knot using a 1/4" line onto the Spinnaker Halyard
  5. Tie another Prusik Knot with another 1/4" line onto the Spare Halyard
  6. Don my Safety Harness & Tether, attach the free end of the Tether to a Carabiner on the Main Haylard end.
  7. Tie the ends of one Prusik Knot line to the Bosun's Chair D rings
  8. Tie the ends of the other Prusik Knot Line to the Foot straps Loop.
With the Chair and safety harness setup, I then position the Prusik Knot from the Chair to a point as high as I can reach and sit down in the chair.
Next I hook the foot strap loops one over each foot and move the prusik knot to about 6" below the other Knot.

Now I adjust the attachments of the Prusik knot lines to the chair and foot strap loops until I can sit in the chair and then stand up in the loops.

Ok, now ready to climb the mast. Peggy will tail the Main Halyard on the winch as I climb the mast.

Climbing the mast is a task, the biggest part is shifting those Prusik knots one after the other. Each time I may have to partially release the loop of the Prusik knot in order to allow them to slide up their Halyard. That means that the maximum distance between the knots is determined not by my ability to lift my feet in order to raise the knot, but the distance that I can still release the Prusik knot's loop.
That way, the distance I can move up the Halyard with each move is restricted by the use of Prusik knots.
And that probably the reason that many climbers use Ascenders, quicker, easier and less exhauting.

Searching the web for a pair of Ascenders, I found that ATN, which is a Company is just down the road from where we keep the boat ( ok, about 15 mins away ) has them. So I stopped by to check out their 'Ascenders' 

I meat Etienne, very nice guy, very busy but graciously took the time to show me his Ascenders and explain their use and features.  
His store is a hive of activity, they make Spinnaker Sleeves ,Mast Climbers, Catamaran Trampolines, Storm Sails, Spinnaker 'Tackers' and much more. His team where all busy and he had a significant amount of jobs in progress. 

Etienne showed me how to attach the Ascenders to a line and explained how he has his own Bosun's chair system which incudes the Ascenders.  

I had watched the YouTube video of his that shows how to climb a mast single handed using his system. It's impressive, however, I don't think I'll go up the mast unassisted. I'd hate to have any kind of issue up the mast and have to come down to sort it out. Much easier to have a deck assistant that can send up something when needed via a messenger line.

So I purchased a pair of the Ascenders, took them back to the boat and checked out that I had memorized the process that Etienne demonstrated. I did, it's pretty straight forward.

The next day, Peggy came to the boat with me as I had to go up the mast to retrieve the non-functional Wireless Wind Transducer.

Getting up the mast was actually more difficult then using the Prusik knots, but I figured it out it was my fault. I had set the lower end of the fixed halyard to the forward cleat. That meant that I had nothing to hold onto when climbing, but more importantly, I had the Ascender to which my foot strap was attached too high, that meant that I had to reach up really high when raising the Ascender that was on my chair. As a result, my feet would swing out really far and it would take a lot of physical effort to move the upper ascender.  I confirmed this later when back on the deck. I'll attach the Foot loop so that it's Ascender is about waist high when standing on the deck and the Chair Ascender about face height when standing on the deck. That way I can sit down and easily raise my feet, taking the weight off of the foot loop ascender and making it easy to just slide up the Halyard. No need to release the prusik knot, the Ascender slide up easily when there's no weight on it.

Ok, so next time, I'll adjust the Ascender positions before attaching the Chair and the Foot loops to them.

Despite my error, I was able to climb the mast and it was a whole lot easier when I was above the Radar Reflector and able to steady myself with my feet on the Mast. But best of all was the fact that I could now easily stand with my head and shoulders well above the Masthead. As I have to do quite a bit of work next week when the new Wind Transducer and the new VHF Antenna Cable arrive and I have to go up the mast again. Oh the joys of boat work.

I do plan on adding to my Bosun's Chair a secondary harness that eliminates the chair seat slipping up my butt when I stand in the Foot loops. Not a modification to the chair itself, just a simple pair of adjustable leg straps to keep my butt firmly in the seat.

