Archive For The “Technical” Category

Gear We Like: FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera

Gear We Like: FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera

A few year back, we picked up a FLIR ONE Thermal Camera from Amazon. It’s only $200 and operates as an extension to an Android phone (IOS also supported on similar hardware) with an on-phone application. Every 6 months we use the camera to do a full scan of the breaker cabinet, the DC cabinet,…

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Flare over Seattle

Flare over Seattle

Downtown Seattle is full of apartment buildings overlooking Elliott Bay, with frequent ferry and commercial traffic. If a distress flare were fired in this area, you would expect this to generate a lot of reports. But when one was set off on a recent Tuesday morning, we might have been the only ones to report…

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Adapting

Adapting

As we prepared Dirona for our trip around the world, we knew that a few of our US-based systems wouldn’t be compatible with those used in other countries. Connecting to shore power was an obvious one. As with household plugs, marine shore power connections around the world differ from those used in North America. Another…

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Winter Boating: Heated Mattress Pad

Winter Boating: Heated Mattress Pad

Although we loved the warm weather in the South Pacific, we find ourselves drawn more to higher latitudes. Of the twenty years we’ve cruised in our Nordhavn 52 and our previous boat, most of that time has been spent in places where the summers are warm, but not hot, and the winters can be quite…

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Gear We Like: LL Bean Rolling Duffle

Gear We Like: LL Bean Rolling Duffle

In the decade we spent travelling the world in Dirona, we typically returned to Seattle two-three times a year. And on every one of those trips (when international), we brought back a lot of boat parts and spares in checked luggage. The gear usually weighed at least 200 lbs (90kg) in aggregate, and sometimes as…

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Exercising on a Boat

Exercising on a Boat

After a decade of living aboard, one of the few aspects of our cruising lifestyle that we weren’t satisfied with, and hadn’t found a good solution for, was exercise. A few years ago, we tried Mark Lauren’s You Are Your Own Gym bodyweight program and it’s worked out very well for us. We enjoy the…

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Gear We Like: Laser Rangefinder

Gear We Like: Laser Rangefinder

This installation of “Gear We Like” covers the Nikon Forestry Pro Laser Rangefinder. This tool allows us to quickly and accurately measure a bridge clearance and other vertical or horizontal distances. We first discovered a need for this device in East London, South Africa, where we stopped to ride out a storm en route from…

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Dual Shorepower System

Dual Shorepower System

One of the things we really like about our more flexible power system is it allows us to run on shore power connections that deliver less than our peak power requirements. The shore power charges the house bank and 6 kW, 240V 60 Hz inverter supplies the peak capacity needed to run larger appliances such as the…

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Gear We Like: Non-Contact Voltage Detector

Gear We Like: Non-Contact Voltage Detector

This installment of the “Gear We Like” series features the Klien NCVT-2 non-contact voltage detector. This inexpensive tool makes it super-easy to ensure that power actually is available at the shore power pedestal before plugging in. There are many ways to check for power at a pedestal, but none faster than using a non-contact sensor….

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Gear We Like: Wireless Keyboard with Trackball

Gear We Like: Wireless Keyboard with Trackball

In the past twenty years, we’ve run a combined 16,400 engine hours and traveled over 120,000 miles on the two boats we’ve owned. On our first boat we spent a decade extensively exploring the Pacific Northwest and researching the material for our guide, Cruising the Secret Coast: Anchorages on British Columbia’s Inside Passage. In our…

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HVAC Replacement

HVAC Replacement

Last summer, our pilot house and master stateroom HVAC units stopped working. Since we’d just got out of the yard in Stornoway Scotland, it was just about 100% certain that the two failures were correlated, and caused by air in the system. We bled the pump and there was air. But when we tested the…

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Watermaker Remanufacture

Watermaker Remanufacture

We have a Village Marine STW-600 watermaker that nominally produces 25 gallons per hour. We use it heavily and, over the last 11 years, we have wound up just over 2,000 hours on it. Since the watermaker is such a mission critical component for us, we wanted to have lots of spares on board so…

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The Case of the Missing Oil Leak

The Case of the Missing Oil Leak

An engine seldom “just gets better”—close to never—but our generator was leaking vast amounts of oil from the rear main oil seal prior to the cylinder head replacement. If the generator sound attenuation shield front cover was removed during operation, it would spray the engine room floor and the neighboring wing engine, creating a real…

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Ship’s Log

Ship’s Log

We keep a detailed ship’s log that records where we have been, what we have done, system state, and things we fix. Unlike commercial ship’s logs, that normally are hand-maintained and can’t be modified, ours is a bit primitive in that it’s just a Word document. We focus on it being easy to maintain rather…

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Part III: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

Part III: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

  This installment of our maintenance series picks up from our previous video, where we replaced the defective cylinder head in our Northern Lights 12kW generator with a brand new one just shipped in from the US. In this video, we complete the job by adjusting the valves, replacing the coolant and bleeding the fuel…

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Stornoway Haulout

Stornoway Haulout

The Stornoway slipway is a big commercial railway that can lift boats up to 50m long and weighing up to 850 tons. The railway cradle uses three pairs of hydraulic support arms to hold boats in place, making for an efficient lift process. Once the vessel is in the correct position, the arms are simply…

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Part II: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

Part II: Replacing 12kW GenSet Cylinder Head

  This installment of our maintenance series picks up from our previous video, where we removed the defective cylinder head from our Northern Lights 12kW generator and ended with the engine in pieces on the floor. In this third part of the set covering the low power output issue with our generator, we install the…

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Lead-Acid Battery Lifetime

Lead-Acid Battery Lifetime

Batteries are complex electro-chemical devices and sensitive to operator mistakes and charging system configuration errors. Just a couple of deep discharge cycles can lead to early failure. Long periods without fully charging can reduce the capacity of a battery bank. Equalization (extended charge periods at controlled high-voltage charging) can partially reverse some of these effects,…

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