Friday, April 15, 2022

The Hunt for a new Dinghy

Our hunt for a new Dingy

Our 7'11" Mercury Dinghy has passed it's expiration date, it's intent on letting go of it's preferred position atop of the water, it's time, it's overdue. Time to give up and let it go. Sad, but it's pretty insistent. First the slow air leak from all of the (3) tubes, a couple of seams began to let go and the latest, the sadest, is the sloshing sound of water inside the boat.

There are a few fundamentals when it comes to owning a boat:-
  • Keep the water out
  • Keep the Keel down and the Mast up
  • Keep some method of propulsion
  • Keep on smiling - you've got a boat!
That first one, 'Keep the water out' is #1 for a reason and if you have ever seen a sadder sight than a sailboat's mast sticking up out of the water then you'll get it. Keep the Water Out and our dinghy is not doing that anymore.

According to the Google University, our Hypalon Dinghy should have a life of between 7 and 15 years. We've had ours since 2011, it's 11 years old. We could get it repaired, probably cost between $500 and $1000 to fix depending on how many air leaks the pros find while fixing the water leak.

The current Mercury 240 Hypalon Dinghy is now off the boat, I have started to recover a few things from it that might be of use to us or to someone else.

Besides the old Hypalon fabric that is not worth a dime ( but if you're quick you can have it, reach out to me to see if it's in the garbage yet.)

I was able to save a few things:- 
  • The fittings that our dinghy nav lights attach. They are really good and will get fixed to the new dinghy when we get one.
  • The Fiberglass Seat. Can't see a use for it. Want it? reach out to me.
  • A Sunbrella cover I made for the underside of the dinghy. We keep the dinghy on our foredeck and the Sunbrella cover minimizes the UV exposure of the dink. It probably won't fit a new dinghy, I made it custom fit for the old Mercury Dink. The Sunbrella cover is in great shape, but it will not fit whatever dinghy we purchase, so anyone want, $25, pick up sounds like a good deal for someone.

OK, now the search for a new dinghy. It's not the best time to buy as inflation is crazy right now, especially if it's anything to do with boars.

Most suppliers are just out of stock for 10' or shorter dinghies.  Most websites are showing not available till 2023. Most of the distributors I have called don't even reply, not by phone or by email and that's mostly Florida companies. One company did reply, Inflatable Boat Pros in Pompano Beach, I'm going to visit them when they have completed their move in a few weeks time. They actually have a few boats in stock, we'll see.

Ok, that's the plan. Wish me luck. Oh! If you want that seat for the Mercury Dinghy or the Sunbrella Cover, reach out to me (leave a comment with your contact info)


Friday, April 8, 2022

Our Battery Charger Failed - Part III

 Our Battery Charger Failed - Part III

We have all of the Bits!

The last part of our system's new equipment arrived at e-marine in Fort Lauderdale and we picked it up today.

Say hello to our new Victron GX Touch 50 Display Unit.

It connects to the Cerbo GX HDMI output and the Cerbo GX USB outlet.

It can be surface mounted with or without the black frame.

That cute little black thingy is the Release tool required to remove the Display panel from the Frame.

Better not lose that thingy.

With all of the equipment, it's time to start on the project. I'm going to proceed with the plan working on the boat one day and working to pay for it all the next. So it should be done in 20 days.

Next available day is Monday, April 11th 2022.

Peggy is up to taking videos of the project, I'll still keep the blog articles going, covering each step as outlined in the Plan, but Peggy is going to see how much we can capture on video. Should be fun.

If you have any questions about my choices of equipment, the removal of the old and the installation, setup and testing of the new, please post them in the comments. 

Oh, late update.
It occurred to me that we may not see the back of the GX Touch 50 for quite a while.

So, here it is.

Those 4 threaded screw holes in the back are for mounting if not using the mounting plate. The device came with 4 threaded rods with wing nuts.
Alternatively, the frame can be screwed to the surface and the display clips into the frame. (That's what we will be doing) 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Our Battery Charger Failed - Part II

 Part II of replacing our Power Management System

Part 1 described the situation: Our Zantrex Inverter Charger failed and would not charge our batteries. 

This part is going to cover the removal of the existing system, installation of the new system and any 'gotchas' during the process. I expect that this upgrade should take about 6 days. My plan is to keep the boat as safe as possible during the process, keep my sanity in check and try to not allow too much project creep. ie. avoid adding additional projects.

