Home of the yacht "RHUMB DO"
  january 2015


Home The Boat Skipper First Mate

Route Map Photo Album Workshop

History This 'n' That Just for fun Best 'n' Rest Trivia

Guestbook Marina Info Glossary

Site Map Links Contact









01/01/15  Happy New Year Everyone!  The weather here starts the year exactly the same as it ended 2014, and here is my new year 'selfie'..........


02/01/15  So, last night around 9pm, it started to get a bit bumpy in the marina - winds picked up and the swell started coming into the pond.  Not such a big deal, just a little uncomfortable down below in the saloon with the snatching of mooring lines and the sudden stops as they came tight.  It was caused by a tropical storm, down-graded to tropical depression, which was passing through this area slowly.  Still rolling a little this morning and still raining of course!

I emptied the nav. berth today, unscrewed the battery charger and the access panel to the space behind the engine instrument panel and using the old co-ax cable managed to pull the new GPS cable through into the space.  I had to keep going up and down into the after cabin to feed it through, but it's done now.  Next step on that job will be to take down the deckhead panel and feed it through into the chart table area.  Following the alternator cable showed me what I need to replace and/or change to make it right, and I also need some 50mm2  cable to wire in the contactor/relay, but as this is Kudat I am doubtful if I will find any!

03/01/15  Into town this morning with Garry (Inca II) and trailed around a half dozen shops looking for 50mm2 cable.  I eventually found some!!  As it was a very reasonable price, I decided to buy enough to use for the relay fitting AND to replace the recently fitted battery cable to the new batteries.  OK it's doing the same job twice over, but I would be happier with a more substantial cable than the one I fitted in November.  I was not able to find any 4 AWG cable for the replacement run from the alternator.

05/01/15  Two consecutive days without rain!  I partially emptied nav berth today to get at the battery compartment, took out the black battery cables and replaced all with the new 50mm2 blue cable after crimping on new terminals. I didn't bother to secure the batteries again as they may well have to come out again tomorrow to run more  cable to the new relay.

07/01/15  Decided to have the day off yesterday because of bruising on arms caused by shifting batteries in a confined space!  Today I took down the deckhead and bulkhead panels, ran the GPS cable through to the final bulkhead and then moved onto figuring out how and where to run thick cable to the Smartbank relay.  After hours of chasing wiring and dismissing potential routes for new cable, I gave up and put all the gear back in the nav berth - maybe I will have a fresh outlook tomorrow!  Another problem is that I cannot find my box of electrical connectors - cable terminals, in-line fuse holders and O ring lugs, despite emptying the two lockers where they would normally be stowed!

08/01/15  Went over to Crib this morning for a coffee and ended up staying for a few hours!  The water pump we stripped on the 9th of last month was playing up again.  Lesley and Rene had taken it to Jessleton Engineering in KK to have the bearings and seals replaced, but on reassembly it was still leaking.  We took it apart again and realised that the workshop had in fact put one of the 'O' rings on the wrong side of seal - neither of us had a spare of the right size, so that job has now been shelved until a replacement can be sent in.  On my boat, I started to drill the holes for the battery paralleling cables to the relay but a dead drill battery soon stopped that and I had to move onto other things.  My planned location for the AIS unit and antenna splitter is a no-go because of space limitations (a common problem on here!), so now I am thinking of placing them under the chart table - it all depends on whether the existing co-axial cable to the VHF radio is long enough to reach there, and I have an awful feeling that it isn't.

09/01/15  Why does one job onboard always lead to several others?  My current job list is getting out of hand with multiple cable runs (all in different directions), worries about co-ax length and now the original battery compartment!  The access to this compartment is too small, I have to shuffle batteries around whilst they are still connected in order to reach the terminals through the access panel which results in cuts, bruises and sometimes short circuits.  So, a suggestion by Lesley - the access needs to be enlarged, and she is right......it would make the current, and future jobs in there so much easier. OK, in late morning I go off in search of a timber merchant, a task of several hours;  I found some 12mm plywood and a piece 2ft by 2ft is probably ample to make a new lid for the battery locker, but you can only buy it in 8ft by 4ft sheets!  I get the merchant to cut a piece oversize for my needs, which was eventually done at 5pm, and give the rest of the sheet to Danny the taxi driver.

