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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Intermittent electronics - Problem found
|Author||Topic: Intermittent electronics - Problem found|
posted 04-09-2009 03:47 PM ET (US)
Last season I took a trip off Montauk, New York out to the canyons for some fishing. I take this type of trip from two times a year to four times a year in this boat. We left very early and ran against seas of four to five feet in height while heading out. Nonetheless, you could imagine the pounding we took in a 1973 OUTRAGE 21. About 35 miles out I lost my GPS. It became intermittent and seemed like it was related to the pounding of the waves. Every time we hit a big wave - or landed for that matter- the GPS would cycle on then off again. Sometimes when I would stop the boat, the GPS worked fine, but as soon as I throttled up the problem would persist.
In summary, I cut the trip back to about 45 miles or to 50 miles and set up to drift fishing for shark. I went over the electrical system from the battery all the way to the bus bar, to the fuse panel, to the back of the GPS. I was having power [malfunctions] on all my house electronics but engine got continuous power from the starter battery. But, when I would switch from the house battery to both batteries ,then the same [malfunction] persisted.
I had a test light and all circuits checked. I gerry-rigged wiring directly from the battery terminal to the GPS and it worked fine. Everything checked out. Batteries were charging fine. They were one-year-old AGM 27 series batteries that cost about $300 each.
I will summarize here to the salient point. I drove back by compass and hauled the boat, had it checked, but no one could identify the problem. Sent the GPS back to Standard-Horizon with great customer service, but they said it was fine. I noticed a few screws worked themselves out of the back of the unit, so I was suspect of water intrusion
Long story short, I broke a plate or two in the house battery and only realized it after it totally broke and would not charge. I think this is a great example of a reason for two batteries if you go out far. Also, to admit that I had underestimated the endurance of batteries that claim to be indestructible!
Just FYI for future reference. It caused me to cut my season early.
posted 04-09-2009 08:02 PM ET (US)
It might be good to have a back up GPS connected to a separate motorcycle-size battery.
posted 04-09-2009 08:33 PM ET (US)
If the motion on the boat during your voyage was so severe that it caused damage to an AGM battery, you must have been pounding very hard. Generally the AGM battery is considered immune to damage from movement on a boat. Thanks for your narrative. I found it very interesting.
posted 04-09-2009 08:54 PM ET (US)
Busted batteries and loose screws on your GPS...Wow, do you have artificial knees yet. Rough riding.
But really, those AGM's should be under warranty because broken plates is unusual. They could have been dropped before they even got in your boat.
I assume they GPS dropped out because if low voltage drops from contacting or loose plates.
I carry a Garmin 76CSX as a spare (soon to be upgraded to a portable GPS/VHF). But I also don't venture offshore.
posted 04-10-2009 06:27 PM ET (US)
Yes, I will take the advice on the back up GPS.
As far as pounding, yes. I can only get people to run out to the canyons once. As soon as they get back, they swear never to go again. (trust me, I warn them, but words cannot do justice to the experience.
Oh yeah, they fully warranteed the battery. If anyone ever wants to know how to mount stuff to an old whaler, I am your man.
I actually bought a small Honda generator and an old military water proof case to keep it in. It helps me to run lights when we do overnights.
posted 04-10-2009 06:39 PM ET (US)
Oh yeah, the key to not blowing out your knees is wear heavy soled boots and keep your knees bent. (but not too bent, they will slam again the console.
I went out with my brother one time. The 1-2 foot rollers on the way out and 7-9 footers on the way back. Worst ride of my life. I broke all sorts of stuff and my brother said his knees hurt until Christmas! I guess biking a lot helps.
Just a funny story.
posted 04-10-2009 10:38 PM ET (US)
I have two large battery boxes in my stern(splash well) in 18 outrage, I placed styrofoam strips (the bendable type0 about 1 inch by the length of the box, in the bottom of the box, then I place the cover on securely,Its my belief that the styrofoam acts as a pad in the box and keeps the battery from pounding.
posted 04-11-2009 02:19 PM ET (US)
Placing some vibration isolation material between the battery box(s) and the floor/deck will help protect the battery(s) from vibration.
Years ago, a pad (maybe 3/4 inch thick) called isomode pad was commercially available to isolate vibration. These pads were molded of a rubber-like material - and looked like 3/8" square strips molded lenthwise on 3/8" centers on one surface and similar 3/8 square strips molded crosswise on the opposite surface. I have been out of the vibration "busines" for several years - and don't know if it is still available.
Styrofoam can act as an vibration isolator - but I would think it would not hold up too well - as it is easily crushed - and once crushed/compressed, it will not return to it's initial shape.
Solid rubber pads would work - but the harder the rubber, the less the vibration protection - but a relatively firm rubber pad would be better than styrofoam. Some rubber like materials and products are made that may work. I will give this some thought, see what is available and let everyone know what I come up with - as the goal of providing some vibration isolation to the battery(s) is good. ------- Jerry/Idaho
posted 04-11-2009 05:21 PM ET (US)
I just recently purchased some rubber like squares 3' by 3' by 1/2" from a place called Harbor Freight. You get six squares for eight dollars. They are supposed to be connected together and used as a covering for concrete floors when standing on them a long time. I placed one square under my batteries in the bottom of my console and cut another strip to wrap around each battery. Fit great cuts easy with a box cutter. Hope it works.
posted 04-23-2009 01:16 PM ET (US)
Once again I will be asking CWer's to help me figure something out. (I am glad to see you guys don't tire easily!)
I did some research on shock/vibration materials. There is a myriad of materials out there and it is not easy to distinguish the better product without holding it in your hands.
Isomode Pads (made by Gilbert Industries) is a thing of the past. They looked perfect though.
There are a lot of product out there, but when I look at shock loads they are usually in Pounds per Square inch.
Naturally, I always want to get the "best" product, but that is where it gets confusing.
My first inclination is to get a high "pounds per square inch" type, but then I see that the max loads models actually have a steel plate in them for use with drop hammer type of machinery. Not so Good.
My second thought was to go with the middle of the road "pounds per Square inch", but those models have a cork center sandwiched in between 3/8 inch neoprene. Is the cork a bad idea with oils, fish guts, and saltwater constantly drenching it? I dont know.
The bottom tier is usually a 3/8 piece of rubber or neoprene, which in my mind is a wet suit material that is very "squishy" and would be pounded to dust within a week.
I would appreciate some direction.
posted 04-24-2009 08:45 AM ET (US)
Thanks for posting the problem you had with your GPS.
It turns out, that I have the exact same problem, with my GPS, being vibration sensitive. After testing the GPS and not finding any vibration problems, I replaced the entire fuse block, thinking I had some kind of problem with that.
This didn't fix the problem. My battery is 4 yrs. old. Maybe it's time to replace it.
I did buy a hand held GPS for backup. It makes me feel a little safer.
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