More Safety

come on baby and rescue me ... - The Supremes
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Caliber 4 rockets, red flares and orange smoke. And a “rescue me”.

It feels awkward to spend more than 500€ on stuff you’ll probably (and hopefully) never use. After some thinking I did bite the bullet. The old flares and rockets were more than ten years past their due date. Since I (officially) have no radio and electrickery likes to fail just when you need it most, some pyrotechniques might come in handy.

The little yellow/grey fellow is a fine example of modern electronics. Mostly sailing alone, going overboard is considered a death sentence. Your boat probably is on auto pilot and will go on until the battery is dead, the wind changes significantly or it hits something. So there you are, alone in the ocean. Many single-handers used to not wear life vests so it would be over fast if they go overboard. But nowadays you just call a cab. The little fella has batteries which last until 2025, a gps receiver to calculate your position and a satphone (or modem) to text your position to a maritime rescue coordination centre (MRCC). Since registration in germany is kind of complicated and the device must be bound to a ship (even though it’s a personal locator beacon (PLB)) I registered it in the UK. So in case I go overboard in germany, I press a button, the little thingy texts my position to falmouth, cornwall mrcc and then somebody rings up the folks at bremen mrcc who then ring up the nearest SAR unit and/or coordinates the search with other vessels in the area. Amazing!

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Tied to the innards of my life vest/floatation device

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… and its gone 🙂

Back on track

location: Kiel Stickenhörn, Germany
log: 162nm
engine: 384.4h

Alright, the engine is running again and the forecast says the next two days might be good sailing. The only problem is that I want to travel east and the wind is currently coming from there. And there is a big navy training ground in the same direction which limits my possibilities to crisscross upwind. And since I didn’t want to pay for the maps going north or west it’s probably sea trials / running circles and not going somewhere specific. We’ll see. There is still plenty on the ToDo list but at least it seems like the work on propulsion is getting less and I can start to work on ground tackle and the solar/battery system enabling me to actually anchor out. Oh, and I’ll need some kind of dinghy.

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Correct old part vs. wrong new part. It’s pretty obvious the shiny one is too large, even though flange, gear and all connectors match.

Anyways, after yesterdays débâcle with the wrong starter the correct part arrived today. Kinda funny, I needed a part for a Nanni Marine Diesel. So I ordered one for a Suzuki Jeep, which came in a Kubota Box and was originally made by Mitsubishi and refurbished by Elstock. Yeah, whatever. It fits and it was cheap, at least compared to the original part (which was made by Mitsubishi as well and is a match on the part number). And I’m still waiting on the quote from Nanni. Probably somewhere between 400€ and 800€. So 120€ at a local dealership isn’t too bad, tomorrow the backup order from the interwebs arrives, 80€.

IMG_2111Changing the thing is not too bad for marine standards but still painful. The part itself is fastened by two screws. You only have to remove the alternator, hoist the engine up on one side, remove one engine mount and that is basically it. The practical thing about sailboats is that you can use the main halyard or topping lift for that, so yes, the white and black rope goes all the way up the mast, back down again and to a winch.

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After reassembly only the shiny solenoid shows. The rest of the starter is hidden behind other stuff

While I was on it I also repaired the temperature sensor. One contact broke off. Normally I would have just bought a new one for ten euros or so. But since this is a marine temperature sensor it costs 50€ on ebay and probably much more in a shop. So I did the obvious and cut open the enclosure to solder a piece of cable on the stump of the old contact.

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Fabricobbled a new contact

 

… still working on it

 Does it ever eeend? -- AvE

I finished the kiel canal without major problems. Only the starter acted up more and more. I left the engine running while waiting for the kiel holtenau lock to open. After that I stopped in the next harbour to barter a crate of beer for some spare parts. Oh, I love the interwebs for these kind of things.

