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Learning Electrical Lessons - Sometimes the Hard Way - and WHY AREN'T YOU DONE?

 So many ask us where we are at and when we will be 'done'.  More and more we laugh when that questions gets asked because we are unsure sometimes of exactly what done will look like - LOL!!

What we can tell you now is what we're working on and why.  Can you guess?

Yep, it's all about the electricity.  

As we've been working through (and by we, I mean John), getting the wiring for the electric motors, controllers, batteries, inverters, charging, measuring, . . . figured out and installed to meet the manufacturer's specs, we have found some - or many - issues with the existing wiring on the boat.  Plus, as far as we can tell, we are the first system to have dual motors, dual helms, and dual controls at each helm, so there isn't any pre-developed drawings or anything about how all the parts go together.  Plus, we've found a few weirdness things in the specs where they call out one thing, but what they sent won't fit that spec.  No worries though, we're working through it.

John has found a number of things inside the cabin and other parts of the boat that have previously shorted, been cut off, etc.  So, to make sure that everything is good and safe on the boat, he's been replacing old wiring to things like lights, switches, etc.  But that isn't the hard way lesson that we learned.

So what happened?

The other day, while I was on the boat and working away on my day-to-day job, seated at the salon table, I could suddenly smell a really bad smokey smell that definitely included plastic melting in it.  And it was STRONG!

I ran away from the Zoom meeting I was doing and found John out in the cockpit.  I told him what I could smell and he started checking around.  It was challenging even figuring out if it was coming in from outdoors or all inside.  We had a bunch of hatches open because it was a lovely day and we wanted to revel in it.

After both of us sniffing around, it seemed the smell was fading, so we relaxed a bit.  But John kept working around while I went back to Zoom.  Here's what he found.

Yikes! Here's where he found it.

That is the burn mark from the melted cable sitting on the shelf behind our settee.  If you can't tell what got burned, it's my iPhone charging cable!  I had it plugged into an extension cord and just sitting on the shelf.  What happened is that condensation from the windshield glass dripped onto it and it evidently completely shorted out and started melting.  Something I never knew could happen like that.  John pointed out that particular cable has its conductive connectors on the outside, so the contact with the moisture and the wood made the perfect storm for a near disaster.

But where are we really in the process?

Literally this work being done is the last thing we need to finish before we can be fully mobile.  John has worked through all the specs.  He has fabricated the shelves and backings to hold the equipment, and we're finishing up the engine compartment so I can start painting it.  I'm here for another week plus a few days, so hopefully we will get the weather and the time for paint before I leave.  Then the equipment installation and wire connections can be done.  The only gotcha still in this area of the work is that one of our inverters is on back order.  But our vendor has given us a slightly different model we can use as a substitute until ours gets here.  For those who want to know, we are going with Victron components.  I'll get details from John and we will post the full set up in a later post.

What else is there to do?

  • I've been working on window shade panels - a post will come.  We don't like the cabin turning into an oven when it's sunny.
  • We still need to design, acquire, and install our solar charging system.
  • We are in this marina until the end of March 2023, and by then we want to be able to move to a boatyard where we can haul out again.  We need to do that because the paint we did last year was the below-water paint and we still need to do the above-water paint.  That means ladders, sanding, repairing, prepping, priming, painting, etc.  That includes the topside finish that has the traction functionality.  Could we do this while the boat is in the water?  Technically, yes.  But not at all practical to be floating on a dinghy next to the boat and using power tools.  At least I don't want to do that.
  • We need to get our standing rigging inspected and tuned - hopefully not replaced

standing rigging


Definition of standing rigging

permanent rigging (such as stays and shrouds) used primarily to secure the masts and fixed spars of a vessel or to support radio, radar, and other equipment carried aloft
  • All of our running rigging definitely needs to be replaced.

running rigging


Definition of running rigging

rigging that is used primarily in setting, furling, and otherwise handling sails and movable spars or in handling cargo and that usually runs through blocks or pulleys
  • Most, if not all, of our windows and hatches need to be either re-bedded or replaced.
  • Our stanchions and and lifeline system needs to be fully inspected and re-bedded. Did I mention I LOVE that our lifeline system is topped with a solid stainless rod and not just a wobbly cable?
  • We probably need to thoroughly clean our trampolines and possibly replace them. 
  • We need to make sure we have our anchor windlass working properly because neither of us want to haul in an anchor by hand, although we can and John has.
I'm sure there is more that I can't think of right now, but it's all an adventure and I'm sure once we complete everything I mentioned above, we will surely find more to do - that's what owning a boat is like!


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