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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Death of an Old Friend, Rejuvenation of Another

In a project this big, I guess casualties are to be expected. My trusty Ryobi 12 volt cordless drill, the one that lived on the boat, finally gave up the ghost. I have had this one for about ten years (it was given to me by my dad when we bought the house). It was one of those 12 volt NiCad cordless drills, the latest thing just before 18 volt tools came on the scene (nowadays it is 18 volt Lithium-Ion that is the cool stuff). It almost got put out to pasture a couple years ago when the original NiCads wore out. And, being an "outdated" model, replacement batteries were horrendously expensive, if you could find one. As chance would have it, my local hardware store happened to have one, new, in a brown cardboard box, sitting in the corner on the "clearance" table for $5. Score! That gave it a few more years of life. But this time, there will be no such luck. The body of the drill has broken apart. The funny thing is that I wasn't stressing the drill at the time, just driving a tapping screw. It just sorta fell apart as if to say, "I've had enough". Rest in peace old friend. A moment of silence...



Ok, thats enough. Time search for the DeWalt replacement!

Another tool, not it such poor shape, but in need of some care, is our Black & Decker ELU router. This is a very nice router, intended for woodworking. One of the first electronic variable speed units. It has nearly every adjustable bit you can imagine (plus a very nice edge guide). This particular router was/is my wife's (she came with the router, lol). She always recommended I never use this thing on fiberglass or Coosa, but, being male, I guess I didn't listen (hey, we didn't have an alternate router at the time). As a result, I think the bearings are on their way out. Normally, the motor in this thing is very smooth. That, coupled with the nice ergonomic handles and easy plunge operation make using this thing a joy to work with. But, the motor is sounding rough. I think it's use on glass/coosa is taking it's toll (my wife is reading this thinking "I told you so!"). So I am sending this off to the Black & Decker repair shop for cleaning and possible bearing replacement. The thing is, this router is at least twenty years old. I hope parts are still available. When this is all done, it will never be used on glass and used only on wood (really dear, I promise!).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Final Tour of Forward Bilge Pump Installation

Ok, this sub-project is all buttoned up and ready to go. As mentioned previously, there are two bilge pumps in the forward end of the boat, under the forward salon floors, just aft of the main mast step. One pump is a small 500 GPH (gallons per hour) and is fully automatic with a integrated solid state "float switch". The other is a big 3700 GPH pump with an AquaAlarm float switch. See the previous post on how the pumps are installed to perform.

In the bilge, a "dam" was installed to effectively "deepen" the sump. The drain for the freshwater tanks empty into this sump to make for easy tank drainage (just open the valve and let the pumps do the rest).  A custom made bracket holds the 3700 GPH pump to the side of the forward floor support. The 500 GPH is secured via the intake strainer with tapping screws into Coosa cored glass underneath (laminated a long time ago, during the keel repair, just for this sort of purpose).
Electrical connections between the pumps and the long cable runs to the engine room are soldered solid (no butt connectors) and insulated/isolated with heat shrink, running through a split-loom conduit up to one of the bulwark conduits which leads aft to the engine room.

A "shelf" covers the entire pump assembly, resting on the dam and a cleat opposite, held by a couple tapping screws. Since one doesn't want to completely block off access to the pumps, for future servicing needs, the shelf is intended to be removed. Only removable storage items will be here, nothing permanent.
A hole is strategically cut into the shelf called the "last drop" port. It is intended for pumping out any water in the sump that the pumps cannot completely remove (there is always a little bit). The port is positioned right over the sump, between the fresh water drain valve and the 500 GPH pump. Insert one of those hand operated bailing pumps (made by the likes of Beckson and West Marine), and pump out into a small bucket to get the "last drop" out of the bilge. 
The discharge hoses are one 3/4 inch and one 1 1/2 inch from the 500 GPH and 3700 GPH pumps respectively. They follow the hull up the side to underneath the side decks. Both are connected to anti-siphon vented loops, then down to a tee fitting which combines the discharge, passing onto the thru-hull seavalve at the waterline.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shop Cleanup

By making this post, I am committed to cleaning and organizing the shop. The shop has been really messy lately. It is getting to the point where even I cant stand it. But I realize, with holiday downtime coming up, a clean, organized shop increases chances of getting more projects done during that time. If it is not done by Monday, readers have permission to verbally scold me in the comments section. lol.

I'll post follow up pictures.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Forward Bilge Pumps Final Testing

Got the forward bilge pumps installed and working reasonable well (I think). Based on comments from the previous test I went with an additional 500GPH pump alongside the 3700GPH pump. The big one is the "crash" pump in case of the real emergency. The small pump is to keep the bilge as dry as possible. The small pump is fully automatic, with integrated solid state switch (RuleMate 500). The big pump has a separate float switch mounted a couple inches higher than the base of the small pump. The idea is, the small pump starts first. If there is too much water to keep up, the big pump starts.

One installation problem was the sump where these pumps are installed is a bit shallow. As water pools in, it starts to spill over (making its way towards the stern of the boat) before the bases of the pumps become submerged, causing them to suck air, losing pumping efficiency. The solution was to install a "dam" (with spillways, you can see it in the video) against the opposite floor support, shaped to the profile of the hull, sealed in with a light duty silicone/polyurethane sealant. This effectively "deepens" the sump. Now these pumps are intended to pump out anything coming from the forward end of the boat. There will be pumps in the aft end, where the lowest point of the bilge exists near the stern tube.

Here is a video of the final test using the remaining water in the tanks.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"Upper" Port Side Conduit

Not wanting to waste empty space if I don't have to, I installed conduit up inside the bulwark (which would normally be empty). There are two runs of one inch conduit, stacked one on top of the other. Both originate from the engine room. The top conduit, runs all the way to the forward anchor locker. The second one stops at the rear part of the forward salon (where we are contemplating a small "nav" station). It then picks up from there and runs to the forward head.
both conduits originating in the engine room
The "top" conduit will carry the control wiring and battery charge cabling to the high load devices up forward (electric windlass, electric bow thruster, and the battery that powers them). The first part of the "bottom" conduit will carry power and control wiring to the two forward bilge pumps. Note that we are considering a networked distributed power system, but these devices you would not want to include in such a system for safety reasons (you want bilge pumps to be wired as simplistically as possible, and, likewise, having your windlass and thruster always online can be important). The remaining portion of the "bottom" conduit (that runs to the forward head) is open with nothing planned.

note the "upper" conduit going all the way through. Left is the "lower" conduit drop, right picks up and leads to the forward head.
This is your typical PVC electrical conduit that you would find at your local hardware store. It is wrapped in tinned-copper tape (which will eventually be grounded) to reduce the chance of RFI gremlins.
conduit guides machined from Coosa
Part of the installation includes the machining of small "conduit guides" that help keep the conduit snug up inside the bulwark and reduces movement. The "fork" part of the guide, pinches the upper conduit as it is wedged up into the bulwark, keeping things snug. The lower "hole" of the guide is just big enough to get through the conduit, with couplers. These guides are glued atop every bulkhead and support that the conduit passes over.