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!

Charting Frank’s course from Camariñas to St Croix

I have started to work on the video of Frank’s crossing from Camariñas to Corpus Christi. There are three legs to this part of the 4-leg trip, after crossing Biscay in November 2014: Camariñas – Porto Santo (Feb 4 – Feb 12 2015); Porto Santo – St Croix, USVI Feb 12 – March 8 2015); St Croix – Port Aransas, Texas (Dec 24 – Jan 16 2016).

I used an Inreach Satellite Tracker/Messager (since bought by Garmin), and this has a complete record of my route and sms/email messages. I cannot speak highly enough of this little marvel.

So here are the routes and some messages and notes that I made, between Northern Spain and St Croix. I will add more detail in subsequent postings as I work on the video, and then I will work on the final leg through the Caribbean, into the Gulf of Mexico and to Port Aransas, Texas.

Exit Camariñas Feb 4 2015
Porto Santo to N Madeira
Camariñas – St Croix Feb 4-March 8, 2015
Porto Santo to St Croix Feb 4 – March 8, 2015
The Home Run to St Croix, March 4-8 2015

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.

Holding Tank Update

The new cover for the holding tank is on, and the gauge has been fitted..

Woodstain and varnish have failed to match the color to the bulkhead. 

The sensor has been fitted, and wired up to the gauge, and calibrated. Very straightforward, and users of the heads can now check before flushing.

I had a slight mishap, tearing one of the copper foil sensors, but the company sent me a replacement very promptly – allowing me to pay after it arrived.


The next task is to hide the vertical pipes and build a storage unit for charts, manuals and papers, in the driest part of the boat.

Heads re-installed

The other side of the bulkhead that holds the cupboard-disguised holding tank is the heads/shower. In March, when Frank was out of the water at Hooking Bull boatyard in Rockport, TX, I cleaned the cocks for pumping sea water into the toilet, and for discharging black water from the holding tank. That meant disconnecting the toilet, and it has been disconnected ever since.

Having finished the holding tank, today I re-installed the throne.

No, the string is not a flush nor an emergency alarm pull!


The Throne Room on Frank

note the black “level” gauge on the wall


The plumbing is intrusive. I intended to have a custom holding tank installed behind the wooden cupboard/wall, but the cost is too high, so I shall get my money’s worth from the existing setup. One possibility is to re-route the “up” pipe from the toilet to the holding tank, behind the wall. 

I need to fit a grab rail at head height, because in a rolling sea the vent hose is conveniently located for the left hand to grab when taking a pee. I learned to take a seat, rather than headbutting the wall whilst doung the man-thing!

There is quite a bit of choreography involved in using the loo in a bumpy sea, involving dropping ’em aforehand and reversing into the heads compartment, timed with the ups and downs of the boat. Hopefully, the toilet rises to meet one’s backside, like a docking manouver at the Space Station. 

Another essential item – disposable gloves, to help with retrieving loo paper and helping the manual toilet pump cope with, ahem, larger solids.

Radio GaGa updated Sept 10 2016

(Added the name plate with callsign etc to the vhf panel – pic below)

I had to replace the old VHF, as the mic lead had disintegrated in the heat of the Caribbean. Or… Mice?

The new one was a different size profile, and I only had a Dremel, so I made a bad job of fitting it into the “cubby”, as I was just trying to get everything ready to escape before Christmas.

I have made a new frame to fit the vhf, and bought a couple of adapters, so that it is attached to the fascia, rather than to a stand. The pics will explain. 

Note that slot cut into the inner hull side – you can see light through the hull. I am guessing that the original vhf was bigger and the installer cut into the inner hull and 2″ of foam, to give space to the radio’s heat sink.

A bit of varnish makes all the difference…shame I could not match the wood. I have ordered an engraved plate with Vessel Name, call sign (Mike Echo Charlie Whisky Eight), O/N 701429 and MMSI (too long).

A bit messy – someone else before my time added the white gunge, by the way. 

All set, and it works better too!

Frank’s Flown The Coop!

The world’s most famous (and least attractive)  marine chicken coop has been decommissioned.

I shall recycle the 1″ marine ply, and re-fashion or replace the steel chassis.

The new Crystal Palace, as I have dubbed it, will be a steel and Lexan affair.

Some pics:

Note the Chippendale craftsmanship, as Arthur Negas used to say on “Going for a Song” – the forerunner of Antiques Roadshow. And check out the yellowed acrylic glazing!

Frank, looking less like a fishing trawler every day!

The new sailcover and lazyjacks will arrive in a week or so.

SailTimer Wireless Wind Instrument

My new SailTimer wind instrument finally arrived today.

It is a Bluetooth wireless device, to replace the NASA Marine Clipper unit, which has a cable from masthead to cockpit, where the display unit site. The Clipper stopped working months ago, with the masthead unit having given up the ghost and, I suspect, the wire having some breaks in it.

This Sailtimer unit should transmit to my iPhone(s), iPad, etc as well as give me access to Crowdsourced wind wherever there are users – both historical and in realtime.

The Unit:


How it is supposed to look, once installed:


I will use my Aloft Alone kit to shimmy up the mast and install it – perhaps next weekend.