Sunday, 25 November 2012

Wet wet wet

And we don’t have a stern hatch cover as Darren took it away yesterday to paint.  Instead we have a piece of old timber panel over the opening which has left a large gap which is allowing the warm air to escape from inside Waiouru.  The weather forecast is for strong winds later today and tomorrow so I’ve taken Nicks advice and scrounged around the boatyard in the long grass and brambles for more fire bricks top place on top of the panel.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the minimal amount of condensation in the boat.  Each morning one of us goes around with a micro-fibre cloth and drying the bottom of the portholes and the small area of exposed aluminium Houdini frame.  Obviously we are generating the condensation by breathing (I’m alive… I’m alive!) or it’s from the cooking.  The spray foam and double insulation on the portholes and Houdini’s appears to be very effective.  Less than 1000w of generated energy is keeping Waiouru warm.

Yesterday Nick recalibrated the fuel gauges.  The first task was to top up the tanks.  Oh dear….. more money spent!  The Hurricane heater tank took 21 litres and the heater has 38 hours on the meter.  The fuel gauges are calibrated by pumping air into the line with a bicycle pump.  I’d anticipated this and purchased a cheap bike pump from Halfords.  It lasted for one tank but burst apart under pressure when attempting to calibrate the main tank Sad smile

To calibrate the tank air has to be forced into a thin copper tube which runs down to the base of the tank where there is a sensor.  The fuel gauge is then calibrated manually with a small screwdriver to show the tank is full.  Over the course of a year some air pressure will be lost which will require the process to be repeated.  Looks like we’ll need to look for a stronger bicycle pump!

As we are getting very close to Waiouru being completed I’ve been reading the build specifications with the objective of identifying any outstanding tasks.  One thing I noted was the headlamp is supposed to have a small indicator lamp at the stern which will illuminate when the headlamp is on.  I don’t want to forget to turn off the headlamp and start flattening the batteries.  It would be possible to fit a small LED globe but I’d need to use one of the spare terminals on the stern Empirbus node.  I’d much rather save the spare terminals for some future; yet to be identified requirement.  Then I had this brilliant idea (unusual for me).  I could reprogram the system so the cockpit light came on with the headlamp.  It only took a few keystrokes on the computer and the amended configuration file is now waiting to be uploaded.   

A slight panic mid afternoon when Jan noticed the gutter across the front doors in the cratch was full of water.  Now this gutter empties into the front bilge sump where there is an automatic bilge pump.  If the pump doesn’t automatically empty the water from the sump then it can backup and enter the cabin under the front doors.  The first test was to check the pump actually worked.  This was confirmed by running it via the manual over-ride switch on the bedroom wall.  So the pump worked but the problem might be the float switch.  This was tested by filling the now empty sump from a bucket.  The float switch didn’t work!  Thinking logically; the next step was to access the wiring to the automatic switch to see if it had 12v.  It didn’t!  So the problem was between the terminal to the float switch and the bow Empirbus node.  On looking at the node I could see the digital fuse on one of the circuits had “blown”.  Yes…. it was the active feed to the automatic float switch.  Now if I had been really logical the node would have been the first place I checked.  Actually the failure to clear the “blown” fuse is my fault.  I’d seen it earlier when clearing another fault and hadn’t realised there was more than one fault on the node!  Another lesson learned.

Bit of a delay with tonight’s post whilst waiting for the All Blacks to finish trouncing Wales.  Jan wasn’t too fussed about the result as she considers herself half kiwi and half welsh.


Paul - from Waterway Routes Maps and DVDs said...

You’ll soon get fed up of pumping air with a bicycle pump and revert to a dipstick. A year sounds wildly optimistic, I would say monthly is about average and weekly has been heard of – in other words you will need to re-pump and re-calibrate every time you fill with diesel.

It’s not clear if the cockpit light you want to come on with the headlight is at the bow or the stern. The stern isn’t a good idea as you need minimal light where you are steering or you will be so blinded in a tunnel you can only see half way along the boat. If it’s the front cockpit light then it sounds like a good idea, as long as you can still tell you’ve left it on when the sun is shining.

John/Waimaru said...

Even if your cockpit light came on you could not be sure the tunnel light is working - until you get into the tunnel. I always send the crew forward to check beforehand. If you leave the light on after leaving the tunnel you will soon have passing boaters reminding you if you have left it on.

Anonymous said...

We have a membrane keypad button set for fuse reset. That way, if a fuse blows on any of the nodes, it's telltale light flashes red. The fuse is reset by pressing the button. But maybe you don't have a spare button?

Also, assuming you are using an Empirbus input to turn on the tunnel light, you can add 2 LEDs to the input connections. The system can then be set so that one acs as an ON indicator, the other acts as a running indicator. Ie the one will come on when you turn on the light, the other will flash red (assuming a red LED used) if the light is turned in but not taking any current - ie bulb blown.

Tom and Jan said...

Is this to voice of an owner with the same type of gauge? I certainly won't be pulling the control column apart every month to pump more air into the system! We'll revert to using the secondary gauge (handle of the boat hook)

Valid points! I guess I'm just dabbling with the system whilst I have the interface in my possession.

There is a 'Fuse Reset' button on the rear membrane switch panel and in my stupidity I reset it after clearing the first fault. I should have checked to see if there were other faults! Lesson learned!