10/01/15  I measured out the available space for a new locker lid, marked up the plywood and cut the new lid to shape.  Rene came over to give me a hand and after marking out the new 'opening' in the battery compartment, he cut that out for me.  Another hour of sanding, screwing and gluing and the compartment now has a new, bigger opening!  At least it should make the wiring of the battery monitor and split charger a whole lot easier now, as well as any future battery replacement jobs!

12/01/15  Fitted the relay into place today and cut the heavy duty battery cables, drilling holes for their path between house, engine battery and relay.  I don't seem to be getting any closer to completing these jobs and tomorrow I have to take off various switch panels to get at the spaghetti of wiring behind them - I'm dreading it!  On the back of the Smartgauge packaging is the rather amusing note on the right - clearly they are not referring to a 1970's boat!!

13/01/15  Many Happy Returns to my sister-in-law Babs!  Here it's another wet start and  heavy rain all day!  Gave myself a day off from cables, wires and problems!

14/01/15  The rain continued through the night and all this morning - so much so that a power boat at the end of the pontoon filled up and sank!  A long drawn out recovery was carried out in the early afternoon using a local fishing boat to winch the boat up for pumping out.....it will not have done the big outboard engine much good!  Onboard my boat, the switch panels and radios were removed for more cables to be run and as expected some soldered wires got damaged in the process and had to be re-soldered.  The GPS cable is now through into the correct area and some of the new wiring in place ready for connection to the various units.  The VHF co-axial that I was worried about is thankfully long enough to reach the proposed location of the splitter box.........so I am beginning to make a little progress now!

15/01/15  No rain today!  I cut out the square holes for a) the Smartgauge battery monitor and b) the small switch for powering up the AIS, then started re-routing co-ax cables to and from the site of the splitter box, fitting and soldering the necessary PL-259 connnectors as I went along.  My VHF radio is playing up again as it did when I returned to the boat in April last year and I have come to the conclusion that it is the microphone on/off switch that is causing the problem, so that will need looking at when I have completed the jobs in hand.

17/01/15  Almost 13 hours of wiring today.......and still not finished!  Perhaps another day will see the two jobs very nearly completed with the exception of sending NMEA data to the Chartplotter.

18/01/15  Yes!  Getting there finally!  Switched on the AIS today and configured the set up, connected the wifi of laptop and i-Pad to it and all seems to be working OK.  No idea if other boats can see me or not - have to check that tomorrow.

19/01/15  Went over to Crib this morning, got Lesley to switch on their AIS......and there was Rhumb Do on her i-Pad app radar screen!  Went back to boat and tackled the problems of getting AIS targets to show up on OpenCpn chartware - successful after an hour of trying.  Moved on to the same job with the Chartplotter....this one was a little more difficult;  I loosely ran some 24awg cables from the AIS unit to the Chartplotter and decided where each should be connected to receive the NMEA 0183 data signals, then had to reconfigure the chartplotter to receive those signals via port 2 at the 38400 Baud rate, and now targets show up on there as well, so that's a bit of a result for today!  Have to run the cable tomorrow and hardwire the two together.

21/01/15  Chose the easiest and most convenient route for the data cables and installed them, - now that the AIS is up and running, I turned back to the fitting of the Smartbank - and immediately ran into an obvious problem!  The house bank of four batteries should have the negative and positive cables connected at opposite ends of the paralleled batteries - and that isn't the case!  OK, new cable run with the 50mm2 stuff to replace the existing negative lead, but I now need more battery terminal clamp connectors, so it's back to town in search of them tomorrow.

22/01/15  No taxi's available and rain for most of day!   I got a bit damp walking into town and trailing around looking for the connectors.  I  picked up a few other bits of shopping and had a haircut before returning to the boat, but by this time it was too late to do very much in the way of wiring.

