01/02/2012, Same ol' Marina
The new year has arrived and Dave, our trusty electrician, is back at it, putting Wilparina's electrical systems back together. The new circuit boards are nearly ready to be assembled. Dave built the teak panels (above) that will soon hold the new circuitry.
The price of copper wire is pretty high these days. As we get ready to reconstruct the battery bank, it is important to note that the thick electrical cabling associated with the batteries (2/0 AWG) costs 8 cents AN INCH. So rather than string the cables from the batteries, to the main battery selector switch (what we call the BRS or big red switch) and then back again, we are going to use remote battery switches. We'll also upgrade our propane on/off switch with a new version that includes a propane detector.
Behind the new electrical panel, the fresh water pump has been removed. We're going to install a new fresh water pump beneath galley sink. We also pulled out the manual bilge pump that's attached to the aft bulkhead and faces into the cockpit. This needs to be rebuilt or replaced, and then re-installed.
11/30/2011, Slip 40
Last night, I spent another evening on the boat. I pulled up the cabin sole and vacuumed and cleaned the bilge from stem nearly to stern. I found no evidence of any new leaking fuel in the sump. But, in spite of my efforts, I didn't find any obvious source. However, there's a sense of satisfaction in knowing that as I go through this process, I'm cleaning up all traces of dirt and residue. Everything on a boat should be "ship shape," even in the darkest nooks and crannies.
I sometimes wonder: will I ever really understand all the working pieces of this boat? Will she ever be ready for extended passages on the open ocean? I just have to remember: it's getting a little bit better, day by day, bit by bit.
The new isolation transformer and ELCI are on the boat, as are the new AC and DC circuit panels. Electrical Dave is set to start the installation today. And Clint will be doing the final install on the Airhead. He's been waiting for a break in the rain so he can cut a hole in the cabin roof and install the small fan that vents the Airhead.
I spent a few hours aboard Wilparina last night. A few days ago, I found that the pump was inoperable and there was a couple of inches of water in the bilge. I monkeyed around with the wiring, and found a loose connection. But once I got the pump going, I went outside to notice a sheen of oil on the water. (Oh +@#$!) I ceased pumping immediately.
So last night, I pulled out the bilge pump, and cleaned out the bilge. This is no easy matter, since the Tayana's bilge is located in a sump about four feet deep, directly under the engine. Using a hand pump, I transferred the oily mess into a couple of plastic jugs. I'm 90% certain that the oil was actually diesel fuel - the smell of my clothes seems to confirm that. Then, I rewired the bilge pump with proper butt-end connectors. So that's working fine now.
I didn't see any signs of new fuel/oil leaks. The best guess is that the fuel leaked during the removal of the gen-set. I'll probably head back out there tonight and do a little more investigating. I want to lay out some sheets of paper towel in various areas to help detect any leaks.
Weird, but there's something satisfying about doing a really dirty job.
11/21/2011, Hayden Island, Columbia River
Installing the airhead toilet required removing a pedestal that previously housed a foot pump (for the fresh water in the head sink) and supported the old Jabsco flush toilet. There is also an electrical componant. This was a complicated job, so I was fortunate to get some help from Clint, a Jack of All Trades who works for Independent Marine. He removed the pedestal and built the deck sole back up to match the height of the existing grate. It's a perfect match.
The Airhead is just about ready for final installation, but we need to agree upon the type of exhaust vent that we'll be installing on the cabin roof, and agree upon the location. Cutting a hole through the boat - the idea of that makes me want to be damned sure we get this right the first time. Bit by bit, things are moving forward.
Will we be ready for the passage to the San Juans in July? That's our goal.
11/13/2011, slip 40
Yesterday, I began removing the old AC wiring from Wilparina. This task isn't all that easy. I would say that the original installation was done very well. It is very securely attached, with wire ties, and sections of plastic conduit and vigorous wraps of electrical tape. All of this makes it difficult to remove. It's crazy; this all seems very ironic to be putting in such an effort to remove the most secure wiring on the entire boat. Frankly, there are numerous wire rats' nests on the boat, yet the first thing we start tearing out first, is the system that at least looks the best of the lot.
Interestingly, there is another set of DC power lines running parallel to the AC lines. Next to every AC outlet was also installed an DC outlet. Other than a couple of"cigarette lighter" connectors, we really don't need the DC wiring, so out it goes.
Electrical Dave hooked up an auxiliary AC connection so during the work this winter, we can have some lights and an electric heater working. For the moment, there is no DC source to recharge the battery. I started and ran the diesel for 30 minutes on Saturday. The batteries still have some juice and will run the bilge pump, but at some point soon, we'll get the battery charger back on line. We have parts on order - the isolation transformer and new circuit panels will arrive soon.
Coming in the next wave of electrical work will be new batteries, and a new charger.
11/05/2011, Tomahawk Bay Marina
I met with marine electrician, Dave this morning. Dave did a survey of our electrical systems. We are entering the third phase of our restoration project. From the beginning we knew that the wiring and electrical systems were in pretty poor condition. It's to the point that most of the wiring will be completely replaced. The photos in the gallery - "Wired for Nightmares" - paint a pretty good picture of her condition.
Behind the original Tayana electrical panel lies trouble waiting to happen. There's a spaghetti-mess of wiring, a water pump installed directly behind the electrical panel, and of prime concern, the circuit panel with terminals that are rusty-brown with oxidation.
To focus our efforts, we going to consider safety. We'll work on the AC systems first. We will replace the shore power receptacle, install an isolation transformer, install a new power panel, and replace every piece of AC line on the boat.
While we're at it, we'll also move the water pump to a prime spot (where the recently extracted generator used to be). And we'll replace the wiring to our bilge pump.
From the very beginning, we will establish a uniform labeling system. And as we go through the boat, I'll work with Dave to create user-friendly documentation (i.e., something I can understand).
Coming later in the spring will be new batteries and a battery charger.
Also noted is that our refrigerator doesn't work. The hot water heater has signs of rust, and the water lines that transfer heat from the engine block are not connected.