Hydrovane Drive Unit Is Installed (but not bolted in yet)
28 June 2008 | Deatons
Keith, late afternoon but still hot and humid
I had a few hours this afternoon after spending some time working with a law client on the phone (skype) so I brought the mechanical self steering drive unit into the motorhome and mocked it up while reading the installation instructions. I pretty much understood what I needed to do, so I went for it. It was a little precarious with the several thousand dollar drive unit perched sideways on the floor of the scooter, but I took it slow and made it to the boat yard without problem. In order to install it, you have to align the main unit onto a small hole that a pin goes through. This is hard enough 8 feet above ground, but while doing this the tiller unit has to be fitted in just right to a tight spot in between without bringing the main unit off the alighment hole. It took several tries and I was completely dripping with sweat, but I got it. Still don't know exactly how the "worm gear" works, but I'm starting to understand. Afterwards I did some more work on the dingy, but found that it needs some hardware, so I won't be able to finish it until Monday when Deaton opens. Matt's mechanics boot camp has really come in handy. I can do things that simply wouldn't have been possible for me a month ago. I've sweat more in the last month than in the last 10 years, but I've also lost those extra 5 pounds I put on before I left.
Solar Report: The solar system is doing better than imagined. A lot of people bag on solar and say its not worth it. I don't know whether its the modern panels or the high quality wiring and other equipment and installation on Tropical Dreamer (or the intense sun we've been getting in North Carolina), but the two 135 watt panels have been pouring out energy since I hooked them up yesterday morning. We had afternoon thunderstorms today but when I left the boat at about 6:00 this evening, the batteries were showing essentially full charge. And this is without any addition of power from the wind generator. I think I will be off the grid for a long time... unless we need air conditioning, in which case we may be back on sooner than we think.
Thank you to those people sending comments. They are greatly appreciated. If you want to read comments, click on the word "comments", otherwise, I've hidden them as not everyone wants to be public (and not everyone needs to read my mother's frequent encouragement, though her comments are appreciated most of all). I hope my dad is checking in from time to time too.