First and foremost my best and biggest wishes to all the Moms out there! Every day should be Mother’s Day in my opinion so I hope this is just an extra special day for all of you extra special people.
The past week has been filled with a litany of little jobs for the most part and nothing too visual to show you so I’ll keep this short so as not to take up much time on Mother’s Day or better yet, don’t bother reading till later this week.
Christine and I are inching closer and closer to the day when we finally throw off the dock lines here at Setur Marina in Finike and begin our adventures making our way up the Turkish coast a bit and then start making our way West across the Med this summer. If all goes well we hope to take off in about two weeks as we whittle the To List down more each day. Thanks to the help of the great people at Electrodyne and WakeSpeed I think we have found the causes of the one alternator and regulator that are not working properly and have the new parts being put together to be shipped out next week. With us about to become “moving targets” with no fixed address I will need to figure out how and where best to get these parts delivered to us but after so many years out sailing the world this is a very common problem for us and we always manage to find a way to get boat parts and boat united.
One of the big things I need to get done before we take off is getting our Tender “Mobli” finished and running and also be able to test out launching and retrieving him with our Davit Arch system. So in addition to working on some of the remaining To Do items such as tracking down some new gremlins in our Shore Power setup, I have been trying to stay focused on getting Mobli finished. Last week you saw me finish installing the wet exhaust system and I’m waiting the arrival of two more hose clamps to finish that completely and that leaves just the electrical wiring to be fully completed. So as per the title, wiring was the focus this week. Christine has been my trusted parts finder and delivery person tracking down the parts and supplies I need to complete the work on the Tender. She has taking taking full advantage of her fabulous new eBike to pick up parts available here in our little town of Finike or take the 2 hour bus ride down to the big city of Antalya to bring back parts from there. One of those items was a 12 volt AGM battery and battery box which I now have solidly mounted on this shelf I created using some leftover composite grid that we used for the flooring in the ER, Workshop and Forepeak.
I had several of these large Red Battery Switches from Blue Sea left over from building Möbius and so I installed two of these. that This under seat area is easy to access, fully protected, easy to lock up and keeps the weight well centered so this seemed like the best location for the battery. I installed the second battery switch in the Engine Bay on the opposite side of the AL bulkhead under the seat. This isn’t really necessary but provides a very secure anti-theft device when turned off and the Engine Bed lid is locked. We would not likely need to use it very often so it will just be left on most of the time but will be good to have if we ever need to leave the Tender ashore for long periods of times or we are unsure of the security ashore. The primary 12V positive 1/0 size Red cable goes from this switch under the Yanmar engine and connects directly to …. … this stud on the starter solenoid. A bit tight to get to but it is now on and well tightened. The other smaller Red AWG 8 gauge cable comes off the same switch and goes back to the jet drive along with the other wiring for the jet drive and the two Black hydraulic hoses for steering the jet drive. The steering is also hydraulic but is manually powered by turning the steering wheel. The hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the jet drive’s bucket is electric so that Red cable goes to this 50 Amp breaker which feeds power to the pump behind it. There is also the same size Black negative cable that runs from the engine ground to the bronze stud you can see in the center of this shot. Some nylon zip ties help keep all the wiring and hydraulic hoses in place and well protected and with that the wiring inside the Engine Bay is now pretty much complete. Just need to add engine oil, coolant and hydraulic fluid and this should be ready to fire up as soon as we launch the Tender and have it in the water needed for the wet exhaust and heat exchangers. Next week I will move back to the console to finish connecting the Castoldi jet drive wire harness to the Yanmar harness. That leaves me with these 8 wires that connect to the ignition and starter switches and the bucket position gauge which I hope to get done next week. Depending on if I get the remaining parts in time and finish all the wiring, we may be able to launch Mobli over the side next week and fire him up so be sure to tune in again next week to see all that. Thanks as always for joining us again this week and be sure to leave your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below. They are all VERY much appreciated!
Now, let’s all get back to reminding all the Moms in our lives how awemazing they are!
Another week and another month fly by in a flash it seems but we are making good progress and cutting the dock lines from here in beautiful sunny Finike Marina is getting closer with each passing day. This week also felt like summer is definately on its way with day time temp yesterday getting up to a new high of 29C/84F so we tropical birds are loving this change.
Nothing too visually exciting for this week’s Show & Tell update unfortunately but I’ll do my best to get you caught up on what all we did get done this past week of April 25-30, 2022.
Decks are Done!
One of the larger jobs that we are very thankful to have finished is that the team from Naval finished redoing all the TreadMaster on all our decks.
