Captain Christine Returns! Möbius Update 12-25 Sept. 2022

Thanks to Christine and some tech support people at our web host provider, we now have all those technical problems worked out and I am able to post updates again.  Yaaayyyyy!!! 

My apologies for any annoyances you may have experienced with the test post and notification Email that went up here on the site instead of posting as a hidden draft only.   I appreciate your patience and happy to be able to post this quick update on what’s been going on aboard the Good Ship Möbius the past two weeks.

Best thing that happened for me last week was that my Captain returned! 

As you may recall, back on the 1st of the month, Christine flew over to Miami for some much needed Gramma time with our Grandson Liam, some visits with her family and friends and to look after a few medical appointments. 

IMG_1517She had lots of fun outings with Liam, seen here goofing it up with a selfie of him and his Dad, Christine’s son, Tim.
Liam 1st day 1st GradeAnd timing was perfect for Liam’s first day in First Grade.  Yayyyy Liam!

Brynn   Blair 1st Day School Sept 2022Meanwhile, over on the opposite coast near Los Angeles, our two Granddaughters Brynn (left) and Blair were also starting their first days of the new school year as well so school year 2022 is off and running!

IMG_1671Christine landed back here in Kalymnos on this ferry from Kos to Kalymnos on Monday (19th) evening after a two day marathon of travel.  Being on this tiny Greek island adds several legs to the journey with three flights to get from Miami to Dulles to Athens to the neighboring island of Kos and then the ferry from Kos to Kalymnos. 
CK bags return to KalymnosOh, and did I mention that she was schlepping over 55 Kilos/120 Lbs of new bits and bobs for the boat and ourselves?!  However, very happy to report that all went amazingly smoothly, checked bags went all the way from Miami to Kos without any intervention or loss, but it still requires lots of energy and time with not much sleep in between.  She has slept VERY well the first two nights without any real sense of jet lag and we are both very happy to be back together and home.

Super Hawg

PXL_20220920_083527654One of the many bits of kit for the boat Christine lugged back with her, and one of the heaviest, was this Super Hole Hawg as Milwaukee calls their monster HD right angle 18V drill.  Weighs in at 8 Kg/17.6 Lbs, has two reversable speeds and over 1000 FtLbs of torque.
PXL_20220920_083754316.MPIt is quite the beast and I was able to get a very good deal buying it through Home Depot with three of these super sized High Output 6Amp 18V lithium batteries which enables long continuous use between charges. 

This is part of our style of doing prototypes of systems on Möbius that allow us to try out different ways of doing things and allow us to find out what is the Goldilocks just right way for us.
PXL_20220920_083539547 In this case we are trying out this way of converting several of our manual winches to electric.  I ordered this SS adaptor that fits into all our winches.
PXL_20220920_083255443Almost all winches no matter the brand, use this same star pattern for their manual winch handles so this adaptor enables us to try out this powered winch handle on any winch we have so we can see which ones would make sense to convert to full built in electric systems.
PXL_20220920_083457996As an added benefit, this power winch handle will also give us an emergency back up for any failure of our already 24V powered electric winches such as this hefty Lewmar 65 on the Aft Deck.
PXL_20220920_083155882.MPTwo of the currently manual winches we are most interested in trying this out on are these horizontally mounted winches on the Tender Davit which we use to raise/lower the Tender in the Davit Arch.  Up to now we have been using the manual winch handles for this job which works well but we like to bring the Tender onboard every evening so this makes it much more convenient and faster.  I will let you know how it all works out once we have tried it out a few times.

Rats!

3621E3C5-FC9D-4897-AC82-00AF8AD4E1CEMuch lighter and put to immediate use unfortunately, were six of these classic Victor rat traps which I was able to get delivered to Christine hours before she flew out of Florida.  A few days earlier I discovered that I had a new and uninvited guest aboard and these traps are the best way I know of to get them to leave.  Ruby and Barney donated a piece of their kibble for bait which I upgraded with a bit of peanut butter and had had several set out a few hours after we were back onboard Monday night.  A few hours later we heard the distinctive and loud SNAP! of the trap under the sink and I escorted dead Rat #1 off the boat.  Turned out he had two other buddies which were shown the same exit the next night and the traps have all remained undisturbed ever since.  Whew!

Super Synthetics on Sale

For most of the lines we have onboard we use synthetic braided line such as Amsteel or Dyneema as they have SO many advantages such as higher strength that same size SS wire rope, very light weight, easy to handle and they float.  As you might know or guess they are also quite expensive, especially when you buy them from Marine suppliers.  But a tip I can share with you is that the same synthetic line is also now being used extensively in applications such as power winches for off road vehicles, emergency response teams and the like and buying these lines through those outlets is a fraction of the inflated marine cost. 

PXL_20220920_095905604So these two 30 meter/100ft lengths of 13mm/ 1/2” Dyneema also found their way into Christine’s checked luggage.
PXL_20220920_095925807These two are made for electric winches on the fronts of 4×4 and Overland vehicles so they come with a SS thimble on one end and a crimped on fitting for the end that bolts to the winch drum but it is easy to cut these off so I can tie my own eyes, loops or whatever ends I need.  These two are going to be used for some of the rigging on our Paravanes which I now have everything I need and we can start testing out when we get underway again.

Weighty Windings

PXL_20220924_101757840One of the other heavier items Christine brought back with her was this new stator coil for one of our 24V @ 250Ah Electrodyne alternators.
PXL_20220924_101231779Due to a manufacturing error, there was a short in the external rectifier and as you can see every third one of the copper coils was burned out.  There are two of these coils in each alternator which produce the high AC current which then runs through the thick cables out of the Engine Room over to the external rectifier where it is converted into 24V DC current.
PXL_20220924_100213110Electrodyne quickly sent a new replacement coil several months ago and this was our first chance to get it brought over to Möbius.  Fairly straightforward process to remove the old coil by first removing the aluminium Rotor that holds the permanent magnets for the alternator at this end.  The holes in this Rotor provide good air flow to keep the alternator cool.  These Electrodyne units actually have two individual alternators, one at each end of the Red housing but only the one on this end needed replacing.
PXL_20220924_105125920Once the old Stator windings are removed the trickiest part is fishing these three large gauge solid copper wires through the hole in the body of the alternator but just takes some time and holding your tongue just the right way.

Then I could bolt the new Stator windings onto the body.
PXL_20220924_115830765Rotor is bolted back on next and then all the wires inside the junction box up top can be attached to their respective studs.