Then I took of the starter solenoid, cleaned and oiled it. Still not working properly. Took of the whole starter, greased the shaft. Still not working. Took it off again, completely disassembled it and found out the free running thingy slipped (imagine your mountainbike. Normally the rear wheel hub runs freely when you are not treading and engages if you are treading allowing you to accelerate. This specimen runs freely (under load) in both directions). IMG_2118So I have to order a part. I’m still waiting for a quote from the engine manufacturer / their dealership. In the meantime I did some digging on the web. Mr. Nanni from Italy is making his marine engines from parts of Mr. Kubota, Japan. Mr. Kubota is some relative of Mr. Mitsubishi, so they sourced some of their starters there. Mr. Mitsubishi is kind of the Japanese Version of ACME, and sold the exact same starters to Mr. Suzuki and Mr. Toyota for the LJ80, SJ410 and 70ties Corolla. So you can either go to some Marine Engine Guy paying him to order at Mr.Nanni who will order at Mr. Kubota who will order at Mr Mitsubishi or somewhere else. That’s time consuming and expensive. Or you take Mr. Mitsubishis Part Number (which Mr Nanni was too lazy to scrape it off) and go to any car parts store and order from any supplier available. Cut out the middle man and remove the “marine” from the equation means great price reduction. But also great risk. Today I got a spare part which matches the part numbers only “one-way”. The delivered starter has the right gear, flange and such but is much larger. Too long and too wide. I actually went to a car part store in person, put the old starter on the counter and they ordered the new one. My starter is part number M2T30481, the delivered a replacement for M2T30581. The fun part is that my starter can always replace the other one (same oompfh, flange, … smaller envelope) and the other one can sometimes replace my starter (if there is enough space). So yeah, I was afraid to mess up the order and so paid extra to let a specialist fuck it up. Classic. Next time I might just order it online in the first place, many folks actually post pictures of the wares making it quite easy to distinguish subtle differences.

Working on it….

I guess it’s best summed up by the A-Team Theme or “Working on it” by Mark Knopfler. Long days of fiddeling with stuff. You fuck it up and try again until you succeed. You don’t have the right tools/workshop so you pay others to fuck it up. And then you search for ways to make it right. It takes time, sweat, blood and tears. For example the cooperation with the metal shop: I needed an adapter which is basically 8 holes on one radius and four holes on an different radius. I fucked up measuring the inner radius, the guy from the metalshop put six holes on both radiusses messing up all the angles. The final thing looks like swiss cheese but will do the job.

You befriend some locals on the way who can relate in some way or another. These are mostly a really kind and supportive bunch. They give/sell you stuff you need for little money. They walk you through maps of the local waters and share their wisdom and experience. When you’re down they encourage you. I dunno why but it really means a great deal to me if someone with 40odd years of experience in something tells newbie me something along the lines of “hey, you’re doing ok, you’ll be fine”.

Others think you’re stupid or haphazard or just from another planet. Some just don’t like you because you look like some punk. Some give weird / useless / dangerous advise. With time you learn to choose wisely what advise to adhere to and what not. And you’ll sometimes have to change your mind. For example one of my instructors went furious when somebody started whistling on the boat. I asked him why and he responded “because it’s tradition”. He did it just for the fun of criticising people. Ok, I decided, I’ll whistle on my own ship as much as I want. I talked about that with S. and he just answered that he is really strict on the whistling issue as well because the wind whistles in the rigging if it picks up or a gust hits you. So it’s a warning sign for the helmsman and the person on the main sheet to take immediate action to counter the gust (counter steer/ease sheet/adjust traveller, …). So if somebody is whistling these folks either don’t hear the gust coming or they take measures without a cause. Ok, so no whistling on my ship, I changed my mind on that completely because somebody provided a proper reason for doing things. And now I know on telltale for oncoming gusts…

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Main Halyard and Topping Lift crisscrossed, the further already ate through the roller and into the aluminum

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new rollers, replaced the steel wire halyard with dyneema and replaced the undersized topping lift as well. And now they run in parallel

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unfucking the fuckup by the metal shop by drilling extra holes in the ship. according to the guy in the shop drilling high grade stainless is impossible with a hand drill. Well, it takes lot’s of pressure, low rpm, oil for cooling and a sharp drill bit (good HSS or TiN)

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some just like to watch…

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The old main traveller crapped out on the last sail and no supplier had something in store for the mounted track…

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…so in goes the new, shiny and more beefy…

Learning about marine specific engine parts: meet the impreller.

Learning about marine specific engine parts: meet the impeller. That little guy is pumping sea water for cooling the engine.

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trying to unfuck some instruments. This one had broken cables, water ingress and some previous owner removed the data cable by cutting it into different pieces…

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big ship passing by

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Some kind soul sold me a self steering windvane for a real bargain. But it needs some modification so it has to be completely disassembled before cutting & welding

It feels like slow progress but actually I’m not doing too bad. On the 26th of march, I first set foot on a sailing yacht and around two month later I’m licensed to operate such a craft commercially, bought my own and made did a bunch of repairs / upgrades. Not too bad at all actually. I guess I can set sail soonish and do the rest of the outfitting en route. Cruising after all is mostly doing boat maintenance in exotic places.

