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Thread: Skookum Maru

  1. #246
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    We lived aboard our boat for a couple of years in Papua New Guinea. Our dock neighbour was the Prime Minister. He was a keen fisherman and usually had a stock of Tuna and Marlin in his freezer. One time someone forgot to plug in the shore power. Batteries ran down, freezer defrosted. Tropical heat. His million dollar boat stank like a cat food factory for the next 6 months or so, no matter how hard they tried to clean, disinfect and deodorise.

    I'm sure there are cell based boat monitors that send voltage readings, bilge alerts and whatever to your phone pretty cheap.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  2. #247
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatsbgood View Post
    With the frig/battery problem, my thoughts run to whether there's a way to disable the default switch to DC when shore power is off.
    Unless Chris has replaced the old Vitrifrigo--which wouldn't be a bad idea but it basically works, just not very efficiently--it's a DC only model. It's powered directly from the batteries (well, through a few switches and fuses and breakers). We always emptied it of perishables and turned it off when leaving for a while, a strategy I recommend, because there really aren't any other continuous DC loads, or anyway hardly more than the Rolls's self discharge rate, and those big AGM's will easily last for months. The thing is, if you discharge the house bank, it is possible to have worse consequences than some spoiled provisions--say if the boat somehow happens to really need its bilge pumps to work and there's no battery to power them.

    --Paul

  3. #248
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    OK, understand the existing system now. Well, I'd probly do what Paul did: disable frig when not aboard. Cause the other stuff...bilge pumps, not killing batteries, etc, seems way more fraught to me.
    Brian

  4. #249
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by _QB_ View Post
    Unless Chris has replaced the old Vitrifrigo--which wouldn't be a bad idea but it basically works, just not very efficiently--it's a DC only model. It's powered directly from the batteries (well, through a few switches and fuses and breakers). We always emptied it of perishables and turned it off when leaving for a while, a strategy I recommend, because there really aren't any other continuous DC loads, or anyway hardly more than the Rolls's self discharge rate, and those big AGM's will easily last for months. The thing is, if you discharge the house bank, it is possible to have worse consequences than some spoiled provisions--say if the boat somehow happens to really need its bilge pumps to work and there's no battery to power them.

    --Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Boatsbgood View Post
    OK, understand the existing system now. Well, I'd probly do what Paul did: disable frig when not aboard. Cause the other stuff...bilge pumps, not killing batteries, etc, seems way more fraught to me.
    Brian

    Yes, I'm seeing the wisdom of that plan as well. Ok then.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  5. #250
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    I had to look up Expanse as I had (somehow) never heard of that series. Interesting, but no. If I was going to name a boat after a fictional space ship I would certainly pick Firefly or Serenity first. But in this case the boat is named after the horse.
    I highly recommend the Expanse if you enjoy sci-fi.

    The new Raspberry Pi 3 has enough conouting power to be a stand-alone desktop computer with built in Wi-Fi. It shouldnt be hard to have it monitor battery voltage or charge current and send an alert when it hits a certain threshold.

    Also, it's nice to see so many locals in Blaine Harbor. Most likely going to splash my big plastic boat up there next spring.

  6. #251
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanM26 View Post
    I highly recommend the Expanse if you enjoy sci-fi.

    The new Raspberry Pi 3 has enough conouting power to be a stand-alone desktop computer with built in Wi-Fi. It shouldnt be hard to have it monitor battery voltage or charge current and send an alert when it hits a certain threshold.

    Also, it's nice to see so many locals in Blaine Harbor. Most likely going to splash my big plastic boat up there next spring.
    I agree. I've been meaning to pick one of those up to play with and that's the direction I've been thinking for a DIY system. If I do go that route I'll post details here.

    Blaine is great. I highly recommend it. Quiet, clean, well-maintained. Close to the San Juans and Gulf Islands. Really there is nothing not to like except the distance from Seattle.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  7. #252
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    I am not a fan of Seattle. Or any city, for that matter. Since I moved away from downtown Dallas, TX 10 years ago I have slowly moved farther and farther away from cities. I now live halfway between the 'Ham and Lynden with my closest neighbors 200 yards away.

    I have spent a little time in Blaine Harbor. In 2016 we pulled my buddies big red fishing boat out of the water and made a helluva racket for a couple weeks repairing and painting her before heading to Alaska for the Summer. We went to the Kite Festival a couple weekends ago there and hopped on Plover for a quick ride. The only friend I have who has a boat there full time has decided to sell it, so now all my friends are in Squalicum.

