Posts Tagged ‘Seafrost’

I’m Not Dead Yet!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

I know it’s been a bit since my last post. Sorry. I’ve gotten wrapped up in a long tomb of books; the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Each book in this damn series is 300k  + words long and there are something like 14!  I’m on book 13 and the good news / bad news is that the last one will not be published till Jan of ’13!

Besides that we’ve been struggling with the refrigeration system. For those bored with sitting at a desk and want to see what real world problem solving is like they can read the discussion.

And while I may have a bad compressor I’m still learning about the system and will know more when this issue is finished. Maybe I’ll end up as our friends on  Infini did and just switch it all out for two simple evaporator plate systems. Who knows. But I hate, HATE, HATE, admitting that I made such a grave error in outfitting the boat that we’ll end up discarding this “Gold Plated” holding plate system from Sea Frost and switch. The other option is to get  really large evaporator plate from Dole and replace the smaller one in the freezer with some dead space under it. Then the inside wall of the freezer would all be holding plate and maybe, just maybe, I could get down to running the generator once / day. Maybe!

Speaking of; while evaporator plates are much simpler and demand much less peak energy to run although close to the same daily amount,  they tend to have electronic modules that can be harmed by close  lightening strikes. So as in all things yachting. There are compromises.

Two projects I”m working on to share with the boat community and friends: 1) Awnings, and 2) Costs.  I hope to have them completed sometime this month and posted. Cruising costs are always available on my website and usually don’t end up more then 4 months behind.

Anyway, W/’s been working on bulk photos and has put them up on her  Facebook photos. They are:  Sapzurro Colombia, Spring Summer 2012, , Isla Pinos, Hike with Lisa, Tigre Revolution Reinactment, Grouper Tail, and Carti to Panama City. Those are for public viewing so you may check all out that your heart desires.

And while we hang out here in Puerto Lindo we do have much easier access to the civilized population areas of Panama and a 3G cell phone network which we’ve enjoyed. It’s almost like being in a modern Westernized Country. Almost…..

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Addendum: Received and email from svReach concerning the lightening and refrigeration systems. He’d been struck last year; with a great deal of elecrtrical damage and yet had no damage to his refrigeration system. Further several boats here on the N Coast of Panama had been struck and only one had a refrigeration issue. Mark (from svReach)  had indicated that about 10 years ago the manufactures all switched to using the Danfoss system and the Danfoss control boards. Those boards are in a grounded Aluminum box and thus maybe better able to handle  Electrical Magnetic Pulses better then any of the old styles. However;  he also indicated that he carries a spare board just in case!

Share

Throwing Money

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Two steps forward; one back! Yeah, that would be nice. Some days I actually feel like it’s two steps back and one forward.  Today’s been one of those days.  We had sent the refrigeration motor off to get “refurbished”. Came back; installed everything. Motor still becomes very  hot. It did however run  better. But the motor got very, I mean, very hot, hot enough to melt the insulation off the wires. I upped the wire size to 8 AWG and reconnected the motor. Keates (our Trini refrigeration expert) asked us to wait for him before running it. We did. He checked everything out and the motor still became hot. It would run for an hour or so and I’d have to shut it down because it was approaching 200 degrees F.  Yep; close to boiling water! He contacted the rewinders and they said the motor was “good”. Funny; it still gets hot. Keates concluded it was in the brushes. He’d look for some new brushes on the island  or ones that could be adapted and I wouldn’t run it so long as to avoid heating  up and burning up the motor.  We limped along for a week or so thus. Finally, Keates thought he had some brushes that would work. He came by this am and tried and tried and we couldn’t get them to work. We ended up

Missing Motor

Missing Motor

concluding that the motor needs to be removed; again, and so we did. Upon removal of the motor we placed it on the table for examination.  We discovered that the brush housing for one side moved. The top of the housing wasn’t secure! I firmly remember the rewinders saying something about that and yet they didn’t do anything.  Shame on them.  Keites took the motor saying he would have it fixed and back to us Tuesday. Hopefully then we’ll be back in business.

