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Messages - jmnpe

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Hi Stu,

Thanks for adding the update link. Glad you have my back :)



Main Message Board / Re: Fridge Follies - Adler Barbour
« on: September 09, 2014, 10:39:41 PM »
Stu:  :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

I think you may well have arrived at the end of the quest!  :clap :clap :clap  It is unfortunately true that until you have looked at every last possible connection issue, the job isn't done. I would be embarrassed to reveal how many times I have suckered myself to ass-u-me the I had considered everything that could be responsible for an electrical problem, only to discover that one of my assumptions about something painfully simple was incorrect. Someday over a few cold ales on your boat or mine I will tell you of at least one recent case of a series of small but incorrect assumptions that cost me most of a summer and a lot of money on the boat  :cry4`

In my considerable experience of making small but incorrect assumptions in my electrical/electronic troubleshooting exercises, I can tell you and others that it is most often the simplest of things that we overlook because we ass-u-me that "it couldn't be that because it is just too simple to be screwed up". Those are famous last words to always remember  :roll:


Congratulations on finding the stupid one  :thumb:

Main Message Board / Re: Fridge Follies - Adler Barbour
« on: September 09, 2014, 01:25:35 PM »
Noah, very nice looking panel! I guess I should have a look at the 360 series as compared to the traditional gray panel series I have considered thus far. The 360 series looks like it has less wasted space.

Thanks for the heads up, and I truly realize how much you must be enjoying your new panel.

Main Message Board / Re: Fridge Follies - Adler Barbour
« on: September 09, 2014, 10:11:33 AM »
Stu, I just couldn't help noticing that tomorrow (Sept 10) will be the 6th anniversary of your post noting that you had learned your lesson about always checking all the connections, and that your fridge was working again. Time has a way of getting away from us, doesn't it?

You did well to go all the way back to the distribution panel looking for problems. Since 6 years ago, I have had several of the original rocker switches cease to function under any load on my boat. This has happened most recently on the fresh water pump switch. I replaced the function of that switch with a much more robust toggle switch with screw terminals which I mounted in the outside edge of the distribution panel adjacent to the failed switch. Quite honestly, the panels on the earlier boats were awful! On my boat, there is a mismatch on several places between the push-on spade terminal sizing and the spade on the back of the switch: the switches had 3/16" wide spades, and the push-on receptacles were 1/4", sometimes with some extra mashing around on them to make them sort of stay on the switch spade.

Having said that, as long as you have completely replaced all of the wiring to the fridge, don't overlook that first possible culprit in the wiring chain, the switch.

On my ever-expanding boat project list is the complete replacement of the old distribution panel to achieve no push-on terminals anywhere, no wimpy switches, and no rat's nest of wires to the extent that is possible.

I hope your good work and dedication to the task is successful. Maybe on the 7th anniversary of this topic, you can happily report a year of reliable fridge operation  :clap

An excellent article by Maine Sail! Thanks, Maine Sail.



HI Dave,

The only hard rules for battery charger location are that it be a dry area ( unless you have a specifically "waterproof" charger, which is generally not the case for the ones we would normally consider ) and that it has reasonable ventilation for cooling. After that, there are not many locations that can't be made acceptable with money and/or effort. Also, by "dry" I mean not just dry normally, but also dry when something simple goes wrong, like a bilge pump system failure. Below the floor is a really bad place, and even at floor level is risky. Higher is better.

The second level requirements are preferred characteristics: reasonable proximity to the batteries, availability of AC power, and physical access to the charger unit if it doesn't have a remote control/display panel.

1. Depending upon the charging current capability of the charger, the distance from the charger to the batteries becomes an economic issue in that larger wire costs more than smaller wire. Forget the normal 3% voltage drop standard normally applied to electronics: a 3% drop in effective charge voltage in a 12 volt system is very significant in terms of charger efficiency and recharge time. I normally try to limit the maximum voltage drop in battery charger circuits to about 1% total at maximum possible charger current. If you have a multi-bank charger, this means that each output circuit would normally need the same size wire. If you have a dedicated starting bank that you generally never use for anything else, then you can likely get away with smaller wiring to that bank than the house bank, but you still need to have wire large enough that even the starter bank circuit can safely handle the maximum charger output current. I don't however recommend this. Remember, too, that the resistance/voltage drop of the charging circuit is based upon the entire length of the circuit loop: from the positive output terminal back to the Ground terminal of the charger. I have had limited exposure to the Mk II versions, but prior versions came from the factory with charger output circuit cables that were only minimally acceptable for the stock minimal chargers. Remember that when you are going to replace or upgrade the charger. I suspect that the early, if not all, Mk II versions share that problem.

