SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Monday, September 28, 2015

Make Mine A Double

After reviewing the installation manuals for the BlueSky 2000E PV Solar Charge Booster, the AirX Wind Generator, and the ProNautic 12.40 Battery Charger, Pilgrim’s DC+ wiring schematic continued to evolve.    The DIY ANL Fuse Holder (see previous post) needed to double in capacity.

Original Fuse Block Design:

Updated Fuse Block Design:

I disassembled the original fuse block; doubled the size of the base; and added a second row of terminals.

Expanded DIY ANL Fuse Block
The missing fuse feeds the Battery & Bilge Pump Management Panel.  We are still figuring out the correct size fuse for this circuit. 

Eager to check out Pilgrim’s DC wiring schematics?  I do plan on posting the wiring diagrams after a few “outside consultants” review my plans.    

Time to don the rain coat and head back to the boat.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fabricating a DIY ANL Fuse Block

Pilgrim’s progress is crawling towards the installation of the primary DC electrical wiring.  The primary wiring components are:
  • Battery Bank(s)
  • Large gauge, high amperage wires connecting primary components
  • Shunts to allow for the installation of battery monitors
  • Switches for directing or cycling on/off the flow of power through primary wiring & components
  • Bus Bars to make multiple wire connections in which all the wires are on a common circuit.
  • Terminal blocks to make multiple wire connections in which the wires are on separate circuits.
  • Terminal posts for making connections in which the wire(s) are on separate circuits.
  • Fuses to protect­­­­ the wiring and components from excessive amperage.

We purchased a BlueSea 600A Power Bar to serve as the primary distribution point for the DC positive wiring.  The wiring leading from the positive bus will be fused at the battery box.  A few of the other wire runs will need to be fused proximal to the bus bar.

Simple Diagram of Pilgrim's Primary 12V DC+ Distribution Bus

We are installing  ANL Fuses for Pilgrim’s primary wiring system.  Rather than purchase individual ANL fuse holders for each circuit requiring a fuse “downstream” of the positive bus, we are fabricating our own ANL Fuse Block.

Materials used to create DIY fuse block clockwise from top: Starboard, BlueSea Bus, ANL fuses, 5/16" Stainless Steel Fasteners.

Our fuse block will utilize a ¼” thick Starboard™ base to mount the BlueSea Bus adjacent to a DIY terminal block.  The gap between the bus and the terminal block will be set up to accommodate ANL Fuses.  ConFUSED yet?  Hang in there pictures are worth a thousand words.

Our DIY terminal block will consist of ¾” Starboard™ with 5/16” countersink machine screws as studs.

Laying out the spacing for the 5/16" countersunk holes.

The holes in the ¾” Starboard™ are positioned to match the alignment of the BlueSea bus bar.  The holes are drilled and countersunk to fit the 5/16” machine screws.

Inserting the 5/16" machine screws in the starboard block.

The screws are inserted from the underside of the block with the threaded portion of the screw exposed on the topside.  A washer followed by two nuts jammed against one another secure the screws to the Starboard™ block.

Inserting a couple ANL Fuses between the new block and the prefab bus ensured proper positioning when we mounting the two pieces on the base.

Completed fuse block sans the wires and one fuse.

The bus and the terminal block are held in position by #10 counter sink machine screws capped with lock nuts.  The base extends ¾” beyond the assembly on each side.  This excess base will provides area for mounting screws.

When installed in Pilgrim the fuse block will have large gauge wires and/or an ANL fuse attached to each post.

Mock up of wiring attached to fuse block (still missing one fuse.

The image above is a mock-up of the future installation aboard Pilgrim.  From the top down…

  • The upper wire feeds power from the engine alternator when the engine is running.
  • The second wire (currently missing an ANL fuse) runs to a BlueSea Systems Automatic Charging Relay (ACR).  The ACR charges the starter battery when voltage in the circuit is between a preset range.  The ACR also isolates the house bank during engine starting.
  • The third wire feeds power to our battery & bilge pump management panel.  Here is a link to our previous post: Installing the New Battery & Bilge Pump Management Panel – June 28, 2015
  •  The lower wire (labeled “B”) runs to the house bank of batteries.  This wire run is fused proximal to the battery bank.

