Tag Archives: Mods

Battery Hack

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Click Pic

Got a battery that’s a bear to get out of the slot? Wrap a piece of tape around it to provide an extraction tab. We also write the date on the tab.

It Sucks, Hooray!

Cond2OK, It “aspirates.” That orange in the photo is rust from non-marine materials having been used to make the condensate trap tray on our otherwise excellent marine air conditioner. (It looks like jiggling gelatin dessert because the AC is running.)

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Prior to adopting this lifestyle. A/C usage was periodic and infrequent. Not so now. In Deale and in Brunswick a summer of usage left an orange streak down the side of the boat from where the sump pump drained the condensate overboard. Had to launch the dinghy to clean it off.

IMG_20140414_144321_370Enter the Mermaid Condensator — basically it’s a lab aspirator. It slurps water from the sump* as a result of the low pressure created by the cooling water flow across an orifice. As long as the AC compressor is running, it is. It slurps constantly and silently. Yeah, it’s another filter to check, but no more rust streak.

Cond3*However, this is a new sump — below that hole on the left.  It’s a collection bottle that keeps the condensate from entering the bilge. Spiral Wrap is an excellent way to protect hose from chafe.

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The Mermaid comes with excellent instructions and friendly phone tech support should one need them.

Odds and Odds

What? No “Ends?” There are no ends when it comes to maintaining a cruising sailboat. So here are some snippets crammed in between sore back work.

Morning Visitor

Morning Visitor

Seasoning for beans and rice. Nutmeg, Paprika, Thyme, Worcestershire, Goslings Black Seal, Olive Oil, sea salt, pepper. Proportions to taste.

Low Tide Visitor

Low Tide Visitor

Satellite TV up and running

All sewing repairs made.

New dinghy number boards for Florida registration.

Four new Jack-lines made

New lifting harness for outboard — bridle for 6 horses.

Satphone external booster antenna installed and not working properly.

Engine water pump must be replaced.

Check valve must be added to wash down line.

It ain’t all relaxing, folks

To M3ST or not to M3ST…

IMG_20140402_132045_389The TracVision M3ST steerable TV antenna is pretty simple stuff. Especially compared with the military systems I worked with over the years. The whole antenna unit with radome weighs in at 18lbs. Like most things these days the magic is in the software that provides antenna guidance derived from systems costing very, very much more. It delivers 300+ channels, especially regional weather.

IMG_20140402_133717_688I should have held up a 16 inch round fender for scale. In relative terms the M3ST is tiny, 17.5 x 15.5 inches. It’s facing the wrong direction (E) so I can get to the bolts that anchor it to the platform it took me several days to fabricate in a marina that has rules about too much tool noise. A sabre saw on 0.2 inch aluminum plate is not “quiet.”

IMG_20140402_164550_292And here it sits, radome in place, waiting for me to snake the cable below and forward to the TV. Progress.

It looks as if the next cold front will keep us here a few more days, then we should be able to break free of Velcro and head for the Abacos. Tomorrow we buy fuel. That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it!

Pacing the Snail

Since we returned from Texas via Annapolis, the weather hasn’t been conducive to crossing to the Abacos. This season has been plumb remarkable in that regard. So we decided to do some (more) mods.

Helix

GlobalStar external antenna awaiting wires.

We have added equipment to boost our satphone performance four-fold, and have ordered Satellite TV. Both installations require snaking cable through the seat locker, and I only want to unload that area once, so we are stuck waiting for the TV antenna, receiver and associated stuff. This is our second approach to satellite TV afloat because we decided we did want to be able to receive while underway offshore.

ProtoBase

Prototyping TV antenna base using dowel and corrugated board rather than the measure thrice and cut once stainless tube and aluminum plate. Don’t you just love cable ties?

Seems American Express has a policy we didn’t know about. If you want to ship “big ticket” (they don’t have a set $$$ for this) items somewhere other than your billing address, that shipping address has to be on file with Amex. Finding this out after we placed the order cost us a shipping day, and that cost us a weekend of waiting (although severe weather truncated Saturday work hours).

Ready for aluminum plate and antenna.

Ready for aluminum plate and antenna.

In the mean time, we have done all we can to make it just a “tighten some bolts and snake some cables” task. Marine Connection Liquidators in Fort Pierce, BosunSupplies in Arnold, Maryland, and OnlineMetals have made it possible.

The weather report still makes crossing an iffy prospect over the next seven days, and the diver doesn’t come to scrub the hull and lube the prop until Wednesday. After that, Fort Pierce and Lake Worth currents are favorable 7, 8 & 9 April so we have our fingers crossed for good wind and no more government SNAFUs.

A TRICK. If you want a 1″ stainless tube a bit longer than cut and don’t want it depending entirely on the set screw, put 1/4″ x 1″ washers in the bottom of the end fitting before inserting the tube and tightening the set screw. The same can be done with the appropriate washers for 7/8″ tube and 1-1/4″ tube.