Despite being very high quality, the West Systems epoxy that was used to affix all the sheets of TreadMaster to the AL decks had not adhered to the AL very well so it has become both an eyesore and a tripping danger. They carefully removed each panel of TM, sanded the AL down, applied Bostik Primer and then Bostik adhesive and glued them all back down with rollers.
Apologies for not having any photos of the completed decks but you get the idea.
When my friend John was here two weeks ago we finished setting up and configuring the two WakeSpeed 500 regulators which control the two Electrodyne 250 Amp @ 24V alternators.
This upper Electrodyne is powered off of Mr. Gee’s crankshaft with a toothed “timing” belt.
The six large red cables carry the AC current from each alternator over to the Electrodyne Rectifiers which are mounted outside of the ER. Difficult to photograph this drive system I designed so this rendering of my CAD models will show it much better. Crankshaft pulley is at the bottom, sea water pump on the left and Electrodyne in the upper right. Works out eXtremely well as there is zero chance of any slippage of these toothed belts and I put in a spring loaded idler pulley (not shown in this render) which keeps the tension just right all the time. Also difficult to photograph now all the floors are in the Engine Room, the lower Electrodyne is powered directly off of the PTO or Power Take Off that is on the lower left side of Mr. Gee. An eXtremely robust and almost maintenance free setup as well. This older photo when Mr. Gee was up in the air shows how this PTO drive works. I went with these massively large and strong Electrodyne alternators in large part because they use an external Rectifier which is what you see here. The diodes in the rectifier are where the majority of the heat comes from in an alternator and heat is the enemy of electrical efficiency so keeping them out of the alternator and out of the ER really helps to increase the lifespan and efficiency of the whole charging system. Each Rectifier is then connected to one of the WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulators and each WS500 is interconnected with the white Ethernet cable you see here.
Connecting these two WS500’s is a big part of what makes them deservedly called “smart” because they then automatically figure out how to perfectly balance the charging from each alternator which can otherwise be quite difficult and prone to errors. However, the biggest reason these WS500’s are the first truly ‘Smart’ regulators is because they use both Voltage AND Amperage do monitor the batteries and adjust the alternators to produce the just right amount of charging. With everything all wired up we started up Mr. Gee and after the initial ramp up time we were soon seeing about 220 Amps going into the 1800 Ah House Battery which was a joy to see.
Having two of these Electrodyne 250Ah alternators give us the potential for up to 12kW of electrical charging so in a way we actually do have a “generator” onboard. Unfortunately we soon noticed that some of the 24V circuit breakers were tripping when these alternators were running and I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to figure out what was causing that. Thanks to exemplary help from both Dale at Electrodyne and Neil at WakeSpeed, both of whom have been fabulous to work with from the very beginning, I was eventually able to track down the problem to an incorrectly installed aluminium bar that was used to fasten the two halves of the Electrodyne Rectifiers. One end of this AL flat bar was touching one of the AL L-brackets that hold the studs and diode in the Rectifier. Once found the fix was pretty quick and easy.
However somewhere along the way one of the WS500’s stopped working so I am now working with Neil to sort that out. In the meantime we have up to 250Ah charging capacity from the one working Electrodyne/WS500 combo and with all the solar power we have coming out of our 14 solar panels, we have no need for any of it most of the time.
Exhausting work on Tender Mobli
Most of my time this week was spent finishing off the installation of the Yanmar 4JH4 HTE 110HP engine and Castoldi 224DD jet drive in our Tender that we have named “Mobli”.
Similar to Mr. Gee and most marine engines, the Yanmar uses a wet exhaust where sea water is injected into the exhaust gas after it exits the turbocharger. This water dramatically drops the temperature of the exhaust gasses so you can use rubber and fiberglass exhaust hoses to carry the gases and water out of the boat. You can see the primary components I’m using to build the exhaust system in the photo below; water injection elbow on the Yanmar on the far Left with the Black rubber exhaust hose with the yellow stripe to carry the exhaust gas and water down to the cylindrical water muffler in the upper left. I will use the two white RFP 90 degree elbows to carry the water/gas up and out of the boat through the 76mm/3” AL pipe on the right. Like this. I am waiting for more of the SS hose clamps to arrive but this is what the finished setup will look like. Will need to fabricate and install a bracket to hold the muffler in place as well and that will complete the exhaust system.
Hard to see (click to expand any photo) but I was also able to install the black rubber hose that you see running parallel to the left of the exhaust hose and muffler. This carries the cooling sea water from the housing of the Castoldi Jet drive up to the intake on the sea water pump on the left side of the Yanmar.