  8. #253
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    I think it's best to turn off the fridge and not have shore power connected. Minimise risk of electrolysis.

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  9. #254
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    I use a Ctek dual battery controller which selects the best recharge source, solar or alternator. You can get a thingy called a Smartpass for it. It monitors your house battery and only lets current through to your house supply if the house battery is full.
    I think it's specifically designed to manage the high current draw of an item like a fridge.


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  10. #255
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    QUOTE=SeanM26;5927118]I am not a fan of Seattle. Or any city, for that matter. Since I moved away from downtown Dallas, TX 10 years ago I have slowly moved farther and farther away from cities. I now live halfway between the 'Ham and Lynden with my closest neighbors 200 yards away.
    *WAVES*

    Hi neighbor!
    Last edited by BBSebens; 07-02-2019 at 03:21 PM.
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  11. #256
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I think it's best to turn off the fridge and not have shore power connected. Minimise risk of electrolysis.
    I would also suggest that. Or, a little less dramatic than completely disconnecting from shore power, install a galvanic isolator. In my experience, S.M.'s zincs did tend to disappear fast in that marina. Anyway, Chris, something perhaps to consider...

    --Paul

  12. #257
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    As a temporary fix, could you not rig a lamp in sight of the camera, using shore power voltage? Speaking from the viewpoint of no onboard refrigeration on Accolade there are advantages to keeping your fridge operational between trips. Transporting cold stuff from boat back to house gets old rather quickly, moreso with a long commute.

    Great pics Chris tks! / Jim

  13. #258
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by _QB_ View Post
    I would also suggest that. Or, a little less dramatic than completely disconnecting from shore power, install a galvanic isolator. In my experience, S.M.'s zincs did tend to disappear fast in that marina. Anyway, Chris, something perhaps to consider...

    --Paul
    No isolator installed? Get one in there pronto!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  14. #259
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by _QB_ View Post
    I would also suggest that. Or, a little less dramatic than completely disconnecting from shore power, install a galvanic isolator. In my experience, S.M.'s zincs did tend to disappear fast in that marina. Anyway, Chris, something perhaps to consider...

    --Paul
    Yes - the galvanic isolator is definitely on the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by chas View Post
    As a temporary fix, could you not rig a lamp in sight of the camera, using shore power voltage? Speaking from the viewpoint of no onboard refrigeration on Accolade there are advantages to keeping your fridge operational between trips. Transporting cold stuff from boat back to house gets old rather quickly, moreso with a long commute.

    Great pics Chris tks! / Jim
    Good idea! I don't know why I didn't think of that. And yes, that was my thought on leaving the fridge running. But on the balance, I'm fine with transporting perishables to the boat if it means not running the house bank down if the power goes out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    No isolator installed? Get one in there pronto!
    Yep. Browsing the Fisheries Supply website for options as I write this. I've noticed some fuzzy white deposits starting in a few places so it's the next thing I need to tackle for sure.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  15. #260
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  16. #261
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Chris, sorry to hear about your mishap with shorepower, x my fingers the batts are alright!

    I more than agree with those suggesting turning off the fridge and leaving it empty till you are back.

    23 years ago when I was still working in Germany I often had to leave my boat behind somewhere for longish periods of time. Sometimes 2 weeks, sometimes several months without having someone around to check on her. Tonga was in the Mediterranean by then and shorepower-problems in Marinas were and still are a big issue. I always emptied and turned off the fridge and anything else, and later equipped all bilge-pumps with float-switches at different heights and left them on automatic ops.

    One day, after having stayed for several months in the boatyard, Tonga kept making water, quite a lot, and I couldn't figure out where it came from. Trouble was I had planned to sail from Almerimar (Southern Spain) to Alicante, leave the boat in Alicante (flights booked etc.) for 2 months while I had to head back to work, and continue my voyage to the Balearics etc. after I came back. What to do? I didn't know her very well yet and wasn't sure if there were any electrical problems. I took everything off the domestic batterie-banks, only connected the bilge-pumps, the 220 V shorepower-charger, and the windgenerator. There was a little chandlery around the corner and they happened to have one solar-panel. I bought it and wired it up as well, just in case. These were the worst 2 months of my life! There was not a single night where I didn't wake up from a nightmare where only the tip of the mainmast was showing above the water ... surprisingly the Marina never called to inform me of a problem.

