The newest update to Möbius is that our all new House Bank batteries are now fully installed and up and running!
As you may recall from THIS post almost a year ago, our original FireFly Carbon Foam batteries had sadly lost most o f their “fire” aka capacity and repeated efforts using the FireFly prescribed “Restoration Charge” was not able to bring the capacity back. Fortunately the combination of having a total capacity of 1800Ah @ 24V and our large solar capacity from 14 320W solar panels allowed us to go for almost a year of full time live aboard cruising running all systems other than extended AC use, without needing to ever plug into Shore Power. So we did pretty well I think!? But about a month ago while docked here in Norfolk, one of the four FF banks started to overheat and so their time was up.
With our new situation (details if interested here) I had hoped that the FF batteries would last until we find the new owners and they take over so they could chose the new replacement batteries that were just right for them But the “fire” had sadly gone out on the FireFly batteries and so I needed to make that call and have all new House batteries installed.
For those interested, this post will give you an overview of how that progressed.
CHOOSING the GOLDILOCKS NEW BATTERIES
The quick summary of my requirements and priorities to determine the just right Goldilocks batteries for Möbius’ and our use case is as follows: (in no particular order)
WEIGHT: Somewhat unique to us perhaps, weight is not a factor for choosing the batteries. In fact we actually want/need as much weight as possible as we had designed the boat around the batteries to some extent and treated the 1022Kg/2250 lbs of FF batteries as part of the lead ballast of the boat.
SIZE: Battery size is also not a factor as we had to some extent designed the hull around the battery compartments which ended up being three large watertight and positively vented compartments which spanned and were centered on the 1″ thick x 18″ keel bar that runs from the transom all the way up to the top of the bow. See the GA drawing below to see this layout.
WIDE TEMPERATURE RANGE: Working well and safely within in as wide a range of operating temperatures as as possible. Our intended use case for Möbius was to go everywhere from the Arctic/Antarctic and high latitude cccccccold climates to scorching hot locations. (which seems to be more and more locations in our world these days!)
FAULT TOLERANT: In addition to temperature it was also important that the new House batteries were as robust as possible in that they would be able to deal with the typical “accidents” that happen over the years with the battery systems on boats. Things like full discharges when the boat has been left for long periods of time and the charging system fails for some reason.
SAFETY: Always a top priority of course but in the end I had no concerns with safety of either Lithium or AGM as I’m of the opinion that battery safety is all a matter of good design and installation of the electrical system and battery management, as well as sticking to top quality manufacturers. So I did not consider any of the “off brand” batteries and companies.
VALUE: Cost is an ever present factor for most of us but I think in terms of overall value rather than price alone. I will gladly pay for quality and other features listed above to get the best match of batteries and our use case criteria. I think this is well evidenced by all the equipment we have installed on Möbius. So I did not consider any batteries or companies that were not IMO offering high quality batteries.
EXTENDED 100% SOC + FLOAT TIMES: This is a relatively new factor I have come to appreciate and which I believe may have contributed to the early demise of the Carbon Foam FF batteries. Most of us have experienced how leaving things like laptops and phones plugged into their chargers and kept at 100% fully charged for most of the time leads to them loosing more and more of their capacity and shortening their lifespan. I don’t have the expertise to prove this but my first hand experience over the years and my research into that of others has led me to suspect that there is a similar situation with LiFePO4 and Carbon Foam batteries.
Due to our large almost 5KW solar power the batteries on Möbius sit at 100% fully charged state almost all the time. With the large overall available capacity we typically only take the House batteries down to about 85% SoC or less between the end and start of each solar day and most days the solar charging brings them back to 100% fully charged by 10 to noon depending on solar conditions, time of year, geo location, etc. You would think that this would be ideal for battery health. However, I am finding increased evidence and examples that not only do LiiFePO4 and Carbon Foam type batteries deal very well with being in PSoC or Partial State of Charge for extended periods of time, they actually PREFER to be in a PSoC condition the majority of time. Being kept in Float mode at 100% SoC can lesson their capacity over time. It is possible to deal with this by carefully customizing the charging profiles of all the charging sources on the boat and our WS500 regulators for the alternators, MPPT controllers for the solar panels, and MultiPlus chargers all have this ability. However based on my experience to date I think that AGM type batteries actually prefer to be kept at 100% fully charged SoC which is the situation as I’ve outlined above on Möbius. I’m sure this factored to some degree in my final decision.
I should add that the rest of the equipment that forms the overall House Battery system would work well with any of the LiFePO4 or AGM batteries I considered. Things such as the twin 250A 24V Electrodyne alternators with external rectifiers, WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulators and Victron BMV712 battery monitors, would all work for any of the batteries I was looking at be they Lithium or AGM so this was a non factor in my decision making. Lithium batteries would of course require equally high quality BMS either internal or external so I only considered LiFePO4 batteries with dedicated BMS from their manufacturer.
Click to enlarge and see the location of the three battery compartments on Möbius
I’ve written about this topic of batteries for Mobius multiple postings here on the blog and I spent a LOT of hours discussing this with experts and other boat owners and researching the latest offerings of high quality batteries. This lead me to narrow it down to a choice between Lithium (LiFePO4) and AGM batteries from the likes of Victron, Battleborn/DragonFly, Lithionics, etc. all of whom had some very high quality options. For example, this new form factor of “12V 270Ah GameChanger 3.0” LiFePO4 batteries from DragonFly had some very attractive features.