Last major job to complete the installation of the Yanmar/Castoldi propulsion system is the mounting of the battery and its cables to both the jet drive and the engine and I hope to get that done this coming week. That’s how I spent my last week of April 2022 and hope yours was equally productive.
Thanks for taking the time to follow along, always encouraging to know you are all out there and along for the ride with Christine and me. Thanks in advance for typing any and all comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below and hope you will join us again next week as we get May off to a good start.
I’m not sure how it happened but another week and almost another month has somehow zipped by and it feels like Spring is finally in the air as the weather begins to warm here in Southern Turkey. Still a bit of a chill at nights but they are trending upwards and the forecast is calling for that to continue.
With Mr. Gee now back on his feet we are now ramping up our efforts to make Möbius fully ship shape and ready to head out to sea as the weather improves. It is now mostly all the little things that need to be done but they do take time and at the end of many days when I look around I don’t seem to see much visual progress but I does feel good to be checking items off of the To do list.
So let’s jump right in and get you updated on all that happened this week that I could photograph. Oh, and stick around for the Bonus video at the end!
Since getting Mr. Gee back up and running I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing all the “little” things on him such as getting all the various sensors wired up that measure things like oil pressure, engine oil, gearbox oil and coolant temperature.
If you look closely at this labelled photo (click any photo to enlarge) of the pressure and temperature senders on Mr. Gee you will notice that in addition to the analog gauges there is a second electric sensor that measures these same things. Here for example, is the Sika temperature gauge for the engine oil and on the left of it is the electric temperature sender which sends the oil temperature over to our Maretron boat monitoring system.
Over on the left side of the oil filter you can see the same combination of two analog oil pressure gauges and then a third electric sender at the very bottom. Over on the right front of Mr. Gee on the coolant manifold we find the analog temperature gauge and its electric cousin on the right.
It was finicky work running all the wires for these electric sensors and finding the best route to as I like to keep them well hidden and safe from chaffing so took the better part of a day to get these installed. Then I needed to chase a multi strand cable to get all output from these sensors over to the front Port/Left side of the Workshop where these Maretron black boxes and the Actisense EMU-1 are located. The EMU-1 is needed to convert the signals from the electric sensors and put this data on our NMEA2000 or N2K network which runs throughout the boat and carries all the boat data. This N2K network carries all the data to and from each sensor on the boat and allows us to display all this data on any of our many monitors onboard, our phones, laptops and tablets. This is the wiring diagram for the analog side of things with the wires from each sender going into the EMU-1. Which now looks like this. I will finish this job tomorrow by wiring the EMU-1 for the 24 volt power it needs. When we next have Mr. Gee running we can then check that the pressure and temperature data is showing up on the N2K network and Christine can build the screens to display all this info. We have done this dual analog/digital combination for most of the things we monitor on Möbius such as tank levels, water pressure, DHW temperature and many more. It is time consuming and costly but being able to monitor and log all this data is critical to being able to run Möbius safely and efficiently and to get early warning signals of equipment or systems as soon as they start to malfunction or fail. A big part of this is to be able to see this information from any screen anywhere on, as well as off, the boat so we find this to be well worth the effort and cost.
Having the backup analog gauges provides redundancy should any of the digital senders fail and also enables us confirm that the N2K data is accurate. As the recent mysterious missing oil pressure adventure proved, this double checking can prove to be eXtremely important!
My ER is Back!
Another one of those little and time consuming jobs was putting the grated flooring back in the Engine Room. We have used this composite grating in many other spaces such as the Workshop and Forepeak and it has worked out eXtremely well. Strong, solid, oblivious to any liquids and very non skid. Each grid has a frame surrounding it that is fabricated using aluminium L-bar which are then bolted to vertical L-bar supports welded to the frames. In the ER this grid flooring wraps all around Mr. Gee and is a huge safety factor when we ae underway and in rough seas as you always have a solid slip free floor under your feet. Not difficult work, just finicky to get the jig saw puzzle of all the individual frames fit back into their spaces and then bolted to their support bars.
At least in this case the results of all my time were very easy to see and it does feel particularly great to have the Engine Room back again since I first removed it back in June of last year.
Mr. Gee Video Tour Bonus
As promised, here is the bonus video so many of you have been requesting for so long. I don’t have the time to do any editing so this is going to be a very “uncut” and amateurish video I’m afraid but for all you Mr. .Gee fan boys and girls out there, hopefully this will hold you over until I can do a better version.
