Domestic Electric

hot socket

A few months back, I bought a US socket to replace the UK 240v twin socket that came with Frank, but did not get around to installing it. I just used UK-US adaptors.

This lets me run mains-power devices (kettle, power tools, heater, etc) on board when using shore power.

It has been cold, so I had the heater on, as I have done before. There was a strange smell which I eventually localized to the socket.

I have been using UK -> US adaptors to run 110v items. I pulled out one – no problem. Pulled out the left side one… and the GFPE tripped as the plug flashed. So that works!

The 13a fuse in the adaptor had failed to blow and the brass prong was taking some heat:

adaptor plug

Fascinating. The live, or “hot” in the USA, is shown here after I disconnected from shore power, opened the socket and clipped the wire. I have a plug-in circuit tester to check if the sockets are really turned off.

live wire

I found a cool website, The Circuit Detective to help me translate between UK and USA terms (there is a lot of difference besides voltage) and get the new socket wired in correctly.

So I now have a UK-fitted GFPE on board, where the mains power comes in, and two US sockets fitted with GFCI. I wanted to keep a dual 240/110 system, for when Frank is in Caribbean and other Commonwealth marinas, but I think I will look at installing and running the shore power through a US Standard GFPE, and maybe run two systems later.

Gfci socket

I no longer need big-assed UK plug-adaptors!

Wifi Update Updated – Success!

So I took the Redport Optimizer home, because I could not configure the now-installed Wifi extender on the boat. Once home, I watched the videos and checked manuals but could not access the settings needed. I could not even upload the latest software. Until, eventually, I read that there is a “superadmin” role. Never had to use that before.

Bingo! Uploaded the latest update, hoping that this, plus superadmin mode, would fix things. Went out to dinner after Christmas (lousy food, lovely company, if you must ask, at Roaring Fork, Stonelake, Austin) and returned to a happy dog and a chewed up Optimizer.

So, I bought a new one. It arrived this morning, from GMN – I spent the weekend on Frank, so too late for that trip. My next task is to get back to Frank, test it all out, get the Redport Extender configured (finally!) and get decent email on-board.

Feb 2, 2020 – Installed and it works! I can now see dozens of wifi networks, and get super-strong connections.

redport optimizer

Cooking Up A Storm!

Well, I will be. Because I have retired the Plastimo Atlantic Oven and in its place is a brand new, stainless steel, super shiny Neptune 4500.

Made in England, it is from Bolton by Leisure Products, who made the Atlantic many years ago.

Swapping was quite straightforward, as the widths are the same, 470mm at the gimbals. The Atlantic is pretty grotty – it was rusty in 2013, and is now set to be recycled.

WiFi Extender (update)

2019-07-28 at 09-35-35

UPDATE: The lovely Bethany at GMN has replaced the unit. I have tested it and it appears to work, so next opportunity I will install it.

Another bit of dodgy tech!

The satcom system worked fine for phones and emails at sea. Expensive airtime, mind you! And a pain to get a reasonable package. My Iridium Pilot came with an Optimizer which works to compress and reduce unnecessary files for email and web browsing at sea.

2019-07-28 at 09-35-42

The marina wifi is pretty crap and Frank’s berth is quite a ways from the wifi hotspot. So I ordered a refurbished  RedPort Wifi extender from GMN on rush delivery back last year. Of course, it did not work – it had not been checked or tested. So it went back on RMA and eventually came back, whereupon it went to the back of the line.

Finally, last weekend, it floated to the top of the “to-do” list.

The lights lit up, but the discovery bit, where the Extender appears on the Optimizer menu, did not work.

optimizer_-_tasks_-_luci_pdf

You can’t see it because it ain’t there.

Cue email..

Ticket Number: 2019073110000983

Hello Colin, 

I think that Optimizer is an older version that has been end of lifed. Do you know what hardware model the Extender is? It will say on the back of the Extender. Either wXa-EXT or wXa-EXT V2

Bethany Headrick

GMN Customer Care

Global Marine Networks, LLC

3224 Wrights Ferry Road

Louisville, TN 37777

Web: http://www.globalmarinenet.com

Tel: +1.865.379.8723

Email: info@globalmarinenet.com

07/31/2019 14:15 – Colin Bastable wrote:

Hi.

I bought a Halo extender. It was defective and RMAd.

I have connected it to the Optimizer.

Plugged into LAN port. WLAN, LAN and Power blue lights on at Optimizer.

Two blue lights on, and flashing red, orange and two green lights on Extender.

No Extender option appeared in the menu.

 

I then updated the firmware from 1.3xxx to wXa-102 v1.63b8

 

Still no Extender option.

 

See attached screengrab.

 

Please can you advise me how to get the Extender option to display?

 

Thanks

 

Colin

 —

At this stage, I am beginning to suspect that what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate between the Optimizer and the Extender. We shall see.

Wind vane and Sailtimer finally up mast

When Frank was having her keel dropped, at Hooking Bull in Rockport back in 2016, because this necessitated having the mast down, I planned to install a SailTimer Wireless Wind Instrument which arrived long after the mast was back up and Frank was in her new berth in Corpus Christi Marina

This week, Matt Sebring of Coastal Bend Yacht Services has mounted it, along with a Windex (the one mounted when at Hooking Bull lasted a week, when a pterodactyl (I am no ornithologist, but they are big-assed ugly monsters that share the marina with the boats) decided that the Windex did not belong on the top of the mast.