PXL_20210127_153451189.MP

This upper alternator is driven by a cogged belt system I installed, driven by the crankshaft and also powering the bronze sea water pump you see on the far Left.
PXL_20210830_112742770Further down, the second alternator is driven directly by the PTO shaft from the front Left of the engine.


Each of our Electrodyne alternators can provide up to 6kW of power and so with the pair mounted on Mr. Gee we effectively have a 12kW generator whenever he is running.  Each external rectifier is connected to a WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulator which automatically look after balancing the two alternators and keeping the 1800 Ah House Bank fully charged. 

Speaking of Mr. Gee, I am eXtremely pleased to let you know that I am flying up to the Gardner works on Tuesday to be there when the new engine is put through its paces on the dynamometer for the initial breaking in and to create a full data sheet and graphs of torque, horsepower, fuel consumption, etc.  I will be sure to take lots of photos while I’m there and be able to share those with you in next week’s update. 

The new engine is due to start its return voyage back to us here in Kalymnos next Friday and hopefully will take “only” 3 weeks or so to get here.  Given that the shipping up to Gardner took over six weeks, that will actually be quite fast!  Everything is relative right?  Once the new Mr. Gee arrives here I will be able to provide you with more details of the installation and most excitingly the results of the initial sea trials so do stay tuned for that.

Thanks for all your patience with the change of pace the past few months and please do keep your questions and comments coming in the Join the Discussion box below.

Thanks!

Wayne

 






 

Wind Beats Solar? XPM78-01 Möbius Update Aug 29-Sept 11, 2022

Wind Beats Solar? XPM78-01 Möbius Update Aug 29-Sept 11, 2022

NOTE: Still have frustrating technical issues preventing me from posting this latest update as I usually do. We have been creating these posts for five years with nary a problem but suddenly it isn’t working so I’ve created this update manually direct online to just get it out while we resolve the technical issues. I’m sure you can all relate from having similar challenges with technology and appreciate your understanding and patience.

As you can see the photos are much larger and don’t expand when you click on them so I will put the relevant text below each photo. But, should give you a good overview of what’s been going on the past two weeks and hopefully the next update will be back to normal format.

Möbius is still safely docked in this beautiful harbour on the South end of the Greek island of Kalymnos and other than some very gusty Meltemi winds the last two weeks have been unusually quiet aboard with the absence of Captain Christine.  So we are down to just the three pupsketeers of Ruby, Barney and I aboard. 


Christine has been enjoying some much needed Gramma time with our Grandson Liam and spending time with her family and friends.  Liam has always been enthralled with tornados and loves making his own in bottles like this one while his Dad, Christine’s son Tim, enjoys the glee.


They have been enjoying outings like this one to a great hands on science museum in Ft. Lauderdale to Liam’s obvious delight.


Christine has been able to squeeze in time for a new hairdo and glasses and a visit with her very dear and longtime friends Kathleen and Steve.

She will be flying back here next Monday and the pups and I will be VERY glad to have her back.

Meanwhile back on Möbius I’ve been busy with several projects and ordering boat bits we can’t get over here that Sherpa Christine can bring back with her. 

I am also regularly in touch with the good people at Gardner Marine Diesel GMD as they complete the building of Mr. Gee version 2.0.  That has been going very well along with the forensic analysis of Mr. Gee 1.0 and they have been taking photos along the way and I should have more details and photos of that in the next blog post. 

It took over six weeks for the engine to get from Kalymnos to the Gardner factory in Canterbury in the UK due to the huge crush of tourists in the EU this summer that took up all the spaces on the three ferries it takes to get there.  Most companies in Europe also shut down for holidays in the month of August so that delayed things further but he finally made it.  GMD have been removing all the parts that will be swapped over to the new engine.  If all continues to goes well, the new engine should be fully completed and run in on the dyno in about two more weeks and start his hopefully much faster return trip!

Monster Meltemi

This part of Greece we are in has always had very strong summer winds out of the North called “Meltemi” winds which are the result of a high-pressure system over the Balkans area and a relatively low-pressure system over Turkey.  Most of the time they are good news to us as they provide a natural form of air conditioning to keep you cool day and night.  Typically these gust up to 25 knots or so but in the wee hours on Monday they gusted up to over 50 knots! (57 MPH/92KPH) 

Which leads me to the title of this week’s post…….

Things were howling pretty good all night but about 3AM there were several huge crashing sounds up on deck above where I was sleeping in the Master Cabin so I scrambled out of bed and up on deck to see what was going on.


In the early morning darkness it took me awhile to figure out what had happened but became pretty clear when I got up on the forward deck, turned around and looked back over the hinged solar panel array in front of the SkyBridge.


As you may recall, this set of three 300W solar panels are mounted in an aluminium frame that is hinged on the aft end so that it can be lifted up like this when we are at anchor or on a dock.  This has double benefits of getting the solar panels horizontal which is often a better sun angle and then creates this huge wind funnel that takes the breezes over the bow back to a mist eliminating grill set in the far back wall. 


Which then flows into the middle of the SuperSalon through the White air diffusers in the ceiling.  The Black ones further forward get their air from another vent tucked under the overhang of the roof above the front window.  Helps keep good airflows.


When we are underway, the panels simply fold down like this so they are flush with the angled roof section of the SuperSalon.

I’ll bet you can’t guess which position they were in on Monday night/Tuesday morning??!!


Took me awhile to put it all together as I tried to figure out what had punched that gaping hole in the middle panel? 


At first I thought perhaps the strong winds had carried some hard heavy something crashing down onto the panel and there was a good culprit staring right at me from the bow of the oil tanker that overlaps our bow on the dock we are tied up to.

Made sense, but then I looked up…………….


I’d estimate it takes me about 20Kg/44lbs to lift the front of this panel up when I want to put it in the UP position so you would think that it would be pretty stable.  But you’d be wrong!

These panels have been in the horizontal UP position for the past two months with nary a problem but what had happened was that Meltemi winds had shifted on Monday night so that they were coming more directly over the bow rather than over the Port/Left side they usually blow over, and one of those big gusts had lifted up the whole rack, slammed it against the front of the roof over the SkyBridge and the video camera had punched itself right through the solar panel.


