Blog

Well, this is kinda a blog - Or rather it is a random collection of thoughts written down as they come to mind.

25 Feb 2016

Once again time flies and I've forgotten to update this Blog. I've installed half the cleat backings and taken the headsail off for the winter. A bunch of other things have been done but it is easy to forget what they were. I've ordered a serpentine pulley set from S & W Diesel. We will see how it works. I did spend some time looking over the available sets from Balmar, TAD etc and decided to go with the least expensive. There is a lack of info and offerings for a Perkins 4.236... They all appear to be custom rather than off the shelf. I would have rather have a 10 groove serpentine belt but 6 groove (K6) are more common than the 10 groove J10. My alternator is just 100 amps and will be fine with a K6. Balmar does offer the AT-160 alternators in both K6 and J10. If the K6 works out I may spring for the AT-160 at a later date and put my 91-100 into spares.

More on that when the parts come in. I've made a youtube channel and will try to make some videos of the project.

21 Oct 2015

So many minor projects have been completed. I might as well as list a few.

Morgan is 40 years old and when she was made the shower pan was set in some kind of resin. The floor under the pan had a hole cut in it for the drain sump (about 6" in diameter) and the resin placed on the floor then the pan set in it. The excess resin flowed out and some of it squeezed out and dropped through the cutout hole and thus landed against the hull under the shower. This doughnut of resin has been there for the last 40 years and had not caused any problems. In the intervening years the drain hose has fallen off the shower sump fitting and shower water just poured onto the hull and made its way to the bilge. This could not be! Laying on my side I was able to reach up past the prop shaft from the engine room and get a hold of the shower drain. A new fitting was installed and new hose run to the engine room. But the pile (and it did look like a BIG dog pile) bothered me. Just who I am. It sat there for 40 years and here I was with a crowbar whacking at it. Of course it never really had a chance to bond to the hull so it was relatively easy to break off chunks that came away from the hull rather cleanly. No more pile and I feel quite good about it.

Now that I have the pile gone and a drain hose running into the engine room from the shower I'll have to get busy and install a shower sump with pump. I just don't want shower water and all that flowing into the bilge.

The companion way ladder has had its feet warn down a bit. There are fittings on the cabin sole to stabilize the ladder that over the years have eaten into the ladder. This project was to fill the ladder feet with SIX-10 epoxy and then sand it into shape. I like SIX-10 as that it does not run and is easy to apply for small projects like this. take the ladder off and turn upside down then fill the worn parts and fair. Let is set then sand it to shape and lastly drill a hole to allow the ladder feet to be pinned to the cabin sole. The biggest problem was to remember that there was no companion way steps to enter the boat on while the epoxy was setting. I'll have to get a photo.

The bow and stern mooring cleats were removed and the deck drilled and filled with epoxy ages ago when I first bought the boat. They were mounted with some 1" fender washers to spread the load over a greater area. This summer I started installing 1/4" x 4" x 8" aluminum backing plates to really spread any loads to the deck. It really would be bad to have a cleat pull out of the deck in a blow. The first step is to take the cleat off and then fair the underside of the deck to as flat as you care to. Then using SIX-10 epoxy the plate was placed into position, faired and the epoxy was allowed to set. Using the existing holes on deck the holes were drilled all the way through the backing plates. Be sure to put something under the plate to catch the droppings. Lastly the cleats were coated with sealant and screwed in place. Once the sealant set the cleat nuts were tightened (while not allowing the bolts to turn) to compress the sealant. Of course I'm only half done having only finished the starboard side.

The bow light hangs from the top of the bow pulpit frame. The wire was run through the frame and down into the boat. This was a retrofit from the original teardrop shaped bow lights in the hull. An Aquasignal 40 housing was used. The problem is that the hole into the frame has sharp edges and I suspect that it would eventually cut into the power wire for the bow light. Plus this hole allowed for the ingress of water into the frame and could lead to corrosion and failure of the frame. I pulled the wire and squirted epoxy into the hole in the frame. This is intended to seal the frame and to add a little strength where the hole was drilled. From there I ran a new power cable from the light on the outside of the frame and down to the deck where a Blue Sea cable clam was installed. I really do not mind running wire on the outside of the pulpit frame. It allows inspection and repair with relative ease and the cable clams are quite waterproof. Of course the hole in the deck was drilled and filled to be sure that water could not get into the deck core.

I took the time to pull everything out of the lazarette and washed years of gunk off the inside of the hull. Then a few coats of white Bilgecoat later the lazarette is nice and shiny.