2019-07-26 at 10-50-51

It took so long for me to get around to installing the Sailtimer that they have redesigned it – I should have waited until now to buy it. But next time I am at the Marine I can see if it actually works, and also see if the Windex has survived..

Ice-Box Conversion to Fridge

Last year, I posted a blog about my plans to install an Isotherm Self Pumping refrigerator conversion – and this year I have finally completed the job. It works!

The ice-box, now refrigerated, is to the left of the cooker, and the compressor gubbins is to the right, in what was the trash container (that I used as a dry food store). I fitted the compressor to the bottom half of the compartment, and put a clear Lexan cover over it, to protect the unit from spilled water from the taps. I will fit a drain, to take spilled water down under the sink.

The evaporator is fitter to the ice box, which had no insulation on the engine-side, where the fridge used to be. So I fitted some closed-cell insulating foam board – the purple stuff, an offcut of which I have used to act as extra insulation for the lid. I will seal this piece to make it more durable.

Now, I need to seal the windows, to stop rain and seawater from leaking in and draining into the icebox. The great news is that a couple of cooler blocks and some bags of ice in the bottom of the icebox stay frozen, and there is no compressor noise, nor is there any pump to consume battery power whilst under sail.

Aerial Pics

I finally plucked up the courage to fly my Solo Drone to take some pics of Frank.

The goal was to take a look at the top of the mast, so I could decide where to put the Bluetooth wind instrument from SailTimer. And to get some external pics of Frank. 


Here is the video On YouTube, and here on Dropbox:Birdseye View of Frank. It works best if you download rather than stream from the link – the file is about 70mb.

Top of mast showing light, antenna and missing wind vane


​​

Christmas Lights

Today, Corpus Christi Marina had its Boat Parade, in which Frank took part by not participating, thus keeping the average quality high. Boats motor past the assembled throng beautifully illuminated with Christmas lights aloft.

I did not watch because I have been fixing Frank’s mandatory and domestic lighting.

When the mast was stepped for the keel refit, the rigger cut the wires for lights, wind instrument and the vhf co-ax. I ran a new (thicker, better) co-ax down the mast, topped with a better antenna from Vesper Marine, a Kiwi company. The antenna is attuned to the Vosper Watchmate AIS transponder as well as supporting the VHF and AM/FM/SWB radio.

To get from the boatyard to Corpus Christi marine I rigged up a temporary connection for the VHF and navigation lights. So finally, I have fixed things properly.

The mast light that was fitted when I bought Frank was an LCD tri-light, and it soon failed. So I replaced it with a combo tri nav light and anchor light. The light is changed between modes (navigation and anchor) by reversing the polarity. Not having the right switches at the lighting panel, I jury rigged a toggle switch where the cable from the mast joined the cables to the power. In the heads. Not very elegant but it worked.

I have moved the toggle switch to the control panel, making things much tidier and easier. 

The running light and spreader light are rather odd, in that the yellow/green wire is live, as is the brown one. One for each light. I am not sure why the spreader light is so named, as it illuminated the foredeck from below the spreaders. Anyway, after some trial and error, which seemed to indicate a short somewhere either in the mast or between power switch and junction box, I wired them too. No short.

Next was the interior. One twist light (rotate the cover to turn off and on) has disintegrated inside – I might scavenge from an unused light in the locker. Another turned itself on and off at random, and I have fixed that. Both port and starboardlight circuits are now working, but I need to replace a couple of bulbs (lcd).

The Bow navigation light was another jerry rigged patch. The original had given up the ghost, and the wiring in the chain locker was rotten. So, back in Gosport in 2014 I installed a new light. The original wire is hard mounted into the fiberglass and is routed between the inner and outer hulls, so totally inaccessible, as well as rotten. So I ran a new wire to a switch that I installed in the front V berth. Not very practical but it did the job. 

Happily, I found some good, unused wires that run from the control panel to the heads – live, negative and earth. I used the earth for the mast light and the +ve and -ve ones to run power from the nav light switch at the control panel to the bow light.

I have lost power to the light of one compass, but that can be remedied later.

So I no longer need to head to the heads to set the navigation lights!

As a special treat, I polished the kettle “as new”, so it is a joy to use on the newly polished stove.

Next I have to decide what to do with the log, which is rigged above the chart desk, because I did not want to cut the co-ax cable in order to thread it through the boat up to the binacle.

Then I will tidy up the electrics at the chart desk. Lost more to do, but making progress…

Webasto Diesel Heater 

Frank has a Webasto Air Top 2000 diesel heater – it takes a minescule feed of diesel from the engine’s fuel tank and burns it, generating warm air which is ducted into the boat. 

The unit was cleaned and serviced before I left the UK, but it had a problem which caused the heater to shut down after 10 minutes, which was actually enough to warm up the boat during the winter. However, I was a tad concerned about using it, and eventually ignored it. Further south and west, I had no need of it.

This Thanksgiving weekend I fixed the wiring (corroded connections) and also fixed a small leak in the fuel supply feeder pipe.

Here is the new pipe, plus a couple of shots of the fuel tank which is in the port lazarette:


The heater seems to work, but I will need colder weather to give it an extended test.