Complicated boat systems

30boat

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A well off friend has bought himself a beauty of a 60 footer only 7 years old. Hydraulics everywhere. Already the hose to one of the furlers has corroded and burst,no wonder it was just galvanized steel.It was replaced by one with propper stainless fittings. The other day the whole system just stopped working. I tried to help him trace the fault.The electrics are ok but the electrical system ,despite being nice and tidy at the switch board has severa unmarked relays and circuit boards.There was a circuit breaker that tripped everytime the batteries were switched on so the fault should lie there.The problem is that the diagramas that came with the boat are pitifully incomplete and there's no hydraulics diagram .So all is well while stuff is working and he can go sailing with is girlfriend and enjoy his great new toy.But it only takes a single small wire to go wrong and the whole boat becomes unusable. How happy I am that I made my Fulmars electrical system and never had a single problem in 13 years....
 

johnalison

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I think you entitled to put a smug smiley on. Although I once got Physics at A level a few centuries ago, I find the circuit plans for my boat completely mystifying. Fortunately, my electrics have survived fifteen years without more than the simplest problems, such as an inadequately sealed socket for the autopilot.
 

pvb

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I believe that the majority of owners of boats of that size/complexity employ a full-time crew member. You can see why!
 

pmagowan

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Most complex things are just a pile of simple things. For example a computer is just a bunch of switches and switches are simple. The problem here is not complexity it is both substandard materials and no 'plan'. I think since he is likely to have lots of similar problems he needs to draw up a plan by working systematically through the whole installation. He could start a rolling replacement regime where he swaps in components of a suitable grade to resist failures such as this.
 

Martin_J

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Even on relatively simple boats... some things are still a struggle when they go wrong...

Take pressurized water system as an example.. If your water pump fails.. how easy is it then to fill your kettle with water?
 

30boat

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Most complex things are just a pile of simple things. For example a computer is just a bunch of switches and switches are simple. The problem here is not complexity it is both substandard materials and no 'plan'. I think since he is likely to have lots of similar problems he needs to draw up a plan by working systematically through the whole installation. He could start a rolling replacement regime where he swaps in components of a suitable grade to resist failures such as this.
That's how I would have done it.If I owned that boat I'd employ an engineer (my cousin as it happens) to make a full diagram and explain every little thing to me.I am pretty sure I would have found the fault eventually but they were having prawns and white wine up on deck.....
 

Wansworth

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When I got a job on a coaster the skipper made me make a drawing of all the plumping system in the engine room...... so I knew what I was doing. worked
 

GHA

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Even on relatively simple boats... some things are still a struggle when they go wrong...

Take pressurized water system as an example.. If your water pump fails.. how easy is it then to fill your kettle with water?

Funny you should mention that - I just a few minutes ago put in a new pump, the last one has been poorly for years. The footpumps are robust though. :)

So I agree very much with the thrust of the thread - the boat should be able to carry on come what may.
 

prv

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If your water pump fails.. how easy is it then to fill your kettle with water?

Very easy - just take one of the 5-litre backup bottles from the locker :)

It's a good point though, and it has already occurred to me that a water pump failure would be inconvenient because the tank is in the bottom of the hull with no real possibility of gravity draining, and it's under the cockpit locker floorboard so hard to access the hatch in the top. I've thought of plumbing in a backup footpump, or at least carrying one on board - this should guarantee that the electric pump never fails :p

Pete
 

30boat

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Very easy - just take one of the 5-litre backup bottles from the locker :)

It's a good point though, and it has already occurred to me that a water pump failure would be inconvenient because the tank is in the bottom of the hull with no real possibility of gravity draining, and it's under the cockpit locker floorboard so hard to access the hatch in the top. I've thought of plumbing in a backup footpump, or at least carrying one on board - this should guarantee that the electric pump never fails :p

Pete
I'm so happy with my two footpumps.It's amazing how little noise they make and how little electricity they draw from the batteries....
 
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AngusMcDoon

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Imagine what the task is like to keep a monster cruise ship going like Allure of the Seas, with its 2700 odd passenger cabins, a further 2300 for the crew, all the normal big ship systems (3 engines, 4 bow thrusters, 6 generators), umpteen kitchens, great big laundry, and other odd non-ship bits of plant like a skating rink, cinema projectors, swimming pools and on and on. I know they have a hefty team of engineers and technicians, but it's amazing that they keep going at all.
 

GrahamM376

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Very easy - just take one of the 5-litre backup bottles from the locker :)

It's a good point though, and it has already occurred to me that a water pump failure would be inconvenient because the tank is in the bottom of the hull with no real possibility of gravity draining, and it's under the cockpit locker floorboard so hard to access the hatch in the top. I've thought of plumbing in a backup footpump, or at least carrying one on board - this should guarantee that the electric pump never fails :p

Pete

I fitted one of these years ago with its own tap but so far not needed to use it. http://www.whalepumps.com/rv/produc...ndlyID=Whale-Tiptoe-Galley-Pump-foot-operated
 

prv

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I'm so happy with my two footpumps.It's amazing how little noise they make and how little electricity they draw from the batteries....

I've done things the simple way, with a dribbly handpump and a kettle, but I honestly think that having hot running water on tap would be one of the biggest things I'd miss if I went from Ariam (34 foot bermudan sloop) back to Kindred Spirit (24 foot gaff yawl).

The electric pump is not unreasonably noisy (rubber feet onto a rubber-mounted board in an outboard locker) and my 420Ah laugh at whatever its current draw might be. So I'm very happy to keep it, and a manual pump tucked away, a plan to apply the dinghy pump to the tank breather, or even just enough water in bottles, will do nicely as backup.

Pete
 

johnalison

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We have a foot pump as a back-up at the galley. I find it necessary to use it regularly to prevent the water in it becoming stagnant as it has no filter, unlike the galley powered ta.
 

pvb

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It's a good point though, and it has already occurred to me that a water pump failure would be inconvenient because the tank is in the bottom of the hull with no real possibility of gravity draining, and it's under the cockpit locker floorboard so hard to access the hatch in the top. I've thought of plumbing in a backup footpump, or at least carrying one on board - this should guarantee that the electric pump never fails :p

My old HR had a Whale foot pump at the galley sink. Cunningly, it was plumbed to an outlet in the water tank a few inches below the outlet for the pressure pump - so the tank had a built-in "reserve", accessible only through the foot pump.
 

sailorman

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My old HR had a Whale foot pump at the galley sink. Cunningly, it was plumbed to an outlet in the water tank a few inches below the outlet for the pressure pump - so the tank had a built-in "reserve", accessible only through the foot pump.
Now that was a cunning plan. ours are pressure pumped through the foot pump. well i added the pressure pump :eek:
 

simonfraser

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Yep, had a strange micro switch controlled fuse / breaker board in my boat, micros one place, fuse board in some inaccessible hole.
If that had gone wrong no power, i solo sail.
It's now back to old fashioned blade fuses that I can get my fingers to, no corrosions after 5 years ....
 
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