Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Well I stuffed that!

I forgot, and as a result managed to “blow” the 12V power socket in the bedroom.  All the 12V circuits on the boat are protected by digital fuses.  This makes it much easier to reset a fault.  Additionally, the Empirbus power distribution system will report a fault by illuminating a red LED on the rear control panel.

My mistake error lapse in judgement was in plugging a 12V inverter into the bedroom socket.  This overloaded the circuit and it not only ‘tripped’ the reset fuse but also ‘blew’ the backup safety fuse.  This meant one of the eight output terminals on the affected node circuit board was now permanently unserviceable.  As I was using all eight terminals, the circuit board needed to be replaced.  It’s not a big job, but this is the first time I’ve taken the cover off a node and replaced a card.

The wiring has been tidied once but it really needs to be done again.  All the wiring unplugs from the node and the cover can then be removed to reveal the four circuit boards.

It’s card ‘C’ which needs to be replaced.  Just pull out the old card and plug in a replacement, then put the cover back on and plug the cable terminals back in.   Not a very long or difficult job.  By examining the old circuit board it’s possible to see the “blown” safety fuse.

Two of the small white rectangles in the middle of the photo are yellow rather than white.  Can’t see them?

Even with MY bad eyesight I can see the problem.  The 12V power socket in the bedroom is again working. 

Now I could turn my attention to the GSM Module.  Just to keep the SIM card active once each month we send the boat a text message .  But for the last two months the boat has been very impolite and failed to reply.  I couldn’t see anything wrong with the module.

I took the SIM card out and tested it in one of our phones.  It worked and there’s still credit on the account.  Having eliminated the SIM card as a potential problem I was stumped!  Then Daniel from Empirbus informed me that the module can be reset by disconnecting the power supply to it.  Doing this isn’t as simple as it might seem because the module is always active (24/7) even when the master isolation switch is removed.  This is because the module can send emergency messages from the boat.  Anyway, I managed to disconnect and then reconnect the 12V power supply to the module and it burst into life sending replies to the last two months of test messages from our phone.  That has solved the current issue, but I now want to do more with the module.

It has some spare messaging capacity which I’d like to utilize.  What would be desirable?

I’m thinking that it would be very useful if the boat were to send us a text message if one of the bilge pumps was to activate.  The pumps have a manual and separate float switch.  If Waiouru were to spring a leak when we weren’t present then with the existing setup the automatic float switch would start the bilge pump until either the water level dropped or the batteries ran flat. However if the boat were to warn us that a bilge pump had started we could arrange to have the matter checked.  It would also be an advantage of we could remotely turn on the bilge pump.  I was also thinking it would be handy to be able to remotely turn on the central heating.  It would be useful to be able to warm the boat prior to our arrival.  Alternatively, if there was a very cold snap and we weren’t at the boat we could remotely start and stop the heater thereby reducing the possibility of frozen pipes, etc.  I’ve fitted an engine imobilizer which could also be remotely controlled by text message.  Waiouru has on board GPS tracking and already sends us a message when it is moved whilst it’s unattended and the alarm is on.  We could send a text immobilizing the engine if the boat told us it was on the move!  I’m sure there are other uses!

Jan has already thought of two further uses.  She wants the module to do the laundry and wash the dishes. Smile


Peter and Margaret said...

Tom,I can personally vouch for the benefits of having a text messaging system in place to tell you the bilge pump has activated :-)

Tom and Jan said...

It has only been a very recent thought! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have a term for you Tom "Gadget Man" - only because I am jealous!

Tom and Jan said...

I have so much to keep myself occupied with when not cruising! ;-)