Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Back flowing electric toilets and fix

Both my quiet flush jabsco toilets have leaks waste in to the bowls basically since I got the boat. This is the most annoying thing since the holding tank leak. I purchased the minor service kit for my electric toilets and swapped only the joker valves. This wasn't so bad.
First, put a lot of fresh water in the bowl and flush it. Jeanneau actually has what seems like a good design here. They use a second joker valve above the standard toilet one. This is supposed to lower the pressure on the toilet joker but also means when you disconnect the hose at the toilet then you don't get the whole pipe contents spilling on the floor.

Anyway to cut a long story short, the valve were pretty easy to swap out but a little boat yoga is required as the screws are tricky to get at. The replacement joker valves worried me as I'd read that if you can see any light through them at all then get them replaced but both jabsco and both said that's rubbish and I gotta say after 2 weeks of using the valves that I could see through that they are right. The toilet backflow is much improved. The valves I took out had maybe 1/4 inch of a gap, and the new ones looked much better.

The toilets basically are fixed. I come back to the boat now and the toilet water is the correct color :)
Standard valve on bottom.
Aft toilet

Monday, July 30, 2018

Fuel tank level NMEA sensor installation attempt #1

The fuel level sensor that comes with the boat is pretty inaccurate. I'd only trust it to tell me the tank is either full or empty and don't trust it for anything in between. The problem is the sensor is linear but the tank is irregular so the readings on the guage in the cabin are just plain wrong except when it's full or empty.
I purchased a Lowrance NMEA fluid level sensor. This attaches to the sender on the fuel tank and your NMEA bus. On my 439, there is a NMEA point just in front of the tank on the port side where the autopilot computer is mounted. You will need a sim-c to NMEA convertor cable and then it's pretty easy to install. I crimped some female spade connectors to the red and black wires, disconnect the stock wires from a plug on top of the tank, attach the new spades instead of boom, it's installed.
It gets picked up automatically by the chart plotter and I could configure it. You give it a name, provide the tank capacity and then you can look at the "data".
My tank is about 7/8 full, the sensor shows 33%. The problem is the sensor is configured for a US sensor which is 240 ohms empty to 33 ohms full. The sensor is not a US sensor, it's a European one. They decided to do 10 ohms empty, 180 ohms full. So, 33% means 66.1 ohms (180-10)*.33+10. This translates to 33/(240-33) or  85% full with a US sender which is about right.
I just need to calibrate it which is a pain to do and it requires pumping out the diesel and then filling it carefully and clicking on a "calibrate" button on the plotter at various fill points and then it's pretty accurate. So, I removed it for now until I can do the calibration, back to engine hour counting...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Condensation under mattress and hypervent

I've been getting condensation under the fwd mattress when I sleep on the boat. The wood under the mattress gets pretty wet and I started lifting the mattress up during the day to let it dry. I tried using a flooring materiel between the wood and the mattress but while it kept the wood dry, it trapped the moisture between the sheet and the mattress so the mattress stayed wet.
I then purchased 14 ft (it's about 4ft wide) of hyper vent. This is a breathable "paper" with a stiff plastic weave about 3/4 inch thick underneath the paper. I cut this to fit the v-berth and tried it out. The mattress and the paper stay dry but the moisture still collects on the wood. I don't think I have enough air flow to move it away during the night.
So, I saw a video of a cat which had small circles cut all over the boards over the water tank and a small computer fan in the front panel to pull air out of that space under the bed. I think I'll try that next and hopefully that will fix it completely.

Friday, February 2, 2018

More webasto issues lead to adopting other measures

I'm continually getting trouble with my Webasto 5500 which won't stay on. It shutdowns randomly with either a F1 (mostly) and F2 code. The diesel tank is full with fuel from auto diesel stations. The trouble now is that the worst of the winter is still to come and my boat isn't winterized as I want to use it and live on it part time during this time.

Heating the boat without a diesel heater.

This basically means electric heat. The 439 has all A/C sockets on a single 15A ring/breaker. The micro wave is on the same ring. This means if we have a heater turn on then we need to turn it off while using the microwave.
We own 2 West marine 1500W heaters. They draw 10.3A maximum which is a long way from 1500W but that's another story. I can run both these heaters on the 15A ring at setting 3/4. This draws just under 7A per heater and results in more heat than one heater on 4/4 which draws 10.3A.
The water heater appears to be on its own 15A circuit also. This is shared with the battery charger I think which is a 60A unit. This means 6A is pushing full power. The water heater is plugged with a euro style plug in to a socket behind the galley couch back (beside the water manifold). I ran a heavy cable from there using a Euro to US adapter and this lets me run this ceramic heater instead of the water heater.
So, now we're at a 10A west marine heater and a 13A ceramic space heater. It isn't enough to keep the boat comfortable.
I realized that I'm not using half my boats power. The boat has 2 x 30A shore power cables. One is for the boat and the other runs the 3 A/C units on the boat. I unplugged the A/C shower power cable. On my Jeanneau, the cable is a 50A 125V ending. I had to buy a 50A 125 to 30A 125 pigtail. Then I purchased a 30A to 3x 15A 110V socket which is protected. I can run another space heater from that.
This puts me at a 10A, a 13A and another 10A.

