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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shallow Minded gets an electrical upgrade

I finally got the the Blue Sky 3 stage MPPT solar panel charge controller installed.  The installation adding a second charger for a different panel array.  At this time I only have one of the two semi-flexible panels installed.  Another will be installed suspended on the Bimini.  All wire is #10 marine grade up to the box.

This is the charge control monitor which allows me to see how much voltage and current is present and what charge stage is currently underway.  This system is identical to the one I installed on Belle so I am in familiar territory.

I added an steaming light and all around anchor light all in one to the top of the mast.  This involve drilling through the top 10 inches of the solid cap to access the hollow center.  I tried ever so hard to snake a new line through both holes starting at the side access hole at the bottom.  It was not to be.  With great misgivings and with my friend Paul Kelley's help, I removed the monstrous lead counterweight at the mast base. A double row of #10 screws came out of the collar and the ~125 lb bulb was let down with a 4:1 tackle.
At this point I had a strait shot with the snake starting at the top and threading right out the open lower end.
The lead proved way to much for me to re-lift with the tackle so I hauled out an old chain hoist I had in storage and attached it to a brace over head. Ever so slowly I was able to raise the lead into place and screw it back on.  What a job!
I had this masthead light in storage and was able to convert it to all LED and press it into service.  The total current draw is 600 mA.  A three way cable is secured at top and bottom (to prevent slapping. The cable will be routed through the bulkhead and back to a photo cell switch were I will be able to chose from dusk to dawn auto or manual steaming or all around anchor.

This is under the stateroom bed which is sealed with foam, I assume for floatation (not near enough to make a difference).  I hacked my way to the floor where I will install the backing plate for the Dynaplate ground plate.
I mentioned that I was going to have to drill four holes in the floor.  "To let the water out," quipped my friend Paul.  That plays well on a sailors fear of leaks, does it not?

The holes for the 18 inch plate were indexed to the template and drilled oversize to within 1/16 of the other side.
Tyvek tape was placed over the holes and thickened epoxy was pored in to seal the core. After a couple of hours a second coat was of thicker epoxy was worked into the depressed epoxy to bring the core fill up to level and trowel to flush.

A heat lamp was placed at a suitable distance to facilitate overnight drying. Tomorrow I will re-drill the holes and hopefully install with bedding and backing the Dynaplate per Guest's instructions. A #4 cable will be attached to the gold lug and run to the negative side of the battery. A 2 inch copper foil will be extended to a place just below the HF antenna installation to serve as counterpoise.  The 18 inch plate is purported to offer the equivalent of 100 square feet of copper surface.

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