2. The availability of AC power for the charger is generally not as much of an economic issue as it is an effort issue. On the Catalina 34 of all flavors, you can generally get from the AC distribution panel to almost anywhere on the boat with enough effort and patience. There is still the issue of appropriately sized wire. I like to see no more than a 10% voltage drop for the AC feed at maximum rated current, and generally try to keep is less that 4 or 5%. Older chargers will be effected more by low AC voltage than the newer smart chargers.

3. Physical access to the charger is important for 2 primary reasons: removal/replacement for service ( it will happen one day... ), and access to controls on the charger. If you have a newer smart charger, there will be setup required for use with your batteries. If you are using flooded cells, you will need to be able to access the controls to perform an Equalization cycle charge periodically on your batteries. Some, if not most, of the current new generation of chargers are offered with remote control/display panels that will allow you to monitor operation and perform any operational setup available from the remote panel. If this is the case, then your life is simpler and you have to be concerned only with maintenance access.

Although I haven't had time to update my Charger Review, my current "pick of the litter" for new chargers is the Truecharge2 series for most stand alone charger applications in boats of our size. This is true for all brands of chargers that are currently available based upon my experience with many other brands.



Main Message Board / Re: Installation of Refrigeration
« on: August 26, 2010, 08:45:08 AM »
In general, the electric head is not a big amp-hr consumer. Even though the flush cycle will draw a moderate current, it only last for 5 or 10 seconds per flush. Unless you have a boat full of people with "the runs"  :? , your actual energy consumption will average out to a pretty small daily number.


Main Message Board / Re: hot water "rotten egg" odor
« on: August 25, 2010, 08:30:30 AM »
As a person who has a water well for our only household water supply, this is a subject with which I am quite familiar. The "rotten egg" smell is set in motion by the presence of even low levels of sulfur in the water supply. The smell comes from hydrogen sulfide gas released as a byproduct of sulfur eating microbes that also are present in the water. Elevated temperatures accelerate the rate at which the microbes can consume/convert the sulfur, and the longer the microbes are able to "work" on a confined volume of water, the higher the concentration of hydrogen sulfide becomes in that water.

There are really only about 3 easy solutions to the problem.

1. Keep the water moving ( i.e. - limit the time that the microbes have to operate in a "trapped" volume of water ) so that the concentration of hydrogen sulfide can't reach "stinky" levels. This works pretty well on the cold water side of our home water supply.

2. Heat the water to about 170 F or higher for a period of time. This will kill the microbes and prevent the chemical process from starting. This works pretty well on the hot water side of our home water system with normal daily usage, and we have really hot water.

3. "Shock" chlorinate the water. This will also kill the microbes. This requires higher levels of chlorine initially to be effective, so you wouldn't want to do this just before you leave the dock for that over-nighter on the water. This is our method of last resort on our home water system.

None of these solutions are comprehensive over longer periods of time of limited or no water usage. It requires constant effort, although on a boat with a limited amount of water to deal with, it is probably easier to control than in a household water system.

There is a lot of information on this subject online if you search something like "rotten egg well water".

Happy microbe hunting  :thumb:


Main Message Board / Re: Installation of Refrigeration
« on: August 25, 2010, 07:48:16 AM »

The only concern I would have about your installation is the location of the shelf above the unit. As long as it allows good airflow all around the compressor unit such that you get good vertical airflow ( i.e. - cool air in the lower part of the door, and hot air out the top part of the door ) you should have no problem. If you get hot air trapped around the compressor it could be problematic.

On any boat, and especially boats like ours with limited storage outside the cabin confines, where you install ship's systems is all about whatever else you need or want to do with that space. Anyplace that meets the basic installation requirements for the unit can be a good place on your boat. In your case, just remember that all of the locker space above the shelf over the compressor unit is also part of the installation space of the compressor unit. If you fill it up full with all sorts of stuff so that you obstruct the airflow around and through the unit, the unit won't work properly, and a "good" installation location just became a "bad" installation location. The old saying applies: "The devil is in the details!".


Main Message Board / Re: Push Button Circuit Breakers
« on: June 09, 2010, 11:46:52 AM »
Is this to replace one of the original breakers on your distribution panel?