Our Ground Tackle

Our Ground Tackle

While we’re figuring out the big projects we chip away at the little ones. We flipped our anchor chain end for end to even the wear. The galvanization is off of one end and I hope to get it regalvanized in Columbia. We also switched anchors and moved the XYZ to the 100′ chain, 200′ line rode and the big CQR to the all chain rode. (After more research the XYZ I’ve discovered that it likes lower scope for resetting and that’s my experience too in the first set. With too much scope out and trying to reset the anchor it will turn on it’s side and drag.  I need to have the shank lifted some for the tip to bite. Once set however it holds better then a Mac truck.)

In the mean time I was taking apart the Oberdorfer water pump that was on the Aquamarine Generator.  The front bearing (on the back of the water pump was grinding). I hoped I could shove some grease in there and stop the grind. I tried. I did get the grease shoved in there but the grinding still persisted. I tore it open to

Base Oberdorfer Pump

Base Oberdorfer Pump

find the bearings and the retaining ring working against each other.   Often in paradise there are people that have figured out how to make anything work.  But here I was out of luck.  I emailed Aquamarine and Dan suggested I eliminate the water pump and put in an electric. He’d mentioned that in his newer units that was what he was doing, so OK, I’ll do that but how do I run the refrigeration compressor?  I needed the bottom pulley.  Eventually after trying to do some of the leg work myself; I skyped Aquamarine and talked to him. He could make a new top plate for the diesel that would fit the compressor, give me two belts and a new water pump. Viola’ !  He could send it out today if I gave him the approval and that we did. So we have a fix coming our way….. Hopefully.

A month earlier we had ordered a new holding plate for the freezer. Yesterday I picked up the plate.  Instead of all 1/2″ tubing there is one set of 1/2″ and one set of 3/8″ tubing. Back to the phone (Skype) and calling Seafrost. Remember they made our original stuff and the entire system is Seafrost.  Ok; I didn’t send him everything on every part of the plate that they made that I had bought from them when we were refurbishing the boat. That may be a lesson learned. No detail is too small to report.  (Other cruising friends said they once ordered a part for replacement – with the exact part number they ordered the part, believe it or not  the company had changed the part numbers and the part they received had the correct part number but was the wrong part – go figure.) Anyway I spoke to Cleave at Seafrost and he said to let him know what fittings I needed to be able to adapt to the 3/8″ tubing and to fit the plate first in series  He would send them out Monday. I’ve emailed him the info and hopefully we’ll have everything we need to make the change somewhere down the road.

Who say’s “Throwing money at something won’t fix it!”  They’ve never been on a boat in a semi remote place trying to get everything back working again!  We’ve thrown money at these two problems. We’ll let you know what works and what doesn’t.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

Beating Depression

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I was depressed some.  Maybe overly pessimistict would be a fine description too.  Years ago a peer in college gave Joe (another old friend from college) and I a cartoon. Two monks held tablets with descriptions. One description said  “The World is going to End Tomorrow”, the other “The World’s Never Going to End”.  At the bottom of the cartoon was the comment; “One’s an optimist and one’s a pessimist but I don’t know which is which”.  Guess I’m a little of both. Nothing beats being depressed like activity. By doing something one doesn’t have time to sit and think. So to that end I actively began the process of fixing the DC refrigeration.
First I had emailed the owner of Seafrost and he had replied to me the following day. As I could only get ideas from him I needed someone locally. Randy on Sea Otter had used a refrigeration guy in Trinidad and I picked up his contact info and the following day (Monday) call Keith  (pronounced Kiet – Islanders don’t seem to pronounce the H in words ie Math is Mats) . Fortunately Keith wasn’t immediately involved in a project and was able to come within the hour. He looked over the situation and I described to him what I had done, showed him the picture of the wires and the conclusion was we needed to remove the unit. Damn!  (Seems that word is becoming a permanent part of my cruising repertoire).

