Sunday, February 9, 2014

12 Volt DC Outlet

Most boats in the US have 12 volt electrical systems. The wondrous 12 volt systems power everything from lights, refrigeration, instruments, radios, stereos, blenders(Margaritas) and chart plotters.

To power all these devices cruisers have resorted to more complicated systems including diesel generators, wind chargers and solar panels. My boat is mainly sailed on a lake so I do not spend many nights at anchor.  This makes my 12 volt needs much less than if I were living on it full time.

My boat is pretty basic in it's electrical system.  The S2 6.9 came wired from the factory for running lights and a few interior light, that was it.  Since I purchased the boat I added a deep cycle marine battery and wired in some Raymarine ST40 instruments for speed and depth. I covered that installation in this post. I had a spare fused switch on my panel listed a accessories so I used that to power my instruments.

I have been using my iPhone and iPad on the boat for navigation, entertainment and weather.  The addition of a Bluetooth speaker makes it easy to listen to music and movies while on the boat.  To charge my iPhone and iPad I thought it would be handy to add a 12 volt power outlet.  I thought about  
adding it near the switch panel on the starboard side but this was too far from the cockpit.

I often use my iPhone and iPad in the cockpit so it made sense to mount an outlet inside the boat but near the companion way. That way the charging cord would reach into the cockpit from there.

I had already mounted a power terminal strip behind the companion way stairs to power the Raymarine instruments.  I use this same circuit to power my DC outlet.

I drilled a hole and mounted it inside on the starboard side near the main DC power switch.  I installed a conventional power outlet. That way if I wanted to a power a search light or small inverter I would have that option.

I could have installed a USB outlet shown at the left. Blue Seas makes these for handy USB connections. If I installed one of these I would have been unable to plug any other devices into the outlet.  I bought a USB power insert with USB plugins. I use this when I want to charge or power my iPhone or iPad.  That way I don't have to install 2 outlets. I can use it as a regular power outlet and with the insert charge any of my 5V USB devices.

Check out all the Blue Seas DC Outlets

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Summer Sailing Video

A little video I put together from some of the sailing I did last summer. I tried to capture the subtle sound and images aboard the boat.


Monday, September 16, 2013

LED Running Lights

I have been doing quite a bit of night sailing this summer.  The nice warm summer nights have been so inviting.  I usually go out before sunset to witness the end of another perfect day. During my nightly cruises I was noticing the big drawn down of my battery due to the standard bulbs in my running lights. 

The original bulbs were rated at 8 watt at 12 volts.  There are two  bulbs in the bow for the red and green navigation lights. Another one for the white stern light.  If I ran the masthead light too, that was a total of 32 watts or about 2.67 amps.

That may not seem like a lot, but my boat does not have an alternator on my outboard motor, so I like to conserve as much battery as I can between charges.  The only other major electrical load is my Raymarine ST40 Bidata  Speed/Depth instrument display.   This is very efficient and only draws about 100 mAs.

LED light are the rage right now not only for general lighting but for colorful accent lighting too.  They are so popular because they are so energy efficient. Many marine manufacturer will sell you LED running lights for a premium price.  Prices have come down in recent years but they are still very expensive.  As you know, I am very thrifty, not cheap, but thrifty, there is a difference.  Thrifty is wisely allocating your assets. Cheap is not buying roses for your wife for her birthday.  So, I thought they must make LED lights that would fit my existing running lights so I would not have to fork out the big bucks for new running lights.  Attwood has a set below that will set you back $50 bucks.  This set only draws 2.4 Watts.

The existing Perko running lights on the S2 6.9 use what is called a festoon bulb. They look like a barrel with the connections on each end.  These existing 8 watt bulbs are about 1.25 inches long.  Make sure you get the right size.  You can go to any auto parts store and buy a pair for about $6-7 bucks.

I wanted to replace mine with LED lights so I went to my trusted source  I do all my shopping there.  Sure enough, I came across some 1.25 inch (31mm) festoon LED dome light bulbs.  These were even cheaper than the standard bulbs that I saw at the auto parts store. I purchased the four pack for $6.49 plus free shipping, what a deal!  They have 12 LEDs so they very bright.

They were simple to replace and they fit perfectly into the existing fixture without any modifications. Project done, and think of the amps I will be saving every time I go night sailing.

I could not find a wattage rating on the package so I do not know for sure how much energy they draw. It is probably in the range of a few watts a piece, significantly less than the 32 watts I was using. They are not marine rated so saltwater or moisture may affect them after a few years. At that price, I really don't care. They should last a very long time and save me many amp hours of battery use.