And for those who may have missed it, here is the video that was in last week’s update of the first starting of Mr. Gee version 3.0 after fixing the recalcitrant O-rings and finding the faulty oil pressure gauge that finally solved the mystery of the disappearing oil pressure.
Hope you enjoy these “rough and ready” videos from your trusty reporter and please type your questions and comments to let me know in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Another week zipped by and it is starting to feel a bit like Spring is on its way over here. Taxing seems to be the common theme this past week as I’ve been busy preparing our income taxes for 2022, Christine took on more and more challenging daily walks that taxed some new muscles and we both continue to work on projects and problems with various onboard systems which has been taxing our patience and perseverance. Not much to show and share visually so this will be a short weekly update for a change so enjoy the break while it lasts folks!
Spring on its way?
There is no Turkish equivalent that we know of for Groundhog Day and not sure that is a loss, but based on our sunny and warmer weather of late we are getting hints that Spring may arrive early this year here in southern Turkey.
Mother Nature seems to be sending out that message quite clearly and on one of her daily walks this week Christine found these bees busy with their Spring chores already.
That beautiful flowering tree was one of several treats Christine came across on one of her daily walks. Hard to see as it was a bit overcast, but if peer out over the red tile rooftop you can make out the waters of the Med that we are floating on. The photo above was taken at about the Blue dot here on Christine’s phone and Möbius is in the marina at the White dot on the far Right.
Looks like a nice simple walk right? That is until you look at the elevation or altitude and see that this walk is all pretty much straight UP and the bee tree was already 862 feet/262m above our sea level on Möbius. Not the best photo but this shot from the water looking up from nearby Finike Marina will give you a better idea of why this walk was a bit “taxing” for Captain Christine. This shot from our deck helps to fill in the way the land behind us goes pretty much straight up. On the way down, you can stop at the new mosque and get a much better view of the marina and Möbius below. More signs of Spring as more and more flowers start to blossom all around us as well and Christine’s daily walks allow her to see the progress day to day. Saturday is market day here in Finike so Christine did her weekly trek over there to stock us up with more fresh produce and groceries.
for Instance ….
One system that we have not been able to KISS or Keep It Simple, is the “network of networks” which allow all our electronics to be interconnected with each other. This diagram that Christine created shows this quite graphically and this is only the ethernet and NMEA2000 or N2K networks. This is a screen shot of the Maretron N2K Builder app which she used to design just the Maretron monitoring portion of the N2K network on Möbius. Maretron is what we use on Möbius for all the monitoring of all the systems onboard and their N2K View software allows us to then create any number of screens like this one as you build your own virtual gauges and lights to show whatever information you want. This screen is courtesy of James & Jennifer on mv Dirona and if you go to their blog with this link they do an eXcellent job of explaining how this all works. This is a huge asset for anyone running a passage maker as you can build any number of screens so each one is just right, just for you. As you’ll see in the bottom Right corner of Dirona’s screens, these two are for when Underway and then you could have screens for when you are at anchor or away from the boat, etc. The actual installation of these networks is relatively simple but the devil in the details shows up as you start to configure the system and keep everyone on the network playing nice with each other. Software such as N2K Analyzer here, helps you see each individual device and what they are sending out, receiving, etc. I won’t get into the technical details here but to help explain what has been “taxing” Christine this week is dealing with “instancing” on the N2K network. Each N2K device has to have a unique identifier known as an “instance” and for things like Maretron monitoring black boxes with multiple channels, each channel has its own instance and then each of the “sentences” which are created to carry the specific information such as tank level, oil pressure, room temperature, etc. etc. also has their own unique instance. Simple enough, everything has its own unique ID or instance number so the system knows who’s who on the network. The challenge comes as you start to bring each device into the network or do updates or add new equipment and as each manufacturer provides their own default instance numbers. Not quite so simple when you have ALL those sentences, devices and channels all talking back and forth simultaneously!
As you might imagine this often results in conflicting instances and until they are resolved the devices or gauges or alarms don’t work. As you can see on this screen where Red = conflict, not everyone is playing nicely together in Christine’s world this week which has been taxing her patience and perseverance.
We continue to file our income tax in the USA and that deadline for tax year 2021 is coming up on April 15th so this week I got started on the rather laborious task of filing our taxes for last year. So most of the screens I’ve been looking at this week look a little similar to Christine’s above as I go through filling in all the forms with the IRS. As with the network stuff Christine is working on, software certainly helps make this less arduous than it was in the past when you had to do it all on paper forms by hand, but it is still rather complex when you add in all the “tax instances” for being self employed running a self employed business as Christine does for all the books she writes and you have things like retirement accounts, investments and where she is a US citizen and I’m an “alien” (in more ways than one!) from Canada.