I also went back to the original batteries that I had considered for Möbius during the initial design phase which were these type of OPZv Gel type “traction batteries” and they were in the running again in this most recent search. I paid close attention to how “bullet proof” the batteries were in terms of being able to deal with such factors as the likelihood of a few times in their long lifespan where they would end up being completely discharged for some reason or another. Never planned of course but always possible and when we start talking about lifespans of 10+ years the probability of such “accidents” becomes quite high.
I’m well aware that many of you would make a different choice for YOUR boat, but I do my best with all equipment decisions to find the “Goldilocks” just right choice that best matches with Möbius’ use case.
In the end, this is what I chose; (drum roll please …………………….)
………….. After a LOT of deliberation I decided to go with Victron and chose their “Super Cycle” AGM batteries. We chose Victron equipment for the entire electrical system on Möbius including their Isolation Transformer, MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers, MPPT controllers, Octo and Cerbo GX monitoring, etc. so they are a company that we have come to know well and not doubt have a bias for and I’m sure this did influence my final choice and Victron offered multiple batteries in both LiFePO4 and AGM to chose from. These Victron SC AGM battery model are 12V @ 230Ah C20 and one of their more interesting qualities that caught my attention was their stated ability to withstand 300 complete 100% discharges without any damage to them although it certainly would shorten their lifespan if you were to do that. Having gone with Victron for almost all of the equipment that makes up the overall electrical system on Möbius, I have come to trust and respect them as a company but I still wanted to verify these claims and was fortunate to find that Bruce Schwab at Ocean Planet Energy OPE, was able to personally verify Victron’s claims of these Super Cycle batteries based on OPE’s direct testing and he wrote:
Being a Victron distributor, we have tested the Victron Super Cycle AGM 125Ah (G31 size) in our PSOC regime. Nearly all Pb batteries suffer permanent capacity loss when run through this 30-cycle PSOC test. We’re happy to say that the Super Cycle AGM passed with flying colors, with no discernable loss of capacity.
I was therefore delighted to be able to work directly with Bruce and his tech Kevin at Ocean Planet Energy and can not recommend them more highly. Bruce was incredibly responsive throughout the whole process, answering all my barrage of questions leading up to the choice of these Victron batteries and then getting the new batteries along with some additional Victron equipment ordered and delivered to the marina here in Norfolk VA.
Bruce and Kevin worked with me very closely during the entire installation and configuration of the whole new electrical system to get it dialed in “just right”. It is all too rare in my experience that you find such high degree of expertise along with truly exemplary service and so my hat off to Bruce and Kevin, can’t thank you both enough. If any of you have any electrical needs for your boat I’m sure you will thank me later for contacting Bruce and his staff at OPE and similarly benefiting from their expertise and incredible customer service.
* NOTE: Just to be clear and transparent, I am not sponsored by OPE or Victron or any other manufacturer, just a very satisfied customer wanting to share my first hand experiences with these high quality companies and people.
OUT WITH THE OLD;
Here is the schematic showing how the original House Bank of 24 FireFly L15+ Carbon Foam batteries was setup.
(click to enlarge this or any other photo)
This is one of the three sealed battery compartments that are built into the hull with the batteries stradling the 1″ thick center keel bar so that all their weight acts as nicely centered “lead ballast”. As per the schematic above, each of the four banks of FireFly batteries were wired directly to the positive and negative main bus bars inside the Grey DC Distribution box you see here. All cables are of equal gauge and length, hence the looped Red & Black cables, Positive cables from each bank have their own Off/On Battery Switch (Grey switches top left corner) and the negative cables each connect to the Neg bus bar through their own shunt for the Victron BMV712 battery monitors. Fortunately I was able to reuse all these cables and battery monitors for the new batteries. This is the forwardmost battery compartment with the lid removed to start disconnecting all the batteries. With all the interconnecting battery cables and copper bars removed these 8 batteries are ready to leave the building. Each FireFly battery weighs 43Kg/94lbs but fortunately they had very good handles on both sides so lifting them up and out went well. This is the first eight of 24 batteries out on the dock beside the boat.
OUT OUT OUT with the OLD!
A bit of a sad end to what should have been a much happier relationship with these FireFly batteries, but it is what it is. Enlisting the generously offered assistance of the marina staff and their golf cart to make the looooooooong trek along the maze of docks to get from the boat to the shore, we were able to transfer the batteries from boat to shore to pickup truck to take them to the battery salvage yard.
A forklift sure makes life easier once I got the batteries to the salvage yard! At least I was able to offset the cost of the new batteries with the money for the 2317 lbs of lead contained within the 24 FF batteries. (less weight of case, gel, etc.)
Bye bye FireFly; Hello Victron!
IN with the NEW
The new batteries were delivered a few days later and with some help from the marina staff and their golf cart, we were able to bring the new batteries out to the dock beside Möbius. .With the old FF batteries removed I could take out the fiberglass pans and modify them to fit the new batteries. Not actually required by ABYC for these sealed batteries but a smart “belt & suspender” safety feature I think. Each of the three pans needed to be extended in length so I just cut them in half with my circular saw ………. and then glassed in the space between with new cloth and resin.
Just visible on the far left end of this pan you can see the new SS tie down D rings I installed for the ratchet webbing used to secure the batteries in place.
Now all that was needed was to lift each of the 125lb new batteries from the dock down into the Basement and then lower them into their new home inside each battery compartment.
IN WITH THE NEW:
This schematic illustration will show you how the new House Bank is wired up. Over the many years of boat ownership I have come to appreciate how important it is to keep ALL batteries very well balanced as they are being charged and discharged.
NOTE: this is a schematic diagram only, cable sizes and lengths not shown to scale
This boils down to ensuring that each battery has the exact same resistance as their electrons flow in and out which is mostly determined by having the exact same size and length of cable connecting them to each other in the parallel and series arrangement required for such a multi battery bank setup. It is similarly important that each individual battery bank also has the exact same cable gauge and length for their connections to the main positive and negative bus bars.
