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Messages - tmac

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Main Message Board / Re: furling line stanchion block
« on: April 25, 2023, 05:29:27 PM »
Noah - I'm curious - I bought one of those Garhauer stanchion blocks with the cleats last year, and I HATE it!  I find that when trying to uncleat the line, when I snap the line up, the whole spring-loaded block just swings up with the line, and it doesn't uncleat.  Do you find the same thing?  I have to actually step over to the cleat and hold the block to get it to uncleat.  I'm contemplating removing the cleat portion and mount that on the edge of the cockpit instead. 

Main Message Board / Re: What to do with hatch boards
« on: March 09, 2023, 04:18:52 PM »
Noah - yes, I tried storing them next to the ladder.  Being a bit clumsy, I kept hitting my funny bone on them as I was climbing down the steps - especially when I was carrying something into the cabin.

Ron - That's another good idea.  However when it starts to downpour then I'd have to run out into the cockpit to get the boards. Its nice to just be able to quickly grab them from inside and mount them up.  To each his own!! 

Main Message Board / What to do with hatch boards
« on: March 09, 2023, 02:18:08 PM »
On every boat I've ever owned I've been frustrated with where to stash the hatch boards after removing them from the hatch.  I know there are some manufacturers that actually have places designed to hold them, but no boat I've owned had this feature.  And some people have installed hinged doors, but I'm not a fan of those doors. 
As I was sitting here watching yet another snowstorm, I decided to solve my problem once and for all.  I happened to have taken my hatch boards home to refinish them and so I was able to use them as a template.  I built a wall-mounted holder (what else would you call it??) that will mount on the aft cabin bulkhead (the other side of the oven wall).  This might not work for MKII models - if I remember correctly you have a cabinet on that bulkhead, correct?

The holder has a sloped bottom that matches the angle of the hatch board sides, so the boards stay in place very nicely.  I divided the holder into two slots, which are lined with a thin rubber drawer liner material so that the hatch boards won't bang around while under sail. One of the photos shows just the central component of the holder without the sides attached.  Keeping the two boards separated will hopefully avoid scratching and chipping their finish.  To make it easier to slide the boards in, I made one side shorter, but still high enough to keep the boards in place while heeled over.
By the way - I haven't completed the staining/finishing.  It still looks a bit rough - but it will be presentable when completed...

I just thought I'd pass along the idea in case others were as frustrated as I was with what to do with the hatch boards.

Main Message Board / Re: I’ve Crimped My Last
« on: February 09, 2023, 06:58:37 AM »
Maybe if you got some big heat shrink and slid it over the entire Wago assembly, you could make it more resistant to corrosion  :D

Main Message Board / Re: Lithium Battery Bank and Starter
« on: February 08, 2023, 06:14:20 PM »
I’m going to venture forth with my opinions on this subject even though some may not agree.  I’m right in the middle of reconfiguring my boat’s battery and charging systems to incorporate LiFePO4 for the house bank.  My recommendations to MQ are as follows:

1.First, spend some more time educating yourself about incorporating Lithium.  As Maine Sail says, Lithium is not a drop-in replacement for lead acid.  There’s more to consider than you see at first glance.  I’d recommend watching the video seminars on YouTube from Pacific Yacht Systems (Jeff Cote) on the subject (yes, I know, he’s long winded, but there’s good information in there.)  Also Maine Sail has several good write-ups, as well as Nigel Calder’s extensive writings and his videos on YouTube.

2.One of the above authors made a good analogy, which was that LiFePO4 batteries are like marathon runners, and lead-acid starter batteries are like sprinters.  Starting an engine requires a sprinter – big push for a short duration.  This is not what LiFePO4 batteries are designed for.  They are good at providing a strong, steady output for long periods of time.  The three authors above all seem to agree that using a LiFePO4 battery as a starter battery on a regular basis is not recommended. 