So we disconnected two water hoses, two refrigerant lines  (after removing the refrigerant), unbolted, and then off loaded the unit.  We looked inside the motor via the brush covers  to a cave covered with carbon and where the brushes were connected the wire insulation already beginning to melt! Keith suggested an electrical guy on the other side of the bay. One reason we’ve hired Keith is that he’ll know all the local contacts and save me a great deal of time and hopefully aggravation in trying to correctly source these individuals / companies.  The first stop was a bust. The shop basically did parts installs on motors. Oh, he could identify problems; but, then he would order the part and install it. Hell, mostly I could do that! He also said that he couldn’t even get to opening it up further till about Thursday or Friday 🙁 . We took the unit back and went to another source Keith knew. Into Diago Martin for a IMHO a real shop. Keith took me on a trip towards the Port O Spain where we turned off the highway towards the interior of Trinidad. There we wound through several streets and turned into an alley filled with various industrial shops. Finally, a shop I believed would be exactly what I needed. In there I saw that employees  were rewinding various sizes of motor  amateurs. They took a look at the motor. In it they identified that one of the brush holders was loose and most likely lost a rivet that helped hold it on, and in the bottom of the motor under the brushes there is what looked like  1/2 of a fan!  No way, no how could I have fixed that on the boat.  So there we left the motor and compressor with Keith’s phone number taped to it. I’m expecting to have it back in our hands later this week or early next week. If we’re lucky it will be installed sometime next week. Till then we’re running an ice chest (borrowed from Early Out) and lugging ice to the boat to keep things cool.

On to other projects, we had ordered some Lip Seals for the the water pump. I checked the tracking and they’re finally shown to be in Chag.  I went to Customs; and they can’t find the package.  I came back to the boat and checked the tracking data and found that it said they had delivered the package to the front desk of our marina!  I went there and luckily the package was there. On our list now is finishing up the generator (redoing the gasket on the coolant chamber, replacing the lip seal on the water pump, replacing the bolts on the pully-water pump with hex heads), replacing some wire on the DC refrigeration, sealing the brown boot strip on the hull, and several other small projects.

And of some of the finished projects, here too is a pic of our new “Crew” cushion covers.  Alpha Canvas did a fantastic job in making the new covers and putting in new foam.  We’re quite happy with them.

New Cushion Covers

New Cushion Covers

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

Bummed in Paradise

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I know. Sounds weird doesn’t it. Yesterday I was quite depressed. I figure that’s really normal. I subscribe to the concept that for every Great day I’m going to have a “S—-y” day. Yesterday took a couple of  S—–y days off my bill.

We tried running the DC 5000 in the am and it began to over heat.  Shut it down and hoped that maybe the issue was partially because the holding plates were so iced up. We stepped back, took a deep breath,  and defrosted the plates in the freezer and the refrigerator.  Once done we tried the 5000 again and the motor began to warm up  (170 degrees) and slow down.  I wasn’t happy.

We’d just finished installing the new VHF and the new Battery Charger. Both of us were planning on a low work day, Wendy playing the Train Domino game and I playing chess while doing nothing else the rest of the day. It just wasn’t to be.

I encouraged W/ to go play while I began to investigate – take apart the motor. Inside I found wires that were melting. Oh – Oh.  I began to replace them. I

Insulation Not Good

Insulation Not Good

checked the brushes, they seemed ok and put it all back together.  It worked!  Hooray! She then left to play while I started up the compressor and watched.  All worked well for an hour or so then the motor began to reheat again!  Need I tell you my thoughts?  Shut it down and investigate. I emailed Cleave at Seafrost (yeah I know it was Sunday). I pulled out the brushes and discovered that one brush seemed to be binding. Sand the edges and try again.  It works!  But only for about 15 minutes before it begins again to over heat. Depression.

I feel like the longer we stay at the dock the more things go awry. We’re trapped!  I understand how some boats and the people on them become permanent riff raff on docks. They’re scared to leave. I’m hoping that once all the planets become aligned and all the systems on our boat work again we’ll be able to make it to Cartegena, Columbia without any major difficulty.

