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Dream On

Well here we are in December and I am still cleaning up leaves, and there are still plenty of them left on the trees refusing to come down. This is becoming a problem as I have other projects to get going on! Over the winter I have a room to remove wallpaper from and then paint, and maybe a few other “small” projects that the boss has thought of.
But we all know now is the time to sit at the desk or table (or recliner) and plot out our spring work list for our floating home away from home. It seems to me that when I start thinking about these things the list keeps getting longer and more involved! When I talk with my other like-minded boater friends about an upcoming project inevitably an idea pops into my head that besides making the project more user friendly makes it more complicated.
Case in point; one thing that keeps us from staying out overnight on the hook is a lack of electricity. At the dock we can have the air conditioner running, two refrigerators going, a microwave and single burner cooktop and plenty of electric outlets available. But since we have no generator once we leave the dock we are just biding our time hoping the sodas stay cool along with whatever else we have. I have heated bagels on the turbo chargers but still; having a cool cabin on a hot night would be far better.

So the other night while cruising the Internet for solutions, I saw an article about portable power stations. Basically an inverter with a built in battery. Pretty cool actually, they can handle many of the electrical loads we would have when we would take care to manage our use of these items. So after doing a good amount of searching and comparing I bounced my idea off my running mate and got the green light. I took advantage of the Cyber Monday sales and got a good discount on a model that can do what we want and is expandable by connecting an additional battery. It can supply two thousand watts and two thousand forty eight watt hours. With one additional battery it doubles the power stored to four thousand ninety six watt hours. If needed I could add another battery with an additional three thousand seventy two watt hours. With care we could run the air conditioner and a few other appliances. This may open an entire new dimension to our boating. I can see an electric grill and me making some burgers and hot dogs for the family!
Here is where it gets complicated. I was talking with my friend Dan from Florida. He has the exact same boat with the exception of a generator. I told him about my project and what I bought. While talking he looked online at the unit and thought it would work out very nicely. He then asked if it would fit in the engine room, and I said yes it would. My original idea was to just set the unit on deck and hook it up to the shore power plug. That way it is wired up so I can use the main panel already installed in the boat and remove it easily whenever it is needed elsewhere.
Dan started to say maybe I should keep it in the engine room and wire it to the shore power plug. Well, I figured if I was going to keep it down there I might as well connect it to the main panel. Just run a wire from the engine room, through the bulkhead to the back of the main panel. Dan reminded me I would have to install an isolation switch too! I can’t have two power sources supplying power to one panel, bad things would happen!
So I started searching for all the items needed to proceed with this, but before I go all in I think it would be best to try out the power station and make sure it works as expected. Besides one of the selling points was that it could be used for emergency power at home.
Besides this I have a bunch of other projects to get to onboard. As I wrote about in a previous article, I want to gain more of a down angle on the port side exhaust tube. As it is there is very little down angle on the tube, which may have contributed, to the port turbo charger failure a few years back. Granted, the boat is over twenty years old and I have lived with it all this time but I would still like it corrected. To do this involves re-orienting the motor on the port side hatch lifter ninety degrees counter clockwise. Until I can take that apart in the spring I am not sure if that can be done. I think it can, the factory technician was very vague about that when I spoke to him a while ago. He did e-mail me a diagram of the unit that showed it might be possible, I’ll find out soon enough.
If that can be done then there are a few more steps to accomplish. I need to turn the raw water outlet from the sea strainer one hundred and eighty degrees to exit at the rear of the housing. Then, if all that works out, I can cut the exhaust tube and set it up with more of a down angle.
After all that it’s easy street. I have a new turbo for the starboard engine to install (I did the port last spring) along with a new fuel-priming pump to put on the starboard lift pump. I think that’s it for now, but as you can see one idea turns into two and so on. I wish you all a Happy New Year stay warm and plan ahead. Time to sit in that recliner and dream on!