Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Change in Scenery

Up until recently, we have been wintering the boat (i.e., the September through May we aren’t cruising) on Lake Union. That site was convenient from our house, an 8 or 9 mile drive, but noisy and dirty (it was almost directly underneath the I-5 bridge crossing the Lake Washington Ship Canal).

In early February we were fortunate enough to be offered a winter moorage slip at our yacht club’s (QCYC) outstation docks in Winslow on Bainbridge Island. The winter moorage is available from mid-September to mid-May which accords perfectly with our planned cruising schedule. Additionally, the outstation is everything the Lake Union site wasn’t (i.e., clean, quiet and secure). While it isn’t as convenient to our house as the Lake Union site, once we are living on the boat, that isn’t an issue.

Below is a photo from the stern of the boat of our new neighbors.

Our current plans are to remain here until the end of April at which time we will move to a slip in Shilshole Marina on the Seattle side of Puget Sound we are subleasing through August. This will give us the convenience of living on the boat (not really an option at the Lake Union site) with good access to our home as we prepare and list it for sale.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Keeping Cool

The additional monitoring sensors I installed in our NMEA2000 system this winter has provided a wealth of data. One tidbit was the temperature of the two AC transformers (isolation and step-down) in our electrical system. I was surprised at the the increased temperature above the ambient engine room temperature in the transformers as I was pulling power through them to operate the two electric heaters.

At our moorage we are on a 30A/120 volt circuit. Normally, we don’t pull more than 15 to 20 amps on a steady basis. This gives a little headroom in case there are transient loads from the DC charger pulling power to service the DC side of the boat. With that steady state load, I’d routinely see a 15 to 20 degree increase above ambient in the transformers. While probably not a big issue, heat tends to accelerate the degradation of components so I thought I’d see what I could do.

The transformers are toroidal style (i.e., doughnut shape) which means there is a hole through which I can pull cooling air. I wanted the fans to only operate when the tranformers were working so I tapped into the AC power being put into the transformers. After the installation of the fans, the transformers are running about 10 degrees cooler, in the 5 to 10 degrees above ambient engine room temperature.