Ok, so a big shout out to ATN, I feel very confident in the Ascenders, there's no chance of them detaching from the halyard and there's no need for a fixed line with a simple bitter end as the Ascenders clip onto the bight of the Halyard.

Next time up the mast, I'll try to get Peggy to take some pics as I prepare for the climb.

See you on the water - assuming I fix the Wind Transducer and that we don't have any of the 'H' type of weather events. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Fixing the gWind Transducer

Fixing the gWind Transducer

Our gWind, Wireless Transducer failed during our trip to Biscayne Bay over Memorial day weekend, I guessed that it was the Battery and ordered a replacement online. Yesterday ( June 27th 2022) it was time to replace the battery.

I took my phone with me when I climbed the mast, but sadly, it was in a pocket that I could not get to when wearing my harness and in the Bosun's chair. So the pics are some that Peggy took down on the dock.

I'm pretty sure that the Main Halyard sheave at the top of the mast needs to be replaced as neither Peggy nor Mike,  club buddy that came down to help out and provide additional safety, could pull me up using the winch! So I did my usual practice of climbing the mast: Using a pair of prusik knots on two separate halyards, one tied to the Bosun's chair and safety harness  the other tied to the foot straps. Using them I can sit in the chair, raise my feet and then raise the foot strap prusik knot as high as it will go (about a one foot stretch). Then I stand up in the foot straps, taking the weight off of the chair, raise it's prusik knot, sit down and repeat. If I move the seat knot up by close to 1' each pass, then it takes about 40 moves to climb the mast. In reality, it takes a lot more, probably eighty moves as some of them are only a few inches while trying to maneuver around the shrouds and especially the last couple of feet.

Once I had gotten to where the foot strap prusik knot it as high up the halyard as it can go, that's about 8" from the top of the mast, then I can stand up and my shoulders are above the top of the mast and I can reach pretty well everything up there.

This time the plan was to climb the mast and replace the gWind Transducer's battery. The transducer is held in place by a clever bracket and nut system. Simply pull off the clip that stops the nut from unscrewing, unscrew the nut, pull the whole transducer arm forwards and slightly upwards. It takes less than an minute to release the Transducer.

With the Transducer on my lap in the chair, I used a #1 Philips head screwdriver to undo the small screw that holds the battery cover in place. It was easy to lift off the cover, unplug the old battery, plug in the new one and replace the cover. The insides of the Transducer looked pristine so no apparent water ingress which is a problem with the heavy rains that we get here in South Florida. 

I did note that the Solar Panel on the top side of the Transducer was 100% opaque, completely white! I'm guessing that means that the Transducer is not going to charge the battery. We have had wind data on our Nav system on every night trip, so the battery is just there to cover the times when there's no solar power and normally, rechargeable batteries are at least partially charged when new.

Less than a minute to reinstall the Transducer and call down to the team ( Mike & Peggy ) down below and ask them to test the system.

Sadly, that didn't go well :( 

With the Nav instruments powered up, the display lit up showing that it was powered but the data came on but only for a few moments. It showed wind angle info ( True Wind and Apparent wind Directions) but no wind speed, after a few moments the data disappeared. If we reset the Nav instruments, then it would pretty much repeat that scenario. 

I've been in the Bosun's chair I was ready to get back to deck level. Going down was a lot easier, I Mike & Peggy used the winch to haul the main halyard and take all of the weight and I eased the two prusik knots, then they eased the winch and as I moved down, I just moved the prusik knots with me.

They stopped lowering me when my feet were able to get on the spreaders. From there I freed the line for the lazy jacks that was stuck between the sheave and cheeks of the block attached the mast above the spreads. I need to replace that block ('blocks' as there is one on each side of the mast )but it's free right now so we can adjust the lazy jacks.

So, my thoughts.   If the solar power is zero, then the battery will run down within a day or so, but if there's any solar power getting into the battery, then it should charge up within a day or too also.