Dedicated 400W engine compartment heater.

I also added a 400W 110V AC Caframo engine heater. This is a heater which turns on at 41F and turns off at 59F automatically. I installed it temporalily in the front of the engine compartment with zip ties for now. This should prevent the engine from having problems from the cold.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Webasto 5500 heater problems

This week, my Webasto stopped working. I noticed because the temps on my boat started dropping while I was at my house. I have a samsung smart things setup on the boat to monitor for leaks and temperatures in different parts of the boat (bow, aft, cabins, engine, fridge) which sends me alarms when it's cold.
When I got to the boat, there was plenty of diesel (1/2) but there was a flashing fault code on the control unit for the heater. I see 5 fast flashes and one long flash. The long one indicates the fault. One flash indicates "failure to start after 2 attempts". The manual indicates to restart the heater. I did that twice with the same result. Then I rebooted the boat (cycle 12V power) and got the same on the first try but it worked on the second try.
The boat then heated up but today, like 3 days later, same issue I think. Headed to boat today to figure it out and possible see if I need to decoke the heater or replace glow plugs.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter arrives

Winter came. It was down below zero F during the last weekend and I got to test out the heating setup on the boat. I have a dealer installed Webasto 5500 on the boat. The reverse cycle heat that I was using isn't working now that water temperatures are 37F which is too cold to make any heat. So, these are turned off now until the water gets above 40f again.

We knew the Webasto does not heat the boat uniformly. Most of its heat exits in the port AFT bedroom, the main toilet, the rest goes between the starboard AFT bed room and the main cabin. The forward toilet and the forward berth get almost nothing.
So, the forward cabin went down in to the low 30s. The main cabin is around 50 and the rear are around 55F. The engine compartment was in high 30s. I did remove both side inspection panels for the engine allowing some heat to enter the engine compartment.

I want to stay on the boat and this isn't enough heat for me. So, I purchased two Westmarine 1500W space heaters (99 bucks ea), one for fwd berth, one for main cabin.

These pull 10.6A at full power and 6.5A at 3/4 power. The Jeanneau has a single 15A circuit so I can't run both at 4/4 or run a microwave at same time either, its all on the same 15A circuit. I run them both at 3/4 each which is about a 13A draw,

The Westmarine heaters are not putting out the heat on the box, 10.6A is around 1166 watts, not 1500W.

Anyway, with the heaters and the Webasto, the boat is managing to keep 65-68F in the main cabin and 40s in fwd cabin so thats working for me. I sleep in the starboard AFT cabin which is cosy. The boat is warm enough to be in a t-shirt when its single digits outside.

BTW, opening the engine compartment results in a good cold draft (not good) from the rear of the boat in the main cabin. I ended up just removing one panel rather than both panels from each aft berth.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Added more wraps to main sail furler screw

When we furled in the main sail, it was touch and go whether we'd get the sail all the way in with just the UV cover showing. There was invariably some sail materiel showing outside the mast once the inhaul furling line reached the stop on the boom.
The furling line was also pulling on the bolt which attaches it to the furling unit, there were no wraps around the furler at this point, the line just came straight back from the furler.
Now, I was thinking I would add a couple of extra wraps on the furler when we drop the main sail but a neighbor on my dock said I should be able to do it without dropping the mainsail. Just pull the furling line through the deck and the blocks, then push the end around the furler unit a couple of times and then pull it back through the deck.
I did this last night and was careful to run a mouse line from the in haul line so I could pull it back again when I was done. It looks like this now
After adding 3 wraps
There were no wraps on the furler at all before I did this. The in haul line is pretty crappy, I don't believe it was new because it was pretty hard and has lost flexibility. I'll replace it soon. The other thing is that the line was already not long enough to get 3 wraps around the cabin winch so with these 3 wraps on the furler, that took maybe another foot out of it so the stopper knot almost meets the cabin top clutch for the in haul now. It definitely needs to be about 10 feet longer. I think this is why they rigged it the way they did. They seem to have had an odd piece of line which they used for the in haul and to have enough line at the winch, they didn't wrap the furler unit.

Anyway, it furls really easily now all the way in with no issues besides the in haul line stopper almost makes it to the clutch now but that's ok for now.