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Messages - jmnpe

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9
Hi Ken,

Have you tried completely removing power from the A-B compressor for about 15 seconds and then re-applying power to see if the error light goes away?

I doubt that the power supply could have done anything to the compressor: it has built-in over-voltage clamping on the output.



Hi Terry,

My professional experience with the Truecharge+ series ( the old yellow one ) has been very positive. They are still available online at attractive prices, and they will do a good job. The only "oops" with them was early in their production ( years ago ), they produced a whole bunch of them with the cooling fans wired backwards so that they were trying to push air through the unit instead of pull air through the unit, and this resulted in rapid failures. Other than that, they have been very good.

I have a new Truechage2 40 amp unit that I will fully evaluate and provide an update to my previous Battery Charger product review once Xantrex has the much-delayed remote panel available sometime next month. However, based upon the specs and limited testing, it appears that the Truecharge2 series will be generally very good, with possibly a few quirks that might earn it a low-level "WTF" comment.

Keeping you fridge running with the battery charger ON all the time will not "exercise" an smart battery charger like the Truecharge+ or Truecharge2 series of chargers, at least once the charger goes into the float mode. Once in the float mode, the Xantrex Truecharge_ series chargers will only initiate a full recharge sequence if the load causes the battery voltage to drop below about 12.5 volts for several minutes, OR once every 21 days. The low voltage re-trigger won't happen until the total load current significantly exceeds the rated capacity of the charger, which in the case of the Truecharge_ series will be either 20 or 40 amps. This won't happen with any of the small sealed compressor based systems that most of us have on our C34s.

The flip side of the argument is that your batteries will thank you if you don't leave them on a float charge for months and years at a time since this promotes positive grid corrosion ( i.e. - accelerated deterioration ) of your lead acid batteries. The alternative is to provide an AC powered DC power supply for just your 12v refrigeration system for when you are at the dock, and then use the battery charger to cycle charge your batteries when they actually need it. If you do a search of past postings, you will find the discussion I posted on how to do this, including where to get suitable parts. ( Stu, the "Search Master", can probably show you a link  :appl ) One of the Catalina owners even turned it into an article in the Technical Pullout section of the Mainsheet magazine about a year ago. If you can't find any of that, and you are interested in how to do it, just let me know and I can send you the information direct offline.



Main Message Board / Re: Sail
« on: August 27, 2009, 09:18:05 PM »
I was extremely happy with our new 150 genoa from National Sail Supply. Very good price, nice workmanship, and they really know all of Catalina boats.


Main Message Board / Re: Maxwell VW500 2-way control and manual
« on: August 20, 2009, 10:40:39 PM »
Hi Tony,

Since I have a windlassless Mk I, I'm not sure what comes standard on your Mk II in terms of foot switches for the windlass. If your boat currently has deck mounted foot switches for UP and DOWN control of your VW500 windlass, the reversing solenoid and circuit breaker are already installed. All you will need to add is the remote switches per the diagram you provided. You can use their remote control, which will probably come with a mating connector, or you can build your own if you are just reasonably handy. Just make sure that whatever switches you use are rated for at least 2 or 3 amps at 12 vdc. On units I have built for my own previous windlass-equipped boats, it's also handy to include an LED power ON indicator on the remote control to remind you when you haven't remembered to turn on the CB for the windlass before you are ready to drop or retrieve anchor: it saves lots of looking stupid in front of the Admiral...... :oops:



Main Message Board / Re: "Crazy Ivan" the Autopilot
« on: August 20, 2009, 10:16:18 PM »
Hi guys,

A couple of comments on the last several posts.

Once you have run the auto-calibrate on the fluxgate sensor per the manual instructions, if you have a reasonable deviation value per the instructions, the next thing to do is to adjust the heading correction. During this part of the calibration procedure, you align the autopilot heading readout with your ship's compass readout. If your deviation number is relatively small ( <5 degrees ), you can pick almost any compass heading on which to make the AP heading agree with the ship's compass and the AP heading should agree with the ship's compass heading within about a twice the deviation number you get after the auto-calibrate sequence. If you want to be a little more accurate, you can record the difference you observe between the 2 heading source on 8 equally spaced headings and average the net differences you see, then offset the AP heading readout by the negative of that number at the heading with the largest absolute difference recorded. If you are like me, you only use the AP heading as a relative number, and the ship's compass is the primary heading reference, so if you are reasonably close on the AP heading display, that's good enough. If you read your manual, the heading correction process for the AP is pretty easy after you get a reasonable deviation number using the auto-calibrate procedure.

