Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Winter Cover

Covered for Winter, 12/15/2008

We had the boat hauled out at Herrington Harbor North this year, instead of at Shipwright. I once again have a few projects planned for the winter, and my understanding is that HHN provides much easier access to the boat, to water, and to electricity while the boat is on the hard.

This year, instead of paying for more shrinkwrap that we'd just throw away again in the spring, we invested in a winter cover from Fisher Canvas. It's expensive -- almost $1800 delivered -- but assuming it lasts (and it should), we'll recover the cost in 3 to 4 seasons. It's not all about cost, of course, but with that size investment, cost is certainly a factor. The cover is much nicer than shrinkwrap, and we put it on at our convenience.

It is, however, very heavy, so having an extra set of hands is helpful. Mark has a similar cover for Brandywine, so we helped each other get the covers on.

Before covering Mariner II, we removed our flybridge windshield. It is cracked, and I'm finally planning to have a replacement made for it this winter.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Winterized, 12/6/2008

The usual:
  • Pumped the holding tank
  • Emptied water tank
  • Bypassed and drained water heater
  • Filled fuel tank
  • Changed engine oil & filter
  • Changed transmission oil
  • Drain raw water from engine
  • Replaced engine zincs
  • Cleaned seawater strainer, refilled with pink antifreeze
  • Poured pink antifreeze in potable water tank, ran through all lines and faucets
  • Ran pink antifreeze through engine raw water system
  • Ran pink antifreeze through air conditioner
  • Pumped pink antifreeze through toilet to holding tank
  • Light general cleaning of engine
  • Sprayed Corrosion-x on electrical connections, fittings, etc.
Ready for winter haul-out!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Full exterior cleaning, 9/1/2008

Yuck - Toilet Repair

Toilet Repair, 8/30/2008

Our Groco HF toilet stopped working. On Labor Day weekend, of course. The pump plunger would no longer move up or down -- it was stuck, and it didn't matter whether the valve was set to pump water or pump dry.

I figured it needed it needed a rebuild kit, which is considered regular maintenance, but I wasn't sure what kit I needed: the "Master Head" kit, the "Regular Service" kit, or the whole pump assembly. A called Groco (410-712-4242), and they put a tech person on the line right away. He spent a few minutes asking questions, and recommended with certainty that I just needed the regular service kit. Fantastic service!

When we got to Solomons, I disassembled the pump, and the problem was immediately clear: The joker valve was destroyed. And disgusting.

There are a handful of little parts that need to be assembled carefully, but the instructions from Groco were clear, and we had it back together pretty quickly.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Cleared weep holes in engine room, 8/16/2008

Bingo! Finally solved a problem that has been driving me crazy for a long time. Since day 1 when we bought this boat, we've had an intermittent problem with water collecting between the two stringers along the starboard side of the engine, and collecting forward.

On some trips, we'd end up with a lot of water there. Other trips, none. Some weeks we'd leave it dry on Sunday night, and return Friday to find water there. Other times, we'd be gone for weeks, and it would be bone dry. Sometimes it tasted salty; other times it didn't. It has been a real puzzle for me to figure out where the water was coming from. But I knew it shouldn't be collecting and stagnating there. Here are pictures of the area I'm referring to:

Starboard side, looking forward: water collects around transducer

Starboard side, looking aft

A few possibilities I considered:
  • Engine cooling water leak, possibly through a zinc
  • Water pump leak
  • Sea spray through engine room vents during rough seas
  • Air conditioning through-hull leak
  • Depth transducer through-hull leak
It was not simply an annoyance of having to shop-vac out the water on a regular basis. The water would stagnate and start to smell, and even more importantly, it collected around the fairing block for the depth sounder, and was starting to deteriorate that wood.

Well, I finally crawled down in there to get a good look around. Lo-and-behold: There are weep holes in both the forward- and aft-ends of that area. The forward weep hole runs to the bilge, , and it was completely plugged with debris! I hadn't considered the possibility that the water was running to that spot by design; I had been stuck on the idea that, if water were supposed to be there, it would run aft, not forward. So, it turns out that water from the lazarette under the cockpit area was running through the aft weep hole, and collecting forward. Once I unplugged the forward weep hole, it disappeared into the bilge as it should.

Forward weep hole, drains to bilge

Aft weep hole, below muffler, lets water in from lazarette

There are at least three sources of the water, none of which were possibilities that I had previously considered.
  1. Rain water through the cockpit deck hatches
  2. Sea spray through the cockpit deck hatches
  3. Sea water coming in through our ever-leaking rudder post
That explains both the intermittent nature, and the mix of fresh- and salt-water.

