Saturday, 24 July 2021

Time For the Power Unit - Meet Mercury

I have fallen behind with my posts on here, concerning the installation of the 'electrics'. Events have overtaken me as the new, American built, Mercury Outboard Motor has arrived.

As is usual, I am totally at a loss with what to do with the engine. I have no experience of installing one, which presents me with the type of impossible challenge I love.

The challenges, however, had began much earlier, when I telephoned my preferred supplier to purchase a specific type of outboard. 

   "We are out of stock of that model," the supplier said.

   "How long before you can get me one?" I asked.

   "Could be 12 months".

  "What! What else have you got?"

  "We are out of stock of everything. Covid closed the factories last year, and they are only just getting back into production. There's a long waiting list, do you want to go on it?"

  "I suppose so."

 "It's a 20% deposit - "

  "No thanks!"

I telephoned around, and got the same story.

Undaunted, I told my story to my facebook boat-group, on which I try to moderate18000 from all around the world. Amongst all the teasing from the pure-sail fans I got one suggestion, to contact 'Cambridge Outboards Ltd.' So I did.

It was out of hours but I could see on their website that they had in stock a Mercury 15 Horse Power, long shaft, 4 cylinder outboard. Just the job! I ordered and 'Paypalled' it........... but got no acknowledgement in my email... panic, panic.

I rang them up first thing Wednesday morning and they assured me all was well and that I should get the motor on the following Monday or Tuesday. So you can imagine my surprise when my front door bell rang on Friday morning and a little lady announced that she was here with the motor, but couldn't get her lorry down the road. There were some builders who had parked their vans on either side of the road and the large lorry couldn't get through. 

We couldn't find the builders and the very kind lady and I trolley-jacked a massive heavy box down the middle of the road. Neither of us were very tall so we must have presented an amusing spectacle. By the time we had pushed it up the steep driveway we were all but exhausted What a star she was.

I now had the problem of getting the motor out of its box and into the garage. Then, right on cue, David turned up. David is my daughter's next door neighbour on the farm where they live. He is Polish and his wife, Ula, helps us by doing our cleaning. David was here to cut the back hedge for me (wonderful couple).

David bent down and picked up the motor in his arms!!! It had taken two of us and a trolley jack... but... David picked it up and carried it into the garage where he lay it on some boxes. I met two remarkable people that morning and felt blessed.

Now begins the saga of the installation. 

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Installing The Electrical Systems (Module 5)


Module 5 - Installing the Speedometer.

The speedometer was a very cheap installation, costing about £25. Remarkable that you can get the electronic speedo plus associated GPS unit so cheaply.

First, a hole was cut to allow the speedo to fit into the the control panel. 

The black wire (negative) from the back of the speedo was run to the negative busbar. 

The red positive wire was connected to the back of the second switch down on the left switch panel.

It's worth taking a few moments to explain how the left switch panel works (see below).

The left switch panel has six fuses on the left, six switches in the middle that illuminate when switched on and six labels, on the right, describing the equipment controlled by the switch.

 As we saw in the first two modules, two cables (one black and one red) arrive at the rear control panel from the battery.
 1. The black is connected to the negative busbar and the red to the positive busbar.
 2. A positive wire was then run from the positive busbar to the left switch panel.
3. A negative wire was run from the left switch panel to the negative busbar.

Effectively, this meant power was now available at all six switches.

We now connect the second switch down, on the left switch panel, to the positive cable (red) on the speedo.
Next, connect the negative (black) cable on the speedo to the negative busbar.

When we move the second switch down, on the left switch panel, to the 'on' position, electricity flows through the 5 amp fuse and then into the speedo, it flows out of the speedo back to the negative busbar, this completes the circuit and the speedo is 'live'. NB the speedo called for a 5 amp fuse and so I replaced the factory installed 15 amp fuse that came with the left switch panel.

Having got electricity to the speedo it only remained to plug the data cable supplied, into the back of the speedo. At the other end of the data cable is a GPS unit that keeps the speedo informed of the distance moved by the boat in a specific time (distance/time = velocity) which translates to the speed shown on the speedo.