On the second point, the routing of the fluxgate cable in general shouldn't matter too much relative to heading accuracy or intermittent heading disturbances unless the cable is very close to a very noisy power lead: a high power DC motor drive, a VHF or HF antenna feed coax cable, or the input or output of a square wave ( i.e. - "quasi-sinewave ) inverter, as examples. Other than that, it is pretty hard to disturb the heading signal from the fluxgate compass through coupled interference into the output cabling of the fluxgate sensor.

I am not thrilled about mounting the fluxgate compass sensor in the bilge area having had bilge pump and/or switches fail on several boats leaving water levels in the bilge almost up to the floorboards on unattended boats, both mine and customer boats. While the fluxgate sensor is nominally sealed, I wouldn't want to place any bets on its survival for any lengthy submersion in salt water...... Your boat, your decision.

I think the common thread here on "Crazy Ivan" so far is that magnetic disturbances are probably the primary root cause of the problem, with Brian's problem being the possible outstanding exception since his problem involves a change in displayed heading on the AP control unit during the "Crazy Ivan" thing. I would encourage others who have experienced this problem in its various forms to tell us about what you have experienced in the context of the previous postings describing the 2 possible types of problems. The more information I have the better, the better I may be able to sort this all out.

Thanks to all who have made postings on this topic. Keep them coming!



Main Message Board / Re: Moving Shore Power Outlet
« on: August 19, 2009, 09:44:47 PM »

Only problem with that is that most of the 30 amp hull entry connectors will only accept up to a #8 AWG in each terminal. On boats that are wired with the minimum rated wire size of #10 AWG, a pair of #10 wires won't fit into the clamp terminal since a pair of #10 wires has the wire area of about a #7 wire.

That said, the early boats ( mine included, until I change it out this fall ) only used #12 wire out of the hull entry connector to the AC distribution panel. For those of us who live on air conditioning during the summer and heat at night in the winter, about 3 or 4 years is all you get out of shore power cords before they burn up the Line and Neutral connectors on the shore power cord when you regularly run 20+ amps for long periods of time when you have #12 wires ( i.e. - "heat sinks" ) out of the entry connector.

If you want to do the double entry points, you should run appropriately sized wire ( #10 minimum with about 18 inches minimum length ) out of each entry connector, and then "Y" them into the single line running to the AC distribution panel using a small 30 - 50 amp terminal strip as your junction point.

If you never run more than a battery charger regularly on shore power, then it won't make any difference.


Main Message Board / Re: Engine Starting issue
« on: August 19, 2009, 10:09:15 AM »

I just replaced it. The contact had gotten loose enough that it had a lot of arcing damage, and I was tired of screwing around with it.


Main Message Board / Re: Engine Starting issue
« on: August 18, 2009, 10:00:53 PM »
Hi Mark,

As I have noted in several previous posts, that "engine ground"  on the end of the bell housing is notorious for having lots of corrosion present on any of our older boats: it's just in a very nasty location. Stu and I, and perhaps others, have moved all but a single large ground cable off of the engine and to a post or bus bar a foot or so away in a less nasty location, and then put all the other things that need a connection to the engine ground on the remote termination point.

After your good cleaning of the connection point, the other thing you need to do is go back with some Boeshield T9 corrosion protection spray and cover all of the exposed cable lug and engine areas around the ground connection point. You can buy it at West Marine or many other places. You will only need to use a modest amount of the T9: the goal is just to seal the connection interface point ( i.e. - battery cable ring terminal / engine block interface ) to air and all the other nasty things that end up appearing in that area over time. Apply enough, however, that you can see the T9 cover and even run down between the ring lug and the engine material to ensure a good seal around that area.

The only other thing that most people forget to check when having starting problems is the battery switch itself. I chased starting problems the better part of a day on my boat before I dropped back to basics ( i.e. - assume nothing! ) and bypassed only one position of the original battery switch and eliminated the weak starting problem I was having at the time.



Main Message Board / Re: "Crazy Ivan" the Autopilot
« on: August 18, 2009, 09:22:59 PM »
Hi Brian,

Thanks for the more detailed information. One thing you didn't note was what was happening to the heading readout during the "Crazy Ivan": did it remain steady at your selected heading, or did it shift to the new heading the boat would try to hold and then back to the original heading?

Since your boat is a Mk II, I am not as familiar with what all is in the areas under the head sink. The thing you will want to be aware of back there is any DC power cables that happen to run through the area, particularly ones that carry any significant amount of current. If you were hearing fans speeds changing while underway, you were definitely having non-trivial DC loads cycling on and off. The "usual suspects" are refrigeration, bilge pumps, and fresh water pressure pumps. Since both episodes occurred while motoring ( i.e. - alternator producing output), I would be particularly observant of how and where the alternator feed runs to the Nav station and the DC distribution panel.