Main Message Board / Re: Bottom Paint
« on: June 09, 2010, 11:44:12 AM »
Hi Brad,

I guess it's Old Home Week here on the C34 page :clap You would have loved that last 2 weekends on the water: 100 F and plenty of humidity :twisted:

With hard bottom paint, the active ingredients have to be able to leach out through the paint structure. At some point, too thick a layer of paint could conceivably inhibit the leaching action from the deepest layers of paint. I don't know where that crossover point is, but I know I'm not an expert...... I would consult the Petit web site for expert guidance on that matter.


Main Message Board / Re: wiring diagram
« on: June 08, 2010, 10:43:41 PM »
Yes, the engine grounding spot of the M-25 is in a terrible spot, and almost everyone I've looked at on the older boats looks like a bad dream if someone hasn't cleaned them up properly along the way. After you remove all the lugs and clean everything up, including the block, be sure to give everything a light coating of Boeshield T-9 after you put it all back together tightly.

Even better is to remote the engine ground point away from the block a respectable distance. Run a single 4 or 2 gauge AWG minimum cable from the engine block attachment point to a ground distribution buss bar or Power Post. Then seal everything with the same light coat of T-9 when you are finished.


Main Message Board / Re: Alternator Replacement
« on: June 08, 2010, 10:28:52 PM »
Hi guys,

Having just been through this whole subject on our boat, there are a few things you need to consider before you make your "easy" upgrade to a high output alternator, or basically any alternator different than the old Motorola/Prestolite 51 amp alternator that came standard on the M-25 series engines with the upgraded alternator mounting bracket.

Here is the short version of the story. Any other alternator that isn't identical the original Motorola/Prestolite body, size, and shape will not just "bolt on" without a series of engineering design changes in the installation. (1)The body diameter of the original Motorola/Prestolite unit is only 5 inches: any "small frame" Balmar, Ample Power, or Delco unit will generally not fit because the body minimum diameter is at least 5.5 inches and will have to lean another 45 degrees or so to port to clear the engine block. This means you will have to fabricate a new alternator tensioner arm to allow the alternator to swing out that much more. (2) An alternator with a standard Ford ( 1") or GM ( 2") foot will not fit the 1.75 inch spacing of the alternator foot mounting on the standard engine mount. While you can use a .75" rather than a stock 1" Ford to GM adapter spacer, the .75" spacer is not a standard auto alternator adapter size. (3) There is a .125 to .188 " offset between the alternator foot mount front face and the tension bracket front face of the original Motorola/Prestolite alternator. On any of the previously mentioned upgrade alternators that offset is normally non-existent ( i.e. "zero" ).
(4) The cooling fan diameter on the original Motorola/Prestolite unit is smaller than any of the new upgrade fans, and this will translate into clearance issues with the stock alternator tension bracket.

All of this can be dealt with, as many in the group can attest. However, just be aware you will not be able to just order that nice new alternator and it's external smart regulator and go out to the boat on Saturday afternoon and "bolt it on".

Do your homework and research the Projects data and forum search engine results to be sure that you realize what you are getting into. There are higher output versions of the original alternator frame size available, but you won't find them in a West Marine or Defender catalog.

On our first C34 ( Hard Times ), and 1991 Mk 1.5 with the M-35 engine, many of the problems associated with the M-25 alternator mounting were not present. With nothing different other than a slightly smaller alternator cooling fan and some washers to shim the alternator into proper position for acceptable pulley/belt alignment, the upgrade to a 100 amp Ample Power alternator with remote smart regulator was pretty simple.

Just a heads up....


Main Message Board / Re: Bottom Paint
« on: June 08, 2010, 09:34:43 PM »
Hi Brad,

I used Trinidad SR on our Stamas 44 while we had it down on the Texas Gulf coast with the boat located in Seabrook, TX. It gave excellent service: no hard growth anywhere for almost 6 years, and no slime anywhere for about 3 years or more, and after that only on the top foot or so of hull where the sunlight could get to it. It's very good stuff.

When we did the first bottom job with the Trinidad SR, we paid to have the many, many coats of old hard paint removed from the hull and we put one new coat everywhere, and a second coat along the waterline and on the rudder. As far as proper preparation, Petit has all of that info in some of their DIY booklets on their bottom paints. Check their website.

Now that we are back in the Catalina 34 fold, I will be doing a bottom job on Otra Vez this fall, and will probably go with Trinidad SR even up here in the DFW area in fresh water as our summer water temperatures and slime are about equal to the gulf coast or Sea of Cortez.


Hi Mark,

You can get 5/8" heater hose at most any automotive parts store. O'Reilly sells 5/8" Gates home for about $.89 / ft. Some may argue that you really need to use wire reinforced hose, but I personally haven't had any problem with good quality cloth reinforced types.


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