Water through the deck hatches theoretically should drain out the transom. There's a small weep hole in the hatch channels that runs into a tube that goes aft. Unfortunately, those channels collect debris so fast that the hole often plugs, allowing some water into the lazarette. The rudder stuffing box is a work in progress. But now, at least, the water in the engine compartment finally disappears on its own.

As for the depth-sounder fairing block: I made a cardboard mold that fit around it, and filled it with penetrating epoxy, effectively soaking and encasing the entire block in epoxy. It's in good shape now, probably stronger than it ever was.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

General Maintenance

General maintenance checks, 8/9/2008

Headed out with Laura today for Michele's birthday, with plans to meet Mark (Brandywine) at Knapps Narrows. Did some general maintenance checks (oil, transmission, fuel filters, batteries), and found the water level in the batteries was low. Added distilled water to each.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stereo speakers

Stereo Speakers, 6/26/2008

The stereo speakers in the cockpit were shot -- lots of buzzing, not much that sounded like music. They are mounted just above the cockpit step on each side. I found the exact match: Polyplanar MA-4054. I ordered them from, and had them ready to install when Chris arrived on Friday. We went straight to the boat, and when we settled in at our anchorage, I swapped out the speakers. Easy job, 4 screws and two wires each; done in 15 minutes, no drilling, no cutting.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wax, Polish

Waxed Wheelhouse, Polished Bimini Frame, 6/21/2008

Our new bimini for the flybridge is almost ready. While I cleaned and waxed the wheelhouse, Michele cleaned and polished the bimini frame. Not sure who had the harder work; the frame is in somewhat rough shape. It's an aluminum frame, not stainless, so it has some corrosion and pitting. Michele scrubbed it down with Bon Ami, and then polished it with Nevr-Dull. Looks much better, probably as good as we'll get it. Looking forward to the canvas arrival!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wax, Wood, and Window

Washed, Cleaned, and Waxed Flybridge, Worked on Exterior Wood, Rebedded Port Windshield, 5/31/2008 - 6/1/2008.

Weather was iffy this weekend, so we got busy on some of our remaining tasks. Michele lightly sanded the flybridge steps and the bench on bridge and put a coat of Cetol Light on each. The bench needs one more coat, then all the exterior wood will be done! She also tackled the interior wood in and around the galley (a major taks, since it involved hauling out everything from galley storage areas), as well as the stainless in the stove area. Looks fantastic.

We rebedded the port windshield. That was the last one. No signs of leaks, and they all look great.

I washed, cleaned, and waxed the exterior of the flybridge, using the same 3-step process we used on the hull: wash, 3M Cleaner and Wax, and 3M ultra performance paste wax. Definitely looks much improved, though some of it was in pretty tough shape so I certainly wouldn't call it new looking, even now. Sides of the wheelhouse and the deck are all that's left.

A few other miscellaneous tasks: I cleaned the racor bowl, which was packed with sludge after our Memorial Day trip; I installed a toilet paper holder inside the vanity in the head compartment -- no more ruined rolls of TP when we forget to close the porthole; I also replaced some of the worn-out velcro for our window screens; and finally, I hung our new Weems and Plath "Endurance" clock above the v-berth.

No pictures -- too tired!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Rebedded Starboard Windshield,
Recoated Flybridge Steps and Pilothouse Door,

Michele and I were away most of the weekend, but we squeezed in a couple quick hours of work this afternoon. I worked on removing the starboard windshield glass, while she applied a new coat of Cetol to the flybridge steps and the pilothouse door. We finished reinstalling the glass just before the raindrops started.

It was a cool afternoon, and we found that cleaning out the old caulk was much easier in the cooler temperature. Handling the bedding material was easier as well. That's a good tip to remember.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Windshield Bedding

Rebedded Center Windshield, 5/4/2008

Well, this is a project I had put off for some time because the planning and preparation seemed daunting. Our center windshield has leaked, sometimes badly, since we bought the boat. In the picture on the right, the damage to the lower-right corner of the wood window frame is evident, and there was comparable damage to the other side. I sorted out most of the planning over the winter, so Michele and I decided it was time to tackle the project.

