After discussing our A/C problems with an expert in Cruisair systems that we trust, we focused in on two likely problem areas: the SMX II Control panel and the internal circuit board in the unit. The SMX II control panel had not worked to allow us to change the temperature or even change from cooling to heating mode for over 2 years. We had no reason to know which of the two was the problem, so Dave searched for a way to isolate it. He found the solution at a place called Flight Systems, Inc. They offered the service of checking out both of the panels and repairing one or both for a reasonable fee. If either had no problems, there would be no charge. So we carefully removed both boards, packaged them up and sent them off. In less than a week, they were returned. The only one with problems was the control panel. Once re-installed, it worked as it had originally: displaying the cabin temperature and the cooling target temperature, allowing us to change the target and switch from cooling to heating mode.
More consultations led Dave to believe the problem lay with our pump. A neighbor on the dock had a used Cruisair pump that we could borrow to get our system re-started and confirm the pump to be the root of the problem. The pump enabled the AC to start again (leading to rejoicing among the crew), and a new one was promptly ordered. We chose a March pump, ordered from Tri-State pumps, which arrived shortly after. It was quickly installed and is working great, but has not yet been time tested.
We remain optimistic that this will solve the problem once and for all, although we’ve been fooled before.
Our air conditioning woes had caused us to borrow window units more than once for several days at a time. This and the daily use of the ice maker caused a spider’s web of cords through the cabin, which we decided to solve by installing a new AC GFI outlet under the nav station. Following the path of existing wires, Dave connected the outlet to the existing AC breaker, a short run from the location of the outlet. Since we keep the ice machine under the nav station, the cord was now neatly out of the way.
Dave has been staying in touch with a project, called WINMOR, that will provide e-mail capability through the Ham radio, using software to perform the function that the very pricey Pactor modem has traditionally provided. The software is in Beta test, meaning it has advanced to the point that it is ready to give it a try. Dave confirmed that he needed some hardware to make it work. This included a 6-pin data cable for the Ham radio that would connect to a SignaLink USB device to interpret the sound signals from the radio and communicate them to the PC software and vice versa. (The cost of this equipment is about one-tenth that of a solution using a Pactor modem, but will be slightly slower.)
With the device in place, Dave was able to make a connection, but so far hasn't successfully sent an e-mail. He thinks he's close though. More to come on this.
When it is working, we plan to use this capability to receive weather GRIB files while underway or in remote areas and to send e-mail status/travel updates to our family as well.
Other Boat Stuff
Cathy spent her time on sewing projects (re-stitching another failing anchor bag), updating the boat inventory and ordering supplies for the fall. Dave repaired our dinghy bridle (used to haul the dinghy out of the water), replacing its rusted hardware with some made of stainless steel.
From drywall installation at our daughter’s house, to running cables at Steve’s house, to oil changes and engine maintenance on Sue’s boat, we manage to keep busy while getting to visit family and friends. Our grandson, Jayden, celebrated his 4th birthday as July came to a close. We joined the family in Richmond to celebrate, and followed this with a trip to take Droz and Jayden to NC to visit with Cathy’s family.
We have made plans to visit Deltaville as August ends, followed by some trips to northern Va and Rochester in September. We plan to move Orion north into the bay after the local Bay Days festival the 2nd weekend in September. Maybe we’ll see some of you when we do.