Also worth noting that all battery cables are oversized to 120mm2 (two sizes larger than AWG 4/0) to have less than 1% voltage drop.
I have also come to appreciate how much it helps to go the “extra mile” with the interconnecting cables to make all the series and parallel connections between each of the four batteries that make up each bank. I first learned this method many years ago from Nigel Calder’s invaluable “Boatowners Mechanical & Electrical Manual” which you can see in Fig 1.21 page 22 if interested.
This is the wiring I used for each of the four batteries in each battery bank.
You can see this in the schematic above and here in the actual cables installed on the new Victron SC AGM batteries.
Small gauge wires you see here are for the various temperature and voltage sensors for monitoring these batteries with both Victron and Maretron. Christine’s son Tim flew up for a visit during all of this and being a very good certified electrician he generously worked with me for the whole installation process. Here seen crimping the lugs onto the new interconnecting cables that needed to be made up. Tim does very high quality work which I certainly value highly and is also great to see in this new generation of electricians and workforce. Good example here of affixing the SS ratchets and straps to this battery bank. Tim also took on the finicky mounting and then wiring of the three Victron Battery Balancers that we added to the installation.
Thanks Tim, couldn’t have done it without you!! For those interested, these battery balancers work as follows:
The Battery Balancer equalizes the state of charge of two series connected 12V batteries, or of several parallel strings of series connected batteries. When the charge voltage of a 24V battery system increases to more than 27V, the Battery Balancer will turn on and compare the voltage over the two series connected batteries. The Battery Balancer will draw a current of up to 1A from the battery (or parallel connected batteries) with the highest voltage. The resulting charge current differential will ensure that all batteries will converge to the same state of charge.
With the kind of $$ we boat owners invest in our battery banks, every bit that we can extend their lifespan helps and is well worth doing in my experience. Not quite finished, still need to tidy up the cables and small wire sensor cables with zip ties but here is what House Bank #1 looks like. And this is the aft most Bank #3 just about ready to have the lid bolted on to finish this installation.
It took a few days working with Bruce and Kevin at OPE to get all the settings setup just right in the MPPT controllers, WakeSpeed regulators, MultiPlus chargers and BMV sensors and they went the extra mile and then some to help configure and finish up the installation. We have been running the new Victron House Battery setup for about three weeks now and it is performing flawlessly. I’ve tested it both with and without shore power and the each battery and each battery bank has stayed perfectly balanced and performing just as hoped.
A very good feeling after nursing the original House Battery along for the past year but we now have a great setup that should continue to meet all the significant electrical demands aboard Möbius. This is very much a “battery based” boat with all DC and AC power coming from these batteries so this really adds to the SWAN or Sleep Well At Night factor on our beloved Möbius.
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far in this all too typical “brevity challenged” update. With any luck there won’t be any more big jobs like this to report on but I will post updates from time to time as things evolve aboard and soon hopefully off of the Good Ship Möbius.
We have spent this past week in the relatively small but very marine based town of Marmaris. For orientation, here is Marmaris relative to the others nearby islands and coastline around us. You’ll recall this map from previous posts and we started out in Antalya where Möbius was built and have been slowly making our way West and North along the Turquoise Coast. We spent the winter in Finike and left there to begin our cruising season back on May 17th. As you have read in the previous weekly updates since then we have stopped in Kekova, Kaş, Fethiye, Göcek and now Marmaris. We have spent the past week here in Netsel Marina in Marmaris and the arrow shows where Möbius is docked. The city of Marmaris itself isn’t that large but as you can see the marina is literally part of the city. Netsel is one of the 10 Setur Marinas along the Turquoise Coast that we have access to as part of our annual contract with Setur Marinas. If you click to enlarge you can all the red Setur Marina pins. Antalya is the most Eastern Setur Marina and then the other 9 marinas are spread out as the coastline moves West and North to Istanbul.
Christine’s Knee Update
This is a very large and very full marina and not usually our cup of tea but as I mentioned last week, Christine had torn her meniscus in her left knee and getting that fixed became our #1 priority and Marmaris was the best place to put in to. After several appointments with doctors in several other ports we stopped at along the way we decided that the best course of action was to go back to the same hospital in Antalya that we both had outstanding experience with while living there. Sunday morning Christine made the 6+ hour ride on a very luxurious bus that she said was more like an airline than a bus and on Monday morning she met with the surgeon who specializes in arthroscopic knee surgery at 9:30. After going over all the specifics of Christine’s history with this knee, their consensus was that arthroscopic surgery was the best choice. The surgeon asked “When would you like to have the surgery done?” and when she said as soon as possible he said “OK, how about tomorrow?”. Fifteen minutes later Christine was in a hospital bed being prepped for surgery on Tuesday. As amazing as this might sound to many of you, this is our experience with hospitals and medical care in Turkey and makes it easy to understand why Antalya in particular is such a popular destination for medical tourism.
Good news is that the surgery went very well and both the surgeon and Christine were very pleased so I rented a car on Wednesday morning, packed the pups and was in Antalya by noon to pick Christine up and bring her back to Möbius. She has been confined to the boat since then which has been challenging for her but as per the title of this week’s update, one of the ways in which “The Pressure is ON” is that she has been able to put more and more pressure on the knee as she hobbles around Möbius a bit better each day. While not something any of us would want this has been one of those good reminders of just how important our health and mobility is and as Christine soon remarked “I had no idea we had so many steps on this boat!”.