Fortunately I have several new solar panels onboard for spares and so it only took me a few hours to unbolt the broken PV panel and bolt in a new one.  These panels use these handy MC4 connectors with a built in fuse so all I had to do was unsnap the old ones and click the new ones in place and we were back to full solar capacity with all 14 panels now working.


Christine had a new and improved video cam that she had put on my ToDo list to replace the original one.  How convenient!

Easy enough to unbolt what was left of the base of the old camera and bolt the new one in place.   This new camera uses PoE or Power over Ethernet so only requires a single Ethernet RJ45 (waterproof) connector and it was good to test out.


Fired up the main boat computer in the SuperSalon and a few clicks later had the new camera streaking this video over the bow.


Right now we have four cameras onboard with a rear facing one off the transom which is great for docking and then two in the currently very empty engine room to keep an eye on Mr. Gee once he gets back in there.


Lots of other smaller jobs and time online sorting things out for the new engine and boat bits but nothing too entertaining to show so I’ll close out for this post and will be back when I have enough interesting content to share with you in the next week or two.


I will leave you with Gramma’s bed buddy and fellow geek.

Thanks for your patience in dealing with this delayed and different looking update. Hopefully we will get the technical posting problems sorted out and be back to the usual format in the next week or two.

Please put any questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below.

Thanks,

-Wayne

Going to the Dogs Möbius Update 22-28 Aug 2022

Barney   Ruby on settee As many of you may have seen in your various news feeds, Friday August 26th is/was International Dog Day. 
PXL_20220109_142635914Based on my observations of our dogs, it seems to me that EVERY day is pretty much Dog Day, but apparently the 26th makes it official.
P1040039_59852Ruby is our 14 year old “Spoodle”, a mix of Cocker Spaniel + Poodle and
PXL_20220228_125629953.MPBarney is our 10 year old Yorkshire “Terror” as Christine affectionately calls him.
82990918They have been with us from the very beginning of their respective lives as well as ours as a couple.

As you can see, they have become quite the couple themselves.
PXL_20220822_134844865Happy International Dog Day to all the dogs in our lives!

Going to the Dogs is a bad thing?

I’ve always been curious about the origin of all the various sayings we have in our language and years ago I was quite surprised when I looked up “it’s a dog’s life” and found it defined as “a difficult, boring, and unhappy life” and that “going to the dogs apparently means “: to become ruined : to change to a much worse condition,The economy is going to the dogs.”  All my experiences with dogs had been quite the opposite and as you can see in the photos above, Ruby and Barney certainly seem to have a life that many would envy.

However, I must admit that of late things aboard Möbius do seem to fit the dictionary definition of “going to the dogs” with the various problems that have cropped up with our FireFly batteries, Kabola diesel water heater and the list goes on.  Latest addition this week was finding that the Bow Thruster was not working and I’ll use that example to highlight my contrarian perspective wherein I regard all these as challenges to be taken on and resolved and that in the end they turn out to be good things. 

That’s not a Bug!  That’s a Feature!!

Another common phrase we often hear is that when life deals you lemons, make lemonade.  Along similar lines, one of the more profound and transformative concepts I synthesized during my decades working with software and technology, was that rather than “problems”, such challenges present me with the opportunity “to transform bugs into features”.  I have come to realise that it is largely a matter of perspective.  If you look at things differently, things look different.  In addition to the new understanding and skills I learn by fixing things and resolving these challenges, they also present me with the opportunity to improve and make things better after they are fixed than they were originally.  The problem with the Bow Thruster “challenge” this week is the most recent example I can use to illustrate how I apply this “bugs into features” approach. 


Vetus Bow Thruster wiring connectionsAfter spending time with my multimeter tracing all the wiring for the Bow Thruster, the issue turned out to be caused by very poor electrical design by the manufacturer, in my opinion, for the way the fuse and wires from the controller joy sticks at both helm stations, are placed and connected to the Bow Thruster motor in the Forepeak.
Vetus Bow Thruster wiring connections closeupThe four wire connector on the Left and the 5Amp ATC fuse on the Right are located on the outside of the 24V motor of the Bow Thruster and thus completely exposed to the damp and often salty air in the Forepeak.

Not surprisingly then, these exposed copper connections had suffered from severe corrosion.   
PXL_20220828_092607412

This is the four wire connector with the 24V positive connection being completely corroded and making no connection to the Red wire it joins. 
PXL_20220828_092459203.MPThe ATC fuse holder and the 5A fuse itself were in even worse condition.
PXL_20220828_092526270Compared to the new Orange fuse on the far Left, you can see that both of the spade terminals on the factory fuse have completely corroded into dust.

Not much surprise then that the Bow Thruster wasn’t working.
Quite surprising and disappointing to me to find such an obvious design fault in what is otherwise a very high quality bit of kit, and it made no sense to just clean up the fuse holder and redo the four wire connectors as the same thing would just repeat itself, presenting me with the “opportunity” to not just fix the problem but to improve the whole wiring setup. 

My apologies that I forgot to take photos as I was working and hope these generic images will still help you understand what I did to transform these bugs into features.


sealed ATC-in-line-fuse-holder-30aI carry a good supply of these sealed ATC in-line fuse holders for just these kinds of situations and so I replaced the original factory Black plastic built in fuse holder on the Bow Thruster with one of these.  I also extended the wire length so that the fuse holder was located up higher in a more protected spot which also provides better access if/when this fuse ever blows and needs to be replaced. 

Fuse now fixed and working

Sealed fuse holder

Better protected location

√  Easier to access for future fuse replacements

heat shrink butt connector instructionsFor the four wire connector, I replaced it entirely with new wires that I spliced directly to the wires on the Bow Thruster using these crimped butt splice connectors that have adhesive lined heat shrink coating that completely seals the connection. 

√  No more exposed connections

No more corrosion

Hope this helps illustrate my perspective on how to transform bugs into features. 


With the above as context, I have a much bigger and much better example of my latest transformation; Mr. Gee 2.0!  Here is a brief (consider the source) overview of what’s been happening with Mr. Gee lately.

Tick Tock

Several months ago, after Mr. Gee had about fifty hours of run time, I began to hear a metallic “ticking” noise when he was running.  It wasn’t very loud and sounded very similar to when there is too much clearance between the end of an exhaust or intake valve and the rocker arm.  I had previously done the recommended valve adjustment after about the first five hours of running and all the metal parts have been through multiple heating and cooling cycles.  Shortly after hearing this new ticking sound I checked the valve clearances again and found them all to be spot on but the ticking noise continued.