    When I came back 2 months later everything was fine, Tonga bone-dry not making a drip of water, and my batteries nicely topped up and in good health, all my nightmares for nothing!!!

    We all learn and improve things. Right now with the rebuild I took all the cabling out of course, but I had it all set up with a more powerful windgenerator and several solar-panels and battery capacity so that I could leave Tonga behind anywhere without plugging into shorepower at all. I still wouldn't leave my fridge on just in case there might be something I hadn't thought of, although my main-fridge is one of those with a very low consumption and special cold-plates.

    I guess a windgenerator will not be your choice, and as Skookum Maru is in a Boathouse not too much sunlight will find it's way in so solar-panels won't help any to keep your batteries topped up.

    There exists something that cuts off all your electric supplies the moment the charge-level of your batteries drops below a certain pre-defined point. Which is certainly nice to have in many situations, but can be a big nuisance in anything emergency.

    What it comes down to is that the only really important things we (I) are desperate to know is the state of water in our bilges and the charge-level of our batteries. As long as the batteries are topped up they will do their best to pump the bilge dry and all is fine. If the pumps get stuck for some reason, we're in trouble. If there is a huge ingress of water we're also in trouble and will only find out if the batteries can't cope unless we do get more information from somewhere.

    I would love to have a sensor telling me about each bilgepump jumping to life, the waterlevel (if there is any) in the ship and the state of the batteries. Don't need it as a liveaboard, but still, I might go for a bit of traveling one day for a change and this would really be great to have!
    Last edited by Dody; 07-02-2019 at 07:20 PM.
    fair winds, Dody
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  17. #262
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Blaine is great. I highly recommend it. Quiet, clean, well-maintained. Close to the San Juans and Gulf Islands. Really there is nothing not to like except the distance from Seattle.
    Sechelt is even better

    re: isolator - didn't I show you the one I got from a guy back east who makes them ? If not, I meant to 30 amp, $60, nicely made. Or as nice as West Marine, anyhow.
    Last edited by Favorite; 07-02-2019 at 10:26 PM.

  18. #263
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Dody View Post
    Chris, sorry to hear about your mishap with shorepower, x my fingers the batts are alright!

    I more than agree with those suggesting turning off the fridge and leaving it empty till you are back.

    23 years ago when I was still working in Germany I often had to leave my boat behind somewhere for longish periods of time. Sometimes 2 weeks, sometimes several months without having someone around to check on her. Tonga was in the Mediterranean by then and shorepower-problems in Marinas were and still are a big issue. I always emptied and turned off the fridge and anything else, and later equipped all bilge-pumps with float-switches at different heights and left them on automatic ops.

    One day, after having stayed for several months in the boatyard, Tonga kept making water, quite a lot, and I couldn't figure out where it came from. Trouble was I had planned to sail from Almerimar (Southern Spain) to Alicante, leave the boat in Alicante (flights booked etc.) for 2 months while I had to head back to work, and continue my voyage to the Balearics etc. after I came back. What to do? I didn't know her very well yet and wasn't sure if there were any electrical problems. I took everything off the domestic batterie-banks, only connected the bilge-pumps, the 220 V shorepower-charger, and the windgenerator. There was a little chandlery around the corner and they happened to have one solar-panel. I bought it and wired it up as well, just in case. These were the worst 2 months of my life! There was not a single night where I didn't wake up from a nightmare where only the tip of the mainmast was showing above the water ... surprisingly the Marina never called to inform me of a problem.

    When I came back 2 months later everything was fine, Tonga bone-dry not making a drip of water, and my batteries nicely topped up and in good health, all my nightmares for nothing!!!

    We all learn and improve things. Right now with the rebuild I took all the cabling out of course, but I had it all set up with a more powerful windgenerator and several solar-panels and battery capacity so that I could leave Tonga behind anywhere without plugging into shorepower at all. I still wouldn't leave my fridge on just in case there might be something I hadn't thought of, although my main-fridge is one of those with a very low consumption and special cold-plates.

    I guess a windgenerator will not be your choice, and as Skookum Maru is in a Boathouse not too much sunlight will find it's way in so solar-panels won't help any to keep your batteries topped up.

