Saturday was a really productive boat day.
In the morning, Jamal, a Malay marine electrician recommended by Neo of Best Marine, came by to help me with the alternator installation. I’m pretty glad I got some help: I think I would’ve gotten things mostly right, but he was really quick, had some spare parts with him that I didn’t have, and obviously had a lot of experience. He added an additional washer to the pivot bolt to protect the alternator and reduce vibration, which should reduce wear on the belt. He also put a proper terminal on the tachometer power wire, and fixed a terminal on one of the large DC ground wires going to the engine block that I’d noticed was loose. Here’s the new alternator, installed:
Once the alternator was in place, I was really surprised that the engine fired up immediately with no problems. (The battery switch was on “both” so the house bank was helping.) Checking the voltage coming out of the alternator showed only 7-8V, which was wrong. Jamal quickly (and correctly) guessed that the starter batteries were completely dead. I hadn’t realized it, since they still showed 12.5V+; but turning the engine over with the starter bank, the voltage dropped to around 6. In the end, that’s probably what killed the old alternator: it was hooked directly into the starter bank, which wasn’t accepting a charge, overloading the alternator and eventually burning it out.
Luckily I’ve got a whole bunch of new batteries sitting around (still waiting for a new electrical system), so we just went ahead and replaced the starter bank. After that the new alternator was performing as expected.
The tachometer is working again too; here it is (along with the rest of the gauges) with the engine at a low idle:
Later I ran the engine for a while at 1500 RPM with no problems. Brian suggested I should probably run it in gear for at least a couple hours a week (and in neutral before and after), but I still need to go for a swim and cut what appears to be a chunk of fishing net off the prop before I do that.
Here’s a quick video of the new alternator with the engine running; the gauges; and the exhaust pumping out of the stern:
After Jamal left, Charlene lent me a hand and we installed the new fittings and hose for the LPG system. Everything was pretty straightforward. First, here’s the stuff I spent most of Thursday morning trying to find; the fitting on the left is the original, and the fitting on the right is the newly built one with barbed ends:
And here I am tinkering with the fitting:
And finally, here’s the new setup. The hose on the lower right is headed through a deck fitting to the galley stove. The too-long hose on the left goes to the grill. (This evening I cleaned it up a bit and secured it with some zip ties.)
Did some leak testing and tried everything out; it all works great. The grill is really hot. We haven’t grilled anything yet but will probably give it a shot this coming weekend.