Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Solar setup on boat

I'll probably add a solar setup this year and take advantage of the federal tax credit on the total cost. It will likely consist of Davits (a rear platform to mount the panels), 600W of Solbian high efficiency solar panels on the davits, Victron Multiplus hybrid invertor/charger, Victron MPP solar controllers and 800aH of lithium batteries also by Victron likely. Looking for someone to do the work now. I'll likely look at someone in Annapolis. By putting it all in at once, that gets me the credit against all that work is the plan.

Boat insurance dropped price beside of new marina

I had to add the Liberty Marina so my boat insurance to rent the slip. My boat was previously registered with BoatUS (GEICO basically) as located at the broker (Riverside Marina in Riverside, NJ). Happily, my premium dropped 300 dollars when I did this so basically it's 1500 a year right now.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Secured a slip close to office for first year

I've arranged an all year slip for the boat at Liberty Marina in Jersey City. It's right beside my office and I can keep the boat in the water all year round, they run bubblers in the winter. I'm having a Webasto 5.5kw diesel heater installed on the boat in preparation for the NJ/NY winters. Thats a 18k BTU unit with 6 outlets so it should be enough. The slip was basically 12k a year with direct billed electricity on top. Sewage is free and water is free. I'm planning on staying quite a bit on the boat which will help shorten my commute enormously, 15 minutes rather than an hour or more some times. Plus, I can go for runs around Liberty state park so I'm looking forward to using that time saved to run more. The slip includes two parking passes also so I can park my truck there year round while living aboard the boat.
Right now, the boat is having some equipment including the Webasto installed and should be delivered to the marina during the latter half of April.
This will allow me to get a lot more use out of the boat. I can use it like an apartment as well as go sailing after work during the summer evenings/weekends as well as fall/winter weekends also.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Second visit to boat after deposit

We went to see the boat again today in the yard and put down the remainder of the cash portion of the purchase price. I spent time on the boat, looking at the systems it ships with.

Electrical System

The boat has 1 service battery (for starting engine) and 4 house batteries for supplying 12VDC to the various systems on the boat. I think the batteries are AGM with 110aH so 440aH total meaning 220aH usable... The boat has a voltage isolator and a 60AMP charger. There is no invertor so none of the 110VAC devices will work unless we're on shore power. These devices currently include a microwave, two AC/heating units and the water heater. Nothing else needs 110VAC on the boat so far. Charging the batteries is done using the engine alternator or shore power. I'm not sure if the 60AMP charger I saw is just for shore power. The alternator may drive that also.

There is a small TV on a wall with it's own 400W invertor to power it.

I already own 2 Honda EU2000i generators. These can be used on the boat to charge batteries on the way. A 60AMP charger should pull around 900 watts (15V x 60) during peak charging. I'd prefer to run the generator closer to 1500 watts charging, it's more efficient.

It's not diesel so I'd need to store gasoline on the boat which I don't like. 5 gallons of gasoline though is a lot of power. One of my EU2000i's is converted for propane and uses about 1lb of propane for 1kwh of power.

Our batteries are 4 x 110aH or 440Ah or 12V x 440aH = 5.2kwh. We can draw about 2.6kwh for 50% depth of discharge. That's 2.6lbs of propane to replace that power. I estimate that will take about 3 hours to charge. I have a test where 5 hours charged 4.4kwh or 880wh per hour with a 55amp charger in my house.

Navigation Equipment.

It has B&G gear, a Zues 2 9 inch screen outside, two small MFDs, an autopilot control and a VHF radio (V50). There is also a chain link counter and electric cutlass.

Refitting plan.

I will be living part time on this boat and sailing most evenings and weekends when weather is good. Staying on the boat cuts my commute to the office time from an hour each way to about 15 minutes. This is an expensive purchase so being able to sail it as often as possible and the commute time savings (an apartment in the city close to the office basically) is a big deal to me.

First purchases:

  • AIS Transmitter (B&G V50 is receive only)
  • EPIRB (ACR V4)
  • Life Raft (Viking 8 man)
  • Dry gear for working on deck. Probably Dry suits for the family.
  • Inmersat Phone dock (external aerial) with Satellite Wifi or just buy an Iridium Hotspot for about the same money for weather and email. I already own an inmersat satphone 2 and a satphone pro.
  • Self inflating life vests.
  • Drogue for emergency steering and slowing boat down in swell/heavy weather.
  • Self activating fire system for engine room.
  • Emergency hole plugging system.
  • Some kind of gasoline/propane/diesel high capacity pump, ~6000 gph.

I'm holding off on the following:

  • Victron Multiplus 12V/3000W/60AMP invertor/charger. This would allow batteries to supplement shore power and split the system so all A/C power comes from invertor/batteries and shore power normally just charges batteries. I own a Xantrex ProSine 1800 which would work well as an invertor but with only 200AH of usable power from current batteries, running 110VAC is prohibitive. 600aH total would give me 500aH usable which is over double my current aH.
  • Victron Lithiums with BMS to replace current batteries. When they wear out then I'll consider it and hopefully they will be cheaper then. They have 12V/200aH ones which I'm not sure will fit in current battery buckets.
  • Solar panels (300W at least).
  • Wind generator.
  • Fiberglass propane tanks.
  • SSB Radio and Pactor modem (I have an extra class ham license and a KX3 radio right now).
The current plan to receive the boat is late April. We want to do some serious sailing lessons with a captain once we get it also.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my HP Stream 13

My HP Stream 13 is a cheap laptop, 230 bucks even today. It's got a low powered CPU, 2GB of ram and a 32GB SSD. I was running Windows 10 on it but it's too much for a laptop of this spec. I decided to try Ubuntu Linux 16 on it instead. I've very pleased with the results. Installing it was pretty easy. Simply make a Ubuntu install USB key. Hit F9 when booting and pick the USB. I choose of full disk replace but didn't repartition. I used the 22gb partition as '/' and the 8GB partition as '/swap'.

A few minutes later and it boots right up in to Ubuntu. I set the Wifi and applied all the updates it asked for post install (July 2nd 2016). It's humming along nicely. As a consumption device, it works very well. I installed Chrome instead of the supplied firefox as Amazon video won't work on Firefox. Chrome is also smoother to use, scrolling through a page with the track pad is noticeably better with Chrome than Firefox.

The only problem so far is the Wifi sometimes does not work after waking up the laptop from sleep. The fix for this is to reset the network manager with a sudo command and it starts working again.

"sudo systemctl restart network-manager.service"

So, overall, it's an upgrade. I feel I can wring another couple of years at least out of this laptop running Ubuntu. Battery life seems about 6 hours so thats ok.

I'm writing this blog on the Stream BTW. Works very well.