See our Re-wiring Pilgrim for additional images and other projects associated with  replacing Pilgrim's electrical system.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Replacing the Leaking Quarterberth Port, the Exterior Story – Part 2

Part 1 of the Exterior Story focused on shaping the window pane (Link: Replacing the Leaking Quarterberth  Port, the Exterior Story – Part 1.)  Thanks to everyone the left suggestions and links on the last post.  Now we are on to installing the window.

Drilling over-sized holes for fasteners in the acrylic window pane.

Due to thermal expansion / contraction the pilot holes for mechanical fasteners need to be over sized.   I also drilled a slight counter sink on the exterior pilot holes to provide space for butyl tape bedding.  This work was all done on a drill press.

Clamping window in place to test fit, mark fastener locations, and scribe window opening on interior face.

The window moved from the drill press to a test fit on Pilgrim.   While the window was clamped in place we marked the fastener locations on the exterior.  On the interior we used a marker to  trace the window opening  onto the masking.

Using a marker to trace the interior window opening onto the masking.

After removing the pane, we gently ran a razor blade along the outline of the opening on the interior of the window.  This allowed us to remove the section of masking in contact with the hull while leaving the remaining window masked.  We then drilled the pilot holes the cockpit wall.

Acrylic in contact with hull exposed and pilot holes drilled.

We are using #12 stainless steel pan head screws to mount the window.  To allow for thermal expansion we included a neoprene washer between the head of the screw and the pane of acrylic.  The screws are bedded with butyl tape.  We are also using butyl tape to bed the window.

Applying butyl tape to fasteners and acrylic.

We applied three rings of ¾” wide X 1/8” thick butyl tape to the exposed acrylic on the interior face of the pane.  We have found Amazon to be a good source for butyl tape.  Here is a link to the tape we are using on this project – Dicor Butyl Tape

Fortunately the installation occurred on a hot, sunny day.  Both the acrylic and the butyl tape are easier to work with when they are warm.  In cold temps the acrylic is less flexible and more prone to cracking.  The cold butyl tape is much more firm and less likely to form into a good seal.  If completing this project in the winter, then we would have used a heat gun to warm the assembly prior to attempting the installation.

The installation went smoothly.  We over tightened the pane slightly until we observed butyl tape squeezing out around the entire perimeter.  Then we backed off the screws until the neoprene washers returned to their original shape ( approximately ¼ to ½ a turn.)

Using a plastic "knife" to remove the excess butyl tape

We use a plastic “knife” to cut away the excess butyl tape.

The completed installation.

After completing the install, overnight thunderstorms confirmed the new window is water tight.

See our Cockpit Refit Photo Album for additional images and other projects associated with the cockpit.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Replacing the Leaking Quarterberth Port, the Exterior Story – Part 1

Our previous post, Replacing the Leaking Quarterberth Port, the Interior Story, explains why, and how we removed the original port.  The post also shares our reasoning for replacing the port with fixed pane window.

As many boat projects are apt to do, the exterior story begins with… creating a template. 

Creating a 1/4" plywood template of the window pane.
Yes, that is an electrical tape canister we are using for the corner radius. 

The template will allow us to “test” the aesthetics of the panel prior to cutting into our limited supply of acrylic material.  The template will also serve as a guide for the router bit used to trim the acrylic.  ½” plywood was my preferred template material.  Unable to find an appropriate piece of scrap we used ¼” plywood.

Pleased with the look and fit of the template, we then transferred the shape to the masked acrylic.

Template dimensions transferred to the masked acrylic sheet.

Ok, time for a disclaimer… our experience working with acrylic, Lexan, Plexiglass, and similar materials is very limited.  We welcome any comments or suggestion on working with these types of materials. 

The material we are using is ½” thick Chemcast Cell Cast Acrylic Sheet.  We reclaimed the scrap material from a project on another vessel.  Since the material was previously installed it lacked the protective coating found on virgin material.  When possible we kept the pane masked with painters tape during the install process.