The surgeon wants to see Christine again in about two weeks so we are now thinking that it may be best to motor our way back East and get closer to Antalya for her follow up and to make sure that she has her knee well looked after. Stay tuned for updates on where we decide to go next.
Oil Pressure is ON too!
You may recall from the great oil pressure hunt with Mr. Gee, I had installed two oil pressure gauges after discovering that the original one had been falsely reading 20 PSI too low and causing me a LOT of angst until I discovered this. Mr. Gee now has over 40 hours of run time and has been purring along with a steady 35 PSI of oil pressure just as a healthy Gardner 6LXB should and so one of my jobs this week was to create the more permanent setup for monitoring Mr. Gee’s oil pressure. Here is the cleaned up and likely permanent setup on the four port bronze oil pressure manifold on the side of the oil filter. Moving down from the liquid dampened oil pressure gauge on top, the other three ports are:
1. black pipe that takes pressurized oil over to the valve rockers on each head,
2. Silver fitting that takes oil pressure through a flexible hose over to an electric oil pressure sensor mounted on the opposite side of the black oil filter housing
3. Low Oil pressure warning switch which will also provide power to the engine hour meter anytime Mr. Gee is running The silver canister is the electric oil pressure sensor which sends its analog data over to ……… …… this Actisense EMU-1 engine monitor which converts all the analog engine data such as oil pressure, oil & coolant temperature, CPP oil temp & pressure, into digital signals and sends these onto our N2K network that is used to communicate ALL the boat’s data to the boat computers and onto any of the six monitors we have on the Upper and Lower Helm stations as well as broadcasting this wirelessly to our phones, tablets and any other monitors we chose. This is an example of the kind of dashboards that Christine is building using our Maretron N2K View software which allows us to create virtual gauges, switches, warning lights, alarms, etc. We are slowly learning our way around this eXtremely powerful and diverse tool but we have a long ways to go and there really is no end to the different screens, gauge types, switches, alarms, lights, logs, graphs and other info we can display using this Maretron N2K View software. There is also a free Maretron N2K View mobile app which we have on our phones so we can also see all this data on these screens as well. Not something we use a lot as the larger screens provide a much more comprehensive collection of data on their larger real estate at each Helm but the phones are super handy when you are somewhere else on the boat and just want to check how things are working. I also tend to use this while I’m working on some system somewhere else on the boat and can use my phone to show me what’s going on as I adjust things in the Engine Room or down in the Basement where most of the Victron electronics are located. eXtremely handy and powerful and will only get more so as we learn to use these tools better over time and create all the Goldilocks displays that each of us prefer. Now that we had Mr. Gee’s oil pressure on the N2K network via the EMU-1, we were able to create the virtual oil pressure gauge you see here and with a bit of tweaking we were able to configure this so that the pressure shown on this gauge matched the PSI shown on the liquid filled gauge on Mr. Gee. Having all this data able to be displayed on any screen on the boat is a huge benefit while we are underway keeping us fully informed as to how everything on the boat is functioning. We have a LOT of work to do to build out all the various screens we want for different contexts but this is a good start for now.
Configuring the Auto Pilots
While I was in configuration mode I decided to also finish configuring our two Furuno 711C Auto Pilots. The 711C display head you see on the bottom Left of the Main Helm provides all the data and controls for our Auto Pilots and there is a duplicate setup at the Upper Helm on the SkyBridge. To the right of the 711C AP is the Furuno Jog Lever which is the second way we can steer the boat by simply moving that Black knob whichever way we want the rudder to move. The rotary switch to the Right of the Jog Lever is used to select which of the two helm stations is active. The two silver levers on the far Right are how we control the throttle and the pitch.
Took a few hours but all of these are now working properly and next trip we will do the final tweaks to the Auto Pilot while we are underway and can dial in the actual zero rudder position. These Furuno AP’s have the very great feature of “auto learning” and so as we use the boat more the AP system is learning the specifics of how Möbius handles, turns, rolls, etc. and uses this to dial in all the settings better and better over time.
Of course this being a boat, there were plenty of other little gremlins and “moles” to whack back down like the house water pump that I just spent the past 5 hours replacing today, but that’s how our start to yet another new month played out and I hope that yours was equally productive.
How can it be another month already and almost half way through 2022?!? However, with our recent reminder as to how precious time is we continue to be grateful for every day that speeds by and can only hope to have many more to come and enjoy each one as it passes.
Hope you will join us again for next week’s update and till then please be sure to add your comments 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
Our first week back aboard the good ship Möbius after our 3 week fun packed time being Gramma and Grampa with our two Granddaughters Brynn (beside me in Red) and Blair beside Christine in Green. Their parents, Lia & Brian joined us as well of course and we are all still savoring the latest batch of memories we created during our time with them exploring Turkey.
I’ll let the photo and the smiles tell you all you need to know about what a great time we had.
If you’d like to see and know more, check out THIS post that Christine put up last week with a few more photos and explanations. After that MUCH needed break, it was back to work for Christine and I this week and we were soon ramped right back up to our typically busy selves onboard, me getting back to the still growing list of jobs needing done to get Möbius seaworthy and Christine getting back to working on her next books. For those interested you can check out all of Christine’s best selling thriller novels HERE on her Author’s Page on Amazon.
And boy has it been HOT here in Finike!
Lest some of you should think, for reasons I can’t fathom, that I’m eXaggerating about the weather here, check out this snip I just grabbed from Accuweather.
See for yourself, daytime highs of 43C/110F and night time lows down to 22C/72F
Where is Möbius??