Progress continues on getting Mr. Gee all sorted out as well and this past week I’ve been organizing a trip up to London where I will spend some time at Gardner Marine and see some dear friends in the London area who I’ve not been able to see the past 2+ years with all the travel restrictions.
I will leave you with this lovely shot Christine grabbed last week from our forepeak during a brief squall that blew through. Moments like this help us keep everything in perspective even in taxing times. Sorry things are not more visual or interesting for you this past week but please do check back in for the next weekly update from Möbius .World
In last week’s “Toasty Tootsies” post I went over the way our In Floor Heating system works and concluded my explanation with what I thought was a rhetorical question;
“Brilliantly simple don’t you think??!!
Well, based on the number of comments and Emails I received, while our In Floor Heating system might indeed be “Brilliantly Simple” my explanation was NOT! Therefore, let me try and mend this by revisiting our In Floor Heating and do my best to improve my explanation of how this Open Direct type of system works. If I’m successful I think that most of you will come to agree with my assessment that this Open Direct system is indeed “Brilliantly Simple”!
But you will be the judge of that and so Please do add your comments as to how well this second attempt helps you to understand how our In Floor and Domestic Hot Water systems work and don’t hesitate to add your additional questions and things that still don’t make sense to you.
OK, here is my second attempt to show how this all works;
Deeper Dive into our Open Direct System;
One of the Emails I received, (thanks Benjamin), asked the following set of questions that included many of the points of confusion others sent me so I thought I’d use this to frame this expanded explanation of the Open Direct system I used to design our In Floor Heating or IFH and Domestic Hot Water or DHW System.
If I understood your installation diagram correctly, you run the drinking water through the same pipes as the water for the underfloor heating. Drinking water and “heating water” are identical, or not installed separately. First of all, this is economical because you one water circuit less. But I have a question about summer operation: drinking water and heating are usually installed separately, because in summer mode
you want to avoid hot water flowing through the heating system, and
the water should not stand still in parts of the circuit for a longer period of time to prevent the formation of legionella.
You can probably avoid point a. with valves that separate the entire heating circuit from the drinking water circuit in summer. But if the heating circuit is not flushed for several months during summer operation, legionella can form and then be flushed into the drinking water circuit when the heating system is put into operation. How do you avoid this? Is the underfloor heating completely drained during summer operation modus?
Thank you very much for further information!
First, let me try to resolve some common sources of misunderstanding that Benjamin and many of you mentioned;
I should have emphasized more how the various parts of our overall water systems are separated from each other. In last week’s post I mostly left out the Cold or “drinking” water system so it needs to be understood that this has its own set of plumbing and ALL the water we drink and cook with comes directly from the water tanks to the cold water taps/showers onboard. All the water in our water tanks comes directly from the onboard watermaker so it is as clean and close to pure H2O as is possible.
One of the things that seems to confuse many people at first is to understand that there are only TWO conditions that causes water to FLOW in a plumbing system:
The regular water pressure in the system causes water to flow IF and ONLY IF water is being REMOVED from the system.
There is a continuous circulation loop with its own PUMP that causes water to flow round and round through the CIRCULATION loop.
When neither 1 or 2 is true, there is NO FLOW of water through the plumbing.
The Hot/Warm systems are the ones based on the Open/Direct system on Möbius and this has TWO different but interconnected systems:
The In Floor Heating Mode which provides WARM water to heat floors when wanted.
The DHW Domestic Hot Water Mode which provides HOT water to all the sinks and showers at all times.
I have modified the following illustrations from last week’s post to show a clearer picture of how these two systems work.
When no Hot water tap is open there is NO Cold water entering the system. However, when one of the In Floor thermostats turns on a Zone Circulation Pump, warm water then flows out of the Calorifier, through the in floor PEX tubing and back into the Calorifier. This is a continuous loop so warm water is flowing through the floor tubing anytime the circulation pump is running.
The DHW system always takes priority so whenever a Hot water tap is opened, the system works like this in DHW Mode. When any HOT water outlet at a sink or shower is opened, the regular pressure in the Cold water system which runs about 60 PSI, causes Cold water to enter and flow through the PEX tubing in the floors to refill the hot water that has been removed from the Calorifier. When the Hot water tap is closed the system automatically reverts back to In Floor Heating Mode and the Circulation Pump causes Warm water to circulate though the floor and keep it toasty warm. To answer another question I received and as should now make sense, we do not actually “drink” water going through the DHW or In Floor Heating, though there would be no problems if we did.
