Monday, 25 April 2016

No sailing but phase 1 of the 12v system finished

Despite a serendipitous high tide at about 1400, there was no sailing this Sunday - just too damn cold... I could have gone but I wouldn't have enjoyed it so decided to get on with some other stuff instead while cowering sheltering down below in a nice (reasonably) warm cabin...

Time to finish off the first phase of the 12v installation then...

I replaced the 'positive to master switch' cable with a longer one, the quick release clip now works, and the battery box lid is also firmly attached - delighted with that one...

Earlier that morning I'd taken firm hold of any doubts and drilled two mahoosive holes in the fascia of the switch box in order to take the new voltmeter, and dual USB charger - happily it went largely OK, but a 28mm spade drill into thin plywood is never going to be entirely pretty. A sand down, and coat of wood treatment did wonders though and once on the boat, four M4 bolts hold the fascia panel, and the units were slid in and attached from behind...

Next job was to wire them in and I decided to wire them independently, just because I could, and I had the switches available...  if I run out in the future then I can daisy chain them to one switch if I need to..

Having done that it was time to test - master switch on, Aux 1 flicked (lit up good) check voltmeter, 12.8 and working, double success... 


...flicked on Aux 2, and lifted the cover, USB's also lit up - double success..


...the cats nest inside has already started to develop and at some point I will label all the wires to make it easier, but for now no need..

For anyone coming along afterwards:
  • at the bottom - thick red positive from master switch and thick black negative from battery
  • thick black negative from battery attached to bottom of the switching block on the left
  • thick black negative from top of switching block connects to common negative on the switch panel
  • thick red positive from master switch connects to common posative on the switch panel
  • thin black negatives from the voltmeter and dual USB to the switching block
  • thin red positives from the voltmeter and dual USB to the relevant positives for each switch on the switch panel...
  • all spades/pins etc with amalgamating tape to keep damp out...


...pleased with that..

Friday, 22 April 2016

Solar panel output...

Sunny day and a voltmeter - what else are you going to do??



Panel spec.:
  • Open-circuit voltage (Voc) Av 21.6V, sd 0.3 (I see 21.8, so good)
  • Voltage at maximum power (Vmp) Av 17.5V, sd 0.2 
  • Short-circuit current (Isc) Av 0.31A, sd 0.01 
  • Current at maximum power (Imp) Av 0.26A (I see 182.2 mA so a little low but although it was full sun, it's not strong mid-Summer sun so I guess that's good)
  • Maximum power at STC (Wp) 5W ±3%
  •  Operating temperature -40oC to +85oC 
  • Maximum system voltage 1000Vdc Power tolerance ±3%

Thursday, 21 April 2016

No more excuses...


Couple of (chilly) hours on Sunday morning saw me finish off the last bits..   the mast head light plug is now wired in, and the refurbished cockpit hatches re-attached...  no more excuses then, better go sailing... 

Hopefully Sunday if the weather holds up...

Friday, 15 April 2016

Putting it back together.......

Skipped out of work on time on Wednesday for a session putting "Sparrow" back together following the rain soaked debacle on Saturday...beautiful afternoon/early evening - the sun shone and it was good to be back on a floating boat...

First stop the furler foil support tangs which had been bent badly during the mast raising ...  this is the shot from below and it's quite clear no damage done - those plates are 2 or 3mm stainless, and the clevis is enormous...  all good and built like a brick outhouse (it did originally come off a 30 footer I believe)..


Next job to to tighten up the rigging which had been left taught (to hold mast) but not tight..  tightened everything up and did the "head at the bottom of the mast" trick to get a foreshortened view up the mast, which allowed me to straighten everything out..

After that the jib went on, sheets (must replace - they're not worn out but matt finish doesn't run smoothly when short tacking), and roller furling line.

Then the bit I was looking forward to - new sail time! Whacked on (err... "attached") the boom, took off the old sail, and started feeding in the new - did the foot first, and although I've now removed the block at the outhaul to save some distance, it's a perfect length, the following is tensioned and I still have a couple of inches spare....


...then it was time to raise it... 