Hopefully, your Labor Day outing will be a little less "populated" and you can do a bit more variable elimination. Don't forget, too, that people and the stuff they carry with them in pockets or purses and also create transient magnetic disturbances, so you have to also be aware of where your guests or crew are relative to the fluxgate sensor during a "Crazy Ivan" event.



Main Message Board / Re: "Crazy Ivan" the Autopilot
« on: August 07, 2009, 09:53:49 AM »
Hi Bob,

That is definitely a weird problem.....

A few more data points, please:

1. What model/vintage is your AP?
2. When you just disengage the AP after an "Ivan" event ( i.e. - go to Standby from Auto ) what happens on the heading display? How does it compare to your ship's compass and the heading you were originally try to hold?
3. When you cycle power to the AP ( pull the CB ), does is the power-up heading shown the same as when you powered it down ( assuming a steady heading, of course, during the power cycle)?
4. On the times that the unit displays a heading in Standby that is significantly different from your ship's compass, and later shows agreement, have you maintained the same heading or changed headings significantly during the wait time?

Let me know and I'll see if I can come up with a better analysis than just "weird".



Main Message Board / Re: "Crazy Ivan" the Autopilot
« on: August 05, 2009, 09:56:04 PM »
For trouble shooting purposes, the following data will be very useful in tracking down your problems with the "Crazy Ivan" maneuver with your 4000 series Autohelm/RayMarine AP.

1. If the heading readout changes while the AP is engaged and the boat steers toward the new displayed heading, the problem is not the fluxgate compass. The AP displays only the selected heading that the AP is trying to maintain when the AP in engaged and does not change in response to movement of the boat.

2. If the heading display remains the same with the AP engaged, and the boat steers away from the displayed heading, then the problem is associated with the heading that the fluxgate compass thinks it sees.

As soon as you put the AP in Standby, the heading display changes from the selected heading to the heading it thinks it is pointing at that instant.

In Case 1 the problem is likely internal to the controller/computer unit. It could be a problem with the membrane +10 or -10 switches, or could be at the controller circuit board. In this case, the heading commanded for the AP to follow is spontaneously changing and the rest of the AP control loop is just following instructions.

In Case 2, the AP suddenly thinks it's on the wrong heading ( i.e. - not what the commanded heading is that is shown on the display with the AP engaged ) and the AP control loop is again just following instructions. In this case, it could be caused by magnetic interferences that I discussed in my previous posting, or it could potentially be a problem in the fluxgate external wiring, or even an internal problem in the fluxgate compass. If the new heading the AP tries to maintain is a anything close to 120 degrees, the problem is likely the loss of one of the 3 output leg signals from the fluxgate compass. In this case, the changes will probably be somewhat consistent in the heading change amount each time you get the "Crazy Ivan" event.

As another potential root problem for Case 1, the problem could be a software glitch in the microprocessor inside the controller/computer unit. It would be useful if those of you who have experienced this problem would get your user manual and read how to display the software version in you unit, and the specific model variant you have on your boat and post it here. From past experience with "new" products from RayMarine about 10 years ago, their initial software release on "new" products was often far from debugged: they let their customers do that for them..... If you complained within the warranty period, they would update your software for free. Once you were out of warranty, TS for you.... For some rather astounding price they would update the software, but ...

Again, the first things to check are the simplest: the connections. After that, if you are experiencing the Case 2 scenario, find out where your fluxgate compass is mounted and what is around it within about a 12 to 18 inch radius, then report back here.

The most important thing, however, it to determine which failure scenario your "Crazy Ivan" fits: Case 1 or Case 2.

I will try to respond promptly to any posting on this subject, particularly if you have fairly specific observations you can share. Maybe we can get Crazy Ivan back on his meds on your boat.


1988 C34 sr wk hull 728
Otra Vez

Main Message Board / Re: "Crazy Ivan" the Autopilot
« on: August 04, 2009, 11:20:10 PM »
Hi Brian,

Having the fluxgate compass mounted under the head sink is likely the root of your problem. I spent many hours crawling all over my boat with a hiking hand compass looking for a location that was actually a reasonable place for the fluxgate, and then rigging up a temporary mounting of the fluxgate to see if the AP would produce a reasonable "deviation" number after the "auto-calibrate" for the compass at a couple of "pre-screened" test locations.

