Friday, October 18, 2013

Kintala's demented soul

I may ("May", I say) have to concede that Kintala has a soul after all. Working on the battery monitoring system this morning meant rewiring a good bit of the battery box. Doing that required shutting down the DC power system. Out of habit I shut down each individual circuit before switching off the main. When I snapped the "bilge pump" switch to "OFF" the switch toggle broke off and fell on the nav station. I swear it sounded just like a high pitched laughing cackle as it rattled to a stop.

Are you kidding me? What are the odds of that happening just at that moment? This boat has a soul all right; the soul of an evil practical joker, laughing with glee every time it hatches a prank that screws up the works.

So I got me a little screwdriver and snapped the switch back to the "ON" position. Under normal circumstances we never dis-arm that pump anyway. Just figure the switch is now "safetied" and the pump is hardwired to the battery. (This, in my humble opinion, is as it should be anyway.) Take THAT you demented little witch.

Other than this broken part (and having to run one more wire through the boat's innards) the rest of the day went well. By this evening the interior was all buttoned up; looking like a living space rather than a shop. And we could, with just the touch of a button, know the voltage on house and aux battery, amps going in or out, total amp hours used, total amp hours still available, and estimated hours left before the house battery needs charged. Yowza! If one wanted to spend the money for some add-on bits, this thing would also set off an under or over voltage alarm, tell the temperature of the battery, and start shedding electrical loads all by itself should it be deemed necessary. That much technical geewiz on a 30 year old sailboat would probably make my eyes bleed, so we decided to keep it simple.

(If you decide to install one of these things - a XANTRAX LinkPRO - use the 24 gauge wire they recommend. I used 16 gauge because West Marine - where we bought the unit - had no 24 in stock and the 16 was on sale for half price. It worked, but it is way overkill and hard to install. Also, for the techno-types who might be reading this; I had to rewire the battery box because the old shunt for the amp meter was wired into the HOT side of Kintala's DC system. Not sure if that was normal 30 years ago, but it is totally wrong in today's digital meter world. Kintala's new shunt now resides in the battery compartment, wired into the ground side; with a pair of twisted wires running up behind the switch panel to the new meter. And I must add another THANK YOU to the guys here at Oak Harbor Marina. They lent me a hydraulic crimper for building up the 2 gauge wiring at the batteries.)

All in all a good day but, by the end of it, I was feeling these past months of relentless work deep in my aching bones. After discovering that the dinghy fits on the foredeck like it was designed that way Deb called the work day to an official close BEFORE the sun set; made soft tacos for dinner; and insisted that I relax and enjoy the evening.

That sounded like the best idea I have heard in a while.

1 comment:

Latitude 43 said...

LinkPro is amazing. I wish I had come up with that idea. Ours kind of loses it's Amp Hr count accuracy if the batt's never get to a fully charged state after a few cloudy/rainy days. We are adding another solar panel and wind for this reason. We noticed this after the freezer install.