In preparation for this task I have spent months studying the boat electrical system, the standards used to today and the theory behind the methods and practices. I spent a Day at a Victron Tour learning about the equipment and gained some good ideas about how to get the most out of the system. I found an online course that allowed me to update my electrical knowledge converting it from my training in the Royal Navy working on Military Helicopter systems. So I feel quite confident about doing the work, however, I also decided to purchase the equipment from a Victron dealer locally that has a good reputation as reported from several of the Sailors in our local sailing Club - The Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club.

Long term I anticipate upgrading our Solar System, this upgrade will facilitate that. If I decide to upgrade the batteries to LifePo4 or some other new battery chemistry, this upgrade will allow that.

Timing of the upgrade is also important: We like to use our boat! We have already taken Eximius out on three separate cruises this year: New Year's Eve Cruise, Change of Command cruise and St. Patrick's Day cruise. We are planning on taking the boat out for the Spring Fling on April 15th and a weeklong cruise down to Biscayne Bay for the Memorial Day Cruise. Of course, if we get the chance well get the boat out when the chance allows. But the first goal is to get the work done before April 15th. So we'll have between the March 21st and April 15th to get everything done.

Ok, time to get things together. The Victron Dealer in Fort Lauderdale is e-marine just off of State Road 84, west of I95. They advised me that the equipment should arrive by midweek March 13th- March 18th. If so, then we should have all of the equipment before we head off to the St. Pat's weekend Cruise.

March 28th. 

e-Marine had nearly all of our gear, We drove down to State Road 84 where their office is located to review my wiring diagram and pickup the equipment. The only thing we're missing is the GX Touch 50 display / control unit. That should arrive in the next couple of weeks, apparently a Thousand of them are arriving in Atlanta next week (1st week of April)

This Bad Boy was the biggest unit and would not fit in the bag, just as well, the bag would have failed, the Victron Multiplus 3000 120v 120A is a beast! I'll have to be careful when we carry that onto the boat.

I took pictures of each unit, with the cables.

Unless the Multiplus is considered, the devices and cables don't look like $2,400, but the magic inside the devices and the Multiplus do.

The GX Touch 50 is missing as mentioned, it should arrive around April 15th and it has it's own cables.

I have yet to figure out how to connect my Laptop or Tablet to the system, that will have to wait till it's all installed. It will either be via the WiFi network of the Cerbo GX, a wired connection (USB ?) or Cat5 cable however, my laptop does not have a Cat5 connection. We'll have fun figuring how that works.  I'll ask they guys on the FB Victron forum.

While waiting for the equipment to arrive, I had another thought about the schematic. I have decided to move the Dual breaker for the 110v AC so that it is between the Shore Power Connection and the Victron. On the old Freedom 20, the breaker is between the Freedom and the 110v distribution panel. 
On the one hand I want to have the disconnect before the Multiplus, on the other, I like having the option to turn off all of the 110v devices with a single switch (which is what we have right now.

The Reverse polarity indicator needs to be on the Main Disconnect switch.  So rewiring the current disconnect switch so that it breaks the input to the Multiplus would also provide the reverse polarity test prior to the Multiplus and it will be ok to just individually break the supply to the various 110v devices (Hot Water Heater, Air Conditioning, Outlets).

Ok, just fixed the wiring diagram, looks very doable. I have checked that we have all of the inter connections. As mentioned previously, I may have to replace some of the heavy duty cables from the Multiplus and the Bus bars, maybe the 110v cables from the shore power connection to the Main Shore Power Disconnect.

The updated diagram shows the new connections for the Main Shore Power Disconnect along with the 110v available LED and 110v Reverse polarity and Lamp test switch. It also shows the connections for the Shunt Power -ve and the Aux connection to the Start Battery - this should result in being able to monitor the Voltage of the Start Battery.  Just an FYI the 110v Neutral and Earth Terminal blocks are the Neutral and Earth connections for each of the 110v devices.

We'll see.

Back to the timetable.
We've planned on going on a Memorial Day Cruise on our boat, so it either has to be finished a few days before that and I figure it will take about 10 days, allowing some wiggle room. So we have to have started by May 18th or wait till after June 2nd.

We're also doing the Palm Beach Sailing Club Regatta on May 6th - May 9th. Which means we have to finished the install by May 3rd, which means we would need to start by April 22nd or wait till after the Regatta.
So, choices are:
Start by April 22nd else wait till after May 9th.

Start by May 18th else wait till after June 2nd.

Today is April 4th. which gives us 17 days to our first Waypoint. 

Of course, I have a bunch of commitments for the next couple of weeks. So I had better get busy.

A sailor with a plan - and a couple of backups. We' re good.

More soon.