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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Did you enjoy your visit
onboard? Please sign my
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