Prior to cutting the actual pane, I experimented with various cutting tools and techniques.  The jigsaw with Plexiglas specific blades generated too much heat.  The heat melted the acrylic and created a rough, scored edge.  Perhaps the jigsaw blades would work better on thinner material?  Using the hand held circular saw with a multi-purpose blades (24 to 40 teeth) yielded similar results to the jigsaw.   The best solution I found was to use a fine crosscut blade (90 teeth) in the circular saw to rough cut the acrylic. Then use a router with a flush trim bit for the final shaping.

With the template as a guide, I used a router with a flush trim bit to clean up the edges of the acrylic window pane.

I clamped the rough cut pane atop the plywood template.  The template then served as a guide for the flush trim router bit.  Since the guide wheel on the router bit transfers any irregularities from the template to the finish material it is important to sand down the rough edges of the template.  Yeah, I learned this the hard way.

Unfortunately the painters tape masking did not play nice with the router.  My solution…

Masking the base of the router proved more effective than masking the acrylic face.

Remove the masking from the acrylic and place a couple strips of masking on the base of the router.  Masking the base of the router worked for both the flush trim bit and the round over bit used to radius the outside edge of the pane. 

Next the edges of the acrylic were sanded beginning with 220 grit and progressing up to 600 grit sandpaper.  Sanding the edges up to 600 grit brought them back to a dull, smooth surface.  I certain by a polished edge could be achieved if so desired.

To Be Continued…

Friday, September 4, 2015

Replacing the Leaking Quarterberth Port, the Interior Story.

While sanding in the engine compartment, a passing a rain shower alerted me to how badly the old, plastic quarterberth port was leaking.  All the other ports in the Pilgrim are New Found Metal Stainless Steel ports, installed by a previous owner.  Replacing the only remaining original plastic port was on the project list.  Watching row of steady drips along the starboard side wall of the engine compartment elevated the project priority.

We believe the plastic port in the quarterberth was installed at the factory in 1979.

Frequently after rains I check the quarterberth area for water intrusion.  Never found any signs the port was leaking.  It never occurred to me to check the engine compartment.  The leak originated around the outer flange of the port. The water then dripped down thru the void between the fiberglass wall of the cockpit foot well and the ¾” plywood cabinetry wall of the quaterberth.

The original port, set in copious amounts of silicone sealant, heartily resisted removal.  Ultimately the combination of a razor knife and pry bar won the day. 

The exterior view of the hole remaining after the port was removed.

After sanding down the surrounding surfaces, I filled the nearly 1-1/2” wide void around the perimeter of the opening with trimmed down pieces of a pressure treated 2” X 4”.

Fitting treated wood plugs into the void around the perimeter of the opening.

The wood plugs fit snuggly.  Once in place, I mechanically fastened the wood filler to both the outer fiberglass and the interior plywood using flat head stainless steel screws.

Filling gaps and irregularities around the opening with thickened epoxy.

Next, the remaining gaps and irregular surfaces were filled with cabosil thickened epoxy.  After sanding down the initial round of epoxy filler, the fairing began.

Round one of fairing viewed from the interior.

Fairing required two rounds of epoxy thickened with a micro-balloon filler (q-cells).  Each round of filler was followed by additional sanding.

Two rounds of fairing completed.  Now ready for primer.

The interior surfaces were finished with two coats of latex primer and two coats of exterior grade latex paint.

The interior completed.  Test fitting the masked acrylic window pane.

Since we intend to use Pilgrim’s quarterberth  as a storage area only, we chose to install an acrylic window pane rather than a new opening port.  We realize not installing an opening port will reduce ventilation in the area.  We have scrap pieces of tinted acrylic on hand.  New ports are very expensive.  Using the acrylic will save us money.  The window will provide natural lighting for the storage area.

View from the interior with the new window installed.

See our Quarterberth Refit Photo Album for images and notes current progress on this project.

Next up, the outside story… fabricating and installing the new acrylic window pane.