It can initially be a bit confusing because when Hot water is consumed (taken out of the Calorifier by turning on the hot water at a sink or shower) and the system is in DHW mode as per above, it is necessary to replace the water that has been removed from the Calorifier so Cold “drinking water” does enter the DHW system. This is exactly the same as in ANY home or other setup with a Water Heater or Calorifier; when Hot water is taken out, it must be replaced with water from the Cold water supply.
In operation this works extremely well and does so automatically by design. Anytime Hot water is wanted, the Open Direct system ensures that this takes priority and Hot water flows from the Calorifier to the tap or shower as long as it is open. As soon as you close that tap and are no longer needing Hot water, the system reverts to In Floor Heating Mode.
Summer vs Winter:
The difference between Summer and Winter is that in Summer/hot weather when the In Floor Heating is turned off, the IFH Circulation pumps never turn on so no water is flowing through the floor UNTIL a Hot Water tap is opened. Said another way, the ONLY time water is flowing through the floor PEX is when the system is in DHW Mode because a Hot water tap has been turned on. The rest of the time, there is NO water flowing through the floor tubes.
This turns out to be part of the “brilliance” of this type of system in my opinion because the design ensures that the In Floor Heating automatically adapts to whatever the weather is. HOT water ONLY flows through the floors when it is needed and the circulation pumps turn on in colder weather. NO hot water flows through the floors in warmer weather because the circulation pumps never turn on.
This sets up the ideal system as it ensures that the water in the PEX tubing is always being refreshed and is never standing still for any length of time.
Better yet, in hot weather, when you are using DHW and there is water flowing through the floor tubes, it is absorbing some of the heat in the room or from sun shining on the floors and so that by the time the water gets to the Calorifier, it is now a bit warmer so you save energy in the Calorifier because the replacement water has already been warmed up and does not take as much energy to heat up to whatever temperature you have sent the Calorifier to maintain.
Once this all makes sense I think you too will see just how “brilliantly simple” this Open Direct system is. It is completely automatic, no valves or switches to change, no need to drain the system or do anything else other than keep using everything on the boat/house as you always have.
Trust me, it does take a while to figure this type of system out. It is one of those things where it is very simple but ONLY after you understand it! To begin with, it can be VERY confusing! My suggestion, and what I used to do a lot of, is to draw out a schematic for yourself and trace the flow of water in the different scenarios from summer to winter and from In Floor Heat Mode to DHW mode and I think you will quickly see how it works.
Hope this helps and if it still doesn’t make sense just send me additional questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below to let me know what’s confusing or not making sense and I will do my best to answer them all as quickly as possible or in next week’s post.
Thanks for your patience with this not always so clear ex teacher!
Welcome to this first Möbius Update post of 2022! I hope you have 2022 off to a great start already as we work to do the same here aboard the Good Ship Möbius. I am slowly warming up to getting back to weekly blog posts here so thanks very much for your patience in waiting for this first one of the new year. I’ve been warming up particularly well now that I have the in floor heating all working which I think may well be Captain Christine’s favorite feature so far.
And apparently she’s not the only one as Ruby & Barney have discovered how well the in floor heating heats up their little doggie beds.
With the weather getting colder since our return at the beginning of December from our 2 months back in Canada and the USA, I’ve been mostly working on getting all the Domestic Hot Water or DHW systems fully operational and all the various bugs worked out. I’ve received a number of questions about how our DHW system works and what components we have installed and a lot of interest in the in-floor heating system we’ve installed and that’s what Ill do my best to cover here in this week’s update.
Domestic Hot Water System
Our DHW system is pretty straight forward so let me cover that first.
There are just three basic components of the DHW System: Kabola KB45 Ecoline Combi diesel fired water heater/boiler
IsoTemp 75L Calorifier
with 3 internal heat exchangers
Hot Water circulation Loop that runs around the circumference of the boat
The Kabola is the primary heating source for the whole DHW system as it is eXtremely efficient, quiet and very trouble free.
Ours is the “Combi” model which means that it has two separate heating loops inside. The primary loop heats up the water in the IsoTherm Calorifier which holds all the DHW for the boat and the other loop heats up the fluid going to the four air handlers which can heat the air in each cabin if needed. This view of the back of the Kabola shows the primary boiler loop Supply/Return connections at #1 & #2 and then the secondary loop flows in/out of #5 & 6. The Primary loop has a built in circulation pump that constantly circulates the antifreeze/water fluid and a thermostat turns the burner on/off to keep the fluid at whatever temperature you set.
