S/V Crazy Love

Boat Work: Charging Problems Fixed

We found the smoking gun!

Yesterday we replaced our batteries. Our old wet cells were installed by a previous owner. I've heard that replacing batteries is the first task for a new owner of a used boat, but Carolyn and I never did it. Before we head to Mexico, where we don't know if batteries are available, we wanted to make sure we had the good stuff installed. The hope was that replacing the batteries would fix our charging issues, but it didn't.

So, we dug a little deeper and found the issue:

The nearly completely severed wire connecting the alternator to the rest of the boat's electrical system

The image above is of an 8 inch long wire connecting the alternator to the starter motor; the only thing holding it together is the insulation. I don't completely understand why the alternator's connection to the boat's electrical system is through the starter, but that's the way Yanmar says it should be done.

The new alternator-starter wire

I replaced the previously red wire with a new green one (its the only color I had in 10ga). Rosie fired up the engine, revved it up to 2000 rpm and the battery monitor read 14.2 volts. Victory. Woohoo!

It was a great feeling to be able to solve our own electrical issues without having to hire professional help. On occasions like these, I am glad we have a small boat with simple systems. I did feel a little silly that I didn't find this problem when we were in Monterey, but the motto of our trip is "Everything works out the way it should."

My nephew Chaz. He's the professional help!

In other news...On Monday evening, I ordered a Windpilot Pacific Light self steering gear. Peter, the proprietor of Windpilot, shipped the unit on Tuesday from Hamburg, Germany. It arrived Wednesday afternoon in San Diego on a British Airways flight. Today, Thursday, Carolyn and I cleared the unit through customs and picked up the very large package. I think its amazing I can order something from Europe at midnight in America on Monday and have it delivered to San Diego less than 48 hours later.

Our new Windpilot Pacific Light self-steering gear still in the box.

I'm hoping to get it installed in the next two weeks. I'll definitely have photos from the installation and maybe a video from the first sail.