I decided to replace all the incandescent cabin lamps with LED. It turns out that there were a number of different sockets in the cabin lights. I sourced various LED bulbs form a number of different sources and in most cases going for lower priced LED where it appeared to be the same as the "name" brand. There were 13 round fixtures with red and white bulbs. The 2 heads had 4 halogen fixtures and I found MR11 LED bulbs for at my local hardware store and about 1/3 the marine store costs. A few festoon fixtures in odd places and things were looking bright. I did buy 16' of white LED strip straight from China along with 8' of red. These strips can be cut with scissors to make up any length that you need. The strips have an adhesive back which make mounting easy. But not wanting to have to destroy the LED strip if I ever have to remove it I bought a length of plastic molding from my local hardware store. Then pulled the adhesive backing off and mounted the LED to the mounding. That molding was then screwed in place to give an east to remove LED light. Now the galley has plenty of white light and too much red. Time to reduce the red intensity. Lastly I installed 2 4' white led strips in the engine room. When on it draws about 4.5 amps but the engine room is as bright as daylight. You can see everything. A bit of heaven when working on the engine. By the way, on Morgan the engine room is huge.

The engine start battery failed to start the engine in the spring. It was at least 5 years old if not more. This time around I decided to replace it with an AGM battery. I do have a LiFePO4 house bank and the charging system is setup for LiFePO4. The voltages are not compatible with AGM and thus I bought a Xantrex TrueCharge2 10 amp charger to service the start battery. I'm currently using an older 10 amp Xantrex charger for the windlass battery up in the bow with good success to a sealed lead acid battery. I'll likely replace the windlass battery with an AGM when it starts getting old and also upgrade to the new TrueCharge 2 there as well. The TrueCharge2 has much better indicator lights than the older unit. The idea is that after starting the engine or using the windlass you run the inverter for a while to allow the chargers to bring the batteries back up to full charge. Each start or windlass usage does not take very meny amp hours and thus a half hour charging on the inverter will top off the batteries. It is subject to human error but can work well even with the extra loss in the inverter stage. Plus the wore forward (at 120 volts AC) is much smaller that running 2/0 wire from the house bank to the windlass.

I've been running 700 AH of LiFePO4 batteries for the house bank for over a year now. I really like the flat curve on discharge and huge capacity that the bank has. I'll have to put up a real page on the house bank soon. I had the alternator wired to the main 12 volt distribution buss but that meant that there was some voltage drops in the circuit when charging that caused the 100 amp alternator to only output 70 amps and taper to 50 amps pretty quickly. the "solution" was to rewire the alternator output and ground cables to go directly to the house bank (through the proper fuses etc). Currently I'm using a Balmar 91-100 alternator with a MC-612 regulator. This regular has a voltage sense input that allows the alternator to put out whatever voltage it needs to so as to have the proper charge voltage at he battery. In my case bulk at 13.9 volts, absorption at 13.8 and float at 13.2. This rewire when from a 10' run each way from the alternator to the battery to a 3' each way to the battery with the charge voltage sensed at the battery. The end results is that I get 80 amps into the house bank with no dropping off till the battery is nearly 100% SOC. 80 amps is pretty much what I wanted to limit the alternator to given that it has only a single 1/2" vee belt and that this is 80% of its capacity and it runs at about 215 degrees and "should" be able to do the full time without burning the alternator out. Someday I will upgrade to a Balmar AT-165 with a serpentine belt.

As long as I was working on the alternator I spent some time to top balance the house bank. Under heavy charge (100 amps from the inverter/charger) each of the cells voltages rise a different rates. This is caused by differences in the internal resistance and ability to accept charge in the cells. I am using 4 large (700 ah) cells and it has been suggested for mechanical reasons that it wouldbe better to keep the maximum cell size to 200 Ah each. With smaller cells one could do a better job of matching cells so as to have each "cells" voltage rise at the same rate. Sounds desirable to me.

Our rebranded "no-name" Chinese RIB decided to open a seam after 4 or 5 years use. I ended up picking up one of those tin cans with PVC repair kit inside. The can keeps everything sealed and pristine. I set to work and re-sealed the seam and took care of a small hole as well. Then with plenty of fresh PVC glue I went after the many holes in our older Zodiac Zoom inflatable. Both boats hold air now - with the Zoom still having a tiny leak that I have not found yet. It will hold air all day and gets soft over 24 hours. Quite usable. The RIB holds air pretty much like new. I like the flat bottomed Zoom more than the RIB due to the stability of the flat bottom when fishing with my wife from it. One sits onthe tube aft and the other on the tube forward. With the flat bottom even with an inflatable keel the Zoom is very stable. The RIB with its Vee in the bow tends to roll around a bit when sitting on the forward tube. In any case I'll likely sell both the Zoom and RIB and replace with new shortly.

1 May 2015

Looks like it is time to get around to updating this website. The older site filed and the server was moved around, now it is sitting behind a firewall on a virtual machine with a Mikrotik router doing its thing.

21 Feb 2014

Where are we? As the few of you who have visited these pages at one time in the past know the Morgan le Fay website burnt to the ground and this is the effort of recreating it. Actually not a recreation as a starting fresh, adding new content as well as resurrecting some of the old. Bear with us as we plod along.