Tuesday, June 05, 2018

FLASHBACK TO A MISSING FLASHLIGHT

I was thinking about flashlights and an incident that occurred several years ago while I was cruising with BIANKA. I had taken the dingy into a dock. Since I did was not familiar with the harbor and it's security issues. I really don't even remember where it was. I decided it best that I secure the dingy with a security cable and a combination lock. I went into town, I think for dinner and came back to the dock where the dingy was after dusk. I went to unlock the dingy but, found my eyes could not read any of the numbers on the lock in the fading light. Try as I might my aging eyes just could not discern the numbers. It was late in the season and the summer crowds had long disappeared and it was getting cold. Did not look like anyone else would be coming to the dock that fall evening. I was a bit in a panic as it was not getting any lighter. I should have had a flashlight in the dingy but, had forgotten to put one in. I looked around and did not see any other boats that might have a flashlight I could use to unlock my dingy. Then I spied the Harbor Police boat tied up nearby. I thought it might have a flashlight I could use to unlock the dingy. It did. But, it also caused a little bit of a dilemma. Getting caught boarding a Police boat and even worse taking something off of it might be hard to explain. But, I was getting desperate as the evening grew darker and it grew colder. I bordered the boat and found a flashlight. I quickly went and unlocked my dingy and replaced the flashlight back on the Police boat without being noticed. I thought about this incident from years ago and how unlikely it would not happen today thanks to advancing technology. These days I would have my cellphone and  use it's flashlight app to light up the dingy lock. Of course one would have to remember to bring the cell phone along. But, I'm less likely to do that since it's usually in my shirt pocket.

 

Monday, May 28, 2018

TYING THINGS UP!

 I got back on the boat the other day to get things ready for launching. I'm in no hurry this year as the spring has been rather wet and cold. Just messing about on the boat is nice since I have a harbor view from the boats location in the boat yard. So when NOAA said the day would be sunny and hot it seemed like a good idea to get down to BIANKA and start doing what needs to be done. When I got down to the boat it was indeed a hot day. Too hot to work in cabin much less down below the cockpit.
What to do except open a cold can of seltzer in the cockpit where there was a hint of a breeze and a little cooler. So some work around the cockpit seemed like the thing to do.
Looking around I noticed some of the wires around BIANKA's helm station looked like they could be tidied up.

They were out of the way enough but. making them a little neater and secure would not hurt. So I took out the newly bought Cable Tie Gun and went to work.

Once those were taken care of I remembered I needed to re secure the Helm Station platforms themselves as the old ty wraps holding them level had broken.  


Using the Tie Wrap Gun I had them re secured, tightened  and level in a few minutes. 


I think I should add a second ty wrap to add some extra holding power in the future. But, for now one should do. Then looking above my head I noticed that the wires for BIANKA's 48 volt solar panels needed to be secured. A few tie wraps slipped between aluminum bars and the job was done


It was a quick and easy job. But, one that helped make things neater and secure. Plus it made me feel somewhat productive on such a hot day.                  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

JUST A REMINDER

I'm constantly reminded of all the things I'm missing since I converted BIANKA to electric propulsion ten years ago . Namely all the bad things that go with having a diesel on board. We were anchored off the Staniel Cay Yacht Club in the Exumas Bahamas. I was relaxing in the cockpit of a St. Francis 44 foot Catamaran when I heard someone call "Ahoy'  as fellow in a dingy motored up to the stern. He was looking for the Captain of the boat he had met a few weeks earlier. He discovered had no control of speed as he came into anchor.  It seems a part of the throttle lever assembly had broken. It was the metal lever that connected the throttle leakage to the throttle cable at the helm.  Probably not something you are going to easily find in Staniel Cay.  It reminded me of all the mechanical pieces that can break that go with having a diesel on board. These mechanical linkages that control the speed and direction are not used on an EP system. Instead a single sealed electrical potentiometer control is used and is a plug in cable like the battery meter in the previous post. It should be much more reliable than the mechanical linkages that are used with a diesel.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

FIRST SPRING PROJECT DONE: TBS Expert Pro Battery Monitor instal

With winter finally releasing is grip on the Isle of Long it felt good to finally start to make a dent in the spring outfitting ToDo list. I choose a fast and easy one. Last year I bought a new controller from Annapolis Hybrid Marine. Unfortunately, the new controller was not compatible with the old Xantrex XBM Battery Monitor installed ten years ago. So I bought a new TBS E-xpert Pro Battery Monitor that is compatble with the new controller. It was a quick replacement as both fit the same mounting hole and I just had to plug it into the new controller box. The old XBM Battery Monitor will still be used on board since my plan is to re purpose it's use as a battery monitor for my current house bank. But, that is a project for another day.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

HONDA EU2200i GENERATOR: More Power To You!

