To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

If it's not one thing, it's another

Usually, it's the other. This is how one repair tends to expand into more than one.

Haul out means some slopping around in the slings as they lift Red Ranger up and whisk her away. It also means that she's often blocked with the bottom of the keel level, which isn't quite right. The bow needs to be a few inches higher than the stern.

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2B34CDB4-5FA0-4F24-96BF-915FE4A40D8C 1 105 c

Slopping around in the slings and sitting bow down knocked the deep bilge pickup loose.

It's the black box on the left end of the hose. That's aft in the picture.

And yes, the bottom of the bilge is black with Chesapeake mud.

To the right of the hose is the float switch. That's more forward.

The pickup was not securely fastened. In fact it was only wedged in place.

When we're blocked with the keel level, the hose and pickup slipped down and jammed the float switch up.

Which makes the pump run.

And run.

And run.

Clearly, the pickup needs to be secured. Which is easy. Some small screws and a little bit of butyl tape to bed the screws will hold it in place.

The hard part, of course, is reaching down there. It's three some feet below the cabin sole. So there's a lot of laying down with tools and wrestling tools around the drive shaft. Kind of typical for boat repairs.

That was the one thing.

Here's the other. Find the circuit breaker labeled Bilge Pump. (A little left of center.)

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CC17470E-6AE5-48FE-89C9-A5887A8852BD 1 105 c

It's a hole.

The handle from the breaker broke off.

(It was well over 30 years old. Not surprising.)

Replacing the circuit breaker is less messy than working in the bilge.

While less messy, it involves a fair amount of wrestling the dense nest of wires behind the breaker panel.

Big Sigh.

Here's the inside of the panel.

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03463824-F227-4AD7-AF0E-85AA823F4AC8 1 105 c

You can see the white panel in the background, with black boxes of several breakers. Most of them have spade connectors.

Except for the bilge pump load. This wire is soldered to the breaker's lug.

This is important: "The ABYC E-11 standard is quite clear that "solder shall not be the sole means of electrical connection". Crimp and then solder yes. Straight solder. NO."


What's not obvious is that the line of breakers in the middle of the picture are tied together with a brass bus bar. This bar saves a lot of wires.

The screws to the bus bar are nearly inaccessible. It's hard to get fingers — much less a screw driver — in there. I had to resort to using pliers to turn the screw heads to loosen them up.

(New panels have bus bars built in at the factory. Makes DC distribution simpler. We have about 24 DC circuits.)

Securing the bilge pickup? Minutes.

Wrestling with the breaker panel. Hours.

Now looking at Paneltronics DC 24 position and a Paneltronics AC 3 position. Not doing anything more than jotting down notes on what an upgrade might look like.

The fancy new panels are monochromatic. Black, mostly. I really like having color-coded breakers. It means I can turn all the green ones on to access the core life support systems. Navigation systems are black. Lights are white. Macerator pump is red. New panels will mean some level of re-organizing to make it easy to be sure the right things are on (or off.)

Pump pickup secured. New circuit breaker installed.