Sunday, September 25, 2011

Companion way

I still had one more major wood working job left on the lower hull that I've been blowing off for a few months now, and that was finishing the companion way from the salon to the cabins below. In order to get the 12,000 BTU air conditioner installed along with the associated wiring, I had to get the companion way ( stair way) completed.

This is another busy area of the boat. The DC electric passes from the engine room to the helm via conduit and a junction box in the companion way. This includes the 2/0 cables from the battery bank, the main engine and generator wiring harness's, the bilge pump's controls, high water alarms controls and whatever other DC wires I can conjure up. I installed six one inch conduits, two 3/4" conduits, and some 1/2" conduits from this junction box to the helm in this tight space.

The 12,000 BTU air conditioner will also reside in the companion way underneath the stairs. This 12000 BTU air conditioner is keel cooled and will be for the sleeping cabins only. Another marine air conditioner is in the lazarette, and will service the wheel house and salon. The stairs you see in these pictures are plywood stairs that I'm using for construction. The final stairs will be made from Cherry, and will be closed stringers and risers ( with ventilation). The important part of the stairs you see in these pictures, and along with the final stairs, is that the stairs are hinged for quickly gaining access underneath the stair case. The hinging of the stairs is another one of the things I got right on the build and have proven to be fantastic in regard to getting things done quickly in this area. Along with the air conditioner, the ducts for the forward cabins will rise from the air conditioner via the companion way cabinet on its way to the utility chase that is framed between the ceiling the the hull liner.

The vent and fill manifold for the starboard water tanks are also accessed from behind the companion way cabinets via access panels.

The overboard clothes washing machine discharge piping along with the half bath sink above, and the sump discharge for the air conditioner leave the boat from this area. Just to make things complete, I installed two spare one inch above the water discharge points, and one more 1 1/2" above the water discharge point in this area. All of this is accessed from either underneath the stairs, or from inside the companion way cabinet.

Once you come down the companion way stairs, you land in the area where you either continue straight to the kids cabin's dressing room, or you turn left to enter the master cabin. Since the outboard area of this landing was not much use, I decided to add shelves go get more storage. The shelves are fixed and have fiddles fixed to them. I have a vision of these shelves being used for can goods, but time will tell just how they evolve. I know they will need another bar going across the opening to hold things in place, but I'll wait on building that until I see what everyone wants to use them for.

The cabinet on the outboard side of the companion way came about as a way to hide the junction box and air conditioning duct work. I created two shelves in this cabinet plus sunk the bottom of the cabinet to allow storage of large bulky items. This will be a large item cabinet. Because of the hinge stairs, and wanting to keep the stair case width, I built these doors as a flush style vs the overlay style I've built on the rest of the boat. The flush style is more challenging to build as the door must be fit in to the opening and all the reveals need to be consistent for the door to look good. Since the humidity has been high here lately, I gave these doors a 1/6" reveal. The doors are frame and panel construction using Cherry wood. When all is said and done, and the final stairs are installed, I want no more than a 3/8" gap between the hinged stairs and the companion way cabinet and opposing wall. This is why I went with the flush door method, and is also why I'll have to use drilled finger pulls ( holes ) to open the cabinet doors. I want this area to be easy to navigate down with no snags or things to bump against. I paid particular attention, using a plumb bob and good layout, to make sure these cabinets were square and plumb with the bulkhead that the steps will be hinged to. It is important to me that the steps swing up smoothly and do not rub the cabinets and wall given the tight gaps I want to hold on the casework.

I have two coats of satin urethane on everything so things should be protected for the rest of the build. I can now install the keel cooled air conditioner and check another item off of the list. This was a fairly large wood working job, and I have over a week in getting it completed. The last wood working projects for the lower hull are building of the passage doors and building the finish stairs for the companion way.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fresh water system

The fresh water system is complete and ready to use. Once I finish the shower tile and connect the drains to the two sinks I have installed, I think I'll add a few gallons of water to tank #1 and test the system.

I have eight stainless water tanks under the forward sole of the boat. The tanks primarily reside in the master cabin and kids dressing room between station #9 and #5. Total capacity of the tanks are about 370 gallons. There are no tanks under the bathroom or kids cabin.

My plan for having 8 water tanks was for obvious reasons to fit them under the sole between frames and get as much fresh water on board as I could. To prevent one tank failure from taking the water system off line, I provided a shut off valve for each tank. The tanks are connected in series, so this required a valve at the tank along with "T" connections. Because I wanted to have the ability to take any one tank off line, I manifolded the vent lines and fill lines together on both the port and starboard side. I have a one fill and vent manifold on both the port and starboard side of the boat. I can close any one vent or fill line via a valve at the respective manifold to totally isolate any one tank. The vent lines are 3/4" from the tank and connect together via a 1" manifold that leads above deck. The fill lines are 1 1/2" that lead to an 1 1/2" manifold that reduce down to 1 1/4" leading towards each tank. I used flexible sch. 40 PVC for the most of the fill lines and 3/4" rubber push lock hose for the vents. All the manifolds and fittings are rigid, sch. 40 PVC with pressure fittings. The picture showing the fill manifold also shows my engine room bilge pump and forward cabin bilge pump discharge lines. The bilge pump are 1 1/2" discharge. The overboard discharge for galley sink is just forward of the bilge pump discharge's. In this picture, the galley sink discharge is not connected yet, but you can see the fitting, painted white, welded in to the hull. This is a busy area of the boat with a lot of piping between station #9 @ # 8.

