Penny’s new oven!

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By , November 23, 2014 9:43 pm

When I bought Penny she came with an alcohol stove and with a microwave beneath. No oven at all. Thing is I have not had a microwave in any of my apartments since 2009 when I left university. Even at university I only remember the majority of my use of the microwave being to thaw meat. I honestly have not at all missed having a microwave. I do not even notice going without, but I did surely feel not having an oven on the boat.

My apartment had a toaster oven that my mother had given me. I took some measurements on the boat and determined that though it would fit width and depth it did not fit height. I brought it aboard anyways figuring I could figure out how to use it. It fit nicely above the stove as you can see in the following picture. Top to bottom is: toaster oven, alcohol stove, microwave.


Two owners before me Penny was owned by a retired couple that lived aboard her. That couple did extensive renovations and part of those renovations were to the existing stove/oven setup. That owner had done a pretty good and clever job about crafting the new parts so I figured the stove had a simple way to remove, though I did not find it on quick inspection. Closer inspection however revealed that after lifting the stove top top open the alcohol burners for lighting they could be picked up. Nestled on either side under there were screws holding the stove to the sides. It was trivial to remove the four screws holding in the stove and relocate the whole thing up a couple inches to to accommodate the toaster oven.


Now Penny has full baking abilities. Thus far I have baked several batches of cookies and a couple pans of nachos. The toaster oven is working great and has the added benefit of a timer that shuts off the oven. Simply set it to the desired time and if I walk away or forget about it the oven shuts itself off and no burned or overcooked food! BOOM!

Tragically the microwave that was there is no longer with Penny. It was a cool old microwave from Sears. From back in the day when products were built to last. I strangely miss it though I never used it nor had any inclination to use it. I think the old Sear nostalgia hit. I am however enjoying taking advantage of my new oven!

Replacing the water pressure pump

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By , November 17, 2014 8:51 pm

As part of the electrical overload which damaged several ship systems the water pressure pump was damaged. I found this out one day when I was in the shower. I had just finished soaping up when the water sputtered a few times and simply quit, leaving me covered head to toe in soap. Not a pleasant situation to be sure.

When I told Josh what happened he descended into the abyss of the engine compartment to see what the issue was. Turns out the electrical overload that blew the battery charger had also dumped too much current into the water pressure pump and blew it out. Off to Fisheries I went to see how deeply my wallet was going to be hurt. To my utter surprise the water pressure pump for my boat is cheap! I picked it up straight away. Josh came with me to ask the plumbing department some questions about his own water system. Turns out his water pressure pump was bad as well but that is just a coincidence.


Josh guinea pigged replacing a water pressure pump on my boat and once again hopped into the engine compartment to replace Penny's pump.

It only too a few minutes to pop the hoses onto the new pump and transfer the electrical wires and Penny was back in business. The water never tasted fresher and the shower never felt better!


Replacing the battery charger

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By , November 16, 2014 5:23 pm

After the electrical issue that caused a system overload I noticed there were a few ghosts in the system, one of which the house lights, which are LED and powered by the 12v system, would not always come on when switched on. Instead they would suddenly jump on after a few seconds. This happened for a while before I realized that other 12v systems were struggling as well. After some sleuthing around I determined the battery charger to be the culprit. The batteries were draining and not being depleted fast enough to power everything at once.

The charger was an old West Marine charger that was mounted to the wall under the desk and near the electrical panel. The bulk light, which indicates the batteries are charging, was not staying solid and slowly lost its light at all. There was a guy working at the West Marine on 15th ave who really knew his stuff when it came to battery chargers. He took a look at the charger and determined that the main capacitor was blown.


Something I can fix without too much difficulty myself but without power for 2 days and a desire for a shower I purchased a ProMariner battery charger to replace the West Marine charger on the recommendation of the West Marine guy. Josh helped me get it setup and when we first powered it up it indicated an issue with the batteries. Crap! Going through the manual we determined that the batteries were completely dead. The new charger will only charge a battery that has at least 2 volts in it. So off to Zippey we went to steal her charger to charge Penny's batteries so Penny could charge herself. Worked like a charm and a short time later I was able to use my 12v system again. The 12v runs everything except the refrigerator (though there is a 12v option on it), the water heater, and whatever is plugged into a receptacle (usually heater and laptop).

The ProMariner charger is a great upgrade. It provides a lot more visual feedback on the battery conditions and it is completely sealed and water proof. The guy at West Marine said that in the 8 years he has worked there he has never seen one returned with a defect. Good enough for me!


Electrical troubles with Penny

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By , November 15, 2014 10:33 pm

Penny was manufactured in 1977 so naturally she is bound to have her own unique creaks and groans with age. Today a new one surfaced with nearly dangerous consequences...

I awoke this morning to a burning smell in the cabin. This is never a good sign! I quickly started moving around the salon (living room for landlubbers) trying to locate the source of the burning smell. It seemed to be coming from the corner where the freestanding oil heater had been running full blast all night. I quickly turned off the header and put it outside on the deck.

The smell lingered for a while but I was not too concerned as the salon does not have a good draft through it to remove smells.

Later in the day I noticed the smell come back strongly again. I was in the middle of a conference call at work and before the call got over all my 110v power went out. The 12v system kept functioning though. After the call I popped open the breaker box and noticed the main breaker was really hot! Far too hot to touch. Instead of tripping as a breaker should it simply melted down the components inside.

Just to make certain I ripped apart the entire electrical panel, which included the 110v systems, 12v fuses, battery toggles, and 12v fuse panel. All seemed well other than the main breaker. Luckily there was an unused breaker of the same size that I was able to swap out. Everything is running fine now and there have been no repeats of the overheating breaker.

The shore power is 110v 30amp. The breaker that did not blow is 110v 40amp. Somehow the system managed to pull in excess of 40amps through the system, which did cause some damage to other parts of the system, of which will be covered in additional log entries.

Hiking with Doug

By , November 8, 2014 3:22 pm

A coworker, Doug, from my time at Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. has two beautiful Samoyed that he often takes on hikes. He called me up to see if I wanted to bring Bella hiking with him today. Of course I said yes! Mariah wanted to come along as well. We wound up having a total of 5 dogs and 4 humans! It was an easy hike, only a couple miles each way. The humans handled it with ease while the dogs tore around the forest playing with each other and causing general chaos. All the dogs loved it. Bella performed some crazy acrobatic jumps, one from a 15 foot tall stump, and Mariah proved to be much more agile than she let one when trying to get on the couch. On the way home both my gals were tuckered out. They both passed out in the back seat and did not move again until we got home.

Here are some great photos of the hike, most of them courtesy of Doug and his amazing photography skills. Click the a pic for a large version and then use your keyboard arrows to quickly browse the photos.


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