...all the way to the top, and then tensioned at the bottom... if I was fussy I'd have like an extra couple of inches free, but I still have a little room for manoeuvre, and to all intents and purposes it looks like this sail was made for the boat..  this is also boom roller furling, so I can always take a roll in if I really need to


...delighted! I'm going to use it for the summer before I decide if I need to get someone to do any trimming...  put the battens in, and packed the sail away (new boom cover fastenings perfect, b.t.w)

The topping lift back to the cockpit modification was also perfect, and note the better run for the furling line to the cleat now on the outside of the hand rail..


...and by this time it was half seven and still sunny on the moorings...


..but time to head home for a beer.. 


Monday, 11 April 2016

...that's it.. all done for this winters maintenance/project list....

...I spoke too soon as the battery I was planning to use has imploded (voltage of 9.4 when I checked last Monday, and despite 24 hours on charge, no difference afterwards.... )

Ah well, always knew it was on the small, and old, side... new one purchased via Amazon using birthday spondoolicks is twice the power and almost same size, and at only £45, and delivered in two days from Scotland to the south coast... bloody amazing..

I've also been spending on some 'additionals' for the system - firstly, one of these...  two separate units in a single mounting plate which is good for replacements at a later date should one or t'other fail.. but basically a digital voltmeter and a dual USB charging port.. this will go on the front of the switch box to the left of the switch panel


I've also bought a cheap solar panel - on Pap I used to use two of the little tiny trickle chargers (1.5W) they sell for car dashboards - I put one in each window inside the cabin and they'd keep the battery topped up for the whole summer (I had very light needs on power - just a bit of VHF, and power for a small stereo amplifier) - this time round I've bought a fully weather proofed 5W panel from a recommended supplier on eBay (Friendly Green Giant) - this will find a home on the pushpit back board at some point....


Lastly, some 11A 0.5mm2 cable in red and black for actually attaching things....

Just in case anyone is interested - here's the costs so far...
  1. Battery (75aH "Leisure") - £45 (Amazon)
  2. Battery box - £15.99 (eBay)
  3. Jump leads for battery cables - £4.90(eBay)
  4. Isolator switch - £4.99 (eBay)
  5. Bus bar - 8 Way Earth Terminal Block - £2.27 (Screwfix)
  6. Switch panel - £18.95 (eBay)
  7. 20 mtrs of 11A (0.5mm) single core wire (half red/half black) - £7 (Amazon)
  8. Dual USB Charger and Voltmeter - £10.50 (eBay)
  9. 5w solar panel - £11 (eBay)

So with time all but gone, I took an afternoon off, and pushed on with work that I knew I needed either shore power or water for..  as it turned out it was the last afternoon I had, I was due to launch the next day...

First I wanted to check the bulb was still working in the mast head light after that drop the other weekend..  attached test cables* to the new battery, and mate Paul who was wandering by at the time confirmed all was good..  cracking result!

*(two or three feet of paired wire with a spade at one end and an alligator clip at the other - damn useful!)

Second order of the day the cam cleats on their now fully prepared block were attached..  not sure about the fair leads..  experience has shown that they tend to jam when feeding line fast (you just get a knot the wrong side of the fair lead) ie. what I want to do when dropping sail! If necessary one or t'other or both will be changed for non-fair lead type..  I've got the bullseye's to keep the line feed straight so they are overkill...

Smart!
Next to be actioned was the new battery which is now snug in the battery box - it is a bit larger but it does fit - the only downside is that the positive post is now further away and although the cable to the master switch still reaches it is a little shorter, and stops the lid fitting snugly...  put it down to experience as I made it longer than was required for the old battery, but still not quite long enough! I'll buy a short length of 16mm2 and re-make...

Next job was the cable gland to take the VHF aerial on the back board..  this was an Index Marine job and I have to say was not the easiest thing to fit..  I found the instructions a little...  errr... counter intuitive...

Anyway - position decided and plate fitted..


then a hole drilled big enough to take the VHF cable with plug attached - I used a 22mm spade bit and it cut through cleanly... drilled and sliced the rubber gasket (very difficult to slice even with a clean blade in the Stanley knife), and then all bolted down as per instructions....


Looks good, and there's still room for other cables (solar panel and rear navigation light eventually) - if it leaks then I'll just smear some "gunk" over the top....