Learning how the glass seals in the frame to prevent water intrusion was the first challenge. Applying caulk around the glass might seem like an obvious fix, but it doesn't hold up. It also makes later repairs more difficult, as we soon found out. The Cape Dory 28 chat board proved very helpful: other owners had already done the job, and provided lots of guidance. The glass sits against a bedding material to seal against water intrusion. An exterior gasket then holds the glass tightly in place against the bedding. In our case, the bedding had dried, cracked, and shrunk over time, so it was no longer providing a seal. In addition, the exterior gasket was brittle and loose.

Finding the right material was the next challenge. Recent reports were that Florida Marine Tanks carried all of it, but they insisted otherwise when I called them. Ultimately, I found the bedding material at Napa Auto parts: 3M "Windo Weld" ribbon sealer. I used the 1/8" by 1/4" size. Other Cape Dory owners used a slightly larger size, but this seemed to match our old sealer almost exactly. I found the exterior gasket, again with the help of another owner on the CapeDory 28 board, at American Marine Products: "TP-139" was right on. It comes in black or white -- we used white, which matched the old gasket.

The picture below shows what we found after removing the exterior gasket and working the glass free from the bedding and frame. Most of the black bedding material was so dry it fell right out. A little remains in the upper right side of the picture. In addition, there was plenty of caulk (also visible), presumably from a prior repair attempt. The caulk filled the frame almost all the way around. It was a real bear to scrape out of the groove where the exterior gasket lip inserts in the frame, and it had to come out or the gasket wouldn't fit right. Without all that caulk, we'd have been done probably in 30 minutes per pane.

Below, the glass is back in the frame. You can see the black, spongy bedding along the top and bottom perimeters. It is extremely sticky, so it was difficult to set the bedding into the frame in a straight line. No matter -- it will be hidden. Once the bedding was in the frame, we gently set the glass into place, and firmly pressed the edges against the bedding. The outer gasket is already in place on the left.

The lower pane is finished. You can see the old exterior gasket in the edge of the upper frame.

We did the upper pane next, so it is complete now as well. The port and starboard panes will be done soon.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Clean and Polished

Restored Wood Finish in V-berth, 5/3/2008

Preparing for our shakedown cruise and first overnight (just in our marina), I did some general exterior cleaning, and attached our new registration stickers. Meanwhile, Michele went to work on the dry, faded interior wood.

She applied Howard Restor-A-Finish (mahogany), followed by Howard Feed-n-Wax. What an incredible job! The wood looks amazing. Before long, we may have all the interior wood restored!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Check. Check. Check.

Replaced Bilge Pump, Replaced Impeller, 4/27/2008

Today was a good day. All the problems of yesterday are solved:
  • The bilge pump replacement was the most interesting. The pump is way down the keel, and I couldn't imagine how I would possibly reach it to swap in a new one. Well, I don't know whether it was Cape Dory or the prior owner, but somebody did a really kind thing. The pump and float switch were mounted to the lower side of an "L" shaped panel. The upright portion of the "L" was screwed into the engine platform. Even so, it was barely reachable; Michele had to crawl down where I couldn't fit, and unscrew it. Once the panel was unscrewed, everything lifted out in once piece! The picture below shows the whole structure. I didn't have my camera, so I used the one on my phone. Not great quality, but I couldn't let this interesting piece go by without a picture. Anyway, West Marine had an identical pump, so swapping it out was easy.
  • The hot water is working now -- just needed to purge the air.
  • As for the impeller, I have no idea why it didn't prime. I got a brand new one today which came with some lubricant, and it slid right in. I poured water into the intake hose to help it prime, and it worked fine. The Jabsco impeller kit part number is 836-0001. I found the corresponding replacement kit at West Marine. I think the Jabsco part number for the impeller alone is 17935-0001.
  • The new windshield wipers are working great!
  • I tested the GPS/VHF wiring, and the VHF is getting and displaying position information. Can't wait to try a DSC call!
  • Last but not least, Michele did her usual incredible job cleaning the cabin, despite my tearing it up to do engine work almost as fast as she was cleaning.
Looking forward to getting out on the water...