The series connections for the tanks happen in the bilge area at the center longitudinal frame of the boat. The common line manifolds together forward of station #9, which is the water tight bulkhead separating the engine room from the master cabin. The now manifolded lines pass through the water tight bulkhead via a water tight seal and the now one line enters the engine room where the pressure pump resides. In order to keep an eye on the water level in the tanks, I made a simple sight gauge out of clear SCH. 40 PVC. By closing the valve leading to the pump and opening the valve leading to the sight gauge, I can see the liquid level in the tanks. I have a threaded cap on top of the site gauge I'll have to loosen to let air out of the gauge to get an accurate reading. The gauge is easily accessible by removing a sole panel. The gauge is threaded into a "ELL" fitting and is easily removed for cleaning or replacing.

The pressurized supply line travels under the engine room sole where it passes through another water tight bulkhead via another water tight seal and ends up in the lazarette where the water is distributed to the rest of the boat via a PEX distribution manifold.

I used a home style water heater that hangs from a bracket on the wall. The water heater uses a 1500 watt element, so it will pull 12.5 amps @ 120 volt. I'm going to leave this device off of the inverter circuit, and commit to using the generator when I need to make hot water. The tank is 8 gallons, so we will be able to store enough hot water for hand washing and dish washing. When we want hot showers, we'll have to fire up the generator. I do not trust the wall hanging bracket to hold the water heater fast in many boating situations, so I'm going to strap it to the wall with some sort of straps.

I located the pressure pump in the engine room under the work bench and below the steering hydraulic reservoir. This location is still easy to get to regarding maintenance, but it was not my first choice. I can easily sit on the engine room floor and do any service work or repair to the pump without having to get in any contorted position. All through the build, I've been trying to build with maintenance and repair in mind, and I don't want to design or build any system that requires a contortionist to work on things. I decided to use a moderate priced pump system that was sold as a unit. The unit is four GPM with the cut off switch set for 45 psi and the cut in set at 30 psi. There is an inline strainer before the pump and a small accumulator tank after the pump. I would have liked to have a little larger accumulator tank, but we'll just have to see how this unit performs. The accumulator tank is a tank with a bladder in it that stores water pressure so the pump does not have to run every time the cold water is turned on.

I used 3/4" potable water grade suction hose with stainless wire in it for the suction side of the pump, and 1/2" PEX for all the pressure side. The suction hose is fitted with barb fittings and hose clamps. I'd prefer to have compression fittings, but hose clamps seem to work better in the bilge space and they are less expensive. Because of the mounting issue of the hot water heater, I added bronze unions to make the water heater removal a quick and easy job. I also added quick release fittings at the pressure pump to make pump removal easy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Power steering complete

The power steering system is complete and ready for oil and testing.

I finally received the auxiliary drive adapter from Deere and had little problems getting it installed. The adapter is a nice piece of equipment and the machining is top notch as everything fit together nicely. I really like this set up vs a belt driven contraption off of the front of the engine. The drive adapter is actually set up to use two pumps. I have the hydraulic power steering pump mounted on the SAE "B" side of the adapter, and if you look at the picture I have room for another pump inboard of the steering pump. I don't know how I will configure the auto pilot and if I need another pump to drive it. This drive adapter is commonly used to drive the power steering pump and also the sea water pump if that is how one is cooling the engine. Since I'm keel cooled, I don't need the sea water side of the drive adapter.

The drive adapter taps in to the engines oil circuit and has a steel line leading from the engine to the top of the drive adapter. The oil enters the drive adapter at this point, lubricates the gears then is collected in the sump and is returned to the oil pan via another steel line. It took a little head scratching to realize how the lines were connected, but once I realized the logic, the perfectly bent lines fit just how the Deere engineers had planned. I love it when things actually work and work well.

I'm going to get the exhaust connected along with the hydraulic system before I fire the engine. Jim at Key Power is drawing my hydraulic circuit so I can start putting the pieces together. I do know I need 3/4" hydraulic lines feeding my bow thruster and deck winch, so I'm going to measure for those, figure the route and get all my bulkhead fittings installed. I'll be able to bush the bow thruster lines down to 1/2" once I get close to the tube. The 3/4" line is needed to overcome friction loss due to the long runs. Once I have the hydraulic system and exhaust system complete, I'll fire the engine and test the systems. If I have the engine running by Halloween, I'll be happy.

As I work towards the end goal of having the engine running and all of it's associated systems, I find myself completing other jobs along the way. I need to install the engine room bilge pump and the bilge pump in the forward rooms while I'm installing the hydraulic lines so I have no conflicts of various lines. I also need to get the water system installed to make sure all the various hard lines work together. Two months to complete these jobs seems reasonable, and to be honest with you, once the engine fires, I think I'll be on the down hill side of having all the major systems complete. AC and DC systems is on the schedule for fall if your reading this Kevin M.