If it's not a Solar/Battery issue, then it's the gWind and looking at the reviews on the web, that's a strong likely hood. Under normal conditions, it's not unusual for the wind data to just disappear for a few minutes and it normally comes back if we reboot the system which we only try if the data does not return within about 5 minutes.

  • Check it today and all may be well.
  • Replace the Transducer with another gWind Wireless = $750+tax
  • Replace the Transducer with a wired gWind = $650 
It's nuts that the wireless Transducer is so much more than the wired unit, as the wired unit has so much more in the Kit 

Using the wired unit brings me back to why we used the Wireless model originally: Running a new wire up the mast is a significant job.

Other things to consider.
If I do end up replacing the Transducer, and if I go the Wired route, then I might as well replace the VHF antenna coaxial at the same time, the existing coax has a much higher power loss than a decent cable and that would improve our VHF communication range both for Transmission and Reception.

Ok, first things first. Go down to the boat and check out the status.

A day later: 

The system is still not delivering data from the Transducer.

I spent a good while on a text chat session with Garmin this morning. From that chat I conclude the following:

#1 If the transducer is the older generation then I'm out of luck and will have to purchase a new item that's $750 plus tax.

#2 If the transducer is a new generation, then I should be able to get an out of warranty exchange, that's $350

#3 If I replace the Wireless Transducer with a Wired unit, I should be able to connect it to the GND 10 and disconnect the no longer needed WSI Box (the Wireless Receiver).

The Wired Transducer will cost about $650.

I'm leaning towards the Wired Transducer and replacing the VHF Coax at the same time.

Time to get busy and earn some boat bucks.

See you on the water, even if I don't know the wind speed & direction.


Reusing Heat Exchanger Zinc Cap

Reusing Heat Exchanger Zinc Cap

<<< Zinc ---- Cap >>>
The Zinc Anode for the Universal M25-XP heat exchanger is in two parts. The Zinc and the Cap.

There must not be any insulation between the zinc and the Cap nor between the Cap and the body of the Heat Exchanger. The whole idea is to allow the zinc to corrode rather than the body or tubes of the heat Exchanger.

The problem is that the screw thread of the Zinc corrodes with the metal (Brass?) of the Cap. As the Zinc corrodes during it's stay inside of the Heat Exchanger, the zinc is washed away in the flow of the salt water that passes through the Heat Exchanger. So when it's time for the zinc to be replaced, it's in a pretty weak state and often breaks off when trying to remove it from the Cap.  <<<< Just like this.

I know, change it more often. Will do!

I tried drilling the zinc out, gave up pretty quick.

Then I tried Barnacle Buster !!!! Wow!

As it happens, I have a spare Zinc Cap from a previous change out, so I'm seeing what happens.

Here's what it looks like after 48 hours
The remnants of the zinc have gone and the threads are clean.

It looks kinda grotty, but in fact is is extremely clear of the debris from the old zinc

The Cap's end gives a clue.

By the way, I used a pair of stainless steel tweezers to pick the Cap out of the Barnacle Buster, the tips of the tweezers have that similar black color now.

This pic shows the Cap after literally 2 minutes of wire brushing using a brass wire brush.

This is after rinsing and drying.

I have no issues with using this as the Cap during a future heat exchanger zinc change.

The stores sell the zincs either with or without the Caps, I have a couple of spare zincs without the caps.

Now I have 2 usable Caps.

Love making progress, even on the little things.

See you on the Water


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Securing the Alternator on our M25-XP

Securing the Alternator on our M25-XP Engine

The alternator on our Diesel Engine has moved about due to vibration (hey, it's a 3 pot Diesel) and has broken the support arm twice.

I purchased a new 10mm x 100 mm bolt and a Nylock nut to replace the old one just in case some of the slack in the Alternator mounting was due to a worn bolt.

It also occurred to me that the mounting bracket spacer might not be suitable for the Alternator ( which we replaced a few years ago). My calipers were not accurate enough to measure the gap between the Spacer and the Alternator Ear (I think that's what they call it), it would really require a Micrometer and I don't have one ( YET! ) 

On Amazon I found some 10mm internal diameter shims, 10 each of 0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm and 0.5mm and purchased those.

