This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Key of Sea Electrical & Electronic Projects Completed


After months of planning, disappointing starts and stops, The Key of Sea is finally ready for action at sea.

I must say that she is far from clean. A wash, a pressure washing and cleaning every nook and cranny inside still awaits.

But now, when you turn the keys the engines start. The battery charger works and the batteries are all fine and new.

My concern over why my batteries suddenly would not hold a charge turned out not to be the issue.  To recap, the fellow in the slip next to mine called the port who called me and said an alarm was going off on the boat. When I got to the boat I knew right away the alarm was coming from the inverter unit.  The remote display indicated the batteries were holding only 3.5 volts. Not good!

Upon investigating, I found two of the four cells in the starter battery were dry.

new inverter
Even after replacing the starter battery, the voltage would not stay up. Hmmmm.

At the end of my capabilities, I called my electrician, Mike Heintz, who discovered my 5-year old Xantrex inverter/battery charger was shot.  Mike was not happy that the unit had gone
south after such a short life and decided to install a unit with a better reputation. He installed a combined DC/AC modified sine wave inverter-battery charger, 1-3 kw, 120 volt Freedom 458.

new remote display
The new unit's footprint is larger than the other but is quieter and, more importantly, the remote display is far easier to read. Problem solved!

Then there is the new Garmin RADAR unit project. The new 740s chart plotter has been up and running for some time. The new AIS unit was also installed and appeared to be working.

I still had not run the power and data cables from the lower bridge all the way to the RADAR arch where the RADAR dome needed to be mounted. Also, an antenna needed to be installed for receiving AIS signals.

I am happy to report that all is complete.

I discovered that a $15 fish tape is invaluable when running wire through tight spaces inside the hull and bulkheads of the boat. That discovery must have saved
me hours, a few bruises and more than a few choice words.

Even had some good luck when I discovered that the "L" mounting bracket I originally purchased for the AIS antenna would not work. There are no 90 degree angles on the boat. So an unadjustable "L" bracket just wouldn't cut it.  I returned to West Marine site of my purchase and walked out with an antenna that would mount to an adjustable bracket. 

The place I wanted to mount the antenna was already occupied by an old unused LORAN antenna. Removing the LORAN antenna and its bracket, I was amazed that the new bracket's holes were a perfect fit for the new bracket. It all went together very easily.