Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Inspiration II: Between Christmas and New Year 2015

We are still land based and Inspiration is on-the-hard waiting for the lift crane operators to return from Christmas break. During the pre-Christmas days we went to St. Petersburg to spend Christmas with Martha.  While there we went to marine shops to buy goodies that were our Christmas presents to each other. We left 12/27/14 for GCS.

Today 12/30/14 GCS: We spent the day today running between the Ace Hardware here and Inspiration II:  Needed not so specialty Stainless Steel nuts and bolts.  Wouldn't you know that the last machine bolt to install had a thread issue and was unusable! SAM scraped Cetol and painted Cetol Natural Teak and putty'd in some rough spots on the cap rail fairing. She also re-installed the boarding ladder steps she has been painting with Cetol NT.

The modus operandi  will be to use the 8KW generator to charge the batteries, when off shore power, plus run other high power users at the same limited times.  I may add a modest amount of solar power to minimize generator usage.  I would like enough solar power to run the autopilot and refrig/freezer which should be about a daily 100 A-H as a WAG. This leads me towards 320 watts of solar power (figuring 4 full sun hours equivalent per day--> 100AH/4 H*12VDC nominal).  Solar is cheap these days so I want to buy the best MPPT charge controller I can find: research is needed but Morningstar is the benchmark to beat.

I Installed the ProNautiqP 1260 battery charger today including three ANL fuse blocks in which I will install 70A fuses.  I should be ready to fire it up tomorrow and try and charge the 4 new Trojan T-105 batteries ( I have them in two banks with two batteries in series to make 12VDC @ 225AH each bank).  I haven't used the T&B Crimper for quite some time.  Glad I had it to crimp the #8 AWG ring terminals.

Earlier in the week I installed two ANL fuse blocks with 200 A fuses close to the battery group 1 & 2 plus I put in an ATC fuse holder from the down stream side of the battery bank 1 since it was not fused before.  I now am $250 poorer but feel 100% safer than having live loads wired straight to the terminals as before.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back in GCS, FL

We have been back in Green Cove Springs for about two weeks.  Slowly ever so slowly, we are getting into the routine of being a boat owner again.  I have been suffering from allergies that I could not kick but it may have been bronchitis or a case of pnemonia.  After a quick trip to a local doctor I started to feel better and after taking bendryl and a inhaler the malady seemed to loose its grip on me.  I have felt better and not so tired for the past three days and this allowed me to write much delayed entry.

Inspiration II was not ready for the water on our arrival and still sits on the hard in the Holland Marine yard. To date, we have had the deck repaired, new SS prop shaft with dripless seal installed and repair of the three water strainers is in process.  W have paid for most of it but the next installment will be due soon. Our first installment was $6500 and I expect the next to be much less than that.  That should get us into the water and hopefully before Christmas.  We plan to spent Christmas with Martha in St. Petersburg for a few days and then return to the boat before New Years.

I have spent the past two days polishing Stainless Steel on the boat.  A patina of rust had developed on the railings and stanchions over the last years? the previous owner had her.  I did manage to polish the dingy davits and some portions of the aft railing. I have to say it looks good thanks to the polish I found at Advance Auto: The name is Blue Magic, s blue colored cream paste that has a smell of ammonia. I must say it really works well.  However, it still takes a little muscle power.  It is very gratifying work.

Today, I hooked up the ground and turned on the DC power to the boat and checked the bilge pump which hummed away nicely.  Then I tried the radio which also worked.  As we were leaving the boat near dark, I wanted to check the nav lights but forgot so that will be another day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day 1: Indiana

We arrived back at home about 1630 hrs local

Of batteries and other things

Snuggled in the house battery tray are four 12VDC wet cell batteries and all were discharged to 5VDC± when I arrived at the boat.  So I tried to charge to charge them one at a time and all responded the same way: the voltage from the charger slowly ramped up and a pretty much steady charge current resulted that was around 7.5A.  There was water on the plates of the battery I checked. This tells me that one or more cells are dead based on past experience. The same thing happened to the start battery but it is an AGM so it must be shot too.

Now comes the big question.  Should I buy 4 12VDC batteries or should I buy 4 6VDC batteries? The 12 VDC batteries are rated for 75AH which gives me 300 AH capacity in a parallel mode.  The 6VDC golf cart batteries would be rated at 450AH in a series 6+6 mode at 225AH and with two of these in parallel it gives the 450AH.

The 6VDC golf cart batteries are about the same length but the width is about 0.25" wider.  The big difference is the height of approximately 11.25".  After careful measurement I believe it is possible to fit the four T-105 golf cart batteries into the battery box.  I think I like the idea of the golf cart batteries

Boat almost buffed

Today we almost finished half of the starboard side of the boat.  Sunday we finished the port side but it was less weathered and easier to hand rub the finish with 3M Restorer.  This evening my neck is a bit stiff from the circular movement for several hours.  SAM made a great dinner and we enjoyed it inside the RV we have been living in.

It appears it might be several weeks before we splash since SAM want to be done with her bright work first.  We are making progress with various tasks.  Yesterday, Monday, we mapped the battery connections end to end.  This involved cutting a bunch of zip ties and contorting ones self into the engine compartment.  Now we know the schematic we can modify it if we want to change to 4 - 6VDC golf cart batteries.

We are becoming sceptical since everything we touch needs repair and the task is almost overwhelming plus expensive.  Oh well, we did not want to cruise this year anyway.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

When Posts are few and far between

We are here in Florida and the weather has been cool to cold up here in Jacksonville.  The boat was not ready when we arrived but we added a few jobs and found a lot more work to do.  That is why my posts will be few and far between.  I suspect this may continue for the next month.

Today we spent the whole day hand polishing the port side of the boat.  We were almost finished but it started raining and getting colder and we terminated the day with about 8' to go.  Tomorrow forcast is not that good either so we may work below decks.

I charged the batteries again with the same results: the battery voltage is about 12.7 unloaded.  The cells were bubbling away and the charge voltage of 13.35 VDC @ 8 amps continous.  To me that means the batteries are bad.  Now to find batteries.

I was going to change to golf cart batteries but may put 12VDC batteries in instead.  I am doing research now.