Monthly Archives: January 2016

Shore Power Breaker Box

The breaker boxes for the main A/C and the air conditioning were regular household units, i.e. they were made of Home Depot parts and the face of one of them had snapped off.  This meant that the breaker was falling out of the box.  The one for the air conditioning had three wires that exited the breaker box running across the engine room, into the fwd and aft units as well as the control panel.  This seemed like an awful waste of wiring.  I wanted to simplify this with one wire running to the air con area and feeding a terminal block for supplying the various pieces of equipment.  The picture below, although not taken to show the breaker boxes, does show one of them hanging off on the right hand side.

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black breaker box missing its front cover can be seen on the right hand side of the picture.  The other breaker box was higher to the right.

I purchased a surface mounted system panel enclosure (3117) from Blue Sea Systems along with a 6 circuit terminal block rated for 30A (2506), cover (2710) and terminal block jumpers (9217).

The boat has three holes cut in the coaming, 2 for shore power connectors and one obsolete Marinco phone and cable TV connector.  I swapped one of the shore power connectors with the obsolete Marinco connector so that the shore power connectors occupied the 2 forward holes.

Then mounted the DEI galvanic isolator, that used to sit on the shelf in the lazarette, on the forward wall of the lazarette.  Next to that I mounted the breaker panel and cleaned up all the wiring.  Now at least my shore power wiring meets ABYC standards and the shelf in the lazarette is empty for the watermaker project (I told you it never ends :)).  In the pictures below you can see where the watermaker has been placed to ensure that the breaker panel door opens as required.

In the aft quarter berth, in the cupboard at the head of the bed, I installed the terminal block with jumpers so that each of the wires in the triplex wire leading from the breaker panel could feed three other posts on the terminal block, one for each AC unit and one for the control panel.  On top of the block I installed a cover to prevent te possibility of electrocution.

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Aft Head Clean Up

The original faucet in the aft head was looking the worse for wear.  It was the type where the faucet could be lifted out on a metal hose to use as a shower and the hose was all corroded.  As we have a separate head I didn’t see the need for the shower style sink faucet.

I purchased a faucet that was low profile enough to fit under the cupboard in the head.  I then cut back the Pex hoses to get a clean end and bought the Qest fittings required to connect to the faucet hoses.  While trying to attach the faucet mount under the counter top, I dropped the piece and it slid down the side of the hull and under the floor.  The gap between the hull and floor was less than 1/2″ inch so it was not possible for me to retrieve it, although I did try for about 3 hours!  I had to order another faucet mount kit and finish that part of the work the following week.

I also replaced the sink drain for the second time.  The first time I used Forespar drains which are made of chrome plated, non-corrosive plastic.  After just three years they were peeling and looking like crap.  I therefore bought Skandvik drains which are stainless steel top and a plastic base and barb connector.  The only issue is that the smallest barb fitting is 1″ and the old hose was 3/4″.  I therefore had to replace the small length of hose and barb fitting on the thru hull valve.  I used a full flow elbow which is a 3/4″ thread with a 1″ barb and also used shields multiflex hose as that was the only hose with the tight enough bend radius to make the small run from the sink drain to the thru hull valve.

I replaced both air conditioning thru hulls as the ones that were there were Marelon and one of them was cracked half way down the threads.  I went with bronze thru hulls as they would not be an issue again.

When all was said and done it was a weekend project, excluding finishing the mounting of the faucet.  Below are a couple of pictures of the finished work.

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new faucet with clearance for the cupboard above and new drain

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new AC thru hulls and elbow for sink drain. Note the Pex fittings to the new faucet

Water heater replacement

In November I noticed that the bilge pump was running a little more frequently than normal.  After a little investigation under the sole, I could see a wet path leading from somewhere around the aft quarter berth area.  I removed everything from there and lifted the cover over the space under the bed.  I found some pooled water under the heater.  The heater still worked, and the water pump did not cycle often, so the hole had to be small.  Time to add another project to the list to be done before we leave. I swear that the longer we stay the more turns up 🙂

The existing tank was boxed shape and so did not lend itself to good use of the space available as the natural curve of the hull dictated the space under the bed.  I wanted to be able to use the space around the heater for storage.  After much investigation I chose a cylindrical IsoTemp SPA 11 gallon heater.  It is 15.5″ in diameter and 25″ long so it would just fit under the bed, and would be able to be pushed further towards the foot of the bed, creating more space for storage.

The weekend after the heater arrived, I set about the task of replacement.  First I turned off the water pump and disconnected the Pex tubing that supplied the water heater from the main water supply manifold.  I attached a stub of Pex with a valve on it so that we would turn the water back on while I was doing the work.  I then drained the old heater as much as I could via the drain valve.  I put towels down while manhandling the box out of the hole and off the boat.  The rust that had settled in the bottom of the heater was the last goop to come out and it left the space in a messy state!

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Notice the outline of where the heater was mounted.  It was not possible to put much behind it as the heater almost came up to the top of the space.

I inspected the old heater and it turns out that it was made in 1993 and so was original to the boat.  Not bad going really.  I will be happy if the new one lasts that long.

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I cleaned out the space and found that the bilge coat which was below the waterline, but on the hull itself, was peeling off in sections.  The space was warm when the heater was on, and this combined with the condensation in the colder months, must have let moisture get under the paint and caused it to peel off.

I sanded down the whole area, removing all loose paint and drilled 5 x 1.5″ holes in the forward wall close to the roof of the space.  I hoped that these would allow some degree of ventilation so that the warm air could escape into the vented cupboard that housed the air conditioning for the aft berth and head.

I bought the necessary fittings to go from the heater connections to the Qest fittings that were there already.  I slid the new heater into the space and marked on the inboard wall where the mounting bands would go.  I chose the wall as opposed to the floor for securing the heater as I wanted to make sure if there was any moisture build-up under the heater, no part of it would be touching the water.  Everything was then removed from the space and three coats of EZ Bilge applied.

I then mounted the bands on the wall and slid the heater into place.  The bands ran through the mounting feet and therefore could be rotated to place the tightening bolt anywhere around the heater.  This simplified the securing of the heater.

Once secured, I trimmed the Pex as all connections on the new heater were on one end unlike the old heater.  I did the same for the engine coolant pipes and the power supply cable.

With the plumbing and the electrical hookup done it was time to test the unit.  I reattached the supply tubing to the water manifold and turned the water pump back on.  There was a very small leak between the mixing valve and the heater body itself.  Once that was cinched up I left some kitchen towel under the heater and left it overnight to see if there were any others.  The next day the towel was still dry so I replaced the lid and left it running for a few days.  I wanted to see if the space got warm again.

When I reopened the space I could see that it was cooler than it used to be, probably a combination of the venting holes and better insulation on the new heater.  I also noticed a pool of water under the fittings… aaaarrgghh!  It turns out that this leak only showed itself when water was being pumped through the heater i.e. when the hot water tap was turned on.  Nothing showed when sitting under pressure alone which is why the overnight leak check bore no fruit!  When attaching the Pex cold water supply line, I did not bottom it out in the heater fitting before securing, leading to a poor connection.  Once this was fixed there were no more leaks to be found.

Needless to say this space has already been filled with “stuff”.  The picture below was taken just before that happened.

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