Speaking of Finike, some of you have asked about where we and Möbius are now located so here is a quick set of maps to show you, Starting with this bigger picture to give you a sense of where Finike and Turkey is relative to the countries and seas surrounding us. Zoomed into the coastline between Antalya where we started in the upper Right corner and Finike just around the coastal corner in the bottom Right. Distance by sea is about 70 nautical miles which would be 130km/81 miles. We were originally tied up on the inner harbour wall where you see the two larger boats in the bottom center here. However, this was just outside the Setur Finike Marina itself with several very nice restaurants right behind us that featured very lovely live music every night, but a bit too loud and a bit too long (2 AM) for our liking. So last week we moved over to the docks running along the sea wall breakwater that is in the upper Right in the photo above and we are now snuggled in between these two sailboats. A bit tight, but no one living on either boat and it is only a short walk to go for a swim over the other side of the sea wall, which we look forward to every night. Here’s our view looking NNW across our bow at the rest of the marina with the town of Finike spread out behind and some of the surrounding mountains.
All in all a very nice spot that will be Möbius’ Home Port for the rest of this year as we eXplore more of the beautiful Turkish Turquoise Coast.
The Whack-a-Molomino games begin!
I’ve created this portmanteau “Whack-a-Molomino” in an attempt to articulate how my week has been going as I find myself playing this new game that combines; the thrill of the hunt of playing the arcade game of Whack-a-Mole …. …… that has been infused with the intrigue of the Domino Effect.
Read on and you will soon see what I mean.
Cooling Down Heats me up!
Let’s start with this riddle; “How can Air Conditioning heat you up?” The technically correct answer is that this is a feature of some AirCon systems which can run in what’s known as Reverse Cycle model which heats up the air going into the rooms instead of cooling it down. This is a very welcome feature in cold climates and the Webasto AirCon system in Möbius does indeed have this Reverse Cycle feature. However, this week it was a “bug” not a feature when things went pear shaped and the game of Whack-a-Molomino began while trying to get our AirCon system to cool down the cabins on Möbius in these very hot days and nights we’ve been having. Here’s how that went.
We have been anxious to test out the extensive Air Conditioning system based on a Webasto BlueCool V Series 77k BTU Chiller located in the Workshop which provides the chilled (or heated) water that is piped to …… …… the four A Series Air Handlers; one 12K in the Guest Cabin, one 18 K in the Master Cabin and two 12K units on either side of the SuperSalon. Each Air Handler is controlled by one of these MyTouch display panels in each Cabin and then there is a similar controller mounted on the Chiller in the Workshop. All these MyTouch control panels are networked together so you can control the whole system from anywhere on the boat.
A marine AirCon system uses the readily available sea water that is continuously pumped through the Chiller’s water to water heat exchanger which cools the antifreeze/water solution down to about 2-4°C. This chilled coolant is then pumped through well insulated plumbing to the small water to air heat exchangers (mini radiators) in each Air Handler with a thermostatically controlled fan that blows fresh cold air into each Cabin.
I was primarily anxious to get some real world data on the energy consumption of this AirCon system and as you might imagine, these hot days provided all the more incentive. So Monday morning I went through all the pre-start preparations for this brand new and new to me set of equipment and controls. After re-reading the Webasto product manuals, checking that all valves for sea water and coolant were open, all the 230V circuit breakers were on, the five MyTouch displays all came to life and were ready for testing. I started with the Guest Cabin aka Christine’s Office where she is anxiously awaiting cool calm place to work on her books. At first I had a problem getting the Chiller unit to go into Cooling mode but it was stuck on Heating mode, but I worked with the two head technicians from Webasto to both design this system and then when they were commissioning it and so I was able to get in touch with them on WhatsApp and they were very fast to respond and show me the “trick” to get into the second settings menu by holding down the main screen for 3 seconds which then gave me the option to change the mode from Heating to Cooling and set it to be Automatic in the future.
All was going well as the Chiller fired up, brought the water temps down from 32C/90F which believe it or not is the sea temperature here, to about 3-4C and then the Air Handler in Christine’s Office came on and had cold air blowing in which put an eXtremely big smile on my Captain’s face! As I scurried about setting up the other three air handlers, checking for and fixing the leaks I found, and keeping an eye on the Amps/Watts meters I started to notice the very unsettling odor of burning wires! Yikes!
My nose quickly led me to the AC Main Panel in the Basement which is behind the now open Grey door at the far Right end in this photo. This is the Main AC panel for all the 120 volt and 230 volt circuits we have onboard.
Fortunately I had caught this early and there was no fire, just the unmistakable and unsettling smell of overheated insulation on electrical wires.
Everything looked to be fine when I first opened up the door of this Main Panel but the smell was clearly coming from somewhere inside. Almost all the wires are neatly tucked away inside plastic wire chases like this which do a great job of tidying up all the individual wires and keeping them tucked out of the way BUT you also can’t see what’s going on inside so I started to quickly unclip the tops on all these chases so I could see the wires inside.
In the literal heat of the moment I didn’t have the time to take any photos to show how it looked with the covers all in place but a few minutes later, with all the covers removed, I snapped this shot and at first glance all appeared to be well. However, as I scanned all the wiring I realized that this jumble of Black wires in the middle above the row of gray plastic DIN rail junction blocks had not been there the last time I had looked over the AC wiring, though that was a year ago now at least. As I took it all in I was more and more puzzled as to what all these Black wires were needed for as most of them seemed to be just jumpers from one junction block to the next. This is very puzzling because these DIN junction blocks have built in slots in the middle where you can insert proper copper jumpers that you press in place between any two or more terminals you want to interconnect. The closer I looked the more strange it became and as I carefully moved some of the coiled up wires and found that multiple wires had been jammed into single terminals?
