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.
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.
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.