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Final weekend update

And my final weekend in Puerto Vallarta was mostly successful. In theory, Jane’O is ready to start her way back. Here is what was done, mostly. I’ll post another update later with the full scoop and some pics.

The radar

The new radar is installed! I ran a fresh power cable. This involved tearing apart the garage again, which will need a little more work to finish reassembly. If I keep Jane’O, an access panel in the cabin behind the wheel is a must. There is so much wiring to tidy up.

I installed a NMEA 2000 bus. This means the new chartplotter reads all the old instruments. The seatalk adapter does everything except allow for autopilot control. It does, however, provide route and waypoint information, so tracking still works if you use the autopilot head.

The best things are being able to watch the chart plotter screen from an adhoc wireless network created by the chartplotter to a tablet or smart phone. Assuming you have the right software of course. Let’s hope the crew followed my earlier instructions and downloaded everything!

I am also eager to test ARPA, which supposedly automatically acquires radar targets rather than having to point them out as on the old unit. Combined with an alarm it will let me sleep better.

AIS integration

I was hoping to extend the NMEA 2000 bus back to the navigation desk, but that became too difficult since the wiring runway between the starboard cabin and the engine room is too packed. The bus wire is going to be almost impossible to feed through. I would have to route the wire a different way, perhaps in the ceiling of the starboard cabin, which I am not crazy about. I don’t understand why there are so many wires. So I am going with plan B.

Plan B is to hook up a NMEA 0183 to NMEA 2000 bridge instead. Then, I can just bridge the AIS data from the VHF radio. It’s not as perfect as if it came from the AIS transceiver but will be just fine.

I also hooked up the GPS antenna to the AIS, which gives a much better GPS signal, hopefully eliminating some of that jitter I saw (no Jane’O is not moving .2 knots while docked).

Engines

The dreaded float switch for the starboard engine is fixed. There is a new diesel fuel leak in the port engine. Actually I think that’s been there a while, but it seems a little worse. Could definitely use a check around the fuel lift pump. I also think there is a small oil leak, my guess is from the transmission, which has a stripped drain bolt.

The starboard engine is not producing power. I even replaced the regulator with a dumb one and still nothing. It’s not clear if the alternator is broken or something else is amiss. I have one more test to do -- I forgot I disconnected a wire before running the test with the backup dumb regulator. I do have a spare alternator, but it is a decent size job to replace it.

Batteries

I watered up the easier to reach batteries. They were low, but still above the plates. They are really hard to fill. This makes me regret not just going lithium.

TV

I replaced the TV with a slightly smaller one. The Google thing just won’t work unless there is internet. However, I can just use a laptop with some movies on it. With my Mac, it should work great. I can even hook up the stereo, or put up a full chart plotter, reading data from the wireless AIS transceiver. It would be amazing if I can also view the chartplotter. It’s possible but a lot of work.

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