Radar and Outboard sorted

It was overcast and quite cool when I stuck my head outside this morning about 9AM, so I thought, lets get that outboard sorted. I drained out the old fuel and put a pint of fresh stuff in. Then I decided to make a lifting strap and re-jig the block and tackle I was using to lower the engine down to the dinghy. I got it all wrong and ended up standing in the dinghy doing a juggling act with an outboard engine, while trying to hold onto the boat with my sometimes free hand. Fortunately no one else was around so dignity was maintained. I have sorted this now, and it’s a more impressive operation. Anyway, after a bit of flushing the old fuel through, the engine was running and I went for a little spin. All worked out well, but I feel the carb needs cleaning as it runs a little uneven, it feels like it might only be firing on three 😉

Next I retired below to work on the chart table electronics, and first off to fix the radar. Ron, had commented that he thought it was a high resistance, I was sure it was a fault on the earth side, as I think the earth was finding a route home via the LEDS elsewhere. Anyway, it was a high resistance on the earth wire in the switch panel, so ‘one all’ I think.
I actually love this kind of fault finding, as it is terrible logical, but can be quite complicated. Experience helps as well. So below is the Electrics switch panel, it looks mad, but is actually very well structured. Sadly, as new gear has been added the previous owners have connected to the switches, not to the connection blocks at the rear, I’m sorting this out as I go along.

The main mistake somebody has made is on the negative common rail, as you can see below, in order to make several connections where there had been one before, they have made a post with a bolt through the busbar, a nut at the bottom clamps the post in place, then the connections are bolted down on top.


This seems like a good idea, but I spotted the problem straight away, the top nut was tight, but the bottom nut was no longer as tight as needed so all the earths (3 in total, 1 for the radar, and one of the others going to the nav lights) were joined together between the nuts, but making an intermittent connection to the bus bar, which was the true negative. So when this was not connecting the radar would try to find a negative path using the nav lights, so went up the mast, back down to the positive, where it stopped at the open switch, but had a route to the bus bar via the indicator lights on the panel. All was explained and removing one of the nuts was all that was needed to solve the problem. Radar now works fine.

I also moved the radar cables to a better spot at the back of the panel and tidied up a bit, I found this connection, not needed and rubbish anyway. I hate bad wiring.

earthSo I relocated the Navtex, which as I type I can see receiving ‘notice to mariners’ messages in the background. I love my Furuno Navtex, was gutted when the one on the baba failed. You can leave it on overnight and wake up to a complete weather forecast and any other navigational information that might be relevant in your area. Forget all that shipping forecast nonsense. Finally I wired up the Icom HF SSB radio, the mainstay of weather forecasting for offshore passages when we are beyond the range of cell phones, that’s working very well, but it’s a marine model, and I only have experience on Ham versions, so there’s some learning to do, but it sounds very lively, and I don’t hear any QRM (electrical noise) from the boat. I’m hoping to have a chat with Neil G4OAR at some point in the next few weeks, but with time differences and propagation vagaries, this might be difficult. We might have to use morse code, now that would be fun.

So at 01:30 AM, it’s definitely bedtime. Tomorrow I have to start fixing the leaks, I have 2 deck prisms to rebed, and something in the quarter berth area, which will requir me to take down all the headliners, oh what joy.

PS The baba in Spain, Lady Stardust, has had an offer made on it which I have accepted, much less than she is worth, but that’s boats for you.

Sorry to be so technical today, will try and get more pictures of the otters for tomorrow 😉

Paul C.