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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Good news bad news

October 30, 2014

This morning Melissa picked up the passports at the embassy with their newly added blank pages.  They are ridiculously thick now.

MacGyver began to debug the starter issue in earnest today.  A few days ago he determined that the reason we've had trouble with the starter since we bought the boat is because there is a voltage drop between the starter and the start key in the cockpit.  Figuring that maybe there was an issue with a lose connection somewhere in the circuit, he tried tracing out the wiring.  Alas it wasn't that simple.  After some head scratching he finally dug out the engine manuals and started reading.  Turns out that the recommended installation says that if the run between the starter and the start switch is more than 20 feet, that there should be a relay installed to ensure that the voltage applied to the starter solenoid is high enough.  But there's no relay in the circuit.  Dave rolls his eyes.  Whoever did the original installation probably thought that it worked well enough when all the wires and connections were bright shiny and new, but over time the long run of wires to the cockpit switch got to the point where the starter wouldn't work reliably.  Unfortunately we don't have any relays aboard of the right type.  But Dave had bought some solenoids for the wind generator installation project yet to be completed.  He had planned to use them to divert power from the wind generator to the hot water tank when the batteries are full.  But he figures they will work for the starter.  So he pulls them out and starts looking at them and thinking about how to wire one into the circuit.  While staring at the new solenoid, he remembers there is an unused old solenoid already in the electrical compartment mounted to the wall.  When we bought the boat the old solenoid was being used to combine the house and starter batteries together when the engine is running so they both get charged.  But Dave didn't like that design.  He changed the battery circuit so that the batteries are connected together whenever any charging source (generator, engine, solar) is engaged.  This left the old solenoid unused, and located in exactly the right spot to be wired into the starter circuit.

Dave connected it up, and voila!  The starter switch now reliably starts the engine.  

That was the good news.  Now for the bad news.  The generator part arrived late today - 4 days earlier than the earliest estimate the Kohler shop had given us.  We were super excited that maybe we'd have a working generator tonight - which means working refrigeration and dare we say it, air conditioning!  Alas when Dave installed the new voltage regulator the generator still won't run.  Dave's current theory is that when the voltage regulator blew out it took some diodes in the rectifier circuit with it.  Problem is that the rectifier circuit is inside the generator.  So tomorrow Dave will start tearing apart the generator itself.

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