3.You mentioned that you were going to have the DC to DC charger charging the starter battery from the house bank.  In my opinion, that’s backwards.  Unless you are also using solar, the DC charger only comes into play when you are charging via the alternator.  When you crank the engine, you are only draining the starter battery by a couple of percent in most cases, unless your engine requires some serious maintenance. (This is why most internally regulated alternators have a VERY conservative charging profile – it only takes a few minutes to fully recharge the starter battery.)  So to me, it makes more sense to have the DC charger look to see when the starter battery has 13.6 V on it (i.e. it is being charged by the alternator), and draw from that side to also charge the house bank, which will likely be in more need of charging. The starter battery will be recharged in short order, and then the DC charger and alternator can focus on the house bank.

4.There are many misconceptions about Lithium batteries – especially the issue with flammability.  Maine Sail does a good job of putting this to rest (as does Nigel Calder), clarifying that the LiFePO4 battery is very different that the earlier Lithium Ion batteries that made the news so often.  The primary concern for fire with LiFePO4 would actually come from situations where a dead short in wiring occurred that would allow the battery to pump out vast amounts of current, melting the wiring.  However most of the batteries being sold today have battery management systems that would shut down the battery in these situations.  That BMS, combined with an appropriate Class T fuse in the main wiring configuration should greatly reduce this risk.  The other situation to guard against is using a 1/2/both switch and combining a heavily discharged starter battery with a fully charged LiFePO4 bank.  The large voltage difference would cause a big current spike, and again could lead to a wiring meltdown. In my configuration, I’m using a keyed switch hidden away from passengers that will allow me in an emergency use my house bank for starting the engine, but only after I first pull the fuse on the starter battery so that the two banks are never linked.

That’s my nickel’s worth.  Is it worth installing LiFePO4?  I think so – for nearly the same cost as replacing my 4 dying Trojan T-105’s I’m getting about 220 amp hours, of which I can actually use about 175 AH on a regular basis (and more if I really need), whereas the Trojans gave me 420 AH, but I could only use about 35% of that on a regular basis or 147 AH (sometimes 200 AH if I pushed it hard, but you pay a price in longevity for that).  Not to mention the far longer lifespan for the LiFePO4.   And I can fit the two lithium batteries easily into the battery box, with enough room to also mount the DC to DC charger in there and do a nice, neat wiring job for my main unswitched bus, fuses, etc. 
OK – I’ve stepped down off my soapbox…

Main Message Board / Re: whats under the floor
« on: February 05, 2023, 08:03:20 PM »
I recently worked on my teak and holly soles on my 1988, so I can answer most of your questions.  The panels are almost exactly 1/2” thick.   The panels are screwed down around the edges with small (size 6 ??) screws.  You may find that the screw heads might have submerged into the wood, depending on the skill level of the previous owner, and might be difficult to see.  As you loosen each board, gently lift the edges and you’ll be able to tell where any remaining “hidden” screws might be.  When you reinstall, you might consider small washers beneath the screw heads to keep them closer to the top of the wood.

The boards over the bilge are two 1/2 panels glued back to back making them about 1” thick.

Each panel sits in a fiberglass recessed pan that is the same depth as the thickness of the wood, so if you remove the wood panels, you can still safely walk around the boat.

I don’t have a measurement for how deep the bilge is, but refer to the attached photo – I’d guess about 10” or so?  Maybe someone else can answer that one.  Note - in that photo you can see one of the screw heads on the corner of the panel beneath the table.  They are pretty small and easy to miss.

Free advice (worth every penny) – be really careful refinishing the sole panels.  The veneer is VERY thin.  I’ve attached a photo of mine, which were aggressively sanded by previous owners, and you can see how the holly is missing in a number of places.  For now, I went ahead and very gently removed the existing finish and revarnished to do what I could to improve and protect, but I’ll eventually need to replace the main long panel and probably the galley. 

Take the time to seal the undersides of the panels too.  Water, dirt, sand gets beneath them and damages them.  I’ve started periodically pulling up the most heavily trafficked panels and vacuuming the pan beneath them.  You’d be amazed at how much sand collects under there.

If you have dents in the wood from dropped utensils, etc. , you can “undent” them to a large extent by placing a (nearly dry) damp towel over it and use a clothes iron placed on the towel to drive steam into the wood.  Don’t overdo it or you can delaminate the veneer or scorch the wood.  Sneak up on it a little at a time, and you’ll be surprised at how the wood fibers will swell up and fill back in.
Good luck on your projects!