By trial and error process, I figured that the existing spacer between the Alternator support brackets and the Alternator Ear had a 1.2mm gap.

Using two 0.5mm shims and one 0.2mm shim the alternator 

With those 3 shims in place, I was amazed at how batter the alternator was supported by the brackets.

It took about 10 minutes to fiddle the shims on to bolt after it passed through the foremost support bracket, then get the Spacer onto the bolt, there is obviously almost no gap now, and finally the bolt into the aftmost support bracket. With the Nylock in place but barely tight, the alternator felt rock solid in the mounting.  

After adjusting the drive belt tension and securing all 3 of the bolts that hold the alternator in place, it feels total as one with the engine. Solid! 

With everything tightened up, Peggy started the engine. Not a hint of a squeal when she shifted the rpm up to cruising speed and no movement of the alternator. 

I'm hoping we have cured that issue of vibrating alternator and subsequent breakage of the tension support arm.

I hear the waves beating against the bow! See you on the Water.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Servicing M25-XP Engine Heat Exchanger

M25-XP Heat Exchanger Service

As the boat has been out of action for a couple of weeks while I installed the new Victron Electrical Power Management System (Here's a link) I decided now was a good time to replace the engine's Heat Exchanger Zinc.

On our Mk1 Catalina 34, I can reach the heat exchanger by just leaning over the top of the engine as long as I don't mind scratching up my arms in the process. The Zinc is located on the underside of the exchanger near the Port side end of it.

Having replaced the zinc previously by accessing the back of the engine from underneath the Aft Cabin floor, which involves some serious Boat Yoga, and, as we use the aft cabin for storage - lots of storage, the option to change the zinc out from leaning over the engine is really appreciated.

I use a Puppy Pad to cover the engine, then reach down the port side with a wrench to unscrew the zinc, pretty easy, especially as I'm a skinny guy.

 However, putting in the new zinc was not so easy, it just felt like I was cross threading the zinc. So I made the decision to pull the heat exchanger out and do a service while checking why the new Zinc would not fit.

To remove the heat exchanger on the M25-XP there are 4 hoses and two large hose clamps that are used to secure the exchanger to the mounting plate attached to the back of the engine.  I had replaced the hoses a couple of years ago, so they came off pretty easy. The two clamps holding the exchanger in place were easy to release and in less than 15 minutes I got the whole thing out. I did put a bung in the port side coolant pipe when I removed that to prevent the coolant just emptying into the bilge. Successfully, I kept the loss of coolant to a couple of cups and I mopped that up with paper towels.

My initial thought was that there might be a couple of leaks around the nipples of the heat exchanger, the green patches are at least surface corrosion.

Decision made, take it home and clean it up, detailed inspection and do what is needed to get the Zinc installed.

At home in my garage, I could see that the thread on the nipple which hoses the zinc was pretty crudded up. Using a Battery Wire Brush to clean out the nipple was not very effective. Time for some Barnacle Buster.

It was easy to remove the end caps and the rubber seals looked in good condition ( thankfully, but they are available on Catalina Direct - it just delays the project while they are shipped )

Inspecting the inner tubing, I could see that it was about 20% occluded ( my wife was a nurse for 40 years) and 20% is not so bad, but they needed cleaning.

I made up a mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part Barnacle Buster, about 2 gallons all told, put that into a narrow bucket and let the heat exchanger soak for about an hour. The grot that came out was amazing, the mixture was a dark brown after removing the exchanger. I rinsed it thoroughly then wire brushed anywhere that looked like it needed repainting. 

All of the corrosion came off and the braised joints all looked pristine. The Zinc nipple thread was now spotless and I was able to screw in the zinc a total of 4 turns. I'm sure the thread is tapered. But it looks good.

After a good cleaning with fresh water and a thorough wipe down with Acetone, I gave it a couple of coats of spray primer (for high heat applications)  and let it dry overnight.