    There exists something that cuts off all your electric supplies the moment the charge-level of your batteries drops below a certain pre-defined point. Which is certainly nice to have in many situations, but can be a big nuisance in anything emergency.

    What it comes down to is that the only really important things we (I) are desperate to know is the state of water in our bilges and the charge-level of our batteries. As long as the batteries are topped up they will do their best to pump the bilge dry and all is fine. If the pumps get stuck for some reason, we're in trouble. If there is a huge ingress of water we're also in trouble and will only find out if the batteries can't cope unless we do get more information from somewhere.

    I would love to have a sensor telling me about each bilgepump jumping to life, the waterlevel (if there is any) in the ship and the state of the batteries. Don't need it as a liveaboard, but still, I might go for a bit of traveling one day for a change and this would really be great to have!
    Yes, a bilge pump sensor is also on my wish list. I don't want to get too crazy with the gadgets, but bilge and batteries are the two things I'd really like to be able to keep an eye on from home. So that's a project.

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Sechelt is even better

    re: isolator - didn't I show you the one I got from a guy back east who makes them ? If not, I meant to 30 amp, $60, nicely made. Or as nice as West Marine, anyhow.
    Huh, no - I didn't get a chance to see that. $60 would be a nice deal for sure. The once I'm finding are $200 and up aside from Garret's suggestion of the unit from Defender. Which is still a lot cheaper than repairing damage caused by stray electrical currents though.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  19. #264
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Huh, no - I didn't get a chance to see that. $60 would be a nice deal for sure. The once I'm finding are $200 and up ...
    Sorry for the photo quality, it was upside down in the dark. I have no idea how you can tell if they are actually helping or not but at least the guy was helpful and seemed to know his stuff. And it tested out the way he said ...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #265
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    You've got a remote camera right? Get another and point it at your volt meter.

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  21. #266
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Sechelt is even better
    That would turn Chris' 2 hour drive in to a 5 hour one as long as there was no wait at the Peace Arch!

  22. #267
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanM26 View Post
    That would turn Chris' 2 hour drive in to a 5 hour one as long as there was no wait at the Peace Arch!
    No pain, no gain

    Sechelt is idyllic but the condos on the hill are encroaching. You can see the advance of Doom.

    btw, you can bypass a lot of that border wait by going through town. Stop and get a taco while you're there. Or a pizza, both are good. The rest of Blaine is a mortuary. A pretty mortuary but still ...

  23. #268
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    I'm sure it's obvious but if you go the route of leaving the refrigerator off, be sure to also leave the reefer door ajar. It needs air circulation to discourage mold if it's not running. I am surprised to read Skookum is not already outfitted with isolation since it lived on Lake Union for so long. It's really a requirement on th lake.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  24. #269
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    As if Chris needs another DIY project, a basic galvanic isolator is easy and cheap to build, a couple of hefty diode bridges, a heat sink and some wire. If you want to meet ABYC standards though, it also needs some way to indicate if it has failed open (so you no longer have a mains ground connection to your boat). And then that becomes yet something else to monitor .

  25. #270
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    You've got a remote camera right? Get another and point it at your volt meter.
    Actually, he doesn't need to do anything. Since the camera pulls its power from the same receptacle as the boat, it already told him there was no shore power. He just misinterpreted that.

    Or, like me, he doesn't really trust computers

  26. #271
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Actually, he doesn't need to do anything. Since the camera pulls its power from the same receptacle as the boat, it already told him there was no shore power. He just misinterpreted that.

    Or, like me, he doesn't really trust computers
    The camera runs off the dock light circuit, not his shore power circuit. The WiFi system he has the camera connected to uses the shore power circuit. The WiFi has an on-board back-up battery so it will keep working long after the shore power cord has been disconnected. The camera never stops working.

  27. #272
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite View Post
    Actually, he doesn't need to do anything. Since the camera pulls its power from the same receptacle as the boat, it already told him there was no shore power. He just misinterpreted that.

    Or, like me, he doesn't really trust computers
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanM26 View Post
    The camera runs off the dock light circuit, not his shore power circuit. The WiFi system he has the camera connected to uses the shore power circuit. The WiFi has an on-board back-up battery so it will keep working long after the shore power cord has been disconnected. The camera never stops working.
    Sean is correct. The camera and the shore power are on separate circuits and it's actually the wi-fi that went out, not the camera. It's tough to tell the difference remotely however. Jim's suggestion of a light visible to the camera could work but really, the right answer is a monitor that would send an alert if the shore power is cut. Plus also shutting off the fridge when we leave to prevent the batteries from discharging.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  28. #273
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    The drawback to turning off the fridge is that it (at least my system) takes a day to cool down enough to keep things fresh - day & a half to make ice. This makes it difficult to do a weekend or even a long weekend.