I quickly found the culprit when I burned my fingers on the wires jammed into terminal # 24 (Green arrow) and saw the melting plastic in the middle of that block which the Red arrow is pointing at.
I quickly and carefully pulled the sticky hot wire out of the the melting terminal and you can see the wire inside the White oval. Again, lest any of you might think I’m eXaggerating how hot these wires had become, I submit as Evidence #1, this thermal image taken from about the same vantage point as the photo above. The thermal camera I use has this nifty feature of not only color coding the temperatures as well as overlaying actual temperature reading of key spots. As you can see the “White hot” wire I have removed from terminal #24 is at 101.1C / 214F
For those of you wondering about this photo and my thermal camera, here are some quick details of what I regard as, for now obvious reasons, one of my most important Safety devices I carry onboard Möbius and would not be without.
My ever so handy and well used Flir ONE Thermal camera plugs into the USB C of my Pixel 5 phone and displays the thermal images overlaid on top of the phones camera image where I can control the degree of transparency to see more or less of the thermal image vs the actual image by varying the degree of transparency. As you can see in the photo above and relative to my hand here, it is a very compact little device which normally lives inside the protective hard shell “Otter box” case it comes with until I need to use it for situations like this.
I have this camera out at all times on passages and we use it on our hourly engine room and ship inspections to scan things like all the wiring panels, the Gardner and any other places where changes in temperature are not a good thing.
Not particularly cheap until you consider the consequences and expenses of NOT having one! As a less dramatic and more positive example, I was also able to use my Flir ONE to check the temperature of the air vents in the Salon window sills when the AirCon unit was running and see precise temperatures which I could compare with the other vents and get precise readings to know how well the air was being cooled or not. After this first round of Whack-a-Molomino my AirCon job had turned into a major AC wiring job so this was my “office” for the last four days as I used that plastic crate as my seat perched in front of the AC Main Panel removing all the wiring and replacing it with new and properly connected wires. Wiring any boat can be challenging but on any metal boat boat and especially so an aluminium boat, this is eXtremely important as the consequences of incorrectly wired, especially AC and DC grounding wires range from accelerated corrosion from stray electrical currents to eXtremely rapid corrosion if current is traveling through the hull or other conductive components such as the prop shaft and propeller. For reasons that most of us AL boat owners can’t understand, this is an area that many professional and certified technicians seem to not understand and as a result many boats suffer unnecessary damage and shortened life spans.
It became worse as I tested and traced each of the existing wires and discovered that in several cases wires had be simply cut or disconnected in order to prevent things like the RCB safety circuit breakers from tripping. As I continued by drawing out a schematic of the current Main Panel, I discovered that the electrical diagrams I had been supplied with had not been kept up to date during the build process and given the importance of getting this right the best thing to do was to remove ALL the wiring and start over.
So I started with a literally blank piece of paper and drew out the schematic of how the AC wiring inside this Main Panel needed to be wired. They are what they are, quick hand sketches, but they work for me and I have found that by drawing out each wire in every circuit and then tracing out each wire with colored highlighters it pretty much forces me to get it right. Red is the AC Hot/Load wires, Blue is Neutral and Green/Yellow is safety grounding “PE” wires. I won’t belabour this any further and just provide these few shots I took along the way or the rewiring.
Here is the newly wired middle set of Gray Junction blocks with all the Black jumper wires you can see in the original photo up above now gone and proper DIN junction jumpers now in place where needed. One of the most critical parts of AC wiring on boats is the Green/Yellow grounding wires which must be fully isolated from both the hull and the Blue Neutral wires and be connected at one and ONLY ONE connection point on the boat. This too had been missed and so here you can see the set of Green/Yellow wires I have separated from the other grounding bus bar a the bottom and added to their own set of Gray junction blocks above.
This is where I left off last night, all wires now properly connected and fully tested with both Shore Power connections and Inverter connections to ensure the grounding is correct and that the RCD (Residual Control Devices) are tripping immediately with the least bit >30mAmps of imbalance between the Neutral and the Load wires in each AC circuit. Tomorrow morning I will finish up by reconnecting indicator lights, tidying up all the wires and putting them neatly into the wire chases for added safety. I’ll try t show you that in next week’s update.
And thus ended round one of this week’s Olympic Whack-a-Molomino games. I’m not sure who “won” here other than Möbius being the winner of now being both a better and a more seaworthy boat that puts us one step closer to being able to head out to sea with the complete confidence that is mandatory for doing so, or is at least for Christine and myself.
I’ll be back with more next week as I hopefully get back to what I originally set out to do; get our AirCon system working!
Thanks for taking the time to join me for this week’s tournament and PLEASE do add your comments, questions and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Just a relatively short update for all of you that have been wondering about the “deafening silence” for the past 3 weeks from your more typically ebullient and brevity challenged author. In case you missed the ending of my last posting, Christine and I flew up to Istanbul to meet our daughter Lia, hubby Brian and our two granddaughters Brynn (7) and Blair (5) as they got off their non stop plane ride from LAX to spend THREE WEEKS with us! This would be a grand gift at any time but having not been able to get together for almost two years now, this was a HUGEY big gift!
And a jam packed three weeks it was as we shared the Turkey we have come to know and love with them AND got to host them for the first real passage on Möbius! Christine will be posting a bit more about our wonderful two day trip with the six of us aboard Möbius as we cruised the awemazing coastline from Antalya to Finike and here are just a few photos from our other adventures in planes, trains, automobiles AND hot air balloons!
