We’ve done very little cruising, lately. With school starting and the XO starting her new job, it’s been pretty busy. Still, we found time to head to Blake for a weekend in the marina. It’s actually been a long time since we spent a night at Blake. It used to be one of our favorite destinations, but we’ve broadened our horizons in recent years. Still, it was good to go back and see Ranger Paul – and staying on the dock meant the kids could come and go as they pleased.
ELCI Troubleshooting with Emerald Harbor Marine
It’s official – my ELCI issues have stumped some of the best in the industry. I spent the day in Elliott Bay Marina with Dan Heyl from Emerald Harbor Marine. Dan is a master technician, and known for creating some pretty sophisticated designs for Nordhavn owners. He’s the only electrician I have worked with that went on to the AC bus and tested the connections wire-by-wire using his multi-meter. In the past, he’s reduced AC leakage by hundreds of milliamps just by tightening down the connections. We spent several hours troubleshooting and replaced the case ground on the inverter. But, ultimately, we could not find any issues. We did tighten a few loose connections, but there were no smoking guns. Also, there is a weird issue in Elliot Bay where the ground wire consistently carries ~30mA – we only found this because Dan has a dongle we could insert in the loop where we could clamp each cable individually (when you clamp the whole cable you see the imbalance but the ELCI breaker doesn’t trip). It made troubleshooting just a bit more complicated. There was stray current, but it wasn’t coming from Turtle.
In the end, Dan emailed me after the fact and suggested that it could be related to the corrosion on the bonding strip. I cleaned it off with baking soda and vinegar and checked to make sure that I had no resistance on either side, so we’ll see if that helps. The terminal rings and bolts still need to be replaced, but there’s 0 ohms across the bar. The bolts are rusted through, so I may need to pull up the floor so I can get the tools in there to wrestle or cut them out.
There’s also an outside chance that these issues are being caused or exacerbated by something not on my boat. Most of the articles I’ve read say “it’s not the marina, it’s your boat,” and I accept that in most cases that’s true. But, my problem has been so intermittent and has stumped so many experts, I’m beginning to suspect the environment. In one case, I found out that my dock neighbor’s shore power cord had fallen into the water right where there is a plug junction (i.e. they’re using an extension cord). It was a big enough issue that it caused a massive electrical bill and shocked a diver who was cleaning their boat. This happened right around the time I had two breaker trips in a 10 day period, so the correlation is strong. Also, these trips seem much more common in the summer when more people are using their boats. Regardless, we’re really still no closer to solving this mystery.
I hopped on the bandwagon. TLDR; it “works”, but bandwidth on the RV plan in this area isn’t great. I typically see ~40Mbit down and 5Mbit up – but it’s really all over the map. Today it’s barely useable at <10Mbit down and <1Mbit up. I’m guessing/hoping as they scale things will get better.
I finally moved the propane leak sensor. It was going off randomly – I suspect because of either varnish fumes from the internal wood or outgassing from the hull fiberglass. Regardless, the instructions said it needed to be at least 8″ off the ground, so I relocated it on the wall next to the oven. I managed to ding the wood when drilling, which I “fixed” with a furniture marker.
Found two more cracks in the gelcoat. North Pacific will cover these under warranty, but it’s hard to find anyone to do the work.
I love having the fuel consumption on my chart plotter.