Looks pretty good, ready for the 1st coat of top paint.

1st coat of top coat. It's about the same color as the original, needs about 30mins between coats.

Almost a shame that when installed, it will not be visible.

Plan is to apply the 2nd top coat this morning and put it all together. Tomorrow, we'll both go down to the boat and reinstall it.

After connecting the coolant hoses, we need to 'Burp' the system to eradicate any air in the system. The method is to top up the coolant reservoir and close the cap, then open the Pet Valve on top of the Thermostat housing, run the engine at above idle until air stops coming out of the Pet valve. Close it up and re-top off the coolant tank.

That's the plan! here's hoping there's no leaks, especially from the Zinc Nipple.

With luck, we'll see you on the water.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Shore Power Reverse Polarity Test at the Boat

110v Disconnect Switch and Reverse Polarity Testing on our Boat

When we purchased our 1087 Catalina 34 in 2015, I was blissfully ignorant about the boat's 110v electrical system. Since then I have learned a lot, hopefully the changes I have made and the changes I plan to make are a whole lot better than what we started with.

The boat had a Reverse Polarity indicator on the Main Electrical Control Panel and it had a 'Test Lamp' switch. Whenever we went to an unfamiliar dock and plugged into the their shore power, I would observe the status of the Reverse Polarity Lamp, it never lit, which meant we were not connected to a reverse polarity 110v Pedestal, I would operate the test switch to check that the lamp was working. It always worked.

The problem was ( as I found out this past week) that the lamp was not connected for reverse polarity indication, just to illuminate when the test switch is pressed.

During my design for the new Electrical Management System, I included a reliable Reverse Polarity Indicator and Test.

The Switch is a On-Off-(On) switch, it's normally Off, can be switched to the On position which would test for reverse Polarity and it can be momentarily switched to the Test Position which would check that the lamp is serviceable.

All of this is installed inside the 'Shore Power Disconnect Switch' box mounted under the Nav Table a few inches from the Victron Multiplus 12-3000-120

The reason for moving the disconnect to the Input of the Inverter Charger rather than the output is a safety issue.

With this setup, we can move the disconnect switch to the off position, connect the boat to the Shore Power and confirm that power is available as shown by the Green Shore Power Available Lamp. Then operate the Polarity test, in the On position if the lamp lights, then the polarity is reversed, if the lamp does not light, then it should be tested by operating the Momentary On Switch which connects the lamp to the Live and Neutral lines, if the lamp lights, then we're good, if the lamp does not light, then it's a dead lamp. In that case we'll have to test the pedestal with a Multi meter before accepting the power is ok and then closing the disconnect switch.

The procedure for attaching shore power is:
  • Select Off at the Disconnect Switch
  • Connect the shore power cable to the boat
  • Connect the shore power cable to the Pedestal
  • Check for reverse polarity.
  • If ok, then Select On at the Disconnect Switch.
The process for disconnecting Shore power is:
  • Select Off at the Disconnect Switch
  • Disconnect the Shore power cable from the Pedestal
  • Disconnect the Shore power cable from the boat
Another project completed.

See you on the Water.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Victron Install - we have power

The Victron system is up and running.

We have power! The last few steps in installing the Victron Multiplus 12v 3000w 120v Inverter Charger were completed yesterday and we were able to reconnect the Boat's batteries. 

The last item of the install was connecting the Battery Temperature sensor to the -ve House battery terminal and connecting the Shunt power and the Main DC power line to the +ve terminal of the House Bank. With that done, the Victron started showing signs of life. The Cerbo GX showed that the Blue Tooth link was active. The GX Touch 50 showed that the system was starting up. No sparks, no smoke, no smell of anything burning, things were looking good.

We quickly checked that all of the boat's electrical systems were working, I had done a lot of work behind the Main Electrical Distribution/Control panel, I had looked closely at every connection on each of the DC and AC Circuit breakers, they all looked secure. Of course, there are several wires that have no attachment left over from previous work by others before me, they are on my list of additional projects on the Electrical system.