Broke and Broken

Spring recommissioning is not going so well! The boat went in the water on Friday. Michele and I spent part of Saturday cleaning and recommissioning, hoping to get out on the water today. Had a few problems:
  • Broken wire connector on the fuse panel. No biggie. Difficult to reach, but easy to fix. It's one of those two-handed jobs that I could barely reach with one hand, but I managed to get it done.
  • Bilge pump not working. Scares the hell out of me to have the boat in the water with no bilge pump, so I'm going to try to replace it today. The worst part will be squeezing down into the bilge to reach it.
  • Cooked the new impeller. Very disappointing: I replaced the impeller earlier this year, and the new one didn't prime. It burned up quickly, so now I need to replace it again and figure out why it's not getting water. Not sure if the intake is blocked or what, but tracking down the problem should be pretty systematic. On the bright side, the engine turned right over on the first try.
  • Hot water side of the water system is not running. It's probably just airlocked, but this is a pretty minor problem compared to the others. The cold side is working fine. Unfortunately, I'm not thrilled by the performance of our new pump -- the pressure is kind of weak.
Back to the repairs today... sigh.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Refinish Unfinished

Refinished Swim Platform, Washed & Waxed Hull, 4/19/2008

On Saturday, Michele nearly completed her work on the swim platform. It's looking terrific -- a stunning difference compared to how it looked earlier. After sanding it to bare wood earlier this spring, she put two coats of Cetol Light on it over the past two days. Unfortunately, we're stymied by the weather again: rain for the next three days. I'll try to get out there on Wednesday and get another coat on before launch.

We also cleaned and waxed the hull. Topsides can be done when the boat is in the water, but the hull really needs to be done pre-launch. I had hoped it would be a simple, quick wash and wax this year, but it needed a bit more than that to bring back the shine:
  1. Washed thoroughly with mild boat soap and water, using a soft brush and a terry-cloth pad.
  2. Applied 3M Cleaner and Wax, working it in with a 6" random-orbital machine and terry-cloth bonnet, first going back and forth, then up and down. Wiped off the remaining light haze with a clean cloth.
  3. Waxed with 3M Ultra-Performance Paste Wax, applied by hand, and buffed with the random-orbital machine and terry-cloth bonnet. In a few spots where rain water runs down the hull leaving black streaks, we used some Starbrite Teflon over the wax, in hopes that it would help prevent the streaking (or at least make it easier to clean).
  4. A quick buffing pass over the entire surface with a lambswool bonnet. This goes super fast, and really helps bring out the shine.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bottom Job

Bottom Paint, 4/18/2008

A very damp, cool, spring left us feeling anxious about getting the exterior work finished, so Michele and I took Friday off from work to get started. The weather was beautiful, and we both muttered a bit about how it nice it would be to have the work done already and be out on the bay.

We made short work of removing the shrink wrap, and then started in on the real work. I donned a painter's suit, mask, and gloves to tackle the bottom paint, while Michele continued her work on the swim platform.

I used exactly 1 gallon of West Marine PCA Gold, which was enough for a full bottom coat plus an extra pass at the waterline. Last time, we had the marina use Micron Extra, but the West Marine brand was substantially less expensive, so we gave it a try. A nice suprise: the marina responded promptly when Michele asked if they'd move the stands for us. They took care of it within minutes, and we were able to paint the spots where the boat had been sitting on them.

In the meantime, Michele put the first coat of Cetol Light on the swim platform. It looks great already! Pictures to come later, when the last coat is done.

Monday, April 7, 2008

...And Wait...

Grrr... STILL waiting for clear weather. Is it too much to ask to have a few clear days and nights above 50 degrees, so I can bottom paint? I feel like I'm back in Seattle!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait

Impeller, 3/22/2008

Despite the cool weather, I prepped for bottom painting today. The dock water was still not turned on at the marina, but I filled a bucket and scrubbed the bottom with a stiff deck brush to scuff it up and remove any residual slime and growth. I taped off the water line, so I'm ready to paint as soon as the weather is clear. Tomorrow's forecast looks good, so I'm hoping to finish this weekend.

I also replaced the water pump impeller today. Some people recommend doing it every year. Volvo says an impeller is good for 500 hours. I hadn't changed ours yet since we bought the boat in 2006, and I had no idea when it was done last (not to mention a little mishap last summer). So, either way, it was time.

My main concern was that it would be difficult to remove the old impeller. It wouldn't budge at first, but I cranked the engine for a second or two to get it turning, and after that, I pulled it out fairly easily by grabbing vanes on each side with channel lock pliers. It wasn't in very good shape: there were a couple pieces broken off and sitting free in the water pump housing. Very glad I changed it out. I put a little dish soap on the new one, and it slid into place fairly easily. I had one fairly serious issue, though. When replacing the cover, I stripped one of the machine screw holes in the housing. I was being gentle, I swear, but a mild turn of the wrench stripped it out. I'll need to tap it for a new screw.

