Friday, March 27, 2009

Lets make some Power!

One of the advantages of doing a rather extensive restoration is you get to make a whole new set of mistakes (err, design). This includes the systems, and in this case the Energy system. I have based Viking Star around a DC boat: All the lighting is DC, generators, DC. Pumps, etc. All DC. I DO have a large Prosine inverter to power the refrigerator and a hair dryer, but most the effort is in DC.

We have two total separate DC systems. Each with their own battery, charger, alternators, and usage. 100% isolated and redundant with the ability to cross connect if needed. One system is dedicated to the main motor - starting and instruments. that's it. I can optionally power the Nav instruments from this system. The other system, the House System, supplies most everything else, and in normal operation the Nav needs are powered from the house.

Though I have designed the house system to allow for up to 5 days at anchor on battery alone (and recharge in 5 hours of motoring), there might be a time I need to make some power independent of the main motor alternator. Here is where my 'DC Generator' comes in.

For this, I am assembling a system consisting of:
Kubota EB300 diesel
Leece Neville 200A Alternator
CAT pressure pump for water maker.

Here is a photo of many of the main components - over the next months I hope to put these into some that works, and will BLOG the results as I go.

Motor: Kubota EB300, from E-bay

Alternator: Leece Neville 4900 Series 200A large frame alternator - Ebay

Pressure pump: CAT 311 - Find of a lifetime!

Spindle: Kubota 19501-8451-0 1-7/16" x 3.5" - Kubota

Pulleys: Surplus Center supplied

Some comments on key parts:

Alternator: I am using a large frame 4900 series Leece Neville. This is the same alternator used on the main motor for the house alternator, and are tuff guys. This is a bit different then other folks have used in that it is a larger frame alternator and I expect no issues with heat nor longevity.

Pump: CAT 311, took a LONG time to find one of these without paying lots of $$$

Spindles: Kubota has lots of parts to put on their motors; issue is finding out about them and getting PART NUMBERS!. After talking up the local supplier, I was finally able to just sit down with the books. One can order pulleys, spindles, lots. Here are some spindles I found in their parts book:
19501-8451-2 1-1/2" x 3.5" PTO shaft
19501-8451-0 1-7/16" x 3.5" PTO shaft
14972-8451-2 1-3/16" x 2.17" PTO shaft
14943-8441-3 46mm x 90mm PTO shaft

I actualy ended up with the 1-7/16" shaft, as that is what the company could see on their books. Do make sure to take care of all the digits, they all are important! Also make sure you have the correct bolts from Kubota - they have a shoulder that is sized to fit into the holes of the PTO adapter. Ones from Ace Hardware might not work as well :-)

Pulleys: I ordered mine from, good prices and I think will work as well as any others.

Going to focus on the Generator portion 1st, and will add the water maker later. Watch for more postings on progress over the next month.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Stress Diet

The stress diet seems to be working once again.

During stressful times in my past, I have lost weight, seemingly without trying, often as much as 20 pounds. (One time I was helped by having a tonsillectomy, after which I could only eat Jello and popsicles for two weeks.)

This year, you could say we made a New Years Resolution, like many Americans, to lose weight. This was BEFORE the layoff notice. We would return to the eating habits we followed when we were in Europe for a month a few years ago. Since I do the majority of the grocery shopping, I vowed to buy more fruits and vegetables. We would eat less meat.

We had nearly a month of this with no changes in the way our clothes fit, or the numbers on the scale.

Then IT happened. Now Al has time to go to the gym, and he reports regularly his weigh-in results. He has lost nearly 10 pounds! And even though I HAVEN'T changed my activity level, I have lost 6 pounds.

Is it just the stress though?

OR is it that we have used ALOT of energy working on the house, hauling and painting, NOT sitting in front of the TV eating cheese and crackers? Is it that we gave up ice cream for Lent? Is it that I had to scale back my daily Starbucks order, and it no longer includes Lemon Pound Cake?

All I can say is that I do look forward to losing a bit of weight, on myself AND my husband! It will make life on the boat all the better. Al will fit the engine room better, and I will fit a bikini better!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

So, Whats up?

Well, Time just seems to keep moving. We are still working a bit on the house, focusing now on getting rid of stuff. It's funny how much Kids can drag into a house, and also how much they are able to leave behind when they move on. I just have to wonder if they have some sort of Stuff Multiplier, as it seems there is always more stuff here, there, and everywhere. Oh Wait, guess some of this stuff is mine. . .

Got the Project Car moved to a friend's house today and put it into a portable garage. Should be somewhat safe, but this is not the best way to preserve something. Oh Well, perhaps the kids will get a bug in them and want to start working on it again. . . Working to have a (what likely will be the first of a couple) Garage Sale next weekend. Hope to set up a few tables in the Garage and the 'dining room' for next Friday and Saturday.

House has been shown every Sunday. It IS getting traffic, result of aggressive pricing I am sure. And each weekend we seem to be able to draw one or even two active buyers. Will keep working at it.

On the Boat have been focusing on the Heater system - in addition to the Dickinson - Hurricane boiler attached to the existing base-board hydronic heating radiators. I am also working on the Kubota DC generator / water maker. Been getting some of the last parts ordered. Will post a future BLOG entry on this. I also signed up for a class in refrigeration at the local Community College.

Other than that, have just been taking day-to-day. I am hoping to be able to spend more time at the Boat once we get the G-Sale over with. After the Heater and Generator, likely will start working on the aft stateroom: Cabinets and Bed. (Need to order that new water Tank in preparation for that I guess!)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Oh, the Warm Cabin (ala, THANK YOU Dickinson!)