Today we installed the USB Charging station (to the left of the GX Touch 50 ) and completed the securing of the panels.

The long term plan is to replace all three of those panels with just two, one for the DC Power Selector and the other, an 'L" shape panel, to hold the GX Touch, the USB power and the AC  /  DC selector panel.

That's another big project, but one that is quite a way along the planning stage. Probably going to keep the existing selector panel but make it part of the larger panel.

Of course we had low level panic when the GX Touch 50 going dark when I changed the Multiplus switch from Off to On !! Returned the switch to Off, nothing. As the Touch 50 is powered from the Cerbo GX I figured I would reboot the Cerbo. Pulled the power cord out (it's on the lower edge of the Cerbo) gave it a coffee break, plugged it back in and a few seconds later the GX Touch rebooted.
Continuing the review of the state of the system, a few minutes later the GX Touch went dark again.  Peggy suggested that it might be a screen saver! Duh! Just touching the screen woke it up. I guess that's one reason they call it a 'Touch' screen.

We turned on the Solar Power and a few seconds later, the display showed that the battery was being charged - Woo Hoo!

Next I connected the Shore power. First we checked that the new Shore Power Disconnect switch was in the Off position and that the 'Shore Power Available' lamp was illuminated. Good so far. The Reverse Polarity lamp was not lit, I checked the lamp worked by flipping the Momentary switch and it worked fine. So power was available and the correct polarity. I flipped the Disconnect switch and almost immediately the GX Touch showed we had power to the charger and were charging the Batteries. It automatically diverted the Solar Power. Seeing the display indicating the flow of power from the Charger to the Batteries is pretty cool, definitely much clearer than the simple digital display of the old Heart Interface Control panel.

Time to check the Inverter. I plugged a fan into one of the 110v outlets, switched the outlets on ( see the left side of the power control panel in the pic above) the fan ran fine. Then I switched the Disconnect switch to off to remove the shore power and the Inverter took over without any delay.

So far we're looking good.

The GX Touch  ( I'll call it the system display ) showed that there was no AC In power, which was not the case as the Charger and the Fan obviously had AC Power. I found in the settings an option to show which AC power would be displayed ( Shore Power, Generator, PV alternator) so I set it to Shore Power and when back at the system display page, it now showed the shore power voltage and the power in.

The T-Mobile Sim card had arrived yesterday, we plugged it in and in a few seconds the GX 4G LTE Modem showed it was connected to the internet. I setup my laptop to my phone's HotSpot and visited the Victron VRM added the ID of the modem and it connected right away and within a couple of seconds, we ( Peggy was with me) could see the system on the internet. 

I noticed that the Max AC current was set at 50Amps, but our shore power is only rated for a 30Amp power source. On the system display I found the setting for the Max power draw and changed that to 30amps, rebooted the display and, again, a few seconds later the Internet VRM showed we were now limited to 30amps.

During the test of the AC In, we had the Air Conditioning turned on, and the system display showed our power consumption as well as the Battery Charging. Total draw was 850 watts.

Things are looking good. I do need to figure out how to change the battery charging parameters, the Default are for AGM or FLA, but I want to make sure the parameters are within specs for our batteries. 

Other than a few settings changes, I think we have completed the system upgrade. I'll post some more pics and the wiring diagram of the Disconnect switch box ( thanks to Amazon the parts were easy to obtain )  My primary reason for that switch box was to allow disconnecting the shore power without having to hop out of the cabin and jump ashore to flip the circuit breaker on the power pedestal, just incase anything had a run away in the electrical system.

So our procedure for applying Shore power is:
  • Ensure the Disconnect switch is in the Off position
  • Connect the shore power cable to the SmartPlug on the Boat
  • Connect the shore power cable to the Shore Pedestal
  • Down in the cabin check that the Green Shore Power Available lamp on the disconnect box is on.
  • Flip the 'Test Reverse Polarity Lamp" switch to make sure that lamp is working
  • Switch the Disconnect to On.
  • Check that the Multiplus is in the On or Charger Only position as needed.