Last job of all - this is the "finishing tape job"..  harbour dues sticker attached... 


Next morning I was down the club early and asked to be dropped at the bottom of the slip - I think I was second or third boat down, but as a 'titch' I get put towards the bottom otherwise I tend to float before they do and that causes traffic jams and other problems....


....snazzy new aerial!


..an hour after that and I was away under the bridge in a growing breeze...  first off as usual, but with a SW'ly wind blowing me into the boat to my right/starboard it took a little speed with with the warp I'd used to hold me off and vectoring the outboard to get away cleanly..  all successful though.

Back on the mooring I was then joined by Rod and Dave to put the mast up - the only thing I will say is that it is up...

If anything could go wrong it did...  first off a cap shroud and aft lower twisted at attachment, second the backstay the wrong side of the back board..  we sorted those two before the mast was lifted...  when we lifted the mast the the after lower shroud then caught under the pin for the cap shroud.... gah...  then when we got it upright the lower mast bolt wouldn't go home, and while we were struggling with that we got hit by a cloud burst and the temperature dropped at least 5 degrees...  we wrestled the bolt in (and I think the issue was that the top bolt wasn't tight enough, which allowed the mast to twist) and raced into the cabin where we sat gently steaming until the rain passed and we could finish, at which point I found the plates for the roller furler had got bent (straightened those with a piece of wood, some mole grips and a hammer)..  finally the forestay was on, the forward lowers were attached, everything was tightened up to support the mast and no more and I tidied away and will go out and finish off one evening this week...  those two deserve a medal, but I bought them a pint... 

Next day I was on a club work party (launching the remaining boats) but with a F8 from the east most of the day I decided not to go visit Sparrow but just quietly thanked God I replaced all my pick up gear this winter...  she was bouncing at least 3 or 4 feet in the chop - most unusual for the Chichester side of the bridge....

Monday, 4 April 2016

...and more work done.. job #4 "Lead halyard/topping lift back to cockpit" and an Oxalic wash

...  and I'll be glad to get afloat if only for a rest... 

Time is fast approaching for launching and, with this being the last weekend left, I decided to focus on the job(s) that need shore power so I picked up on the "Lead halyard/topping lift back to cockpit"; job #4...

Over time my idea's on how to do this have changed significantly from deck organisers and pulleys to what I actually ended up doing which is significantly simpler, but still took ages to actually measure and place before drilling...

I started with a piece of aluminium angle, drilled for the same bolts that hold the mast in the tabernacle (M10) - I drilled this at home, and also hacksawed and then filed the corners of the upper surface at the same time...


...put a couple of (M5) holes on the other surface for the blocks/eyes/shackles, or whatever else I use because I'm still not convinced this set up will be final..  eg. two single pulleys better, snap shackle not eye bolt, etc etc. Time will tell... 

For now though I had an eye bolt and double pulley in the spares box which I had originally bought to deck mount for this very job, but which worked just as well on the mast plate...


In terms of  placement I tried each of the potential options - either 'face up' or 'face down' on either the upper or lower fastening positions on the tabernacle, and lots and lots of testing with fair leads, pads, spare lines, and pulley positions before deciding the final position which in the end was
  • 'face up' on the upper attachment 
  • fairleads on blocks
  • fairleads positioned towards grab rail
..purely so that the halyard runs cleared the edge of the (sliding) hatch... like follows..


As mentioned, in order to help with the halyard run, the fair leads (one each for halyard and topping lift) are mounted on small blocks (of HDPE)...  the cam cleats (again one for each) are mounted on a block of wood (which is currently being treated with some wood preservative) and I am using the same holes as were used for a cleat (for the roller furling line) that was there, and has now been relocated outside of the grab rails (where it should have been in the first place). Again - I'm still not sure about the cleats so the block of wood will allow a decent test before I confirm - if I'm happy I'll drill the block to also bolt on the other side...


Red topping lift/blue halyard/green roller furling

..so mostly done - just cam cleat block to finish and bolt - holes are all drilled, I can do it any time..


Controlled pandemonium... 

I finished off with a wash down of cockpit and hull with Oxalic...  amazing stuff! Just a reminder this is a before shot - note the grime at water line...

and this is an after - gone...