Viking Star came with a Dickinson Diesel stove. At first I didn't think much about this 'old' technology stove, and was looking forward to replacing it with something more Modern.

Then we used it one Winter - and I tell ya, this gem will have to be pried from my cold, very cold, dead hands.

See, this stove is also a great heater. It puts out a very warm heat, just like a Wood stove. Coming in from the outside, there is little better then standing next to the Warm radiant heat. And it also has a drying effect, again like a wood stove. This is due to the air-exchange nature of the burner, replacing high moisture content inside air with low moisture content outside air. This is the best feature, hands down. And we kept very warm with our Dickinson Diesel stove. In fact, most of the time we are too warm and have to crack a hatch; even when the stove is on Low. These things are great, and when they work, they work like no ones business.

But they are also somewhat fussy. Mostly, if they are not kept clean, or the fuel becomes restricted due to a clogged filter (including that small brass screen right at the fuel inlet elbow), well, they can be a pain. We likely will need to paint over some soot staining from winters when the stove 'acted up'. There is a balance to them, almost an art. And we are learning. This year we had a great run. And with our December this year (See prior post about Christmas Ships), we really needed it! No noise, no electrically, no dripping windows. Just warm and dry. Ha!

If I was fitting out the boat from the beginning, I would put one of these Pot type Diesel burner heaters in the Aft stateroom. And a Propane range / over in the galley. As it is, we have trouble getting the heat into the lower cabins, and I am installing a propane cooker to use during warmer months.

One side note: I seem to remember hearing somewhere one never POURS from one pot to another on a boat, but one uses a Ladle. Well, I remembered remembering that a bit too late this year. Yes, these stoves work very well when up and running. But dump half a pot of water on them and you get a LOT of steam. Almost instantly fogging the cabin windows. And when the water gets into the pot burner and puts out the stove, well, life is not good.. You end up with one pissed off stove.

And I also found out the Wife tends to get rather pissed off as well with a cabin full of a mixture of steam, raw Diesel fuel mist, and all the doors and windows open when it is in the low 20's outside and the wind blowing like heck... Live and learn -- one can hope :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It was a Dark and Stormy Night. . . .

Some times both, some times just one. In any case, this last Christmas Ships was definitely one for the Books.

Kristi and I have participated in the Portland Oregon Christmas Ships parade for 6 years now. This is a group of about 40-50 boaters who go out each night for two weeks with their boats decorated. We run two fleets, one based on the Columbia River and other one downtown on the Willamette. On the weekends, we join forces and make one LARGE parade!

Portland's lighted parade is one of the longest running parades in the nation, with the possible exception of one of the parades up North, it might just be THE longest running. (Sorry, you guys down south. Counting all those years you did 4th of July as part of the running history of the 'Holiday parade' is a bit of a stretch . . . .) I am sure these things change in flavor over time, but at this point we have two weeks of folks who decorate their boats, buy the fuel, brave the nights, and have a great time. All on their own dime! Any donations from local business goes into an overall 'blanket insurance' policy for the overall group Christmas Ships Inc. (Welcome of the litigious times we are in).

Christmas Ships have a history of always putting on the show. Each night, individual skippers must assess their own comfort level, but we do have a large group of very experienced boaters, and each night the USCG, CGA, and/or local sheriff boats are out with us. Issues such as Fog, wind, LOGS IN THE RIVER are all considered. And usually it must be a rather extreme night (Wind mostly) that will cause a night to be canceled.

This last year three nights were canceled. Old timers say that is as many as had been canceled in the prior 20 years all combined.

We had a 40-year snow event this last December in Portland. Wind, Snow, Ice. Extreme cold. Very very unusual, and we got 3 nights canceled. But that does not mean the rest of the nights were uneventful! Moving up the Multnomah Channel is always a favorite of ours, and this year it snowed again. What a treat, that is once we get the frozen dock lines untied to get out of Saint Helen's. Viking Star stayed overnight back at Hadles Landing with a few other boaters and moved back to the marina near the Airport that morning. The Wind was still up that AM, and I was about to send Kristi out to start Chipping ice. But we did make it.

We are looking forward to doing Christmas Ships again this Winter. It may be our last for a while. Kind of depends on where Life leads us. But if you happen to be in Portland this December, and take in the Christmas Ships, be on the lookout for the 'Star Boat', as one young Fan noted:

Monday, March 2, 2009

If You Can Read This....

We have just returned from a day and a half at the boat. It was the first time I have been there since Christmas, and Al had warned me that it was quite a mess. He will tell you that I actually swore when I saw it (something for confession, sorry Pastor Dan).

Yesterday afternoon was spent mainly picking up and organizing. Al reconnected the water and toilet (oops, head), and I washed up the dishes he had used over the last two months of visits to the boat. We visited with dock mates over burgers at the local pub.

Today I concentrated more on actually CLEANING the boat. Most notably, the afformentioned head. And frankly, as opposed to seeing red, it had me seeing YELLOW! For some time, we have been noting a certain odor about the head. Well, today, after getting on my knees and scrubbing with my cleanser with bleach, I expressed my desire that Al 'be seated' to pee from now on.

I believe I will extend this to ALL males who visit Viking Star. No, just to be fair, I intend to post a sign for EVERYONE to see:

If You Can Read This.....
PLEASE, turn around,

Al informs me that this is a very common controversy on boats. He has heard it said before that 'Real Sailors Sit!'

Makes sense to me! The boat may be rolling; why even worry about having to take aim? Have a seat--relax! Be my guest!

Or, we may be drawing straws for bathroom duty at the end of every cruise.