Now too, remember; we have redundancy in our systems. We have a generator that has a refrigeration compressor on it.  Oops, Generator is down too. Waiting on one part (a Lip Seal) so the water pump won’t leak water anymore.  Since that too is down. We’re scraping the bottom by having to use ice to cool anything off. Of course that will I’m sure mean a few more meals out. Both a good and bad thing. Trinidad is quickly draining our resources. We need to go anchor with everything working!

On top of all this happening, W/’s  birthday is just around the corner. Remember; last year it took me a few hours to remember to wish her a happy birthday and I caught a close glimpse of Hades for such a thoughtless lapse in the chronological order. So this year I’m hoping we have nothing major occur (nothing more major then what’s been happening) and I wake up and remember.  I’m going to try to leave myself some notes the night before – or maybe two days before, and I’m hoping Facebook too reminds me.  We’ll see if I can survive the issues on the boat and the upcoming celebration of the day.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share

Workin In Trini

Friday, August 20th, 2010

We’re here in Trinidad and we’re starting to work on items from our list. First and foremost was getting all our ducks in a row.  We’ve been running around ordering supplies, and making commitments to pay local contractors. We’ve hired Shawn at Cruise Inn for a few days. He cleaned and polished the Stainless Steel for us and did an awesome job so we’ve hired him for two more days to sand / prep all the teak for us to varnish. We use Signature Honey Teak Varnish and it lasts for a good year in the tropics, a year before we need to re-coat.  Thank you Don and Terri on Salty Dog (they’ve since sold the boat) for pushing us so hard to use Honey Teak.

We’ve ordered a new battery charger (Victron 80 amp) to replace the damn lousy Prosine 2.0 we have. The inverter still works on the Prosine so we’ll keep that in place  till it craps out too.  I was always leery of having two critical units (inverter and charger) stuffed into one package but ended up being talked into it at the Miami Boat Show by the now defunct Jack Rabbit Marine out of Annapolis.  I guess live and learn is what I need to say but I don’t seem to be learning fast enough to outlive all my mistakes. 🙂

We ordered a new larger holding plate for our freezer. Here too I had gone to a local refrigeration company to discuss with them the refrigeration / freezer setup we were interested in installing. (That company too isn’t in business anymore but Seafrost the company that manufactures the parts still is).  They (both Seafrost and the local company)  talked me into two plates in the freezer which was a good thing; but, the second plate is just too small. We don’t have near enough holdover in our freezer. So we’ve ordered another larger plate,  twice the small size that I’ll be able to “drop” in (meaning very little plumbing work).  Of course I’ll need to recharge both systems (the DC side and the engine driven side)  but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We’ve ordered a new WiFi setup. Can’t seem to have too many of those as options no matter where we’re are it seems like one setup works better then the other. What this new one will do is allow W/ and I to be online at the same time easily, and we’ll be able to connect our iTouch and iPhone to the internet too. We’ll see if my dreams equal reality.

I bought a torque wrench. When I redo the gasket on the generator I need to accurately torque the bolts down properly. I bought new stronger then SS bolts for the job. I bought some new gasket material so I won’t be using the cork.

Bad Place

Bad Place

W/ and I redid the exhaust / cooling plumbing for the generator. If you’re an active reader of our blog you may  remember the water pump  was dripping on the electrical connections for the regulator and the temp sensor. The salt water would short out the temp sensor and I would get a “hot” idiot light lit.  I shot the engine with the infrared sensor we keep on board and the engine was running at the correct temperature so we  continued to use it, but I hate, Hate, HATE, when things aren’t working right. So the sensors are moved and in the process we’ve moved the heat exchanger higher  so hopefully no air can be trapped in the cooling chamber of the engine. I’m not real fond of plumbing and electrical work yet  it seems that to cruise I’m just going to have to accept that curse!

