Potty Pan

Ziggy Stardog took immediately to the potty pad. We showed her where it was and voila, she’s boat potty trained. The pad is a square of fake grass and we stacked some disposable, absorbent pads under it. Unfortunately, it made the cockpit stink – even when we cleaned everything. So, at the recommendation of a fellow boating family, we picked up a cheap, plastic washing machine pan. I knocked out the drain hole and drilled an additional one in the corner, and now we keep the pee smell off the flexiteek. The tray is much easier to move around and clean. We rinse off the pee with the cockpit shower and pick up the poops and put them in compost bags. We use a little NoFlex on the dirty pad when we rinse it to help get the bits off.


I talked to a guy at work about my $48 O-Rings and he walked me through identifying them. They’re very likely Viton rings that cost $17 from McMaster. This is a great example of how expensive information asymmetry can be. I’m going to order a few and compare them with the ones I got from Cummins. Meanwhile, I picked up a tool that may make removing the end of the after cooler unnecessary for retrieving the broken zinc.

Hot Water

I noticed the other morning that when we run any hot water from a faucet, the main cabin heater fan shuts down. I looked at the zone board on the hydronic and saw it switch completely to “summer loop” when there’s any call for hot water. There’s a jumper on the board that sets priority. When it’s open the system will prioritize hot water and when it’s closed (bridged) it won’t. I called ITR tech support and they didn’t know if the behavior was intentional. In theory, the priority jumper should only prioritize the domestic water pump, not the fans. But, I’m going to test it out to confirm.

I have been pretty pleased with the quality of ITR tech support. I’ve also had a problem with my touch screen going to sleep and not waking up without a power cycle. They sent me a new screen and it has the same issue. So, they send me a free manual control panel that fits into the same cut-out. If they ever fix the touch screen issue I may put it back, but the manual switch seems simpler. I really only give up the backlight and WiFi (which I never use…).

They also advised me on where to check for leaks in the unit – everything that could leak should be accessible from the front or top. They also confirmed my suspicion that one of the 1500W AC elements tripping the breaker could indicate a leak in the main immersion tank (exposing the element). So, I’ll put some cloths in the unit to see if I can pinpoint everything. This call was 20 minutes very well spent.

Fun dummy moment: I noticed the feed tube to the domestic water filter was yellow and I immediately thought, “Holy crap, coolant is getting into the fresh water!” Then, I found a picture back from before the hydronic was even installed – and it’s always been yellow. Another win for over-documentation…


Finally, the ELCI breaker tripped (AGAIN) when we were out of town for a week. Only the main house bank battery charger and the fridge were on. Since I had the inverter off, the solar kept the DC system powered and the batteries topped up. I got a fancy clamp meter so I can do my own troubleshooting, but I saw the same weirdness (at Elliott Bay Marina over Labor Day) that the ABYC Electrician from Monkeyfist did. (40 mA on my shore power cable when the shore power breaker was off). In our home marina, I see nothing – since the problem is intermittant. I contacted Blue Sea tech support and they are walking me through some rudimentary troubleshooting, but progress on this is slow-going. On a whim, I contacted Emerald Harbor Marine in the hopes that fresh eyes can help. I saw their door in Elliott Bay Marina and have read about them designing some pretty complex electrical systems.

I really want to find and fix the root cause because the two nuclear alternatives (install a gigantic isolation transformer on both short power inlets or remove the ELCI breaker) are unappealing. Stay Tuned.