The pace picks up

Yesterday morning I ordered three items: More AAA rechargeable batteries — we have more and more things that need those — the wrench Terry Etapa suggested to complete the reassembly of the head panels and trim, and a pair of MC4 solar panel parallel connectors. They arrived later the same day.

And so it feels about this project, the pace is picking up. The danger, I am finding, is getting stupid.

Yesterday I installed the Lowrance LINK-8 VHF radio with DSC (required by law) and an AIS receiver. It was the end of the day before I got around to connecting up the GPS source from the handheld Garmin GPSMap 76cx (a 12-year old model).

The connection is via NMEA 0183, which runs on an RS422 serial connection: a pair of wires, signal and ground. It took an hour to realize that I had reversed the wires. I used standard methodical debugging techniques and found the problem, I had become confused and connected them wrong. The lesson is to know when to stop working.

Much of the day was spent rerouting wiring, moving wires from direct battery connections to either a terminal block or into the fuse box — The fan for the radiator heater was piggybacked on the main feed in the fuse box. Expedience seems to have been the word for much of the electrical.

The rest of the day was lost staring at the solar panel controller. I’ve come to understand the software algorithm, and learned not to use the percentage display.

Hilary and I also went for a nice midday walk along the ship canal.

The completed V-berth cushions.
The completed V-berth cushions.

Jennifer completed all the cushions for the V-berth and the main cabin. They look marvelous.

The goals today are to:

  • Finish installing the Vesper XB-8000 AIS Transponder, which will complete the electronics installation. (The antenna splitter was installed as part of the VHF radio installation.)
  • Run the fuel line for the Taylors kerosene stove (cooker)
  • Get the first cost of yellow paint on the dinghy – We picked up the paint Wednesday morning on the way to the boat after dropping off Hilary at daycare, which we now refer to as her friendship club. We have a routine, which although Hilary can’t cognitively remember, she seems to know the routine, claims to recognize the place when we arrive and goes directly into the flow.
  • There are multitudinous little things that get knocked out during each day, and so it will continue today. During an electronics day, solder joints that look bad are redone – it is a rule of thumb that solder joints don’t belong on a boat, but devices like lights and the fuse panel are manufactured with them. I generally don’t add any.

Hilary was at the marina with us yesterday, watching the boats on the ship canal, occasionally dozing and taking supervised strolls amongst the boats. Everyone knows Hilary, greets her and know when she is away from where she should be. It is a community.

A technology note:

I use Dropbox’s picture upload facility with my Android phone, so all pictures and video, no matter how large, upload to Dropbox, where I retrieve them for use in this website and Mac Photos.

It is a very convenient way to work.

Monday some things start to change:

  • We’ll start to emptying the apartment by taking things to the Mercer Island Thrift Shop: a great place to shop and the proceeds fund youth support programs.
  • We’ll move our backups from the server we run in the house to a small 1TB USB3 drive we’ll carry aboard. The server will go into storage. We also keep vital files, like all our accounting books in a Dropbox so they are automatically backed up. We have made a conscious decision not to become too immersed in a vendor’s ecosystems (Apple iCloud, as an example).

A note about the solar panels: I must have been confused, and only one panel was connected. I can’t explain the low voltage any other way. The panels worked well yesterday. I’ll connect them in parallel today and see if we get higher wattage.

Today is two weeks from departure.

Author: johnjuliano

One-third owner of Caro Babbo, co-captain and in command whenever Caro Babbo is under sail.

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