alternator canvas

Alternators, Freezers, and Canvas!

Well, this past weekend was really good for determining some root causes for several issues, and they finished the canvas too!

Tomorrow (Saturday), Jane’O leaves the Delta for a while and is heading for her final haul out before Mexico. The shaft seals and the speed sensor are two projects, and I’ll get the generator removed while I’m there as well. And the watermaker. Probably drop the boat by a few hundred pounds, which means she’ll go a bit faster.

So, the issues to figure out last weekend were:

  1. Why did the alternator start working so hard and not charge anything?
  2. Why won’t the freezer freeze like it’s supposed to?
  3. Why did the new open source regulator not come on?

Fortunately, I solved all of these!

  1. I think I know why the alternator didn’t work correctly. The root cause is that I had the negative battery cable for the starter battery loose. I think the old dumb regulator was quite confused about what to do with this, since it wasn’t able to direct enough charge to the battery, but it was seeing a relatively low battery voltage. Even worse, the old regulator didn’t see the temperature of the alternator and also was not monitoring the output voltage of the alternator. I hope it’s okay; I have a spare if it’s not.

  2. I also made more progress on the freezer. With help from Rich at Cruise RO Water, we ran a compressor test. As shown, the compressor was able to drop the pressure down to -20 when the return fitting was disconnected. This is great news, as it means the compressor is fine. The only other thing to replace on this unit is the TXV (the thermal expansion valve). A new one arrived this week, already pre-set to work with this unit. Now I just have to rip the old one out and install it, which is a fairly large job. So no freezer until that’s done. That will wait for Richmond I think.

  3. The new regulator just had some wiring issues. I apparently reversed the + and - leads. Why oh why are the shunt + and - in a different order than the battery + and -??? In any case, that’s fixed now and the regulator powers up. I almost finished replacing the alternator but there is still more physical and electrical wiring to complete there.

And now that the canvas is done, I’m not going to freeze off the California coast. The cockpit is nearly fully enclosed; it’s not mosquito proof but far far better from a sun and heat perspective. It was 104 outside and, while still hot, it was cool enough to be in the cockpit. This will REALLY help at anchor if there’s a lot of sun. Everything is, of course, removable, except for the bimini top. But since it rolls up in convenient locations, most of this canvas will just stay put.

Tomorrow morning, I’m off to fix the alternator, clean up some more wiring, and sail out to Richmond. I still have some room -- a couple from work and my good friend Gerry are joining me. Ping me if you want a run down the river!


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