Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Back around Earth Day last year I mentioned that I was planning on recycling the now obsolete Kings 8001 LORAN unit. I have come up with a new instrumentation project to monitor BIANKA's propulsion battery bank. The  weather proof case of the Kings LORAN will fit nicely into my plans.  The back of the Kings unit has a few connectors on it which might come in useful:

The coaxial LORAN antenna connection might come in useful for some type of video feed.  The AMP 25 pin connector might also prove useful. But,  first I have to  remove some of the internal electronics. This King 8001 LORAN unit sold for about $600 in 1985. In today's dollars that would be over $1,100. Opening it up I could see why:

Ed King sure put a lot of electronic technology inside the box:

Including some LSI (Large Scale Integration) chips for the display board and some nice conformal coating to help protect the circuity from the marine environment:

It's no wonder this unit was working right up until the Coast Guard shut down the Loran transmitters. Probably would have kept on working for many more years if they had kept the transmitters operating too . Oh well at least some of Kings design will live on at least on BIANKA. Even if it is only the case:

 I knew the case for the Kings Loran would be good to use since it already had a home and mounting hardware in the cockpit and was pretty weather proof.  But, I also hoped to recycle as much of the existing hardware as possible. The first thing I thought I could use is the metal shield that was used  between the some of the circuit boards inside the Loran. I thought it would make a good mounting plate for the meters and switch.

Well, after buying some of the metering components I soon found out that my original plan was just not going to work out.

Using paper cut outs of the meter dimensions I soon realized that the Kings Loran case would be to small to house all the instrumentation I wanted at the helm. It looked I could fit the four battery meters and the switch that controls them. 

But, I could not also fit the more important current meter inside too. Even though it looked at first like it would:

But, in the end I could see it was just not going to work out:

So it's on to Plan B!

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