Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cold turkey

Some of the wiring at Kintala's nav station is, shall we say, not up to spec. Truth be known, most of the wiring throughout Kintala is not up to spec, but most of it works. The old saying, “If it works, don't fix it” is particularly applicable when there are plenty of things around that are not working. One bit of wire, that which supplied the power (or maybe the ground) to the GPSmap176, has always been a bit wonky and, a day or so ago, went from wonk to full failure.

The GPSmap176 is a decrepit, ancient bit of antique hardware. Its only purpose in life is to provide position information to the GX2150 VHF radio so the IAS receiver will work. A task for which it is totally capable, as long as it has power and a ground. Alas, the wiring is sealed into the plug at the back of the unit and beyond the realm of fixing. A replacement harness needed to be sourced. Fortunately Kintala's crew includes one if the premier parts hunters on the planet. The needed bit was found somewhere in the deep, dark reaches of the warehouse of Internet and shipped off.

The original harness was made of thin, easily damaged wire that resembled human hair. The new harness is even thinner. Cutting out the old and splicing in the new was a challenge for 60 year old eyes; the task completed mostly by feel. Soldered, reinforced with multiple layers of heat shrink, carefully tied and stowed, it should survive the relatively benign environment of the nav station. It is curious that the harness is so delicate. Is there really an engineer somewhere who thinks Kintala will be faster because he saved a few tenths of a gram of weight? For, surely, no manufacturer would make and market such a fragile thing just to save a few fractions of a penny.

Would they?

Wiring jobs have a habit of leading to other wiring jobs. Since the nav station was disassembled anyway, adding an extension cable to the VHF so the handset could be moved to a much improved location out in the cockpit seemed the thing to do. It was, and the new place is much more user friendly, but getting it done was a butt kicker.

All this was a few days ago now, already fading into the haze of “things that got done to the boat”. The good news is that those where the very last of the projects that we wanted to get done before putting an end to the summer's labor. But stopping suddenly, when one has spent months working as hard as possible, is a cold-turkey approach that rarely works. Waking up the next day with nothing that needed to be done was a treat...for about an hour.

Then I noticed that parts of the cabin floor, those made of molded fiberglass nonskid, look really, bad. The piece by the work bench looking particularly battered.  A fresh coat of paint would do wonders. And there just happened to be some paint stashed away on the boat, available for immediate use.

So it got used. Sadly, the fresh coat of KiwiGrip White makes the teak and holly sole look really, really, bad.

I don't guess I'll be going cold turkey after all.


Robert Salnick said...

Well, it *is* a boat...

Mike Boyd said...

A tenth of a gram...some corporate bean counter probably figured they could save some money on copper over a few thousand cables. And if it breaks easier, you will have to replace it more often so it is a win for them. Customer satisfaction, if considered at all, is sadly way down the list.

Glad things are winding down for you. If you happen to head by Mobjack bay and have time, stop by and say hi. We'll be here until the hardtop project is done.

Take care,

Fixed Carbon said...

Ha, Great minds think alike. So your GPSmap176 is old and decrepit. We use our older GPSmap 80 for the same purpose as you do, supplying the VHF and AIS with gps info. We are on our second GPSmap 80, with the replacement from craigslist for $80. We also use a Nexus7 tablet with MX Mariner for navigation, much more economical than a chartplotter. .Love your blog and your book! We are bloggers, Fixed Carbon. A couple of sailing posts,
Regards, Don