After that I kept my ear attuned to the ticking and it seemed to stay the same, not changing or getting any louder so I thought it was perhaps just a normal Gardner sound and just kept listening closely on every engine room inspection while we were underway.  I do one of these ER inspections every hour or two when we are underway and record all other engine data such as RPM, fuel consumption, SOG (boat speed over ground), oil temperature and pressure, coolant temperature, Exhaust Gas Temperature EGT and temperatures at various parts of the engine and the air in the Engine Room.  Reviewing this spreadsheet allows me to see what all these readings should be and makes it easy to spot any changes.

Everything stayed the same until we about ten hours into making our way from the Greek island of Rhodes to Athens on the mainland.  I began to notice some increased temperatures in the area of the cylinder heads by cylinder #3.  All the other temperatures of oil and water and metal parts elsewhere remained the same but I also noticed that the ticking noise was getting louder.  More like a slight metal on metal knocking sound.  Always hard to tell with sounds inside an Engine Room if this is just your imagination or if the sound really is changing but I shut the engine down and did a much closer inspection of every part of the engine but found no visible signs of any leaks or other changes.  So I restarted Mr. Gee and we continued.

You know where this is going!  Sure enough the heat around the exhaust and intake ports of cylinder #3 continued to rise, the ticking noise got louder and the engine ran more unevenly.  Not a condition that could be allowed to continue and so we rerouted ourselves to the closest island of Kalymnos where I would be able to take on this latest challenge and figure out how to transform this bug into a feature.  This would have to wait for a month or so because we now had our granddaughters and family onboard followed by some other dear friends so not much time to work on Mr. Gee. 

Eventually though, I was able to do some deeper testing and dismantled the engine enough to find that the exhaust and intake valves on cylinder #3 were defective and no longer sealing on their valve seats and hence not getting cooled down. 
exhaust valve cooling illustrationValves, the exhaust in particular, live in a very nasty high heat environment and they mostly are cooled when they are tightly closed and can transfer their heat through the valve seat.  If they don’t seal tight they don’t work as a valve bringing the air/fuel mix into the cylinder, sealing it completely on the compression and then power strokes and then letting all the burned mixture out the exhaust port.  And without the contact to the valve seat, they rapidly start to overheat and would eventually likely crack.
I am very fortunate to have some of the best experts there are when it comes to diesel engines and Gardner’s in particular.  I have the Mr. Gardner himself, Michael at Gardner Marine Diesel GMD, the home of Mr. Gee and all Gardner engines and my long time friend Greg who I’ve known since we were in University and trade school together and who is the best expert on diesel engines I know.  I spent a LOT of time texting and talking with Greg and Michael and they were both eXtremely generous with their time and patience.  After going through all the possible scenarios and reviewing all the data and photos of what I was able to see, the problem and the solution became quite clear.

I had begun the restoration of Mr. Gee when Christine and I were house/pet sitting for some dear friends in Portugal and had a machine shop there do all the machining of the cylinder heads and block and install the new valve seats, valve guides and cylinder liners.  Michael at GMD remembered this and he noted that installing new valve seats in these LXB engines is quite particular and he has seen problems in the past when other machine shops have installed new valve seats and valve guides, so this cast some doubt on whether these had all been installed correctly by the machine shop in Portugal.  While we won’t know for sure until a more detailed examination of the valves, seats and heads improperly installed valve seats became the most likely suspects as to what was causing the problems with Mr. Gee and making that ticking noise. 

It was possible I could remove the cylinder heads, order in new valves and seats and find a machine ship in Athens or somewhere to properly install all new valve seats and guides, but this would not be easy to arrange and would not be a shop that had experience working on Gardner engines so we quickly ruled out this option.  To be completely sure that all the valves, seats and guides on Mr. Gee were 100% correctly installed, this work needed to be done at the Gardner works at GMD.  Our attention thus turned to how best to do this?

30 Horses Gallop into the Scene…..

I should also note at this point, that I have been having a completely separate conversation with Michael all this year about converting Mr. Gee from the 150HP @1650 RPM he is currently at, to the 180HP @ 1800 RPM option which the 6LXB can be configured for.  The 150HP setup is a Continuous or 100% duty cycle which means the engine can be run at this speed and HP 24/7 which many 6LXB’s are.  The 180HP version has a lower duty cycle which means that you can run them safely at full power and RPM for shorter periods of time and then continue at lower RPM.  Almost all diesel engines have this range of RPM/HP they can be configured for and on mechanical fuel injection engines such as the Gardner LXB, this involves physically changing the fuel injection pump setup to inject a higher volume of diesel fuel on each intake stroke and adjusting timing of the injectors and valve advance.  Not that difficult but requires specialized tools, equipment and expertise from Gardner than what I am comfortable doing.

In our trips this year, about 80 hours total run time, we have been finding that the Goldilocks or sweet spot for the best combination of loads, EGT, speed and fuel economy is about 1400-1500 RPM so why am I interested running Mr. Gee at up to 1800 RPM?  Simply put, I would like to have the option to call on those additional 30 HP, a 20% increase, in an emergency situation when that extra power could mean the difference between getting out of a situation vs loosing the boat.  One example of such a situation is when you are at anchor and find yourself on a lee shore when the conditions change unexpectedly such that there are high winds and seas trying to push the boat onto the shore.  Of course this always seems to happen at O’dark thirty and you are in the dark with every second counting, so being able to start your engine and call on every pony the engine has can make all the difference.

FRANCE-CORSICA-WEATHER-ENVIRONMENT-TRANSPORT-TOURISMLest this should sound a bit farfetched to some of you, just this past week we were vividly reminded of how fast and unexpected this type of lee shore situation can develop when a very high wind storm swept over the island of Corsica in France.  You may have seen this in video on the news you watched and seen these winds gusting up to 224 km/h (140mph) pushing hundreds of boats onto the shore.

I had therefore wanted to do this conversion to the 180HP setup before we start venturing out on our longer passages and later in the season and was going to remove the fuel injection system from Mr. Gee and ship to GMD to do the conversion and then ship back so I could install it and we could continue our travels.  The trick was going to be when and where to do this as Möbius would need to stay in one place while the fuel injection was off being reconfigured.  Now that we found ourselves with such a rare and ideal side tie dock arrangement we serendipitously stumbled upon here in Kalymnos, this latest challenge with Mr. Gee’s valves and the repowering all seemed to converge into a perfect storm kind of situation and here is how this all came together.