We walked and ate our way throughout the truly world class city of Istanbul for the first three days and this is just one of our many Turkish kahvaltı, aka breakfasts. Short flight back from Istanbul to Antalya, test run for our new mariners with an overnight anchor at the nearby Rock Island to celebrate Brynn’s 7th Birthday!
See Christine’s post for much more about all this.
Thumbs up from all the crew and so we headed out for the first actual passage on Möbius. Slipped into this little spot that the girls dubbed as “Mermaid Cove” for another night on anchor and lots of swimming. Onward to some land based adventures, we went white water rafting in Köprülü Canyon National Park which is about 90 minutes from from where we lived in Antalya. Swimming through the thermal mineral ……. ……. pools of Pamukkale Climbing through the ruins of Sagalossos dating back to 600 BCE. Three nights in our two Cave Hotel rooms which were literally carved into the volcanic rock cliffs in Cappadocia. Up the next morning at 3AM to catch the sunrise in ….. ……. our very own Hot Air Balloon. Floating over the otherworldly “Fairy Chimneys” of Cappadocia 90 minutes went by SO fast! Until we gently touched down with the expert touch of ……. …… our favorite pilot Hakan (Black shirt far Left) from our previous ride with him 2 years ago for a champagne finish! We bid our family adieux for their return flight to IST and then on to LAX the next morning and Christine and I drove the 9 hour trip back to Möbius.
Where we had left her peacefully tied up in Finke marina which will be our home port for the rest of this year. Whew! We have spent the weekend savoring all these newest family memories and catching our breath from the wonderful whirlwind that our life has been for the past three weeks, indeed the past three years!
Tomorrow (Monday here) we will renew our efforts to get through the long and seemingly growing list of jobs to do in order to get Möbius fully sea worthy and ready for our next adventures. So we will resume our regular programming here on Mobius.World and do our best to continue to entertain and inform you about our ongoing adventures aboard the good ship Möbius.
Please tune in again next week for the next chapter and THANK YOU SO MUCH for your continued interest and comments. Be sure to add more in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
As most of you know by now, Christine is American and I am Canadian so this was a big week as both our countries celebrated their independence within days of each other; Canada day on Thursday July 1st and today being July 4th for the USA. However, Friday July 2nd, was THE most special independence day celebration for us as this was the day we felt we and our new world aboard Möbius achieved our true independence. Why Friday? Well because that was the day that we took Möbius out for her maiden voyage and a whole set of firsts such as our first overnight on anchor. Hard to capture how this felt having been five years in the making but I’ll do my best, try to keep it short and let the photos do most of the talking with that “photo is worth a thousand words” thought in mind. Here goes ………
After waiting SO long for this to all happen the past few days have been a bit of a blur and reminds me of the “hurry up and wait” condition I learned in the Canadian military.
Mid day on Monday Christine went up to the marina office to let them know that we would be ready to launch in the next few days and they told her that the TraveLift was going in for service tomorrow so if we wanted to launch it had to be NOW! Fortunately I had Mr. Gee all back together again and running the day before which was where I left off in last week’s update posting and the remaining jobs could be done in the water so we were good to Go! This is actually the third time we have splashed Möbius here at Setur marina so it didn’t take them long to get the slings positioned under Möbius round belly and we had lift off in no time flat. Down came all the vertical posts holding us up and we were headed for the TraveLift launch pads. Which are less than 100 meters away so again, mere minutes. We hover over the water for a few minutes and then down we go till the straps are loose and I can head below to check for any leaks. All’s well down below, just the way we like it, not a drop of salt water to be found and so we give the thumbs up to the crew with our thanks and the TraveLift is off for its servicing leaving us floating merrily in the water at last.
Flange Alignment v2.0
One of the last jobs of putting Mr. Gee all back together again was to recheck the alignment of the flanges that couple the output of the Nogva CPP gearbox to the prop shaft.
If you have been following the whole Mr. Gee v2.0 rebuild you may recall that I left the Nogva gearbox bolted in place to the engine beds with the two anti-vibration mounts on either side so it *should* not have moved but this alignment is critical to smooth vibration free power transfer from Mr. Gee through to the 1 meter OD 4 bladed CPP propeller and as per the illustration above, the two flanges have to be near perfectly aligned with no more than 0.05 of a millimeter deviation. For reference a strand of average human hair has a diameter between 0.06 and 0.08 mm.
Not a difficult job, fist step is to remove the composite grated flooring and unbolt the sealed AL panel underneath to reveal the space where the prop shaft enters the boat. Then remove all 8 hardened bolts around the flanges, pull the flanges apart by sliding the prop shaft back a few inches and then moving it forward till the two flanges touch. Then you use feeler gauges to determine the exact size of any gap between the two flanges. In my case the gap was 0.06mm so it only required a tweak with a pry bar on the front of the Gardner to eliminate that and then I could torque the 8 bolts back to a grunt worthy 240 Newton Meters and the propulsion system was good to Go! It was also time to say bye bye to Mr. Gee’s original crankshaft and pack him all up for a safe trip back to Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England where they will grind all the journals and have it ready to be installed in the next marine 6LXB engine they build.
At about 220kg / 485 Lbs, the wooden crate that GMD had made to send the new crank to me, would work well for the return flights and I added a few 2×2 timbers through screwed into the framing of their crate for good measure and one more component is Good to Go!
SkyBridge Lounge Act v1.0
As we are doing with many aspects of this very new boat, we are using this first year of living aboard to make lots of adjustments as we determine just how we tend to use various spaces and equipment and THEN we will build them in permanently. The most recent example is the layout and furniture for the upper SkyBridge area in front of the Helm Station.
What we decided to do is buy some inexpensive modular outdoor patio furniture which we could rearrange into various different configurations to see what we tended to gravitate to and use most often. Once we know that I can build in a more permanent set of furniture next year.