Before heading home there was time to replace the Engine Heat Exchanger Zinc, the old one came out and definitely needed replacement, it's been about 9 months since the last change out. But for the life of me I could not get the new Zinc to screw in. So tomorrow I'm removing the Heat Exchanger to do a complete service and put in the new Zinc. A 20 minute job, right :)

Thanks for reading, I'll post some more pictures of the Victron Install in the next few days.

See you on the water.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Victron Install - Oh so Close!

We were so close!

I expected to have everything installed and ready to power up today, even took my laptop to the boat anticipating that we might turn the system on, but I did leave it in the truck as I wasn't totally convinced that all of the last few things would get done before rain stopped play. The rain didn't, but the heat did.

First thing today was to complete the new Ground wire for the Victron Multiplus to the Ground terminal block on the Port side engine support frame. I had run the wire on Saturday, glad that it was 15' long as if I had just purchased the guestimated length of 12' it would have been a couple of feet too short.

With the cable in place, I crimped a ring terminal to the Multiplus end of the cable using my new Hydraulic crimper. Works great, worth the $99 (including 2 years warranty)

Then it was a bit of a struggle to get the other end of the cable right up to the terminal block. The cable was easy to get to the Bathroom cabinet right next to the Depth/Speed transduce, but that last couple of feet was the challenge. With the cabin steps removed, we had easy access, well, easy for a skinny guy like me. With the cable fed around the back of the engine bay and in through an existing hole in the bulkhead, I was able to crimp a terminal on that end. To install the terminal on the terminal block I had to use every socket extension that I had in order to reach down to the terminal nut. Got it done.

The ground cable fully installed except for the looming of the cable, that would have to wait till the last few cables are installed so that they can all be loomed at the same time.

Next it was time for the Start Battery Trickle charger cable, that goes from the Multiplus to the Start Battery. The two end points are maybe 18" apart, but the cable is about 10 feet long as it around several corners/holes. But no big deal, Peggy was a great help in running the cable and I was able to crimp the Multiplus terminal end ( spade connection ) with my regular crimping pliers, but the other end required a larger lug and so the Hydraulic crimper came out again.

The next job was to make up the new Disconnect box, the first one that I purchased was just too small to allow the cables to fit inside and reach all of the switch terminals. It took about a half hour to drill the top for the Circuit Breaker Switches, the Diode indicator lamps and the Test Switch. Once that was done, it was simply a job of mounting it to the bulkhead under the Nav Table, running the wires through the cable clams and connecting them to the Circuit breakers and the test switch.  That went well, I checked that the top would fit into the base of the box and that there was sufficient slack in the cables to allow them to bend and fit within the box. They did, Great! Now, just check tighten all of the terminal screws.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! The 1st screw that I 'Checked' broke the switch! Grrrr! My fault, too much torque on the driver. But the plastic cover of the switch broke and that's it. Have to replace it.

Without hesitation, I ordered a 2nd switch from Amazon, it should arrive overnight.

With everything else done, it was time to make it look neat and tidy. I applied a couple of dozen zip ties, securing the wires, taking the strain, cutting of the surplus zips.

It was already gone 1pm and the high humidity and the early Summer heat was basically unbearable. So we stowed the tools, picked up all the bits that were laying about. Packed our bag and headed out of the cabin. We made it to the truck before it began to rain and stayed dry. The rain did wash the truck on our way home, but all gone by the time we pulled into our driveway.

So we nearly made it today.   The plan is to go back and finish it off tomorrow, Tuesday, but that depends upon the new circuit breaker arriving overnight - turns out that is between 7am and 11am Tuesday.

Oh well, there's plenty to do at home, mow the lawn, paint the facia, bake some desserts. 

If the circuit breaker doesn't arrive early enough tomorrow, then we'll head down early on Wednesday. I should definitely finish the install and should be able to reconnect the batteries and shore power.

Wish me luck. But I'll be checking everything before we turn it on.

See you on the water.