Pick some up yourself and get out and do some night sailing!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lewmar D1 vs Spinlock XAS Rope Clutch

One of the thing on my list of upgrade for my S2 was to replace the Shaeffer jammers for the lifting keel and the main and jib halyard.  I had read all the literature and blogs about the two most popular types. Lewmar makes a D1 and Spinlock makes the XAS model which are the best for my small 22 footer.  I have replaced the lifting keel line and the halyards with Sta Set 5/16 inch line.

Many people swear by the Spinlock brand and say that they hold better than any other rope clutch out there.  Spinlock uses a cam mechanism to clamp down on the rope.  This clamping mechanism does wear the rope point of contact because of the sharp teeth of the cam.  They provide replacement parts for this cam mechanism and are easily serviced. 

I purchased one of these and used it for about a month before I had problems.  I use a 5/16 line for my lifting keel. I went to clamp down on the line and the plastic housing holding the main pin in the handle cracked.  See picture at left.  I am not sure if this is a design error or a point of failure but I was not impressed. The other side of the housing had a crack on top also.  I think you can buy the two sides of the replacement housing for about $25-30.

Safe working load for the XAS is 990lbs. A single Spinlock XAS will cost you about $75 dollars.

One drawback of the Spinlock XAS is that you cannot open or release it under load. You have to use a winch to unload the clutch before you can open it. You can however winch a rope through the clutch while it is closed.

The Lewmar D1 used a domino style device that clamps down on several spots on the line so there is less wear and tear on your lines. They open easily and seem to be sturdier than the Spinlock XAS model. There is virtually no load on the opening mechanism. I think it is a much better design.

The Lewmar D1 can be opened under load and you can winch a line through the clutch while it is closed. The price for a single D1 clutch will cost you $60-65.

The Lewmar D1 has a safe working load of 1100 lbs.  Both clutches have the same bolt whole pattern so they are easily interchangeable.

Here is a picture of the Lewmar D1 that I recently installed on my retractable keel.  Keel weight is about 430 lbs.

I would recommend the Lewmar D1 and I will be buying a double Lewmar D1 to replace the double jammers for my main and jib halyard on the port side.

Has anyone else had any failures of the Spinlock clutches?

Sail On

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Bluetooth Speaker addition to JollyMon

With all the new technology today I wanted to do something different onboard my boat for entertainment.  Most people put a stereo receiver down below and run wires all over the boat to remote speakers.  These speakers would also have to be cut into the cockpit or bulkheads causing possible leaks and degradation of the structural integrity of the boat.

Most people have all their music on their phone these days. I too own an iPhone and an iPad.  These devices have both Bluetooth and AirPlay for wireless transmission of the music and video to speakers and monitors.

I purchased an iHome wireless Bluetooth speaker on for about $59.00 and mounted it with velcro to the inside of the top bin board on the hatch. I simply turn the hatch board around when I am out sailing to listen to music while underway.  I am free to move around the boat and control the music from my iPhone.

If I watch any videos on my iPhone or iPad the sound from the movie comes over the Bluetooth speaker also.
The speaker has pretty decent quality and volume but will not vibrate the boat like a 1500 watt stereo some kids have in their cars.  It is a sailboat so this small speaker works just fine for me.

JollyMon Wins Kampeska Cup

Summer has flown by so I better update you a little on what has happened.  We had our annual Kampeska Cup Race in July.  My daughter Lauren, son Parker and my nephew Spencer were drafted as crew for the race.   JollyMon and crew came in first in the monohull fleet.  We had a light turnout this year due to the weather but about a dozen boats turned out for the event.

JollyMon at left


 JollyMon at left taking the upwind lead

JollyMon at the finnish

 1st Place Awards

The Winners

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Blues

It it Memorial Day weekend and of course is has been raining the whole time.  This is usually the kickoff of the summer season in South Dakota so we may have to wait a little longer. Weather forecast for tomorrow looks dry but in the 60's.

I have had time to do a few projects on the boat.  In order to make the lifting keel easier to raise I replace the original turning block on the deck with a larger one.  The old original one had a 1 7/8 in sheeve.  I purchased a Schaffer 704-11 for $53.00 from West Marine.  This block has a 2 3/8 inch sheeve and has made it a little easier to winch the keel up.  I am looking at going to a 4 to 1 purchase by adding another block.  Reports are that this makes raising easier also. 

I also found a four step ladder that fits the transon of the S2 nicely.  It was $142.00 with %10 off and free shipping from West Marine.  It came with latch hooks and backing plates.  The ladder can be left in place but is easily removed if needed.  The two mounts were place near the top of the transom. I used 3M 4200 to seal everything up.

The ladder is 13 inches wide and 42 inches long. Two steps are in the water when the boat is off the lift.