15 May 2018 | Pension Tiare Nui
It's been pouring since late night and we're holed up in the bungalow. It's been a torrential downpour, a Prince William Sound rain, for Alaskans in the know, accompanied by 30-40mph winds. Why go out in that mess?
Results! We finally received responses from two of the main contacts for a new solar charger: the company that originally sold the failed unit to us, and Hamilton Ferris, an old friend-of-a-company that made the towed-water generator that we used for many years.
Northern Arizona Wind and Sun, the company that sold the failed unit, had only one marine-grade charge controller and it did things that we didn't need and was commensurately expensive. The unit from HF was less expensive and made for the marine environment. No electronics that the company has provided have ever failed because of the environment, although the two generators for our towed-water and wind systems failed through years of use. We made a quick decision on the HF unit. Eric, our HF contact, even supplied a Paypal link to make things easy.
At any rate, the shipping was as much as the damned unit, but it's supposed to be in Papeete in a few days, and perhaps it'll arrive here before we depart. Wish us luck on that. Otherwise, I'll be wiring the panels directly to the batteries and have to re-wire the panel connections to get them to 12 volts. I sure would hate doing that, but I can.
If it clears, we've got plenty to do, but as I sit here, all I see is rain-heavy clouds whipping past the mountains.
We did finally depart from the Pension. We had tried to buy more refrigerator insulation for our aging unit, but SOPOM, the local builder's store, was closed for lunch. Ahhh, the French... We did, FINALLY, find the little burger joint, "Tonton Burger" open. It's become a running joke with us: will Tonton burger be open? Usually the answer is a resounding, "NO!", but today at lunch they were, so we had our obligatory Tonton cheeseburger, fries, and Orangina. It's no wonder that hamburgers have taken the world: they're great!
We finally arrived at the Carenage and other than some "runaround showers",as we call them, since we do that as we close open hatches and ports and then it clears in 30 seconds, it was clear enough to work above deck. Conni continued her Flitzing, and I changed the main zinc, and accomplished a few other tasks. We did start our testing of the new propane system, too. Fail! We tested the first two joints that I had made, and both leaked audibly. Damn! I had learned on-line that the threads don't seal the joint, but the sealant does, so one must carefully apply the sealant to the root of the male threads. Obviously, I had not. We're using a material called "MegaLock", an Oatey product. No company is bigger in the sealant industry than Oatey, and MegaLock was recommended at the company that fabricated our new system. OK... I'd never done this kind of work and just accepted the recommendation. MegaLock is more like toothpaste than anything that I've ever considered, but it's supposed to be good. We just haven't been able to use it successfully, and we feel that it was operator error. We'll try again tomorrow. We did get one joint tested as non-leaking, but there are many more to go.
The varnishing is going well. The Carenage crew sanded off the old varnish and applied the first coat or "couche", of primer. It isn't cheap so we hope to get a few years out of it. I think that it looks good.
After the frustrating experience with the propane leaking, we headed home. I read email and found that Eric from Hamilton Ferris had our unit in the mail already! What service! It should arrive during the weekend, but I suspect that we'll be lucky to receive it before we depart. Regardless, if there were a chance for our receiving it, Eric made that happen and we're very grateful to him. I spend a terrible night last night, awakening several times to plan how I was going to get the panel output to the batteries with no controller. My original plan was squashed by the same Eric who said that the device that I had planned to use was not designed for that use. Back to the drawing board.
Our friend, Kelly, emailed today to reiterate what LaVerne had said about the dangers of diesel vapor. He's an engineer and BP efficiency expert, so knows of what he speaks. We've known him since before we were married. If you think that it doesn't matter if people read, I can promise that it does. Thank you all