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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Aft Cabin Ceiling

Put up most of the aft cabin ceiling with wiring and overhead lights. Lighting is LED in recessed fixtures and controlled by a master dimmer/switch. When on full brightness, all the overheads are drawing a total of about 1.2 amps at 12 volts... very low draw for lighting. We're pleased with the look of the beadboard and the install was pretty straightforward. I decided to stuff the airspace between the Armacell foam and the panelling with mineral wool. This will add further sound and thermal insulation as well as help hold the Armacell in place in case the glue ever decides to let go. The exposed frames will be covered by mahogany trim so the look will be similar to a traditional wooden boat interior. Also threw in a couple of exterior pictures. Not much changed except that we are starting to clear away all the stuff from around the boat in preparation for a crane lift into the water sometime in the near future.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Painting and Other Stuff...

Most our work on the boat the last few days centered on painting the beadboard planking that will be the overhead finish throughout the boat. Seemed pretty simple in theory... about a hundred and forty 12 foot boards to be primed and finished then cut to length and installed on the ceiling nailers that we finished a couple of months ago. As we began to paint, it quickly became apparent that I had vastly underestimated the amount of time that this was going to take to do this job. The rollers that we were using did not push the primer into the bead pattern very well so each board had to be hand brushed in the grooves, then rolled and tipped. Very time consuming. By mid afternoon we hadn't even made a dent in the pile of lumber in front of us. We decided to cut our losses and get a sprayer for the job. A quick trip to Home Depot yielded a little electric spray rig that, while not up to finish work standards, was sufficient for getting all the boards primed in a hurry. By the end of the day, my old painting shoes had a fresh coat of white primer and all the boards were done. The finish paint (one part polyurethane) rolled on much nicer and once we got a routine of rolling and tipping with a brush going, it wasn't too bad... still took us 10 hours of assembly line work to get one coat on the whole batch. One more coat to go... On the positive side, they look great and will add a really classic look to the interior. Staying with the overhead theme... when the painting just got to be too much, I spent some time finishing the overhead in the engine room. I've been meaning to get to this for a while and with the DC distribution panel in place, seemed like a good time to get it done. This job entailed wiring for all the overhead engine room lighting, cutting and installing pieces of aluminum perforated panels to cover up the overhead surfaces, then installing the lighting. Very pleased with the results and its nice to have all the mineral wool insulation finally covered up. Before closing up the overhead, I added two brackets that we will be using for hanging the exhaust system. The lights we used in the engine room are really cool... made by Aqua Signal, they are all LED, use a very small fraction of the energy that standard lighting does, and should (if they perform as advertised) last many tens of thousands of hours with no bulbs to change. They also can be switched to red which (besides preserving your night vision during night time engine room checks) gives the proper "battle stations" look to the engine room. With all the lights on and the engine room lit up like an operating room, we are just drawing about 2.5 amps at 12 volts... amazing. I plan on using LED lighting throughout the boat to keep our energy demands low. In fact, I just found a smoking deal on some very nice high end LED recessed fixtures that were on closeout. We have just begun some boat trials to find the right LED bulbs to go with them. The color temperature, beam width, and output of the bulbs are critical when it comes to LEDs and it all becomes subjective pretty quickly. The only way to really evaluate them is to get a bunch of samples and try them on the boat to see what looks right. More on lighting to come...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More Electrical

Shore power is now operational so I was able to make the final hookups for the inverter and power everything up. Happy to say that everything is working as it should. Shore power is run through an isolation transformer which was pretty simple to set up and can be configured for european voltage if we ever find ourselves on that side of the globe. The Gel Cells have been sitting around since late winter with no charging and they do indeed have a very slow discharge rate as they were still reading almost 13 volts before powering up the battery charger. Our system is configured around a Victron Inverter Charger which will supply up to 3000 watts of clean AC power from the batteries when disconnected from shore power. When the boat is plugged in at the dock, the Victron shuts off the inverter function, passes the AC shore power through to our electrical distribution onboard, and operates as a 120 amp battery charger for the house battery bank. The white unit to the right of the Victron is a back up 25 amp battery charger. The front of the electrical cabinet houses a lower panel with main disconnects and breakers for all of our panel feeds and inverter. Above that will be the AC and DC panels for the main living spaces below decks. Need to build a hinged frame for that... Next up is running the panel feeds for the engine room and wheelhouse. Also did some more exhaust fabrication work and found time for some fishing. The Sturgeon seem to have eluded us this year...