All Charged Up
Dave decided to celebrate his birthday by installing a new battery charger for the shore power hookup.
The existing one, a 20 amp Sentry model which came with the boat, had been identified as a possible cause of our many starting battery problems. Dave spoke to a local marine electrician about the symptoms he had seen and the specific equipment on our boat. The electrician confirmed that this Sentry model was problematic and that a bad diode was likely the source of the problem. He also closed the door on the possibility of repairing the existing unit, which was not possible due to its design.
While shopping at his favorite store, eBay, Dave found a great deal on a reconditioned Xantrex battery charger. He was able to replace the existing unit with the new one in a couple of hours. It actually took longer to locate the various components to mount it (a larger piece of wood, some 14 gauge ground wire, connectors, etc.), than it did to install. The unit powered up successfully and has been charging the batteries for the past week.
Given the problems with the old charger, combined with some low voltage readings on the fully-charged house bank, Dave decided to use the new charger to equalize the batteries. The first attempt was disappointing in its results. However, with our continued wait for the weather, he attempted it a second time with better results.
How's that for a birthday present?
What's the weather?
We hooked up with another boat in the marina, Valhalla, who were also waiting for good crossing weather. They had access to weather information from Chris Parker and also pointed Dave to the availability of electronic GRIB files. These files can be displayed using our Fugawi navigation software, where they show some dramatic time-phased wind and wave conditions. The files are huge (~40Mb), but they have helped us zero in on the crossing window.
Between crossword puzzles, Cathy managed to find time to polish the stainless steel railings and other hardware on the deck, which needs a protective coating from all the salt water and salty air.
She also removed the oh-so-attractive electrical tape that marked the centerline on the steering wheel and replaced it with a Turk's Head knot, which looks a little more nautical.
It's hard to say how our internet connection will work in the Bahamas, so updates to the website will be made whenever we can. Keep looking for us. If you're on our distribution list, we will still let you know when we make an update. .