...and it really was as simple as washing on with a sponge and leaving it for ten minutes... just as an example I missed a couple of bits underneath the stern - I'll get them before I go in, but if that doesn't show before and after I don't know what does!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

More work done...

...despite Katie [clicky] doing her worst, more work was completed...

A good session over the last weekend saw the completion of the fledgling electrical system - no pictures yet, as I want to tidy up first, but in detail:
  1. New M4 bolts were fitted to hold the switch box in place - at 70mm they just fit from inside the bottom of the switch box to just under the shelf it is sitting on
  2. Fitted the earthing block to the left side of the switch box - two M5's used (which is overkill but I was going to use them for connecting the negatives as well, so the size was chosen for the crimps I was going to use)
  3. Fitted the master power switch - in the end I positioned it just under the step to the cabin as it is out of the way, protected by the step, and easy to get to - used a 22mm flat drill bit to make the hole for the key shaft and then through bolted the base from behind - good access to the battery box and cables are nicely out of the way on the inside of the bulkhead holding the step..
  4. Drilled a hole, from underneath, through the shelf and into the switch box, with the same flat drill bit - this is the access for all power cables to the switch box
  5. Measured off the positive from battery to master switch, and added in a foot or so to allow for moving battery/access, cut and added a 16mm2 crimp terminal (with a 10mm hole suitable for fitting to the posts on the master switch) put it on the post on the "downstream" (ie. to the battery) side of the master switch and bolted home. Then added another crimp the same size for the other side of the master switch ("upstream" ie. to the switch box) and bolted that on, then fed the remainder of the cable up behind the bulkhead and into the switch box where I fitted a spade connector the right size for the positive on the switch panel. All crimps and spades were then wrapped with amalgamating tape for protection and rigidity...
  6. The negative was simpler - measured off the length from the battery, up behind bulkhead, into switch box, and to the earthing block, added 6"- 9" to give some slack to play with, and then cut and attached a 16mm2 crimp terminal, but this time with a 6mm opening. I attached that to the bottom of the block (using the same bolt securing the earthing block to switch box as mentioned above), added another crimp (same size) to the remaining length, and bolted that to the top of the earthing block (using the same bolt), and then put a spade connector on the other end to connect to the negative on the switch panel. Again all crimps and spades were wrapped with amalgamating tape
Then I tested it, and I'm delighted to say everything worked as it should* - when switches are turned to 'on' the integral light comes on!

As I mentioned, a bit of tidy up work to do, but to all intents and purposes the fledgling 12v system is up and ready for appliances to be added...    I had some birthday money recently so first on the list is a combined voltage and USB charger, next will be the mast head light (which is already wired to the mast head, I just need to extend wiring from deck plug to switch panel). If I get time I'll then do the VHF, or it can wait....

* bit disappointed with the quick release clamps which don't fit the positive post on the battery - need to revisit, but I may need to order an alternative...

In between doing that lot I then finished the washboards - an extra coat on each between the showers, an extra coat on the batten, and I finished the day by bolting the whole lot together...

I've also finished the cockpit hatches - from this:



...to this - clamp and glue...



..to this...   four coats of exterior (don't ask!) silk white paint later..




Lastly, the outboard is back from servicing - just over £100 for a full service (including a plug change this year) and also the replacement/service of the inertia screw (to keep the outboard centred) which was slipping last year..  very reasonable to be honest.... any number of people will say I should do it myself, but I'm a mechanical numpty and I rely on the engine working...

Oh, and I also restocked the boats bar (Hobgoblin this time), and updated the essential supplies...

...suffice to say the old ones they replaced had not been eaten in two years, but as the tins were going rusty I thought it advisable!

So what's to do before she goes in?

One, leading the halyards/topping lift to the cockpit - I've just taken delivery of a couple of bullseye fair leads, I also need to do some minor engineering work on the piece of aluminium angle that will bolt to the mast (drilling the holes, cutting an angle on the edges to minimise possibility of self inflicted wounds, and file smooth all edges)

Two, a damn good wash down - just had some Oxalic acid delivered, looking to see what that will make of the stained gel coat in the cockpit....

Launch is getting close!!!