When we bought this boat, the fluxgate had been located on the aft bulkhead under the port settee. The compass was about 10 inches above the macerator pump, which meant it was also about 6 inches below the large bundle of DC and AC wiring that routes around the same bulkhead. The AP was totally useless, going from doing nothing to taking off random directions. I can also confirm that below the galley sink is a constant magnetic storm...... I finally found a good location for it and it now works very well given its modest level of "smarts". Mine is a 4000+.

The best location I found was behind the interior liner directly behind the toilet, about half way between the head floor and the top of the counter behind the toilet ( a least on a Mk I ). I installed a 6 inch round access port, mounted the compass to the wide side of a piece of 2x4, and then screwed the 2x4 along the 2 inch side through the fiberglass liner with 2 #8 stainless steel screws. I had more than enough cable length once I went back and cut about 30 nylon cable ties off of the various places the compass cable was tied to anything that wouldn't move ( much... ) all the way back to the control head. You could probably do the same unless someone "tidied up" the wiring by cutting off the unused length of cable. Even if they did, the fluxgate compass wires can be lengthened with additional shielded 5 conductor cable to get where you need to go.

You have to appreciate that the magnetic forces being sensed by the fluxgate compass are very small, and getting smaller all the time ( literally... ). It doesn't take much DC current through a piece of wire in proximity to the fluxgate to change its perceived heading. While you can compensate out fairly large magnetic disturbances, that only applies to magnetic disturbances that remain fixed in location and strength relative to the fluxgate compass. A changing current through a wire nearby can't be compensated out.

My original practical education with fluxgate-compass-based autopilots on sailboats was in my first sailboat, a Hunter 25.5. I almost immediately installed a Navico TP5000 that we called "Nevil". Early on I noticed that sometimes when I would change sides in the cockpit, "Nevil" would go crazy for no apparent reason. After many observations through beer goggles, I finally realized I had car keys or a pocket knife in one of my pants pockets, and when that magnetic disturbance either arrived or departed the area near the self-contained fluxgate compass in the TP5000 while on an established heading, the AP would react robustly and unpredictably to the magnetic disturbance change. After that I always cleaned out my pockets when I got to the boat, and all was well with "Nevil".

In my experience, the Autohelm/RayMarine 4000 series is not particularly sensitive to low voltage unless it gets really low where other instruments and radios on the boat are acting weirdly or not working at all. As Ron mentioned, it as very sensitive to RF energy over a fairly broad range of frequencies. It certainly wouldn't hurt to go over every connector and make sure all is well, since loose connections can do all sorts of things that defy description and prediction. As Stu and I constantly say, "Check the connections first!".

Hope this helps you get to the bottom of your problem, and potentially others that have experienced the "Crazy Ivan" maneuver.


1988 C34 hull 728 SR WK
Otra Vez

Main Message Board / Re: Macerator Pump
« on: July 27, 2009, 09:49:04 PM »
Hi Chris,

If you have the small rocker switches on your DC panel like I have on my 1988 C34, the other things to check for are a failure of the macerator switch itself, as well as the push-on spade terminals that connect on the back of the switches. Both of those are common problems: the switch just craps out, and the push-on spade female terminals get loose on the switch's male spade terminals. I have about 3 dead switches on my panel right now  :?.

Good luck chasing down the problem.

1988 C34 hull 728
Orta Vez

Main Message Board / Re: Replacement bulb for Forespar ML2 deck light
« on: July 15, 2009, 03:46:12 PM »
I'm with you on that one, Ron. The Forespar fixture is pretty flimsy: I had constant problems with it on the 1991 C34. When the got the 1988, the first thing I did while the mast was down for truck transport was to replace the Forespar with an Aqua Signal 45: over-kill for most, but on the lake we are on we have lots of powerboats zipping around at night consuming mass quantities of beer and gas... I want all the help I can get! If I flip on the deck light, they have to really work at not seeing me  :thumb:

1988 C34 #728
Otra Vez

Main Message Board / Re: Replacement bulb for Forespar ML2 deck light
« on: July 13, 2009, 07:11:54 PM »
I recall dealing with this issue on our previous C34 ( a 1991 Mk 1.5 ). There is an "old" and "new" design of the light, and a corresponding distinct bulb for each design version. As best as I recall, the difference was associated with the bulb structure: stand-alone reflector with separate halogen bulb versus one piece bulb/reflector ( probably MR16 ). I don't remember the crossover date relative to C34 model year because it related to manufacture date of the light. I don't remember which version the 1991 model used, only that the one I bought for it was the wrong version....

For what it's worth.

1988 C34 hull 728
Otra Vez

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