The secondary “Combi” loop has an external circulation pump that is part of the Webasto AirCon/Heating system.
I’ve removed the front of the burner to show you how the internal heat exchangers work. The large black tank you see on the Left contains all the antifreeze/water fluid and the diesel burner is inside the Grey tube on the Right.
The larger diameter tubes/holes on the top are the secondary loop and the larger number on the bottom are the primary heating loop. The Kabola is super simple to operate, just turn it on, set the thermostat to be whatever degrees you want the internal fluid inside the boiler to maintain and then pretty much forget it. When the fluid temp goes down the burner automatically fires up, heats the water a bit past the set temp and then shuts off. Could not be simpler or more efficient. Now let’s follow where the heated fluid as it leaves the Kabola and flows over to the heat exchanger loop inside the Calorifier.
This cutaway view shows how our IsoTherm Calorifier is similarly multi purposed with three different sources of heat to keep our DHW nice and hot. There are two loops of SS pipes on the bottom here, one which has the fluid from the Kabola flowing in/out of it and the other loop a similar antifreeze/water fluid flowing through from the Gardner engine’s “cooling” system. The top most loop is a 240V electric heating element that we can use if needed.
All SS construction and the outside never even gets warm so the heavy insulation has been working very well and the Kabola does not need to fire up very often to keep the water nice and hot all the time.
Turning the Calorifier above around and looking at the outside this sketch shows the three pairs of In/Out connections; one for the hot fluid from the Kabola, one for the hot fluid from the Gardner (when it is running) and then the Cold Fresh Water In and DHW Out. The end of the Calorifier in the illustration above is under my hand and if you look closely (click to enlarge any photo) you can see a Yellow ring labelled “Engine Water” on the far Right and a White ring on the Left labelled “Kabola White” On the top Right the Red Label marks where the Hot Water comes out through the black wrapped insulated pipes which are split into one line going to the DHW loop and the other with the bottom Left Mixing Valve going to the In Floor Heating loops. Closer view of the adjustable Mixing Valve which controls the temperature of the water going out to the In Floor Heating system which wants warm not Hot water, usually about 55C/131F whereas the DHW runs about 65C/150F. To make sure there is always hot water ready to come out of each sink and shower, the DHW flows around the whole boat in a continuous loop of insulated pipe. In this schematic the DHW loop is on the Right hand side and the In/Out to the In Floor Heating is on the Left.
I will get back to the In Floor Heating a bit later below but the key point to keep in mind is that the In Floor Heating is all part of the same DHW system.
To keep the DHW flowing through the hot water loop feeding each tap and shower, this magnetically coupled impeller pump is very small, about the size of your fist and is highly efficiency with very low power consumption and absolutely silent.
We now have very hot water readily available at every tap and shower onboard and we are both eXtremely pleased with how well the whole DHW system has been working.
In-Floor Heating or IFH
Winters here in southern Turkey are rather mild compared to many locations with lows down to 8C/46F a few nights and day time highs as much as 20C/68F but winter is also when we get rainy days and so can get chilly and so the real star of our DHW system the past while has been having nice warm floors throughout the boat to keep us toasty warm.
It has taken me some time to get it all adjusted and working properly but it is now running flawlessly and silently so let me walk you through how this system works.
As with the DHW system above, the In Floor Heating or IFH is a very simple system with the following main components:
An Azel I-Link controller with three thermostats for each IFH zone on the boat, one in each cabin and one in the SuperSalon. A pair of SS manifolds, top Red one where the Warm water (about 50C/122F coming in at the top and then the Returning slightly cooler water exiting out the bottom Blue manifold. Each of the I-Link thermostats controls one of these Taco 3 speed 1/25HP circulation pumps which circulates the fresh DHW water from the Calorifier through the PEX tubing that runs in loops underneath all our floors as needed to keep our tootsies nice and warm. We worked out these serpentine patterns of PEX tubing in each of the three Zones to provide an even distribution of heat wherever there were bare floors and not under the built in furniture. This is in the Master Cabin; Head/shower lower Left, bed center Right. This is how the PEX tubing was laid down before the 10mm marine plywood floors were installed. Serpentine grooves were cut into the foam with a router. Foil tape was set into the groove in the foam and then the 15mm PEX tubing was press fit into the groove. Here is how it looked in the forward end of the SuperSalon.