Main Message Board / Re: Integral water tanks
« on: December 12, 2022, 03:50:08 PM »
Ron - you're getting to be like me - I have a great memory - its just short! :D
Sorry to correct you, but the weight per US gallon of diesel is about 7 lbs. 

Main Message Board / Re: Rewiring my boat
« on: November 18, 2022, 09:17:41 AM »
As I mentioned, I’ve been planning out my system also, and I’ll admit up front that I’m no Electrical Engineer, but I have been communicating with a technician at Sterling, which has a line of products similar to Victron.  My boat already had a Sterling AC charger when I bought it – the prior owner was an avid follower of MaineSail. 
Here are the issues that I’ve learned must be addressed when installing a hybrid Lithium and lead acid system, and you may already have considered these, but I’ll share them anyway in case they benefit anyone else.  For all you that are EEs, be gentle with me if I've made any errors.

  • Since there aren’t any AC chargers that can output two separate charging profiles, you’ll need to set up your charging profile as a compromise to the lowest common denominator between the two banks.  For example, if the Lithium wants 14.4V bulk and 13.8V float, and the lead acid want to be charged at 14.6v bulk and 13.6 float, set the profile to be 14.4V bulk and 13.6V float.
    Now before anyone jumps on this statement, I know LiFePO4 manufacturers recommend no float charge, and I questioned the Sterling technician about this, and this was his response: “A float charge of 13.6V or 13.8V is below the point a full lithium battery will continue to draw power. Charging at 13.8V will only draw a battery up to about 80-90% full, and if the battery is already above that in capacity then it poses no risk of current flow at all, and only improves the performance on output. Lithium doesn’t require a float voltage, but a correctly rated float voltage causes nothing negative in my experience at all and I’m yet to actually see any evidence to the contrary on a lithium iron phosphate system.”
    In my case, I’m considering just setting the AC charger to charge the lead acid, and then let the DC to DC charger take care of the Lithium bank.  That way both banks get exactly what they need as far as a charging profile.  I know there’s a loss of efficiency with the DC to DC charger, but that doesn’t matter as much to me with shore power charging. 
  • Charging a Lithium bank with your alternator can easily burn up your alternator.  Since the Lithium bank has so little internal resistance, it will cause your alternator to output at a higher amperage for longer periods of time, generating a lot of heat.  This is doubly true if you are running at lower engine RPMs because the alternator fan isn’t turning fast enough to cool the alternator efficiently.  Watch this Victron video  This is why smart external regulators are typically recommended, which can be set with charging profiles and temperature sensors to regulate the alternator output.  Sterling actually has an external regulator that doesn’t require you to remove the alternator’s internal regulator – it can override the internal regulator, and it can also use it as an emergency backup if the external regulator fails.
  • Since the BMS on your Lithium bank can shut down the charging cycle without notice, you need to protect your alternator from a voltage spike.  This can be done in a number of ways.  One is to always have the lead acid batteries in the charging circuit to absorb the spike.  Another is to add an Alternator Protection Module (APM).  Victron makes one and so does Sterling.
  • You will want to take a look at your battery bank switch and think about what will happen in the following scenario:  Your starter battery is fully charged at 13.6V, but your house bank has been discharged to 12.6V.  Someone turns the battery switch to “BOTH”.  There will be a sudden rush of current as the two banks attempt to equalize – especially since the Lithium bank can accept a charge so readily due to its low internal resistance.  This could potentially heat up your hardware far in excess of what you would want.  I’m planning on either eliminating the “both” option or else use a switch with a key so that only I will be able to use the “both” option after verifying the charge state of both banks.

Good luck on your project.  I'll be interested in seeing your success.

Main Message Board / Re: Rewiring my boat
« on: November 17, 2022, 06:52:00 PM »
Antoni - I'd be really interested in seeing your updated wiring diagram now that you've implemented Lithium in your system.  I just purchased two LiFePO4 batteries on Maine Sail's recommendation (see his latest write-up) and am planning out all the changes I'll have to do on my boat to accommodate them.  In particular, I'm interested in how you'll address the very different charging profiles between your starter battery and the house batteries, and also what modifications you made in the alternator portion of the system.

