Thursday night last week I got to the boat kind of late with all sorts of grand plans for things I could get done, and I was quickly derailed (what’s new?) by the shower sump pump. As soon as I flipped the breaker, I heard it start running, and it never stopped. Something wrong with the pressure switch, which I spent some time debugging. To make a long story short, I found that removing the tube from the base of the pressure switch and then re-attaching it resolved the issue, and then the pressure switch worked better than ever before. Of course, Friday morning I forgot to switch off the breaker like I usually do when I leave the boat, and in the evening I returned and found the pump running dry. Luckily it didn’t burn out; some more fiddling with the tubing resolved it and I haven’t seen a recurrence. Still kind of annoying.
After a hike and a swim Saturday Charlene and I returned to the boat for a BBQ and I ran the engine for a while, and in particular I played a bit with the alternator, adjusting the engine RPM and watching the alternator’s ammeter. I was a bit surprised to find the amperage topping out around 20A, reaching it around 1300 RPM and staying around 20A even up to 2200 RPM, which is as high as I went. My alternator is 105A-rated. I was also disturbed by the voltage drop from the alternator to the batteries (~14.3V at the alternator posts, but only ~13.2V at the batteries). Talking to Lee this morning, he suggested my alternator-to-battery wiring may be undersized, which I’ll check. Brian felt that my numbers didn’t actually sound so bad and that the alternator regulator was probably just in the float phase, since when I was running the engine the batteries were already around 12.5V (~85% charged). After some more pondering today I’ve decided I have better things to worry about for now and will revisit this after doing some rewiring.
I did some rough measurements of cabin volume to verify my guesstimate of ~11k BTU for air conditioning. (I was right.) However, after quoting various air conditioning options I’m thinking I may have to set that aside for now, in favor of other priorities. The cheapest options are around US$3k, sans installation, which will require a haulout.
On the upside, having a gas grill is really pretty awesome. Now I can’t wait to get a battery charger in place so I can leave my fridge on at all times at the dock, and do more cooking.