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Messages - deLight

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Systems / Re: Insolating, UV tolerant, Machinable Material
« on: May 29, 2020, 04:08:14 pm »
I consider owning and living aboard deLight an enforced hobby. Salt air and UV eats anything man-made so fixing things is a continual task. There are the things that I want to do to make the experience better. Originally, deLight had a fabric dodger and an awning over the cockpit. The visibility from the helm was abysmal leading to docking by braille occasionally. The awning was functional but less than ideal. I needed an alternate power source to charge my batteries and power the boat.

I decided to combine all of these into a major project. Fortunately, since Tunisia  lacks exports to generate foreign exchange, they fix everything. I have latched onto a machinist, welder, artisan to help with my projects. We built a windscreen with complete cockpit cover from stainless steel and polycarbonate. The cover of the windscreen and cockpit was constructed as a hollow structure with provisions to install the solar modules. I am happy with the result and helm visibility is fantastic.

So, it is all built and wired for the planned modules - my current snag. Needless to say, starting over with a different design is something I would not care to do. Also, commercial panels are glass covered and I would hate to face a disaster with glass shards in the cockpit. (I do not want any glass on the boat during a crossing.)

I will continue with my testing. Theoretically, the Schotkty diodes will isolate the broken cells and I will  be able to verify my wiring and test the charge controllers.  And at least, I can test the effectiveness of my weather proofing by blasting the cockpit cover with a pressure washer without worrying  about damaging the cells.

I will construct some test modules of various materials and rigorously test them before building 100+ of them. I make mistakes but generally learn from them.


Systems / Re: Insolating, UV tolerant, Machinable Material
« on: May 28, 2020, 02:31:10 pm »
A web search indicates that expanded PVC and foamed PVC are the same product just different names/manufacturers. It is great stuff. I use it a lot by laminating a couple of layers of fiberglass cloth with epoxy on both sides . That makes it stiff and strong and still thin and lightweight for drawers, panels, etc.

Thinking about the differences with your success and my failure. You used a 12mm sheet and I am using 3mm. You have a white reflective surface. I laminated a solar cell onto mine. The solar cells job is to absorb sunlight and gets very hot in bright sunlight. I am in Tunisia (North Africa) and it is well known that suppliers with poor quality products who cannot sell to Europe or the US send their goods to Africa.

After the fact, I read that plastic will de-stretch when exposed to heat and UV. I take that to mean that the plastic is manufactured in thick sheets, then rolled into thinner sheets as needed. So what I think happened is the cell (glass) gets hot and transfers the heat to the thin foamed PVC which shrinks causing the module to deform convexly. The modules still worked even severely deformed until the polycarbonate sheet I used to cover the modules cooled down at night and shrank crushing the deformed modules.

I had always had such good success with the foamed/expanded PVC that I did not think to build one module and test it long term in bright sunlight.  I will not make that mistake again.

Any ideas what to do with 100 solar modules that your cannot put in the sun?

Systems / Re: Insolating, UV tolerant, Machinable Material
« on: May 27, 2020, 04:46:45 am »
Additional photo.

Systems / Insolating, UV tolerant, Machinable Material
« on: May 27, 2020, 04:42:48 am »
I am building a solar cockpit cover for my '33. I built a stainless steel frame an made 160X160X3mm modules with a 156X156mm solar cell, terminal block and Schottky diode mounted on 3mm foamed PVC.

After I made 100+ modules and installed them in the frame, I discovered that the foamed PVC warped (de-stretched) badly when exposed to hot sun for a period of time.

I need to make a whole new set of modules. Any suggestions on an appropriate backing material?

Engines and Drive Train / Re: Replacing the Prop Shaft on a 33
« on: February 10, 2020, 10:00:55 am »
Thanks Mathew,

I am really hoping someone can supply me with a detailed parts list. So I can secure all parts in advance. Otherwise, I face potentially months on the hard trying to get parts into North Africa. I would much rather have parts that I do not need than parts that I need and do not have.

I know the shaft and cutlass bearing need replacing. The shaft is 1 1/4" diameter with length unknown. The cutlass bearing is described in a post for the '37 as 2" long. I expect it is the same on the '33. There is some sort of shaft tube and packing nut (bronze stuffing box & log pipe) in the boat interior. Its type, length are unknown.