My Honda 2000i generator has been a proven versatile workhorse for the past ten years and looks like it will continue to function as such for the foreseeable future.  It was originally bought to be part of my poor man's hybrid system when I converted BIANKA to electric propulsion. It has work well for that and more. It was light weight and easily stored and much more quieter compared  to other generators on the market. Hard to improve on the design. But, Honda has with the new Honda EU2200i model.
The new model   increased the power output by 200 watts.  Which is an impressive 10% improvement in power output. With the same size generator case. In the case of BIANKA this would mean the ability to have a constant 37.5 amps to push my boat along at about 4 knots without draining the battery bank. A nice speed for a 48 pound generator. It would also mean faster charging times when at anchor. Plus there are a few more physical improvements to the generator. Like a bigger oil filler opening and oil drain gutter making oil changes easier and cleaner. There is also a fuel shut off valve so you can run the generator until the carburetor is drained of fuel.  It's very tempting on my part to upgrade to this Honda generator. But,  my frugal side is telling me "If it ain't broke don't fix it". Since my ten year old Honda 2000i is not broke I'm able to resist upgrading to the Honda EU220i. But it's nice to know it will be available to me should I need it on want to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

WINTERLUDE 2018

It's been about a month or more since I last visited BIANKA. The weather has been cold and the winds blowing off Long Island Sound make it feel colder. But, since the fourth Nor' Easter is about to arrive tomorrow I figured I should make the trip. I needed to make some measurements and check on space availability for some various projects I have planned once the weather warms up.
I arrived at the boatyard a few minutes before Spring or the Vernal Equinox happened. Though it sure still felt like winter. I did the usual checkout of the deck and charged up the batteries. I then moved the piles of cushions, boxes of parts and tools so I could check the space where I planned to relocate the new Jabsco Macerator Pump. It looked very doable and should be a pretty easy job:

Which was a relief. However. the location where I planed to install a new Standard Horizon 2200 VHF radio was not going to go as smoothly.  Behind the bulkhead where I wanted to install the unit was hose and fitting for BIANKA's anchor wash down outlet.

It may require that move the outlet. But, perhaps not I'll know better once I get the unit and see how it fits. But, at least I'll be prepared to do the work.

Not much else to do in the cold temperatures on board once the batteries were topped up except to check the bilge. There was some water there. Not surprising since the boat has weather three Nor' asters and some heavy rains since I last visited. I took out the Micro Wet/Dry Shop Vac and sucked the water out of BIANKA's deep bilge. The small shop vac makes the job so much easier, faster and cleaner. 

   I empty the Shop Vac into a five gallon bucket . One that I had labeled to show one gallon for deck washing solutions.  It showed I had only about a gallon in the bilge.

Having accomplished all I had planned to do. I buttoned the boat up disconnected the power cord and went home to await the storm. Hopefully warmer Spring temperatures will soon be on the way.

Friday, March 02, 2018

A QUICK AND EASY WAY TO ADD A SOLAR POWERED LIGHTING SYSTEM

I mentioned awhile back how living on my boat with it's LED lights and Solar Panels inspired me to build the solar powered lighting system for my house.
Now a company called BIOLITE has come up with a compact solar lighting, charging and music system that is priced reasonably and could be used at home or on a boat.
It even has an FM radio and MP3 player built in. Here is an overview:



Looks like a quick and easy way to add a solar powered lighting system to a boat or home.

 Kit includes a 6 watt solar panel, screws, the control box, three individual string lights with individual switches, including one with a motion sensor.
  • Lighting includes 3 over-head lights with their own switches: 2 100-lumen string lights and 1 motion sensor light.
  • Control box includes 20-watt hour rechargeable battery to store solar energy, 2 USB device charging ports, digital display for feedback on power availability, and speaker control
  • Enjoy the built-in FM radio and speaker or use the SD card reader to play your MP3 music

At $149 the BioLite SolarHome 620 Portable Off-Grid Solar Lighting System is at a minimum a great way to light up your evenings or if you already have solar it could provide the backup lighting you need for nights at anchor. While allowing your current system to deal with important functions like refrigeration. 

Hat Tip: Boat Bits