Let’s take a minute to walk through a brief explanation of how the In Floor Heating system works.
For our IFH system I decided to use what is called the “Open Direct” style as it is incredibly simple and efficient. OPEN in this case refers to the fact that the IFH system is “open” to the same DHW that we use onboard for sinks and showers. A “closed” system would be like the loops of antifreeze/water that the Kabola uses to heat up the water in the Calorifier.
DIRECT refers to the fact that the fresh warm water flowing through the PEX tubing is heating the floors directly, not through a heat exchanger like those in the Calorifier. This simple schematic adds the details of how the IFH portion of our DHW system works. Warm water coming out of the Calorifier via the mixing valve is pumped on demand through the PEX tubing in the floors by the Taco circulation pumps. Part of the simple brilliance of an Open Direct system is that the DHW always takes precedence so anytime you turn on a hot water tap or the shower, hot water is diverted to them until shut of when the warm water returns to circulate through the floors as needed. Huh? How does THAT work you ask? The following two illustrations should help make sense of this very simple but initially a bit confusing system works.
This is In Floor Heating Mode that happens whenever the thermostat for this IFH Zone turns the circulation pump ON and warm DHW is pumped through the under floor PEX tubing in that zone and then returned back to the Calorifier (Water Heater). Keep in mind that even though the whole DHW system is pressurized to about 4 Bar/60 PSI in this mode the ONLY way water flows is IF the circulation pump is running. Even though it is available, Cold water cannot enter the system when the pump comes on unless someone is taking hot water out of the system by taking a shower, doing dishes, etc..
When a Hot water tap is opened then the pressure drops and the system reverts to this DHW Mode and Hot water flows out of the Calorifier (Water Heater) to the HW tap and Cold water flows into the system to replace it.
The cold water goes through heating tubes within the floor on its way to the water heater. This flow pattern provides limited free cooling and other benefits. Stagnation is prevented and priority is given to the domestic hot water use over the space heating use. A small amount of free cooling is realized in the summer.
Note that NO additional equipment, parts or power is needed to make these two modes work automatically.
Brilliantly simple don’t you think??!!
I found these beautiful SS manifolds on Amazon for a great price and they made the whole plumbing of the system very straightforward to install and control. Red handled ball valve top Left is where the warm water from the Calorifier flows INTO the system and is made available to each of the three Red Flow Control Meters/Valves and into the PEX fittings on the bottom.
Cooler water from each continuous PEX loop flows into the bottom three fittings, each with the White capped control valve and then OUT the Blue ball valve and back to the Calorifier. Each continuous loop of PEX in a zone has one of these Red Flow Meters that you adjust to get the correct flow rate, which is about 1-1.5 L/min for our zones. Each ball valve has a temp gauge so you can check the differential of the water temp coming IN and how much it drops going OUT. Ideal is about 50C/122F coming in and 40C/104 going OUT and you adjust this via the Mixing Valve on the Calorifier. Here is what the whole IFH manifold looks like when assembled and installed with the three Taco circulation pumps.
These Taco pumps are pretty much bullet proof and are miserly power consumers as they are very small 1/25HP AC motors. The Taco pumps are absolutely silent and can be run at one of three speed settings to get you the flow you want. They are also dead quiet and you can only tell they are running by watching the flow meters. This Azel I-Link controller is the brains of the IFH system and takes its orders from one of the three thermostats conveniently located in each Zone. Each thermostat is very easy to adjust and provides a full set of information of room temp, floor temp, when the “heating mode” or pumps are on, etc.. Here is what one looks like in operation today. Room temp is 22.3C/72F, Set Point is 24C, floor temp is 49C. Each Zone has one of these little temperature sensors installed which connects to the thermostat of that Zone so it and the controller knows when to turn the circulation pump Off/On. The main control box of the I-Link system is carefully tucked away into a small alcove in the Ship’s Office where it is well protected but easily viewed by opening the cupboard door. Red lights on the far Right indicate when one of the 3 zones is working (pump on).
And that is it! Just like the Kabola boiler, this is a “set it and forget it” system and has been working flawlessly and very easy to adjust as we learned what temps we liked in each zone.
You have to experience it to understand just how fabulous Toasty Tootsies are when the weather turns colder outside!
And that’s a wrap for this week, the first blog and Möbius Update of 2022 is done and dusted!
Hope you enjoyed it and please be sure to tell me if you did or didn’t and add any other questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
I’ll do my best to be back again next weekend with another Möbius Update for you and thanks again for your patience in waiting for this one to go live.