Any help on identifying these parts in advance will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Max

Engines and Drive Train / Replacing the Prop Shaft on a 33
« on: February 06, 2020, 01:05:44 pm »
My prop shaft, cutlass bearing, etc. needs replacing. I am in North Africa with the boat in the water. I would like to know all of the parts - shaft, cutlass bearing, tube, stuffing box, whatever parts that may need replacing. So I can get the parts in advance and not be out of the water for months waiting for needed parts. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Max

Systems / Re: Lithium Battery System
« on: January 12, 2020, 01:25:14 pm »
I plan to build the battery out of Panasonic 18650 cells. It looks like the charge/discharge characteristics of the battery are fairly simple. The cell voltage versus charge is fairly linear from 20%-95% charge. The charge rules seem simple also: 1. Limit the charge current to prevent overheating and cell damage. 2. Do not overcharge i.e. limit the maximum voltage.

There are multiple options from China on power converters which are both voltage controlled and current limited. I plan on using 3 of these DC-DC converters one each for my solar banks. The big issue is using my current engine alternator. I have a circuit in mind to use the alternator battery voltage sense input and a couple of op amps to give the alternator a low voltage feedback until the lithium battery voltage reaches the 95% charge level then rapidly raise the sensed voltage to cut off the alternator charge before the reaching the 100% level.

I will experiment and see what happens.


Systems / Lithium Battery System
« on: January 10, 2020, 07:48:57 am »
Has anyone tried updating the house system to Lithium batteries? I have nearly finished my solar cockpit cover and since my batteries are not up to snuff, am thinking about a Lithium system. I have ordered parts from China to construct a 750 Whr battery for testing. Charging via solar, engine and shore power. Discharging via 12v system and 110v inverter. Max

Systems / Re: Autopilot
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:47:47 pm »
Hi Merrily,

I have a 33 so it might not be relevant. 15 years ago, when I went to buy an autopilot and the cost of a below decks autopilot was $3,000. The cost of a wheel autopilot was $800. So, I bought 2 wheel autopilots. They are definitely undersized for a 33 with a severe weather helm. But like Soggy Paws I learned one thing.

If you have a backup and spare parts you have no problems. When the autopilot starts to fail, I swap it out with the spare, fix it and set it aside for the next time.  Essential systems need a back up. I would not have dreamed of crossing the North Atlantic single handed without an autopilot (and a spare).

That's my 2 cents. Welcome,

Systems / Hard to Pump Toilette
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:27:39 pm »
Toilettes - Always an interesting topic.

My toilette has been hard to pump for years. I kept a bottle of oil in the head and would squirt a few drops in after every couple of uses.

A few months ago, I let my toilette get exceptionally gross. I normally use vinegar to knock the calcium build up off the bowl. I decided that simple vinegar was not going to do it this time so I bought some dilute Hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid in the US) to use. The toilette being extremely gross, I poured in about 8 oz of acid and some hot water and pumped it out to coat the pump, joker valve and exit pipe with acid. I then added 8 oz more acid and filled the bowl with hot water.

I went away for a while and let the acid do its work. When I returned, a toilette brush easily removed all remaining calcium and stains from the bowl.

After using the toilette for a while, I noticed that it was no longer hard to pump. Hmmm. I decided to experiment and let the toilette get really really gross (That's my story and I am sticking to it.) And repeated the procedure. It worked and I have not had to use any oil to lubricate the pump.

My theory is that there was calcium build-up on the walls of the pump tube which made it hard to work. The strong acid cleaned the pump of the calcium build-up and the pump now works freely.

Of course over time, I do not know what problems I am introducing by using a strong acid. But, in the meantime, I am enjoying an easy to pump toilette.


Systems / Re: 220v to 110v Converter
« on: March 17, 2017, 12:32:19 pm »
Brazil has the opposite problem of the Philippines. They have 110v appliances with 220v style plugs. I bought a toaster there and unwittingly plugged it in to 220v. It lit up like a Christmas tree.

Power supply for world wide cruising is always interesting. I have a drawer full of plugs, sockets and adapters. I finally set up dual systems on deLight. I have several European style 220v outlets and numerous US style 110v outlets and a transformer which can go either way. Couple that with a bunch of US plugs and Schuko plugs, I can strip off whatever odd plug is on the appliance and install a common one.

Big motors, unlike small appliances,  will be designed for a specific frequency. Very bad efficiency ratings otherwise. A 50hz air conditioner will try to run faster on 60hz and overheat. Running a 60hz air conditioner on 50hz will run slower with less efficiency. Either way always try to run big motors at the proper frequency.

