For the very latest activity, click here: From a Bare Hull

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Any Colour You Like

The final "ambient" lighting for the main and forward salon has been installed. These are two five meter LED strips that run along the underside of the side decks illuminating downward. These strips have 60 LEDs per meter that provides a fairly continuous "glow". The lighting is not "direct" enough to be used as work lighting, but it illuminates the cabin such that you can find your way around when its dark.

These new lights enable the removal of some temporary "tack up" under shelf florescent lights I had been using, and with that, the annoying AC cords strung about to power them.

The wireless controller allows for custom dimmable color selection as can be seen in the pictures below.

There is even an animated "disco" mode. Maybe I will post a video of that later.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What Was I Thinking?

Over the last a few weeks, two events occurred revealing two flaws in my electrical wiring design and implementation. One AC and one DC kind...

AC wiring flaw

It is close to winter again. Which means space heaters get run when I am inside the boat. Large power tool operation inside the boat is happening more often these days. While I put careful thought to ensure there would always be an AC outlet nearby(I hate running extension cords throughout the boat), I clearly wasn't thinking when I wired them all through ONE 15 amp breaker.

The problem? Run a power tool while the space heater is on HIGH, or better yet, run TWO space heaters (fore and aft), and the breaker will trip. Climb back to the engine room and reset the switch. Repeat a few minutes later. Grrr.

Solution: add a second breaker for the AC outlets. Since all wiring runs are homed to the engine room, re-configuring this is not a problem. Now, there are two AC outlet circuits: port and starboard. Each run through their own GFCI outlet mounted on the engine room electrical panel. All fixed.

DC wiring flaw

Recall we have FOUR electric bilge pumps. Two in each sump, fore and aft. In each pair, one is a "Crash" pump (expensive, high capacity for that time when you have a really BIG leak, hopefully never), the other is a "Dry" pump (cheaper, low capacity, for keeping the bilges dry). They are mounted such that, the dry pumps start first, and then, if water ingress is overpowering for the dry pumps, the crash pumps kick in.

My original wiring had all pumps powered through one 24 volt buss, which in turn was powered through one Mastervolt channel.

Well, a few weeks ago, something happened to the forward "dry" bilge pump causing it to overload the circuit (stuck impeller or something). This caused an overcurrent condition in the Mastervolt system which, in response, shut down the circuit. Now the 24 volt buss has no power, along with all the other pumps connected. I think you can see the flaw.

If one were in a real emergency, where the boat was taking on water, the last thing you want is one of the cheap low capacity pumps to fail, and take out the rest of the pumps with it.

Furthermore, as handy and fancy as the Mastervolt system is, I don't feel comfortable having it be the SOLE source of power for the bilge pumps. Some sort of electrical bypass is necessary in case the Mastervolt system goes down.

The solution is to wire all four pumps into the Mastervolt system, each with their own channel. Between the channel output and the (physical) pump switch, each tap into the positive side of one circuit of a multi-circuit fuse block. The entire fuse block, in turn is powered directly from the battery terminals, through an override switch.

The result is that, should the Mastervolt system shut down, turning on the one override switch will energize the fuse block, bringing all pumps back on-line.

Pretty easy huh? Like I said, "What was I Thinking?" when I originally wired this thing. Oh well, best catching this now instead of waiting for a true emergency situation.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

"Eyebrow" Portlights are In

We call these "eyebrow" portlights for lack of a better word. They are wide thin portlights installed on the forward facing deck surface where the forward cabin trunk transitions upward to the main cabin trunk.

Down below one can see the "factor of three" taking shape.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Headliner/Hull Liner Material

While we do not particularly care for fabric or vinyl coverings inside the boat, there are a few places where this stuff makes sense. In particular the hull side of the master bunk. Factory Westsails often had teak strips cladding the inside of the hull. While I don't mind the look, if I am sleeping in the bunk on a cold evening, I would rather have my skin occasionally press against something soft on the side of the hull. Bare fiberglass or teak cladded lining might be a bit uncomfortable.

Enter flexible headliners and hull liners. We purchased a number of samples from the folks at Sailrite ( There are two types: foam backed vinyl and synthetic short fuzz fabric (often called "rat fur"). Sailrite has only a few colors: variants of white or beige. The admiral hates the "rat fur" citing it too difficult to clean, and would rather have smooth vinyl. I, on the other hand, the likely one sleeping against the hull, and would rather have rat fur against my skin.

This stuff is also found in RVs. Anyone know of other sources besides Sailrite?

Rat fur samples

Vinyl Samples

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Wood Shop Tour

Yes, it has been a long time to get here. Recall we acquired a barn in an adjacent lot. This expanded our back yard and gave us room to move the (just finished) garage wood shop, into the barn. The barn's interior has been painted and wired with plenty of outlets, including some 220v circuits, in anticipation of the wood working equipment. Here is a quick tour moving counter-clockwise around the structure...

Here is barn with the main door open.
To the left of the main door is wood storage. Sheet stock in the movable plywood caddy, wall shelf cabinets to store small bits of hardwoods.
Left corner of the east wall: band saw, planer, chop/radial arm saw. The band saw and planer are on mobile platforms in order to roll them into the open to handle large/long pieces.
Right corner of the east wall: work-surface (downdraft sanding table underneath), router table, large disc/belt sander.
Left corner of the south wall: woodworking table, bench-top drill press, wall shelf cabinets, bench-top disc/belt sander.
Middle of the south wall: spindle sander, (another) bench-top drill press, jointer on a mobile base stored underneath.
Right corner of the south wall: desk with workstation, shelves, heater. Storage of small but important bits like measuring devices, pencils, rulers, levels, etc are here. The stairs to the loft are shown in the right if the picture.
West wall: clamps, saw horses, air supply.
Adjacent room houses the 4' x 4' CNC machine.
Another adjacent "semi-external" room houses the dust collectors (one for the CNC machine, the other for the tools in the main shop), and air compressor.

Alright, enough shop talk. We should be ready to ease into interior finishing.