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Monday, August 26, 2013

Monitors, still.

Light at the end of the tunnel, or the headlight of a train?  I sure hope the former.

I've been sitting on this post since the end of June to see how things evolved.  Now you can read about....

And it turns out the manufacturer I was chasing (Stealth Computer) is not really ground zero for the monitors I'm interested in.  They of course would never admit it, but I subsequently found the place in Taiwan (LiteMax) that does appear to be ground zero, and I found positive confirmation that they make the GreenMarine Monitors.  The guy who owns GreenMarine is also a LiteMax distributor in the US, and has created his own branded version of a couple of the LiteMax Navpixel monitors.  GreenMarine claims "29 differences" between the LiteMax and GreenMarine displays.  I don't doubt that there are, but I do doubt that they are of any significance.  A simple re-branding of a product could easily result in 29 changes.  What GreenMarine has done that clearly brings value is to stock product and provide local support, including a dealer network.   In contrast, buying from LiteMax is 4-6 week lead time, no cancel and no return, return to Taiwan for repair.  You order it, you own it.  But the up-side is a wider choice of products and about 1/3 the price of GreenMarine.  That's a big savings, and I plan to buy a 4th monitor just as a spare to address the whole service/repair risk and will still come out way ahead financially.  I also tracked down a marine electronics place that has been using the LiteMax displays in high-end boats for a while and they are very pleased with the results.  There is nothing like customer feedback to validate a product.
With all that, the decision is made, but I'm still proceeding with caution.  I have ordered one monitor, and after test and acceptance, will order the remaining units.  Stay tuned for a first hand report sometime in August when the first unit arrives.

Fast forward to August.  That's now.  I received the monitor and ran it through its paces and the results are great.  It's nice and bright, and a dedicated dimming knob which is much easier to use than buttons and a menu, operates directly off 24VDC, and supports the video modes that I need. So I ordered three more, one of which will be a spare.

Construction, week 26

And now, for a live update from China....sort of.  I recently returned from a 10 day trip, 2 of which were spent at South Coast Marine where our boat is being built.  After seeing so many pictures, it's great to see the yard and people in person.

This was the first of what in theory will be three visits.  The goals of this trip were obviously to check on the progress and construction, but more importantly to get a chance to view and photograph all the spaces in the boat that are accessible and visible now, but won't be as construction gets further along.  For example, there are conduit runs throughout the boat that I know will come in real handy in the future.  This was my opportunity to see where they all go.  And there are lots of other things visible now that won't be down the road.  When you are the guy doing 90% of the work on the boat, knowing it intimately is a huge plus.

But I'll spare you the pictures of all the hidden spaces, junction boxes, and buried hoses, and instead show the progress on the more visible parts of the boat.

The utility room cabinets are largely done except for the doors and drawers.


Utility room cabinets


Stairs to utility room

In the salon more of the teak paneling has been installed and you can get more of a sense of the space.

Aft port corner of salon


Forward salon with view into galley


Stairs from salon to pilot house


Aft starboard corner of salon

Galley cabinets are also taking shape nicely.

Galley


Galley


Galley/companionway cabinet

The sound deadening material is mostly installed in the engine room.

Engine Room

Lots of progress up in the pilot house too.

Pilot house head


Pilot house


Pilot house shelves


Captain's stateroom

Pilot house settee



Pilot house


Pilot house


Forward stairwell


Forward stairs


Cabinet off stair well


Master stateroom


View of galley from master stateroom


Shelves in stateroom


Master stateroom bed


Cabinets in master stateroom


Stateroom


Looking through office towards forward head


Guest stateroom


Guest stateroom cabinet


Teak and spruce floors briefly visible


Office cabinet


Office desk and cabinet

Another thing I wanted to do on this trip was experiment with the equipment layout for the water maker.  Before leaving for china I made a number of full scale print outs of the various equipment.  I figured I use them like ColorForms and tape them up in different places to see how everything fit.  When I pulled them out of my backpack I discovered two of them were missing.  Crap.  Fortunately the missing parts were simple shapes so I just put up tape outlines.  The picture below shows the aft bulkhead in the forward "basement".  It looks like everything will fit nicely on the bulkhead with all the filters low and with space under them for drip containers.  This will also free up the shelf space that normally gets used to house the Village Marine water maker.

Water maker equipment placement



The last set of pictures are taken from the fly bridge.

Fly bridge looking aft


Fly bridge console


Looking down on the boat deck


Forward deck