I have a Newmar PT-70 Battery Charger which runs on 100-240v. It quit on the trip across the North Atlantic. Way too much salt laden air. I sent it back to them and they slapped another coating on the electronics. It has worked fine for 10 years since. With 2 exceptions. It has a 12v fan to keep it cool. I have replaced the fan once and will need to again soon. As most of my systems run on 12v, the charger and fan run 24/7. The charger also did not like it when the people in Morocco accidentally wired the dock to 440v. I had to replace a fuse and an MOV varistor.

No problem with my custom converter for the water heater for the past year. A fitting on the water heater sprung a leak a couple of months ago and I made use of my machinist to make a new aluminum one.

I just purchased 220 6"X6" solar cells and am planning on making a custom hard cover for over the entire cockpit with an integral 800W solar array. I will post the results here but do not hold your breath. It will probably be an all winter project next year.


General Discussion / Re: Repository of all things CSY - Dropbox
« on: July 08, 2016, 05:32:11 am »

I attached low resolution copies. I have high res scans, but they are 10MB each. Way too big for the forum.


General Discussion / Re: Repository of all things CSY - Dropbox
« on: July 07, 2016, 03:31:55 pm »
I have a high resolution scan of the original CSY 33 Sales Cut Sheet to upload if it is not already there.

General Discussion / Re: Living Aboard A Boat
« on: July 07, 2016, 07:24:59 am »
I hope that you are successful with your book. As many users of this web site are looking for real experiences, I will add my 2 cents.

Like owning a boat, the reality of living aboard is vastly different from the dream. Non sailboat owners see the color glossy ads picturing the photogenic couple  sipping Mai Tais on the back deck while sailing in a gentle breeze with the colorful spinnaker up or the end of a movie where the hero and the girl sails off to a new (presumably perfect) life.

Many things about live aboard life are seldom mentioned. Toilettes are a big one.  In the US, you are not allowed to put sewage overboard. You need to trudge to the marina toilette to use it. Some marinas have close good clean facilities. Many do not. Bugs are another issue. You want to be in a nice warm pleasant place surrounded by water. But when the sun goes down, out come the insects. Screens help but often block what little breeze there is.

In my experience, most long term live aboards are single males. Couples tend to last at most 2 years.  Many couples retire (or have a major life change) to the live aboard dream. That dream lasts until reality sets in or the first grandchild is born.

I do not want to discourage anyone's dream. Just remember that chartering a boat for a vacation with a brief escape and living aboard as a life style are two completely different things. In other words, don't sell the house until you are absolutely sure that the live aboard life suits you.

Interior / Re: Custom LED Lighting
« on: June 01, 2016, 01:18:35 pm »
One nice thing about LEDs is that they are very bright and very efficient. I ringed deLight's Salon entirely with LEDs. 312 of them.
At 20ma each, full brightness you can read or do close work with ease anywhere in the Salon.  Unfortunately, most of the time you are not trying to read the fine print on a prescription bottle or trying to find the needle you just dropped.

Therefore I needed to be able to dim the LEDs. With the DC-DC converter it is fairly easy.  All you need to do is reduce the voltage to the LEDs. The Dimension Engineering DC-DC converter that I used has a screwdriver adjustment. I needed to modify it to use an external potentiometer.

I paralleled the 1K trimmer resistor on the DC-DC converter with a 2.2K Ohm resistor in series with a 20K log taper (volume control) potentiometer. The 2.2K resistor sets the minimum brightness. The 20K potentiometer adjusts the brightness. Turn the brightness all the way up and adjust the trimmer resistor for 20ma (I use 15ma for a margin of error) in the LEDs. Then turning the Potentiometer up and down varies the LED brightness from minimum to full. deLight's Salon adjusts from 1/2 watt to 15 watts. Efficiency is 85%-90%. Easily usable at anchorage without concern. A typical setting uses 2-5 watts.

Photos attached show:

Solder points to attach the resistor and potentiometer to the DC-DC converter. They are extremely small and difficult to solder onto.

deLight's V-berth dimmer. I built an aluminum frame to hold the DC-DC converter which protects it from damage in the locker where it is mounted and helps with the heat dissipation. The V-berth has 147 LEDs which puts the 1 amp version of the DC-DC converter right on the edge of its rated current.

A daytime photo of the Salon LEDs at full brightness.

A daytime photo of the Salon LEDs and minimum brightness.

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