Go BIG or Don’t Go!

As long time sailors, we have come to understand how critical it is that you have complete confidence in your boat before you go to sea.  When you find yourself in those rare but inevitable situations where things have become very nasty and every decision is critical, having ANY doubts about your boat, or yourself, can be crippling and life threatening.  Mother Nature can be an eXtremely effective teacher and you soon learn the hard truth about how critical such confidences is and that if you don’t have full confidence, then you don’t go to sea. 

Given the high dependency we have on Mr. Gee for our propulsion and the fundamental requirement to have eXtreme confidence in all the critical systems on Möbius, it was not difficult for Christine and I to decide that we needed to go “all in” on this situation and transform all these “bugs” into features resulting from us doing everything possible to ensure that Möbius is the most seaworthy boat we could create. 

I’m sure you can see where this is all headed.  Rather than send just the fuel injection system to GMD to convert it to the 180HP version, go Big and send all of Mr. Gee to GMD.  Michael made this decision even easier by kindly offering to do a full exchange of Mr. Gee for a new 6LXB that they would put together at the Gardner Works there at GMD.  We send them Mr. Gee, they send us a new 6LXB we will now refer to as “Mr. Gee two point O” or Mr. Gee 2.0  They will transfer over a few of the external bits such as the items I have already polished such as the rocker covers, GMD side covers and the custom brackets I’ve designed and built for things like the sea water pump and hand crank system but these can all be done right after Mr. Gee 1.0 arrives at GMD and after the new Mr. Gee 2.0 has been built. 


Gardne dynamometerMichael will also put the new engine on the Gardner dynamometer where they can run it through its paces, do the initial break in and create a full HP/Torque/Fuel graph directly from the readings on the dyno.  I don’t have a photo of their dyno yet but this one will give you a rough idea.  The engine is mounted to the dyno with flywheel connected to the measuring devices that read horsepower, torque, fuel consumption, etc. and plot this out onto a graph.  This will add to our confidence that we know for sure what these outputs are and will make it a relatively straight forward process for me to lower the new Mr. Gee 2.0 into the ER, connect him to all the mounts, Nogva CPP, hoses for coolant and exhaust and electrical and we will be able to get back out to sea and set our sights on destinations West.
I hope that all of the above does not come across as me being flippant or suggesting this was all easy or without a good share of sadness and frustration along the way.  It was all of those things and I do have thoughts about “Why me?” from time to time.  But as I’ve often found with the big decisions in life, these were also very clearly Goldilocks decisions being just right, just for us and in that sense they were easy to make.  The harder part has been dealing with all the time and logistics it has taken to do all this from a small remote island in the middle of one of the busiest and most disrupted summers in the EU and now waiting for the new Mr. Gee to get back here.  


Out with the Old

As you might imagine it was rather hectic here going through all this testing, making the arrangements with the local crane truck to remove Mr. Gee 1.0, securing him to the pallet and arranging to get him trucked from Kalymnos to Athens and then onto two more ferries to get him all the way to the GMD in Canterbury in England, so I don’t have too many photos but here is a quick summary of all that.


PXL_20220715_075826142Gee, I wonder why it doesn’t take me too long to disconnect everything and get Mr. Gee ready to be lifted up?  Oh yeah, lots of practice!
PXL_20220715_075856899I enlisted the help of two local men to help extract Mr. Gee from the Engine Room and …..
PXL_20220715_080118585.MP….. then over to the concreted dock we are side tied to.
PXL_20220715_125220821All the openings sealed and taped off and engine strapped onto the shipping pallet.
PXL_20220803_100143996.MPShipping labels attached under Shrink wrap to keep him clean and protected for his long journey home to GMD.
Mr. Gee at SLA LogisticsAnd just a few hours ago, I received this photo of Mr. Gee in the storage warehouse of the trucking company outside of London waiting to be make the final leg of his journey over to GMD in Canterbury on Tuesday as Monday is a national “Summer Bank Holiday” in the UK. 

Don’t even think about asking me how long this whole journey has taken!  Let’s just say that all you’ve been hearing about disruptions to supply chains and shipping, record high tourist traffic this summer in Europe and how the whole EU tends to take their holidays in the month of August, is so very very true.
PXL_20220828_135748885.MPLeaving me with a very sadly empty Engine Room and a lot of greasy hand prints to clean off the walls.

Going Out with a BANG!

AE249F0F-D6B9-4B26-8A85-45115D1B7E81Thanks to Christine, I can leave you with a dynamite ending to this week’s update by sharing THIS LINK to her latest SailingWriter newsletter.

She continues to be very self disciplined with her daily physio routines after her knee operation and been taking full advantage of her “Freedom Machine” aka her eBike, to explore this fascinating island we have been living on since July and finding new beaches for her in the water exercises.  Click the link above to see all her photos and explanation of how this island is literally a dynamite place to be!

IMG_20160601_173921Back to where I started this posting, I will let Barney send us off into a new week as he wistfully enjoys another sundowner and contemplates what it truly means to live a dog’s life
Thanks for joining me again this week and hope you’ll be back for more next week.  I will!

-Wayne



 

No Fire at FireFly Batteries? Möbius Update 14-21 August, 2022

Another regular “work week” for the crew of Möbius this past week so not too much in the way of a Show & Tell post.  So I’m going to use this week’s update to cover the recent demise of FireFly Batteries both as a business and on Möbius.  Not sure that this will be of too much interest to too many of you so feel free to speed read or skip this weeks posting and I’ll have something of more universal appeal next week.

IMG_1070I must have jinxed it in last week’s update where I talked about how ideally cool the temperatures are here in Kalymnos, as the past week Mother Nature turned the thermostat up a touch and we hit a high of 35C/95F on Friday.  Still not anywhere near what most others in Europe and elsewhere in the world are experiencing though!  Daily highs have been dropping a degree a day since then and the Meltemi winds have been blowing hard every day so keeps a good breeze flowing through the boat and makes it pretty comfy onboard. 
IMG_1260Christine continues to have her daily swim and knee calisthenics and thinks her knee is ready for longer walks now so that will help change up her daily routines. 

You can’t see it for the other boats but FYI, Möbius is just above the unicorn’s horn here.

I made some progress with the rigging for the Paravanes but most of my time was consumed with working out the best Goldilocks way to rig them, particularly for retrieving them and I’ll hopefully get time this coming week to install the actual rigging and have that to show you in the next update.

