2015 NOV – MULTI PROJECTS

 

 

 

I left my boat in Mexico for the heat of their summer. The temperatures consistently hit around 105°F during the day, so returning to a mild summer in CA seemed like a good idea.

Although my boat was in a marina and tied to the dock, I did not connect it to shore power. Instead I switched to my solar panels to keep my batteries charged. Then I turned off all the equipment on the boat leaving only the refrigerator to draw down some of the power, and work the batteries a little. In retrospect this was a bad idea.

When I returned after summer I found that all my batteries were dead. Sometime during the heat of summer all hell broke loose with my electrics which created a domino effect of destruction.

1. The solar controller for my solar panels malfunctioned and while it allowed 19 Amps in from my panels, it only put 3 Amps out to the batteries.
2. An electrical circuit breaker blew up.
3. A fuse on the electrical board blew.
4. Of course my 5 brand new AGM batteries were all fried.
5. And worse, after recharging the batteries with shore power, when I tried to start the engine, it ignored my efforts and continued to play dead.

And I still haven’t had a chance to replace my dinghy outboard engine that was trashed last April when I got dunked as I leaving PV and heading for Acapulco.

All in all, a very expensive set of malfunctions. Worse, trying to find the relevant replacement parts in Mexico is an exercise in exasperation.
SOLAR CONTROLLER – Cost $202 for the unit, $50 for the

I was told I needed a new solar controller, but that was easier said than done. I visited every store recommended and I walked and walked and walked from bus to store, from bus to store, from bus…..for 4 days. I just couldn’t find any marine quality solar controllers!

Finally I found a hole in the wall store just a few blocks up the road from the marina…! Apparently he shuts for the low (boating) season and just happened to be in his shop as I walked by. He had exactly what I needed.
ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT BREAKER – Cost $xxx, labor $xxx

The only available relay was in Guadalajara. It would take 10 days to arrive

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ELECTRICAL FUSE – Cost $3

The fuse on the electrical board blew but that was easy to rectify. The marine store up the road has lots. I bought spares!
BATTERIES – 4 house, 1 starter – Cost

I am getting really tired of replacing batteries.

I had deep cycle gel batteries and one day while still in California, my shore power controller blew up and fried all 5 of my batteries. That little hiccup cost thousands of dollars to fix / replace.

Then before setting out on my cruise last year I bought 5 brand new AGM batteries. And just 8 months later my solar controller malfunctioned and fried all of those.

So now I am going for cheap lead acid batteries from Costco that require some care but which can be replaced anywhere in the world!! I am tired of fancy batteries that I cannot find anywhere else. This is especially a problem because (I am told) that you can’t mix battery types. So you can’t have some gel, some AGM, some lead acid. It’s all or nothing with batteries. So I’m going with cheap and nasty from now on.
STARTER MOTOR – $xx, labor $xx 700 pesos plus 1000 pesos

Part of the diagnostics involved finding out why, when we put in new batteries, the engine still would not start? It came down to the damaged starter motor which Pedro removed and took off to a mechanic to repair. When he returned and replaced it, the engine kicked into life immediately. I was enormously relieved that at least my engine seemed okay.

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