Note: For our Volvo TAMD40B, the impeller part number I ordered is #875736, from Marine Parts Express. Despite their claim that it would be a genuine Volvo part, the impeller had a Jabsco stamp on it. Hmm.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Brightwork

Swim Platform, 3/15/2008

Finally we got some weather that is clear and warm enough to start some exterior work! The water is still not yet turned on at the marina, but Michele and I spent most of the day there anyway.

We started the brightwork last fall, but left the swim platform for spring. While I took care of some inside work, Michele took the palm sander to the platform. My tasks included finishing off the water pump installation, which went fairly quickly, and coating the fairing block for the depth transducer with penetrating epoxy. The paint had worn off the block, and water collecting in that area had subsequently starting deteriorating the wood.

Once I finished inside, I helped out with some of the swim platform sanding. Michele really did 90% of it, and she did a great job, too. It was in rough shape: badly flaking and weather-worn gray. It is supposed to rain today (Sunday), so the rest will have to wait.

Next Saturday, we hope to do the bottom paint and put the first coat of Cetol Light on the platform. With luck, we'll get that done in one day. Then we can return on Sunday to apply another coat or two of Cetol to the platform, remove the shrinkwrap, and wax the hull. That will complete our pre-launch work!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Maintenance and...upgrades!

Rudder Stuffing Box, Seacock Maintenance, Battery Charger Outlet, Potable Water Pump, 3/8/2008

On Saturday, I started tackling some pre-launch maintenance. Most of those tasks have to wait for warmer temperatures, though, so in the meantime I'm working on a few upgrades as well.

Maintenance items:

Tightened the rudder stuffing box.
I repacked it last year, but never adjusted it after some use. We continually had a small amount of water collecting in that area, so I got out the packing nut wrenches and tightened the stuffing box. It was pretty loose, so I hope this will take care of the water ingress.

Greased engine intake seacock. My understanding is that Spartan seacocks don't really need yearly disassembly despite Spartan's recommendation. But, our engine seacock was really getting difficult to move, so I took it apart again this year and regreased it. The head intake seacock seems to be fine.


AC outlet. On Saturday, I finished installing a new outlet under the port bench. I put in a new GFCI outlet using the existing wiring for the outlet on the outside of the bench, and then wired it to feed the old outlet downstream. This will allow us to plug in the battery charger inside the bench, and at the same time, protect the existing outlet with a GFCI.

Potable water pump. Our old water pump cycles incessantly when we run the water, provides weak pressure, and is very loud. Modern pumps, like our new Jabsco Sensor-Max 14, allegedly are quieter and have continuous pressure switches that prevent on-off cycling. This was by no means an urgent upgrade, but I hope it will eliminate a minor but frequent annoyance. Unfortunately, it's also a difficult upgrade due mainly to the difficult to reach location of the pump (down low on the forward bulkhead in the engine compartment). I nearly completed the installation, but I broke one of the Qest plumbing fittings while reassembling. I'll have to complete the job next time.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Getting Ready

I've been slacking lately when it comes to posting updates here. With boating season almost upon us, soon I'll no doubt have more to say, more often.

I'm eagerly awaiting spring launch, which is scheduled for the week of April 1. There are several mandatory pre-launch maintenance tasks that are causing me a bit of anxiety, however, so we're likely to be delayed a couple weeks. Not that it matters, we were ready to go in on April 1 last year, but the yard didn't get to us until April 20 anyway.

"Must-do" pre-launch maintenance work on the agenda:
  • Refinish swim platform
  • Bottom paint
  • Wash and wax hull
  • Grease seacock for engine-intake
  • Tighten rudder stuffing box
  • Epoxy/paint fairing block for depth sounder

Monday, February 11, 2008


GPS/VHF Wiring, 2/9/2008

I installed new electronics last spring, but to date had not yet completed the wiring for the GPS. That means our DSC capability for the radio wasn't complete. We could make an automated digital distress call, but it would not include our coordinates. That would certainly complicate a search and rescue should we ever be unfortunate enough to need it.