Summary of Möbius’ Electrical System

XPM Electrical System w 4 Batt BanksFor a quick refresher and provide some context for what I’m about to discuss, here is a schematic of the overall DC electrical system in Möbius.  (click any photo to enlarge)
We are a “DC based boat” in that pretty much all our electrical power, both 12+24V DC and 120V+240V AC originates from our 24 volt x 1800Ah House Battery bank.  We do have the ability to plug into shore power when in marinas but the majority of time we are on anchor and even when in marinas we don’t usually plug in as it is much easier and cheaper to just power everything from our 24 Volt House Bank.
XPM 6S4P House BatteryThis House Bank is made up of 24 individual L15+ FireFly Carbon Foam 4V/450Ah cells which when wired as per this schematic creates the 24V x 1800Ah or 43.2 kWh battery bank.
  IMG_20190920_122217In THIS post last year I outlined how and why we decided to go with these FireFly batteries rather than traditional AGM or Lithium so please check that out if you are interested in those details.  Short summary is that these Carbon Foam batteries were the just right choice for our use case as this chemistry is eXtremely efficient, safe and tolerant of cold temperatures and partial states of charge. 
IMG_20200508_153636They are heavier and larger than most other batteries but we built the battery compartments integral to the hull on either side of the keel bar.
IMG_20200512_123726In addition to being a well cooled and secure location the batteries provided a very useful form of lead ballast and thus their weight was a feature and not a “bug” for Möbius.
Photo_6553620_DJI_20_jpg_4702500_0_2022410101452_photo_originalKeeping this House Battery charged is primarily accomplished by our 4.4kW array of 14 Solar Panels and this can be supplemented by the 12kW available from the two 24V x 250A Electrodyne alternators whenever Mr. Gee is running.  We have been using this system every day since the boat was launched a year and a half ago and has proven to work very well. 

Until they didn’t!

Restoration Charging

Several months ago I noticed that the batteries had lost some of their overall capacity and so I performed the “Restoration Charge” that is recommended and outlined very thoroughly in the FireFly User Manual.  The Restoration Charge involves doing a deep discharge of the batteries, pretty much flattening them, followed by a very high amperage Restoration Charge. 


IMG_20200606_142536As per the second schematic above, the 24 batteries are divided into four 24V @ 450Ah or 10.8kWh Groups each consisting of six 4V @ 450Ah cells/batteries.  Each Group can be connected On/Off with individual battery switches which enables me to charge them one Group at a time with the very high rate Restoration Charge of about half their overall 450A capacity, commonly referred to as .5C.  Being able to apply such large amperage charging is one of the other big advantages of Carbon Foam and Lithium based batteries and can accept charging rates as high as 1C meaning charging at the rate of the full capacity of the battery.  IF you have the ability to generate these high amperage charging it allows you do dramatically reduce the overall charging time.
PXL_20201016_104019305.MPIn the case of a boat such as Möbius that primarily uses solar charging, this rapid rate of charge is not really an issue or a benefit because the solar panels fully recharge the batteries almost every day.  However, having the ability to generate high amperage charging (.5C or above) that this Restoration Charging process requires, via either our three shore powered Victron MultiPlus 120A chargers …..
PXL_20201205_072756095……… or the two 24V x 250A Electrodyne alternators, which made it relatively easy to perform these Restoration Charges.  Based on my research and speaking with other owners who have FireFly batteries this Restoration Charging can be used any time that the capacity of the FireFly batteries goes down and only seems to be needed every few years if at all.


It worked just as promised for the first two Groups and in fact restored to a bit more than 100% of their rated 250A capacity.  However the third and fourth Groups I performed this Restoration Charge on did not recover.  I repeated this Restoration Charge process a second time on both Groups but to no avail and their fully charged capacity remained very low at less than 100A.  I spent quite a lot of time both researching this situation and testing the individual 4V cells and all the cabling, connections and readings checked out properly with no significant differences between cells other than their capacity. 

I spent a LOT more time on all this as we literally live off these batteries, but after discussing with many other FireFly owners and speaking to FireFly technicians, the conclusion was that the Quality Control issues that have plagued FireFly batteries for several years had come home to roost on Möbius and 12 of my 24 batteries were defective and would need replacing.  Not the news I wanted but at least FireFly has a good warrantee program and would cover most of the cost of replacing these batteries right? 

This too started out promising with my Email discussions with FireFly International but quickly faded into less and less responses and then complete silence and lack of any responses.

Bye Bye FireFly?

I don’t know the exact details but as best I can tell FireFly batteries don’t appear to be available at all anymore and the company appears to be out of business.  I can not find any official news or reports on this from FireFly themselves or in the media, but after even more research, here are some of the details I can provide in the hopes that this might help other FireFly owners or those considering purchasing them.

  • All of the Email addresses I have for both individuals at FireFly as well as generic ones such as “information”, “Sales” and “Contact”, all of which had been working up to about the beginning of June are no longer working and return with permanent errors.  No response to any Emails from me for over two months now.
  • Rod Collins, highly respected marine electrical expert and owner/founder at Ocean Planet Energy and Marine How-To, posted on the FB Boat Electrical Systems Feb 8, 2022  (2) Boat Electrical Systems | Elsewhere on the net there have been discussions about FireFly batteries and their availability | Facebook
    • They (FireFly) began having some warranty issues that they never had when they were made in the USA. The current owner of the company has run a great product into the ground. So after years of investing lots of time & energy into what can be a great product, yet receiving little support from the manufacturer, OPE decided to throw in the towel. If OPE was no able to get quality batteries, and they were spot testing every shipment. A DIY stands even less of a chance when ordering direct from India..Sad but This is what happens occasionally with off shore manufacturing..
  • FireFly US website suspended  Account Suspended (fireflyenergy.com)
  • FireFly batteries No longer available from US based Fisheries Supply (see bottom)  Firefly Battery FFL16+2V/4V | Fisheries Supply
  • WakeSpeed no longer able to support or offer profiles for as per WakeSpeed founder Al Thomason Email to me
  • FireFly batteries no longer available from Pacific Yacht Systems in Vancouver Pacific Yacht Systems: Shop Boat Marine Electronics and Electrical Products (pysystems.c
  • long thread in Cruisers Forum FireFly Battery Long Term Users – Speakup – Page 9 – Cruisers & Sailing Forums (cruisersforum.com) with many having the same problems and lack of responses now.