I had previously mounted the GPS unit on the top centre of the wheelhouse and fed the data cable to the control panel using the same route as the navigation lights wires

GPS Unit for Speedometer

The final check came by connecting the 
battery and selecting the second switch down, on the left switch panel, to the 'on' position.

1. The second switch glowed red.
2. The face of the speedo illuminated
3  The odometer on the speedo appeared.
4. The numbers on the odometer spun, making a whirling sound
5. The odometer stopped and displayed a number. This means the GPS is in range and working. Otherwise it would have  displayed an error message.

The check went well and the installation of the speedometer was complete apart from the scratches to the woodwork around the speedo which will need filling and painting.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Installing The Electrical Systems (Module 4)

 Module 4 - Install Bilge Pump.

   The bilge pump should have been a much easier job than it turned out to be, thanks to a misprint in the instructions.

I located the pump as far aft as I could and close to the centreline, this being the lowest point in the boat and potentially the deepest point for water coming into the bilges. I glued a piece of plywood to the planks then screwed the base of the pump into the plywood.

Orange topped Bilge Pump

I had wanted the pump to be automatic, to allow increase in water levels to set it off. That way it would empty the bilges even if the boat was unmanned, however, it also had the facility to give a manual switch on/off. As I had an appropriate switch I connected the pump to it.

Auto/Manual/off switch for bilge pump, centre

It was a heck of a job running the cables the length of the boat to the bilge pump control switch on the control panel. Having made the connections, I switched on the power  ... it didn't work! For hours I searched for bad connections but finally gave up.
   Perhaps the pump was broken? But no, it seemed the switch I had was part to blame as it didn't work in manual mode.
   Let me explain how I found the real culprit:
1. The pump had 3 wires, a black (negative), a brown and a brown with white stripe.
2. The instructions tell you to connect the brown white and black to give the automatic operation...this is a misprint, it should say manual operation.
3. Seven lines below it says the black and brown to give automatic. This is why the original set up didn't work.

  I decided to simplify everything. I stripped out the cables and ran shorter lengths of cable direct to the battery. I took the wires through a black conduit to protect them and ran them from the pump up into the battery locker

Whilst the black cable remained black, I extended the brown with red to show 'live'. (all cables on Seagull are Black(-) and Red (+) )

I put in an a 5 amp inline fuse, to protect the pump, then connected the two wires (the thinner ones) to the battery terminals.

I pressed the test switch on the pump and it worked fine! Job Done!

Finally, I drilled a hole in the transom and inserted a gland that had come with the bilge pump. The gland operated like a nut and bolt, with the bolt head being on the outside and the nut inside. I tightened the nut after making sure I had adequate sealant on the faying surfaces.

Inside, I connected the pump drain outlet to the gland in the transom and secured it with stainless steel jubilee clips

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Installing The Electrical Systems (Module 3)

Module Three - Install Port & Starboard Navigation Lights 

The switch unit comes ready wired to the three switches on the switch unit (top left) and three fuses (top middle) (fig 1). All I needed to 

(fig 1)

All I had to do is take a negative wire (black) and attach it to the negative busbar and a positive wire (red) and connect it to the positive busbar (fig 2): the top wires in fig 2.

(fig 2)

Next I took the one available wire from the top switch and extended it by connecting it to a long length of wire wire. The long length was routed up the side of the wheel house and across the top of the forward window. I had left spaces in the wheel house to accommodate the wires (fig 3). I also secured a negative wire to the negative bus and ran it with the read to the nav lights.

(fig 3)

The wires passed though holes behind the Nav lights locations and were secured to the negative and positive points on both lights (fig 4).

(fig 4)

both light were screwed to the outside of the wheelhouse, the battery connected and the top swith turned to on ... the light illuminated. (fig 5 and 6).

(fig 5)

(fig 6)

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Installing The Electrical Systems (Module 2)

Module Two - Deliver power to controls

In the previous module we delivered 'domestic' power from the battery, in the aft starboard locker, to the electrics panel inside the console in the wheelhouse.

