Where'd the day go?
21 March 2011 | Georgetown, Great Exuma
Why cruisers seem lazy, or why it takes all freaking day to get something done. OK, so this is one post to try and explain why it seems like we don't get much accomplished each day, getting up late and starting into the rum early notwithstanding.
Our guests Rose & Steve brought a new tachometer gage that I had purchased and shipped to their house. I figured I should install it. I determined I needed a new tachometer after using an optical tachometer that I got from Harbor Freight in FL before we left. To use the optical tachometer, you point the laser at a pulley (sometimes the pulley needs enhancement with some reflective tape, conveniently included) and then read the RPM. I had used it on the generator when I first got it, and then stored it.
I finally got around to pulling it out of the crew cabin the most recent time I had the main engine compartment opened up (after finishing up the transmission job). I put a piece of reflective tape on the crankshaft pulley. Unfortunately, the little red light on the tachometer didn't light up when I pushed the button. After determining the Chinese batteries had exploded, I opened it up and tried to clean up the circuit board, then sprayed some Boeshield protective spray on it. With new batteries, still no juice. Some work with the multimeter revealed intermittent contact at one of the battery wires, which when examined came loose from the pad to which it had been soldered. Back to the crew cabin for the solder gun, pull it out and attempt to strip a bit of this tiny wire insulation, tin the wire, then solder it back to the pad. After accomplishing this, it started to work so I was able to compare the optical tachometer to the one on my gage panel and determine that my gage was about 25% off. With no further adjustment available on my gage, I researched and bought another, brought to the boat by Rose & Steve as mentioned.
So now it's time to replace the gage and calibrate it using the optical tachometer. Which isn't working again. The batteries are dead, although not exploded. Not sure why they drained so quickly. I pull them out, start looking around and see that the other wire to the battery compartment (the one I didn't solder last time) has come loose also. But, I notice it has an input for a 6V power supply which I have (courtesy of Rose & Steve, again) just acquired for my shortwave radio. So I plug in the power supply, and get an occasional laser. After cleaning up the circuit board again, and some more Boeshield, it operates almost every time I hit the button. The 6V supply cord isn't long enough to reach the front of the engine, so I need the cigarette lighter extension cord from the crew cabin, so back I go to retrieve that. Power seems intermittent; investigation shows that the positive wire is corroded and has popped off the contact. Back to the crew cabin for the solder gun again, and attempt to flux/tin/attach the wire to the center button. With some success, I reassemble the extension cord and can now reach the engine with the optical tachometer.
To the gage panel! I pull the old tachometer out, and start attaching the wires to the new one. Well, some of the rings are the wrong size, so I should replace them. And the connector for the light on the new gage isn't a spade, it's a stud so that connector needs to be replaced with a ring. Hey, twenty minutes with the wire stripper and crimper and all is well. Now I can start up the engine, and run back and forth from the helm station to the front of the engine, taking readings with the optical tachometer, comparing it to the tachometer gage, and then adjusting the calibration screw. Another twenty minutes, and I've got it to within twenty RPM or so across most of the range we use the engine.
Hey, where'd the day go? Must be time for a drink.