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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fixing a few things, including a possessed VHF remote

The past couple of days have provided some time to check over the boat after our 48hr run north which included a little bit of banging around in the waves.  Most everything seemed to fare well with all our gear and supplies staying in place, no surprise leaks, or other disasters.  Probably the biggest issue was the forward thruster which started acting up as we were pulling away from the dock at Dana Point.  On arrival in Sausalito, forward port trust proved to be completely inoperative.  Fortunately starboard thrust is what's mostly needed for docking, so we got tied up with minimal fuss.

I called in the problem to ABT and they had someone on the boat the next morning.  The problem turned out to be a relay board, and unfortunately was the same relay board that had been replaced during commissioning due to the stern thruster not working on one direction.  ABT sets the Gold Standard in the industry for standing behind their products, and agreed to provide a spare board for me to carry on-board in case of another problem.  Maybe it's just a coincidence, but whatever is wrong I'm sure they will get to the bottom of it.

The other really odd problem that I discovered when the sun went down the first night of our trip was that the dimmer was acting oddly on the hydraulic control panel.  It's just a row of buttons to enable the two pumps, and to turn on the anchor wash, crash pump, etc.  The buttons light up to show they are on, and there is a dimmer knob to dim them down at night.  When I dimmed them, the button that was lit dimmed down as expected.  But as it dimmed, the inactive buttons started to brighten back up again.  We dug into it and found two wiring errors, both the result of some miss-communications.  But now that's all squared away and button dimming sanity has been restored.

But let me tell you about the really strange problem we fixed (hopefully).  I have a VHF remote mic that is bat-shit crazy.  While in Dana Point just after taking delivery, the VHFs started beeping madly.  I checked it out and saw an incoming DSC Distress Call.  Great, I thought, confirmation that it works.  But then I looked closely at the MMSI (Ship's Identification Number) and realized the Distress Call was coming from us!  A frantic run around the boat revealed the Remote Mic on the fly bridge appeared to be displaying crazy stuff so I unplugged it.  By now the Sheriff's boat had arrived to see what was going on, and the Coast Guard was trying to call us.  We got everyone settled back down and added that little excitement to the list of things to fix.

After talking to ICOM, who by the way are very helpful, we checked a few things, all of which appeared to be OK, then swapped the two remote mics so if it happened again we could see if it followed the mic or stayed with the VHF.  I have two VHFs, and one has a remote in the Salon and the other has a remote on the fly bridge.  Before turning the radios on again, I called the coast guard to give them a heads up.  They remembered me from the day before.

Well, on our way up the coast somewhere around Santa Barbara it went off again.  The good news is that this time it was the Salon, so the problem clearly followed the remote, not the VHF.  Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles now knows me pretty well.  The possessed Remote has been quarantined and a replacement arrived today and is installed and (hopefully) working.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparently your remote needs to learn about not crying wolf😊 Sounds like a pretty good commissioning and sea trial process. Your boat is stunning.
Cheers,
Yair