Where to From Here?

You may well be asking yourself, where does this put us for a solution to replacing our FireFly batteries on Möbius?  I know I am certainly asking that question!

For the time being, several months now, we are up and running without much problem.  I purposely oversized the overall House Battery capacity to be 1800Ah / 43.2kWh and this is now proving to be very helpful.  I have all four Groups connected as a single House Battery, which I’d estimate combine to give us a bit more than 1000 Ah or 2.4kWh total capacity.  In these summer months, the solar panels bring the House Bank back to 100% by noon or earlier every day and I think that we can continue to have the boat be very livable with all our electrical systems, cooking, etc. fully operational on this reduced overall capacity for quite some time.

It really is a shame that this company has not been able to build reliable Carbon Foam batteries and I hope that some other company acquires the patent and brings good quality Carbon Foam batteries back onto the market, but that would likely take years if it happens at all and battery technology is evolving rapidly all the while.

I do still REALLY like these Carbon Foam batteries and believe that this chemistry offers an eXcellent solution for use cases such as ours and so I am trying, without much success so far, to find out if there are any dealers who still have inventory of 12 or more of these L15+ size 4V FireFly batteries, that test out OK.  I would then need to figure out how to get them delivered to me or me get to them but this would be the best option if available.  If any of YOU reading this might know of a source for these L15+ sized FireFly batteries that might be taking up space in some dealers warehouse, PLEASE do let me know!

Victron OPzV battery photoSwitching over to another battery type would require a significant amount of time and cost but may be in our future now.  Given that we have the space and can use the weight of batteries to our advantage, perhaps going with tried and true AGM or Gel, or perhaps going with the batteries I had originally chosen, 2V OPzV traction batteries would be the best solution? 

Box
Dragonfly Battery Images (Transparent Background)And of course Lithium and LiFePO4 batteries and their related BMS systems are becoming more and more common and proven and perhaps a bit better value so that’s another option I’m exploring.


At the end of the day a boat, even a relatively new one, is still subject to the harsh reality of all boats wherein they ALL have ongoing problems and present ever expanding To Do list items so I guess this is just the latest one for us to solve.

For now I will put this out there as a question for all you fellow boat owners and those with experience in larger House Batteries such as we need on Möbius, to send along your thoughts, connections and recommendations and I will gratefully add these to my own research and let you know what we decide to do.


IMG_1169In the interim, we will continue to enjoy each other and our unique situation here in Kalymnos and remind ourselves of just how fortunate we are to have each other, to be where we are and to have this great home from which we get to enjoy sunsets like this!
-Wayne


The Pressure is ON! XPM78-01 Möbius Weekly Update 30 May-5 June, 2022

Marmaris   marina at nightWe have spent this past week in the relatively small but very marine based town of Marmaris.
map-showing-marmaris-turkey-with-a-red-pin-3d-rendering-2F9749BFor orientation, here is Marmaris relative to the others nearby islands and coastline around us.
Turquoise CoastYou’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.
Netsel Marina Marmaris aerial view labelledWe have spent the past week here in Netsel Marina in Marmaris and the arrow shows where Möbius is docked.
Netsel Marina Marmaris aerial view 2The city of Marmaris itself isn’t that large but as you can see the marina is literally part of the city.
Map of Setur Marinas in TurkeyNetsel 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!

Dual oil pressure gaugesYou 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.
PXL_20220603_140942645.MPHere 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
PXL_20220603_140927749.MPThe silver canister is the electric oil pressure sensor which sends its analog data over to ………
PXL_20220327_122546988  …… 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.
PXL_20220605_125829832This 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.
Maretron N2K View Mobile Engine DataThere 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.
PXL_20220605_125902758.MPNow 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

PXL_20220605_130518956While 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.

-Wayne

Close but ….. Update Jan 31-Feb 5, 2022 XPM78-01 Möbius

As has been the norm for most updates and perhaps life in general I guess, this will be a mix of good news and bad for all you faithful followers (thanks to you all!)  In the good news column this week’s update will be mercifully short compared to some of the novel length ones I have been writing of late but the related not so good news is that this update will be disappoint all of you who have been anxiously awaiting to see and hear Mr. Gee roar back to his third new lease on life. 

The finiteness of time is always the challenge it seems, and especially so on a boat it seems where there are so many things on the To Do list and so little time to get all of them done.  I’m pretty sure most of you have your own version of this dilemma, which is actually a good thing in itself in that who would ever want to have NOTHING left on their To Do list?!?!?  Not me at least.

So this past week has been filled with a litany of To Do list items which too precedent over those in Mr. Gee’s Engine Room (ER) though I certainly did not ignore him completely. 

Getting Mr. Gee Ready for Life #3

PXL_20220130_110112852If you have been following along, here is what things looked like in the ER when I left you in the last Update.  Mr. Gee was back “in bed” with his four “feet” now resting firmly on the wide 25mm thick AL Engine Beds that run down each side of the Engine Bay.  Now came all the “little things” that have to be reconnected, adjusted and tested before he is ready to start.

As many of you can relate to, the “little things” in life can often take most of the time and are of the highest importance and that is very much the case here.
PXL_20201027_161424326For example, before I can fasten the Mr. Gee’s four feet to the Engine Beds, I need to precisely align these two flanges.  The bright Red one on the Right is attached to the end of the Nogva Prop Shaft and the darker Burgundy on it mates to is the Output flange coming out of the Nogva servo gear box on the far Left.
Nogva flange alignment dimsioned sketcch from installation manualThese two flanges must be perfectly aligned axially, meaning both side to side and top to bottom with no more than 5/100th or 0.05mm/0.002”  which for reference is about the thickness of a human hair.
To do this, I need to remove the eight hardened bolts which hold the two flanges together, keep the two flanges up against each other and then measure the gap all around where the flanges meet to make sure there is ideally no gap or at least no more than 0.05mm.
PXL_20201028_093742501.MPThis is done using a feeler gauge you see in my hand here which is a thin piece of steel that is of an exact thickness.  It was close but a bit too big on the Right side (3 O’clock) so I then go up to the front of Mr. Gee and pry his feet over to the Right just a wee bit and go recheck the size of the gap.  If there is a gap top to bottom then you have to use the nuts on the motor mounts to tilt the engine/gearbox assembly to remove the gap.
PXL_20210629_080936243As you might imagine, it takes quite a few trips back and forth to get the two flanges completely flush with each other and once done I could replace the 8 hardened bolts and tighten them down in stages to their final toque of 160 NM/120 FtLbs, which is VERY tight.
PXL_20201112_065937889With Mr. Gee & Miss Nogva now perfectly in position, I could install the two hardened bolts in each of his four “feet” and torque these down to the very grunt worthy 225 NM/166 FtLbs.

