Thursday, August 20, 2009

The smoking belts

So the whole reason for the smoking belts, was the fact that I have a 135Amp alternator, on a 44 horsepower Yanmar, trying to charge a 400 amp hr bank. The alternator full fields, trying to charge at over 100 amps, and can't spin as fast as the diesel wants it to. This causes the belt to slip, and smoke, and dry out, and eventually break. As long as I kept my batteries reasonably charged, the alternator had no problem keeping up, but we let them get too low. After consulting with a technician, I was told to ditch the 135 amp alternator, and get an 85A Hitachi, which will ramp up to full fielding over a 5 minute period. I was told the alternator is just too big for the engine. Also, I should find an alternate method of charging. I agree. Deb has been a bit disappointed in the systems on the boat, and I guess I have been too, but I thought we could squeak by for this cruise. The boat can not live off the grid for more than a couple of days, and even then you have to run the engine to keep up with consumption. Dock to dock, she is fine, but anchoring out is going to require some changes. Number one change: Kill the Crosby! Running an AC fridge off an inverter is just stupid if you're going to spend time away from the yellow power cord. DC refrigeration run completely of batteries, charged by solar, independent of the house batteries is the way to go. I'm thinking three solar panels mounted on davits off the stern. Oh yea. All I need now is cash.
Davits for a Morgan 44
Solar Panels
Possible "Crosby" replacement

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beautiful Moonrise

Not a breath of air stirs the water. A fish starts a ripple, as it snatches a bug off the surface, which glistens from the anchor lights on the sailboats, as they rest for the night. An occasional laugh, or giggle penetrates the humid air from the candle lit cockpits of these graceful ships. Slowly over the tall pines, a full moon rises to join the celebration, it's light leaving a trail on the water. The glowing sphere is surrounded by the lights from the masts, twinkling like so many stars.

Dead in the Water

Our current location View Larger Map We were about to enter the Canadian Middle Channel, when the alarm screeched on the instrument panel. We had a coolant water alarm! I pulled out the engine stop, and we were silent, and drifting. This was an ok situation, as there was plenty of room, no traffic, and no wind. I immediately thought weeds had choked the intake, but on the way past the engine room, I popped in and noticed there was no alternator v-belt! It had been completely destroyed. I put on a spare, the whole time wondering just what the hell was going on here. The spare was on, and as I went to tighten the alternator down, another bolt snaps. WTF part II. We nursed the boat back to Beaurivage, and dropped anchor in pretty much the same spot as before. Many attempts at repair only filled the boat with smoke. I needed more belts, or a new alternator, so off in the dinghy I went to Gananoque. It was a 4km walk to the Canadian Tire Parts store, where they matched the belt, but only had one. It didn't look like the right belt to me, but they said it was what the computer matched it with. Well, shit I can see it's not the right one, but it might work anyway. For the hell of it I walked further to see if there was another parts store in town. There was a Canadian Tire Store, that looked like a hardware store, but they had an auto dept. I showed the guy the belt, and he said it was not a good match. " I got some v-belts. A whole wall full of them". We matched the belt, and I grabbed the whole rack. Must have been twelve belts. I took off for the marina. We ran the engine with the new belt, and smoked it in five minutes. Damn, now what? I called another engine dude here in Canada, and he said to disconnect the batteries, and see if another belt smokes. Why didn't I think of that. I disconnected the batt's, tightened up the alternator with a new bolt, and lit the fires. Wholla! No Smoke. So now we have a functioning engine, but no fridge. Great. Warm beer, and stinky cheese. I called Gananoque Marina and reserved a slip for Sunday. We can plug in , and re-charge the batteries, and us as well. Deb had a great idea of just charging one battery, and see if the alternator can handle that. We'll try that on Saturday maybe. Some pictures from Island Beaurivage