So Captain Christine has been on the hunt for the past few months at all the home supply stores here in Antalya and her choice arrived on this pallet on Wednesday. The L-shaped sectional couch and glass topped table are made from aluminium tube covered with plastic rattan like weaving so they are super lightweight and will work well in our salty environment.
Minutes later, the Captain could take the new lounge setup out for a quick test drive and seems to be pleased with her choices. I soon followed suit and am sitting here now typing up this blog post for you. Not a bad office, and one of several we no have onboard.
Wayne’s Newest Toy!
Christine and I are both running on fumes energy wise and so on Thursday we took the day off to drive about 2hrs north to the big city of Denizli where a brand new air compressor was waiting to be picked up. I had sent a new compressor over from Florida with all our other effects and boat parts a few years ago but it was DOA due to a faulty install and the best option for this critical bit of kit was to go for an upgraded new version which you see here on the Swim Platform Thursday afternoon.
2HP dual motors with dual compressors on each, 60L AL tank and super quiet!
I will soon be mounting this compressor under one of the AL workbenches in the Workshop where I will plumb it into the PVC pipes that run the full length of the Port side of the hull all the way up to the Forepeak with quick connect fittings in each area along the way. I’ve had compressed air on boats for so long I can’t imagine a boat without and use it daily for powering pneumatic tools such as sanders and impact guns and being able to clear out debris from clogged tubes and just general cleanup. Also super handy for quickly filling things like air mattresses and our inflatable kayak.
Compressed air is also how I clear any clogs in our Sea Chest with a quick blast in the fittings installed in each plexiglass lid.
But perhaps our favorite use is to supply the air for our two Hookah regulators which allow us to stay underwater with just a regulator in our mouth, no tanks, to do maintenance on the hull such as keeping the silicone foul release paint super slick and clean or to explore some of the nearby coral and underwater life around Möbius. We will also have a 12V Hookah setup in the Tender to be able to enjoy underwater wonders further afield.
Maiden Voyage v1.0
Still not quite believing it, we seemed to finally be ready to head out to open ocean waters for the first time and have Mr. Gee take Möbius and us out for our Maiden Voyage! With everything from Mr. Gee to so many other systems being all new or on version 2.0, we spent Friday morning checking everything over multiple times, getting Mr. Gee warmed up, bow thrusters working, steering working, charting and all nav systems working and at 13:20 Friday July 2nd, 2021 we cast off the dock lines and headed out through the breakwater of the Antalya harbour to officially begin our latest adventure.
In a rare attempt at brevity to try to say how pleased we are, I will simply show you a set of shots of the wake we left as we slowly increased the pitch and thus speed through the water as we pointed Möbius’ bow to the horizon. These shots of the wake behind Möbius at different speeds probably won’t be too exciting for many of you but for us, this is a huge part of the “proof of the pudding” from all the time we invested with Dennis in designing this hull to be eXtremely efficient for maximum speed with minimum power and fuel burn and to be slick, slippery and smooth as she slices through the water.
This is the wake at 7.2 kts off the Swim Platform. Longer range shot still at 7.2 kts 20 minutes later, dialing in a bit more pitch this is what it looked like at 8.5 kts Just a bit more speed with a bit more pitch but still keeping well under full load as we break in Mr. Gee very gently, this was our top speed for this first outing of 9.2 kts. I will publish tables of data like this in the coming weeks but one quick shot for those curious, this is the EGT and Fuel burn rate at 8.5 kts with Mr. Gee spinning at 1500 RPM. For reference, EGT at full continuous load rating for Mr. Gee at 1650 is 400C
After two hours testing out different pitch/speed combinations, some hard turns and circles to familiarize ourselves with steering and handling Captain Christine headed us for this small nearby uninhabited island. At her cue I dropped “Rocky” our 110Kg / 243 Lb Rocna anchor into the sea for his first bite of bottom sand. As usual for a Rocna he bit right away in about 30 feet of water, Christine backed down to give him a good pull for a few minutes and Möbius settled back with the 13mm / 1/2” chain hanging straight down in these calm waters. First order of business?
Our first dives off the Swim Platform!
(you can just make out Christine about to enjoy her first dive into these cool clear blue Aegean waters.) We swam around Möbius for the very fist time under Barney’s close scrutiny from deck. While this view of the shoreline of the mainland off our Port side isn’t too bad, what was breathtaking for us as we did our first lap around Möbius, was to be looking up to see our visions we developed over all these past years now be a realty looming overhead.
Suffice it to say that our fist night at anchor was pure bliss!
Oh, and for those curious, Mr. Gee performed flawlessly throughout the 5.5 hours we ran him out and back on this Maiden Voyage. Here is a shot of his oil pressure and oil temperature after running at various loads for about 2 hours on the way back to the marina on Saturday doing about 8.5 kts @ 1500 RPM. As happy as you can imagine we were when we returned to the marina yesterday afternoon after about 3 hours of more testing and maneuvering, we are even MORE excited here on Sunday night as we fly to Istanbul in the morning to meet our daughter Lia, husband Brian and our two granddaughters Brynn and Blair! This is a family get together that has been delayed for over 2 years and we are eXtremely eXcited to see this vision also become reality and I’ll have a bit more about this in next week’s post when we fly back here with all of them next Thursday.
Thanks for joining us through this eXtremely long and winding adventure that it has taken us to get here. Hope you have enjoyed it and we will continue to keep you posted as we switch into cruising mode and can provide more of the real world data and experiences aboard XPM78-01 Möbius that many of you are apparently anxious to receive.