Note, this is a photo from last year before I had drilled the holes in the Engine Beds so this time I just needed to reinsert the bolts into the existing holes.
Gardner & Nogva mounts screen shotHere is an overview shot from my Fusion 360 screen which is what I used to design all the mounts.  Each side has two feet/mounts for Mr. Gee and one for the Nogva.
PXL_20220131_093700868With Mr. Gee now in his final resting spot I could reattach the wet exhaust system.  Wet refers to the fact that sea water is injected into the exhaust gas which removes both noise and heat from the exhaust and allows the use of much easier to handle rubber exhaust hose to take the exhaust gasses out of the boat.

The Blue/Red is special silicone hose where the stainless Mixing Elbow bends downward and mixes the sea water with the exhaust.  The smaller SS pipe you can see pointing up here, is where the hose bringing the sea water attaches.
PXL_20220131_093706908Here is a peek inside the mixing elbow where you can see all the holes around the outer SS circumference where the water sprays evenly into the exhaust gasses.
PXL_20220131_155437345Now I could hoist the whole exhaust pipe assembly into place sliding the Blue silicone hose overtop of the angled input pipe on the large cylindrical Silencer/Separator in the top Separator of the ER.

Once in place I could also reattach the four SS supports which connect the exhaust system to the front and rear roll bars around Mr. Gee.  This has worked out eXtremely well by keeping the exhaust system very tightly in place with no transfer of noise of vibration into the hull it never touches.


PXL_20220131_1554136033” SS pipe attaches to the exhaust manifold on the Aft Starboard/Right end of Mr. Gee and then carries the hot exhaust gasses up and over to the SS mixing elbow and into the Silencer/Separator.
PXL_20220131_155420518The Black rubber exhaust hose curving down from the Silencer on the Right carries the now cooled and quiet gasses out of the ER and across to the AL exhaust pipe in the hull.

The sea water drains out of the bottom of the White separator and into the vertical Sea Chest where it exits out of the boat back into the ocean.


It has proven to be an eXcellent exhaust system; simple, efficient and quiet.  I’ve used a Silencer/Separator combo unit rather than a more traditional “Lift Muffler” as this design has almost no power robbing back pressure and no “sploosh sploosh” as water from lift mufflers create when exhaust and water both exit out the side of the boat.


PXL_20220202_143954022Time at last to install the new oil filter and fill it up with clean new oil.
PXL_20220202_152612105The rest of Mr. Gee’s 28 Liters/ 7.4 USG of engine oil I add by pouring into the two cylinder heads to thoroughly douse all the valves in clean new oil which then drains down to fill up the oil sump/pan.
PXL_20220202_152645743Lots more “little jobs’ such as reconnecting the six large Red cables to each of the two 500 amp Electrodyne alternators you can see on the top and bottom Left side here. 


The list of connections is much longer of course and valve clearances need to be set, fuel pump and injectors primed, etc. but each one takes Mr. Gee one step closer to first start up.
Unfortunately I ran out of time this week at this point so I will need to leave you hanging here and pick up again next week.

Engine Control Box

I do my best to “discipline” myself when doing boat jobs to always try to improve on whatever system I’m working on such that it is better than before I started.  Such was the case in completing this latest rebuild of Mr. Gee where I wanted to build and install a much better and safer Engine Control Box.

PXL_20220205_103827384.MPHere is what I came up with.  Quite simple but a bit time consuming to build.  I started with a standard IP65 (waterproof) Grey plastic junction box and cut openings for an Engine Hour meter (top), Red STOP button, power “ignition” switch Left, Green START button Right and digital Tachometer on bottom.
PXL_20220205_103836374.MPThe junction box provided a cool, dry protected spot to make all the connections for these controls so I used these handy junction blocks to make secure connections between all the wires.
PXL_20220206_111545538.MPThen I mounted the whole box up high just outside the ER door. 

I’ve done my best to reserve the Engine Room to have ONLY the engine inside it;  no other equipment, no batteries, no fuel tanks, etc.  An ER is a great place for the engine but the hotter temperatures and vibration is not so kind to things like batteries, equipment, etc.


PXL_20220206_111615811Here is a better shot of the Control Box in the upper center as you look forward down the Port/Left side of the Workshop to the WT door at the far end which separates the Workshop & ER from the interior of the boat.

By mounting this control box outside the ER followed the same thinking and added a safety element in that I could quickly shut down the engine in the unlikely event of seeing a fire inside and not needing to open the ER door.
PXL_20220206_111811733For orientation on how the ER and the new Control Box is mounted, here is the opposite view looking Aft from that WT Door toward the WT door leading out onto the Swim Platform at the far Left end. 
PXL_20220206_111701216.MPThe whole Control Box setup and other wiring is still very much a work in progress as you can see with this perspective from inside the ER looking out through the door on the Left.  In the upper center of this photo you can see how the wires from the Control Box have been led through a hole in the White AlucoBond walls lining the ER. 

Off to the right I’ve mounted a new BlueSea junction box which provides me with 12 individually fused connections for each circuit.
PXL_20220206_111654233.MPNext week I will be working on making all the connections for circuits such as the Start/Stop solenoids, Sea Water flow alarm, hot water circulation pump from engine to calorifier, engine sensors for pressures and temperatures and connections for the field wires from the alternators to the WakeSpeed 500 remote rectifiers and regulators.

I’ve had great success using these BS junction boxes on previous boats and they do a great job of making secure, neat easily accessed connections and fuses.
There were a LOT of other To Do list items commandeering my time this past week but I’ll spare you from all those gory details and leave off here to be continued next week for those of you brave enough to return for more!

My sincere thanks to those who made it to the end of yet another “brief” update from your cub reporter aboard the Good Ship Möbius.  I value all the comments and questions you leave in the “Join the Discussion” box below eXtremely highly so thanks in advance for all those contributions and I hope you will join me here again for continuing adventures as Christine and I work at getting Möbius and ourselves fully sea worthy and ready to throw off the dock lines and head back out to eXplore the world by sea.

-Wayne