23/01/15  With the nav berth empty yet again, I removed the wiring for the split diode charging, and the ignition relay supply, laid new cables and  once more ran into problems with connectors!  I either have the right ones for the cable size but the wrong diameter lug, or the right diameter lug for the wrong cable size!  Both Joe and Lesley were unable to help as their stock of parts were in the same situation as mine!  So, back into town and a search of shops to find something near enough that could perhaps be 'adapted' for my needs.  Now at the end of the day......8pm.......the ignition circuit and the charging circuit have been changed in preparation for the Smartbank installation.

24/01/15  Another busy day for me....ALL the wiring completed and the fuse box in place, time to study the set up process!  After reading and re-reading the manual, I powered the units up by placing the 4 fuses in their holders ...........and the Smartgauge lit up but did not do as the manual says it should!  After several attempts, I am of the opinion that it is working in that it is controlling the battery levelling (can hear the relay open and close) but the Smartgauge itself has faulty buttons?  They are the soft touch micro switch type and accessing menus or switching between volts and status does not work as it should.

25/01/15  Not a good start to the day.  Battery monitoring and controlling seems to  be working (minus the button functionality) but in true Sod's Law tradition, I have now been hit at the stern by Sam as he tried to take Glory out of the marina.

Late pm.......curiosity got the better of me after numerous goes at accessing the Smartgauge menus.  My thoughts were that perhaps it was some sort of 'mechanical' problem rather than an electronic one - after all, they must have quality control to test these units before sale, don't they?  Despite the warnings of voiding warranty by drilling holes, tampering with or modifying the unit, I carefully removed the back plate and had a close look at the printed circuit board.  It is held in place close to the front face of the unit by very small wedge shaped clips, and one of these wasn't in place....so the board was too far from the front face for the buttons to be depressed fully.  I pushed the board into place behind the clip, replaced the back plate and bingo - it works! 

26/01/15  Todays' problems are.....1) There is a dead short on the engine start.  I turned on the ignition this morning, the alarm sounds, the alternator light comes on...press the start button and everything goes dead!   2)  I can't buy Aspirin in Kudat.  I went to the docs today for more heart pills and also to get more 75mg soluble aspirin as the stock I brought out from UK has of course dwindled to just a few, but no chemist stocks them.  No aspirin of any sort!!  I shall have to extend my search.

27/01/15  I tracked down the fault on the ignition circuit and fixed a 'loose connection', engine now starts OK and alternator charges fine.  Replaced the bulkhead and deckhead panels in the nav. berth and put all the gear back in there.

28/01/15  A day of putting away all the tools, tidying up and dumping boxes, cable off-cuts and other rubbish.

29/01/15  It's two months now since Astrid went home...time flies by!  I corrected a minor battery cabling fault that I had noticed on the diagram I recently drew, then tried to recalibrate the autopilot, which has always been a disappointment to me - nowhere near as good as the old Navico one I used to have!  During the evening, I looked into the Google Mapping programme, found out how to update their new maps and hopefully my 'Route Map' page is now running again, albeit in a different format to the previous one.  I'm not sure I like the 'new' mapping, although it is now easier to edit than the old system and it also seems more accurate.  (Currently, the Google 2015 imagery actually shows Rhumb Do on her Kudat berth!!)

31/01/15  Cleaned off the joint between the dinghy bottom and it's inflatable keel and re-glued it.....let's hope it holds this time!

Next potential project.....eliminate the hard work of lifting anchor by fitting an electric windlass.  So, research needed into the various types of equipment available and the costs involved.  So many cruisers have problems with the windlass they fitted - I want to get it right!


Did you enjoy your visit onboard?   Please sign my Guestbook

For previous logs, click Here 

Home The Boat Skipper First Mate Log Marina Info Present Position Photo Album Workshop History This n That Just for fun Best 'n' Rest Trivia, games, etc Guestbook Glossary Site Map Links Contact Page About Me Interests Favorites Photo Gallery Feedback