    I get the distance issue - I'm 5 hours away from my boat. I will say that I sized my batteries to handle things (3 8Ds) and I can go 3+ weeks of no charging without a problem. I do have the advantage of a person nearby who would happily go aboard & run the engine for a few hours while drinking a few of my beers. I'm on a mooring, so no shore power.

    My priority in the boat is to use it as I want. Sure, sometimes compost happens, but leaving home Thursday noon, arriving at the boat in time to grab a cold one & cook dinner, and then start the "weekend" (quotes because they are often longer than 2 days) is how I like to do it. OK, sometimes it's Wednesday or Friday, but I invested to make sure the boat will be usable as I want to use it. I realize not everyone has that option.

    My 2 cents - if it's worth that much.
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  29. #274
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    I keep my fridge operating in late spring, summer and early fall for the same reason. I don't want to have to wait for the box to get cold when I want to go.
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  30. #275
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    The drawback to turning off the fridge is that it (at least my system) takes a day to cool down enough to keep things fresh - day & a half to make ice. This makes it difficult to do a weekend or even a long weekend.

    I get the distance issue - I'm 5 hours away from my boat. I will say that I sized my batteries to handle things (3 8Ds) and I can go 3+ weeks of no charging without a problem. I do have the advantage of a person nearby who would happily go aboard & run the engine for a few hours while drinking a few of my beers. I'm on a mooring, so no shore power.

    My priority in the boat is to use it as I want. Sure, sometimes compost happens, but leaving home Thursday noon, arriving at the boat in time to grab a cold one & cook dinner, and then start the "weekend" (quotes because they are often longer than 2 days) is how I like to do it. OK, sometimes it's Wednesday or Friday, but I invested to make sure the boat will be usable as I want to use it. I realize not everyone has that option.

    My 2 cents - if it's worth that much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    I keep my fridge operating in late spring, summer and early fall for the same reason. I don't want to have to wait for the box to get cold when I want to go.
    Hm. Also a good point. That's mainly how we want to use Skookum Maru as well. Pack an overnight bag, pick up a few supplies on the way up to Blaine and go cruising. We do have a big Yeti cooler aboard but we got it to store food that wouldn't fit in the fridge on longer trips. It would be annoying to have to bring ice if we are just going out for a few days. Decisions...
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  31. #276
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Can you mount some solar panels on the roof of the boathouse and use them to power the refrigerator alone? Don't leave food in it but leave it on so it is cold when you get there

  32. #277
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    I have 6+ inches of sprayed in foam insulating my fridge - which makes a huge difference. It also backs up to the hull below the waterline - which even in 80+ degree August days is in the low 50s in Maine.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  33. #278
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    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    Quote Originally Posted by oldsub86 View Post
    Can you mount some solar panels on the roof of the boathouse and use them to power the refrigerator alone? Don't leave food in it but leave it on so it is cold when you get there
    That might be possible but the problem isn't that we need another source of power. It's just that the shore power cable came unplugged. It would be simpler to rig up something to ensure that the shore power cable can't be so easily dislodged. I'm thinking of ways to do that. The cable on the dock is permanently installed so the plug does not need to be removable at all. I just need to work out a way to keep it there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I have 6+ inches of sprayed in foam insulating my fridge - which makes a huge difference. It also backs up to the hull below the waterline - which even in 80+ degree August days is in the low 50s in Maine.
    The unit on Skookum Maru is an older (I'm guessing '90s vintage) model. I doubt the insulation is up to modern standards, much less your 6" of foam. At some point I'm sure we will replace it but that's pretty low on the list of priorities. For now we are going to have to muddle on with what we have. It works ok as long as the batteries are charged!
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  34. #279
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Seattle, W.A., U.S.A
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    A simple bungee cord rigged to provide tension toward the boat should help keep the cord plugged in. It's a temporary solution, but could help. Also in terms of keeping the fridge cool while the system fires up it's relatively simple to just throw a block of ice in.

  35. #280
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Bellingham, WA, USA
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Skookum Maru

    I am a master at zip-ties.

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