On Saturday, I finally finished off the wiring. The instructions for the Standard Horizon radio indicate three connections: data in(+), data in(-), and data out. The GPS instructions only indicated data in and data out (no polarity on the data out). Standard Horizon tech support was very helpful, and advised me to make connections as follows:

VHF blue (in+) to GPS blue (out)
VHF gray (out) to GPS yellow (in)
VHF green (in-) to ground

I ran a power/data cable for the GPS to both helms, and joined them at the lower helm. From there, I ran the red and black wires to the switch and ground bus, and the signal cables to a new 4-post block. I then ran a length of signal wire up to the radio, and attached it to a quick connect so that I can easily disconnect the radio when I want to remove it from the boat. The worst part of this project was handling the very fine signal wires, which are difficult to strip and separate without cutting them.

Looking forward to trying out a ship-to-ship DSC call this summer!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Galvanic Isolator, 2/9/2008

As I mentioned earlier, one of my planned projects was installing a galvanic isolator. This was recommended, but not required, by both our surveyor and BoatU.S.

Although Mariner II wasn't showing any serious problems with corrosion, zinc loss during the summer is difficult to address, as it involves diving under the boat (which I did once this past year). Diving under to replace a zinc isn't that bad as long as the sea nettles aren't there keeping me company, but usually they are. A galvanic isolator should, minimally, slow our zinc loss enough so that it can be replaced once per year, during winter haulout.

I considered several brands, including Guest, Yandina, and ProMariner. Ultimately, I installed the ProSafe 30, without a monitoring system. ABYC recommends that galvanic isolators be self-tested and monitored to ensure that the AC ground wire is uninterrupted. The isolator alone does not meet this recommendation, but thousands have been installed this way without problems long before ABYC made their recommendation. Since the monitoring system costs more than the isolator itself and complicates installation considerably, I opted to skip it for now. The ProSafe 30 does allow me to add the monitor later, but for now I will just plan to test it routinely (spring and fall) with a diode tester. The test is easy: with shorepower disconnected, attach one lead of a multimeter (in "diode test" setting) to each side of the isolator and get a reading. Switch, and test again. Both readings should be the same (within 10%), and both between approximately .7 and 1.5 volts.

On our boat, the isolator fit nicely in the starboard storage area below the helm. I was able to simply cut the ground wire, attach insulated ring terminals, and connect them.


I spent most of yesterday doing some work on the boat, so I'll have some updates shortly. In the meantime, a long-overdue update on the Jabsco oil-change pump issue: I received a replacement unit, free of charge, in 2-3 weeks as promised by Jabsco. Outstanding customer service -- no hassle, no question, they stood behind their product.

More on boat maintenance to come soon...

Friday, January 11, 2008


Wiper Motor Wiring, 1/6/2008

We had a beautiful day on Sunday, temps in the 50's, so I got a little work done on the boat.

The shrink wrap zipper door arrived Friday, so I put that on to gain access to the inside of the boat. Piece of cake -- tape it on, unzip, cut a hole in the shrink wrap. The inside of the boat seemed in fine shape, no condensation or mildew problems.

I went to work immediately on the windshield wiper situation. Over the summer, I bought replacement motors which appear identical to the old motors, but when I connected them up, they didn't turn on. I bench tested them with a 12-volt battery, and they work fine like that, so I knew it was a wiring problem on the boat. Both the old and new motors have an identical set of connections:
  1. "s": switched wire, runs to the switch at the helm
  2. "-": the ground wire
  3. "+": always-on wire, so the motor can self-park after the switch is turned off
Simple, yet the new motors didn't work. Some investigating with a multimeter revealed the problem: in the original wiring, the "s" connection ran through a switch to the ground, rather than to the positive feed. Sure enough, the owner's manual has it diagrammed exactly that way. I'm not an electrician, so I don't really understand why it would be wired that way.

No matter, I just rewired according to the instructions with the new motor. It was a fairly straightforward change: reroute the wire from the switched terminal to the positive feed instead of the ground bus. Now the positive feed comes off the fuse panel and splits to the "s" and "+" terminals, and the ground wire simply runs directly from the ground bus to the "-" terminal. I attempted a Visio diagram (below) of the change, so I can update the owner's manual to show the new configuration.

I attached one of the new motors, and it now works exactly like it should. In the spring, when I can access the bow of the boat again (under shrinkwrap now), I'll finish installing the motors in the windshield frame.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Corrosion Protection

Oops, forgot one:
  • Galvanic Isolator. When the boat is connected to shore power (as ours always is), stray current flows through the AC ground and the DC bonding system. This current can really cause the zinc anodes to dissolve away quickly. An isolator blocks low voltage in the green AC ground wire, but passes higher voltages through if there's an electrical fault.