Not sure if I mentioned this; but the wooden cutting boards we had installed as tops on the freezer and refrigerator began to warp! In Antigua we had removed and re-glued the freezer top and about a month later it began to bow upward. DAMN!  So we’ve contracted with Same Crew a woodworking company that does Meganite work and they’ll be making two new tops for us as well as repairing the damage the cruise ship caused us in the US and the damage we had from the trip to Trinidad. I would have done most of the woodwork myself but on a boat one just doesn’t have all the tools needed. It is one of the extra costs of cruising.

Port Of Spain

Port Of Spain

We’ve also contacted and contracted with Alpha Canvas products to make another set of interior cushion covers, to make new covers for our cockpit cushions, to make a new forward awning and to do some repairs to our main awning.  Yesterday we went with Julie from Sea Otter to the Port of Spain to look for fabric for the interior cushions.  In the past we’ve been in fabric stores

Rolls N Rolls

Rolls N Rolls

and they’ve  had 1,000’s of samples to choose from and always said “We can get it”.  Here in Trinidad  they didn’t have the samples, they had the bolts of fabric, there wasn’t any “We can get it”, it was, “We have it” and if that’s not enough I’m sure we have more upstairs.” What a delight; what a pain! A delight that indeed they we wouldn’t have to wait; a pain in that there are TOO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM. Fortunately we had Julie and believe it or not I tried ( I swear I did), I tried to stay out of the decision as much as possible. We’ve chosen a bold (bold to us) floral pattern for the new covers inside

10 Percent of Store

10 Percent of Store

and possible a third set of with a party favors pattern. The party favors pattern may or may not get made here; we’ll see what any extra cost is. The new forward awning is going to set higher giving us better use of the foredeck and hopefully reducing the sail effect of any wind catching it. The new covers on the cockpit cushions will be out of a close weave Textilene. This fabric is PVC coated and will breath so we won’t have to always move and dry the cushions as it rains. And it still is raining quite a bit. It will be I believe a Moss Green; similar to our interior cushions that you never see! 🙂

We’ve ordered another March Pump. I’ll use the pump as replacement parts. I don’t remember if I mentioned a screw that came out of one. It’s I believe Al and I can’t get a replacement here. The screw slowly worked its way out and actually ended up wearing on the ends and looks like it’s tapered!

We’ve ordered spares for our Obendorfer waterpump that’s on the generator. It’s where I was so frustrated in Rodney Bay having to rebuild it there. It still leaks some so now I’ll have all the “correct” parts and be able to stop the water entering the boat! I don’t like water in the boat. I don’t like water in the boat. I don’t like water in the boat!  I’m saying that 3 times like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz hoping my dream of no water in the boat will come true. 🙂

We hope this weekend to begin some of the varnishing. W/ and I’ll do that. Then we’d like to be finished varnishing  by next week.

Next week I get to see about having some bronze bases made for the Lavac Heads. We’ve cracked both ours (guess I’m a little too heavy)? I’ve fixed them with JB Weld (a great boat product) and they seem to be holding fine but I would like a permanent fix. Then I need to begin re-plumbing the aft head and making a shorter hose run from the head to the pump and overboard.  Remember in Antigua one day it stopped pumping and when I finally found the clog it was all the calcite from the urine saltwater mixture that had created a solid; well almost, blockage in the lowest part of the hose.

I’m expecting to have the boat hauled for a couple of weeks and during the time of drying out any  moisture that made it to  the laminate from the nick we put somewhere around Antigua, we’re looking forward to doing some of the Trinidad tourist stuff.

Anyway; talking to Julie we too discovered that the main VHF on the boat isn’t functioning as it should. We can send and people seem to hear us, but we don’t hear their reply. The AIS is working fine, power to that unit is good and I’m getting information from the antenna, but I’m not getting any voice to the VHF unit. I’m now adding that to our “need to do now” list. I’ve gone and ordered a piece of  VHF coax to see if taking the AIS out of the loop doesn’t solve it. Then I’ll try an emergency antenna to make sure the unit works fine.  Oh well!  As they so often say and I’m doing my best to not believe it: Cruising is simply working on your boat in exotic places!

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Share