In this module we will take the power from the two terminals we fitted on the electrics panel (fig 1) to the switch units located in the front of the Console .

(fig 1)

(fig 2)

The switch panel comprises three switches, top left, and three circular fuses, centre top. Bottom right is a switch that allows the voltage in Battery 1 to be read in the square window display above it- when moved right - or the voltage to Battery 2 when moved to the left. Finally, at the bottom left  there is a circular 12V plug outlet.
The back of the panel (fig 3)shows a series of wires that need attaching to the two terminals (fig 1) we fitted 

(fig 3)

Obviously there are too many wires for only two terminals and so we need to extend range of the terminals by adding two busbars (fig 4): positive bar on right and negative on the left. The negative terminal being connected to the left bus, and positive terminal to the right bus

(fig 4)

Now wires from the switch panel can be attached to bus bars. Electricity will flow from the battery, along the cables to the two terminals, then into the bus bars and through the red wires to the switch panel (fig 5) and back to the battery along the black wires.

(fig 5)


Thursday, 4 March 2021

Installing The Electrical Systems (Module 1)

Module One - Deliver power from battery to system controls).

There are two sources of power on the boat, both sources are batteries. One battery is for engine starting and the other supplies the 'domestic' systems. It is the latter we shall be dealing with in this section.

We have positioned the domestic battery in the aft starboard locker: left as you look at the picture (fig 1 and 2)

(Fig 1)

(Fig 2)

However, the battery power is needed in the console to supply power to  the controls of the systems (lights, navigation etc). For this to happen two cables are run from the battery terminal posts along under the starboard gunwale to inside the terminal.

Previously we had cut a door into the back of the console to give access to a plywood panel that would become the electrics board. (fig 3)

(Fig 3)

Onto the electrics board I screwed a two pole terminal block (fig 4 & 5). These were to become a duplication of the batteries terminal.

(Fig 4)
(Fig 5)

First I took the black (negative) cable and cut off a short length of insulation (Fig 6).

(Fig 6)

 The exposed end was inserted into a copper tube terminal lug (Fig 7) , crimped with a hammer and punch and sealed using heat shrink tube.

(Fig 7)
Heat shrink tube is a thin rubbery sleeve (Fig 8) that is placed loosely over the joint (Fig 9) and shrunk by blowing it with a heat gun to form a tight waterproof joint (Fig 10)

Fig (8)

(Fig 9)

This process was repeated on the red (positive) cable and the cables fed onto the electrical panel  and connected to the two pole terminal (Fig 10)

(Fig 10)


Sunday, 22 March 2020

Steering Gear - Cable Installation Part 2

I didn't take enough photographs of today's final episode of the steering gear installation. Trouble is when you're totally involved in solving the many problems, cameras are the last thing you think of.

Having reached the console with the cable I had the problem of feeding it through the bulkhead and then through 90 degrees to route it behind the control panel to were I was to fit the helm mechanism. The restriction on bends in the cable is they must not be tighter than an 8 inch radius. 
    This part of the operation worked out much easier than I had anticipated. With the minimum of fuss,  through it came. At this point the rubber tube protecting the actual cable was pulled off and discarded and the cable fed into the bottom of mechanism until it could move no further. 

The helm (steering wheel) was now turned and engaged the cable; turning continued and drew the cable right through the mechanism until it appeared through the top aperture of the mechanism. The 12" tube, supplied as a guard, was placed over the cable and the wheel turned until the cable was fully through and engaged with a 'click!'

All that was left to do was insert the two security clips (and instruction label).

Trying to insert these two pins was turning into a nightmare: I was trying to fit them with my fingertips in a small area. I had to rely on feel as I couldn't see past my hands. I had a lunch break and remembered my wife had some tiny long nosed pliers in an earring-fixing kit. They did the trick in a couple of seconds.

It now only remained to re-attach the door.

I just hope the cable is long enough, but I don't think it will be. 

When the engine arrives we will be able to determine if I need a longer cable.