Main Message Board / Re: refinishing the interior
« on: October 10, 2022, 05:32:14 PM »
Dan, many types of wood darken with age.  Cherry and teak are two of the most notable for this process. Its part of what is termed "patina".  As a (now retired) home remodeler, I was often faced with making changes to woodwork and cabinetry, and I always had to give my clients two options: 1.) Use stain on the new components to match the color of existing, aged woodwork, and then know that the stained portion as it ages will eventually become darker than the existing woodwork; or 2.) Simply match the type of finish that was on the original wood, and let time eventually even out the color to match the existing woodwork. 
You are faced with the same two options.  If you stain it to match the other woodwork now, it will eventually become too dark.  If you just oil it now, it will start out lighter, but will become darker over time. 
Patina is a hard thing to match!

Main Message Board / Re: Draining engine for winterization
« on: September 29, 2022, 02:58:58 PM »
Again, thanks to all for the in-depth replies.  I won't enter into the "pink or no-pink" debate, as I see there are proponents on both sides, but I do have my own inclinations toward the simplest solution is often the best.  I've many decades of experience not only winterizing engines, but also our cabin plumbing, and landscape irrigation systems, and I know that "getting the water out" is really important up here where we often see -25 temps.  I'll have it all done this coming week, and start hunkering down for the long cold winter.  I'll be bringing home some of the teak to refinish over the winter, and might even take a stab at redesigning the saloon table.  I've seen all the older posts about that.
Maybe I'll also post photos of the transom platform I designed.  I custom machined hinges for it so that it can fold up, to avoid extra marina fees for boat length.  It was a really nice addition to the boat.

Main Message Board / Re: Draining engine for winterization
« on: September 28, 2022, 05:34:19 PM »
Ron, interesting about removing the zinc.  Is that more effective than removing the hose from the water pump to the HX?  I only ask since the hose is right on the front of the engine, and easier to get at. (I know, I know... the zinc is a regular maintenance item - I was going to address that next spring.) 
I'm surprised that just one gallon is sufficient to get all the way through to the muffler...

Main Message Board / Re: creaking noise in cockpit
« on: September 28, 2022, 08:13:41 AM »
I recently had a similar creaking noise on an evening when I had an anchorage with a significant ground swell, rocking the boat significantly (it was like sleeping in a washing machine.)  I found that the teak panel covering the diesel tank was the culprit.  The leatherette edging on the panel was rubbing against the fiberglass edge.   It was quite loud and annoying but easy to fix.

Main Message Board / Re: Draining engine for winterization
« on: September 28, 2022, 08:02:27 AM »
Thanks, Jim and Ken for your replies.  You both being from the "frozen North", your replies are meaningful to me.
I've winterized my previous boats but those were the Atomic engine and I always did the antifreeze route.  This is my first time with a Universal, and saw the recommendation in the maintenance manual, and it is appealing because I'm not buying and disposing of antifreeze (despite its non-toxic nature).  I would of course remove the impeller and store it as per Ron's suggestions.

Ken - I'd be interested in seeing if your dry method is different than the manual.  I have a small compressor that I'm planning to use on the potable water systems (set at not more than 50 psi), and I assume that would be useful in doing a dry storage procedure for the engine.

Main Message Board / Draining engine for winterization
« on: September 27, 2022, 01:58:42 PM »
The M25XP Universal maintenance manual states two options for winterization. I quote:  "  To drain sea water system, disconnect hose end at sea water pump that comes from heat
exchanger. Lower free end of hose to a point approximately level with the front engine mount. This will allow the sea water to drain from heat exchanger and hoses.  Loosen the 4 or 6 screws on the sea water pump cover plate. Tap the plate lightly to loosen it, this will allow pump to drain. After pump has drained, apply a light coat of lubrication to protect pump and impeller during storage and replace cover.  Drain exhaust muffler and system separately."
Their second method is of course pumping antifreeze through the system. 
Has anyone (in a very cold climate) attempted the first method?  I'm questioning how thoroughly the raw water system can be drained to prevent damage.

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