Pornstyler revived

It has been sitting for six month. The fuel pump was almost dead and I ripped out the wideband lambda to analyse the car of a friend. A storm put water through the tilted sunroof and I forgot to turn off the interior light after soaking up the water thus emptying the battery. Today I jacked it up, threw in a new fuel pump and the recharged battery. Turned on and off the ignition a couple of times to create fuel pressure in the empty lines (changing the pump got kinda messy). And what happened? The thing just started up and purred along. I LOVE these old mercs. I just had to add some fuel, air up the tires and it performed flawlessly on an extended test drive including a stretch of autobahn.

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jacked up and secured with a three legged stand

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Parking lot after six month. Quite grimy and some grass growing. And still leftovers from new years fireworks…

 

 

Sidenote on Motor TV: Sabine Schmitz on Top Gear

My favourite german race driver actually starts to co-host my favourite british motor television show. And she keeps on dominating the main host. Around 10 years ago jeremy clarkson (old host) did a 9:59 in an Jaguar S-Type on her home turf (Nordschleife) and she was caught on camera saying “I could do this time in a van”. Long story short: She did a 10:08 in a ford transit, no modifications and on a public driving day on the track.  Look it up on youtube, fun to see a white panelvan overtaking fancy racecars and even motorcycles.

While filming the new season the new host Chris Evans jumped out of the car to vomit after a couple of minutes with her in an Audi R8 on a closed track. The new season might be fun…

I’ll still miss Clarkson, Hammond and May…

I did it.

Well, my mood is still rapidly changing between happy and terrified. I a did buy a boat. The idea was to get something as small as bearable for a summer trip, slow and safe, easy to handle. Then start in a place which is great for beginners, easy waters, no tides, Kiel for example. And how did it play out? Yeah, well. I bought an 9,3 meter heavy displacement offshore racer-cruiser. The thing dominated races back in the 70s. And I bought it in Hamburg, famous for having the third largest port in whole Europe. And about 4m of tidal range. So there is all kind of weird current phenomena going on and container vessels and ferries produce large waves.

On the upside, the vessel is known for being pretty bulletproof and easy to single-hand. And she is a beauty!

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Designed by famous sparkman and stephens (S&S). Build by IW-Varvet in 1970 on the island of Orust, Sweden. A modern (at the time) US Design build by shipwrights whose lineage goes back to the vikings. Literally! Technical details: http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=5505

The last couple of days were spent mostly working on the boat or planning on what to change. She is old and battered but she wears her scars with pride.

Disclaimer: I don’t believe in the myth that all ships are female, if they have a gender at all. Her current name is Baldur but the pronoun she fells more appropriate then “he” or “it” or the singular “they”. I guess there is some nonbinary genderqueer thing going on. I’m pretty sure she’s got balls as well. And in GB she was actually marketed as the “SHE-31” (South Hants Engineering being the name of the shipyard)

Digging through the drafts folder #1

Searching for some unpublished posts I found these pictures.

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Old leaf springs, old shock absorbers ,hole in the front spring mount

The old leaf spring is so worn out that it bends upwards an somebody removed the wedges on the axle which adjust the castor (tilt angle of the axis which leads the steering assembly to go automatically back to “straight forward” if you loosen your grip on the wheel.

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Bigger shocks, three layer spring (the hole was fixed soon after as well)

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The new assembly gives a couple of centimeters more ground clearance, yay

more knowledge on bass / speakers

Friends pointed out to me that they don’t understand my writings about building/optimizing speakers and don’t even know what to google for. Sorry, guys, I was just writing down what I was doing and not thinking about that.

The Variables (Fs, fb, ….) are so called Thiele-Small Parameters, named after two aussie guys doing research on the matter. Wikipedia provides links to sites explaining the stuff in both german and english.

Don’t let the math scare you away, you don’t need it. To build a woofer you just have to look up these values and put them in some online calculator which is spewing out build dimensions. Just make sure to get a second opinion on the results, be it through research, online forums or just asking folks…

more bass #3

“Yeah Science, Bitch”  -- Jesse Pinkman

I did some research. The concept of tuning a vented box very low is called EBS (Extended Bass Shelf). This site explains it pretty good, the basic idea is getting more bass on low frequencies. You basically take an enclosure 160-180% the size of a “maximum flat” setup and then tune it close to Fs (Free Air Resonance of the speaker). As I already found out the previous owner did tune the enclosure to about that frequency. But how about enclosure size? The manual suggests “maximum flat” enclosures from 64 to 92 litres, suggesting an EBS setup between 102 and 165 litres. The enclosure has around 80 litres not accounting for the speaker and the vents. Well, I guess I found a problem here.

I tried some more online calculators and plenty of them tune close to Fs without even mentioning it. So it’s more than understandable to end up with this setup. But as always, you gotta trust your senses: If it sounds shitty there has to be a reason… Ah, and trust the engineers. If you deviate far from their suggested path you better know what you are doing…

So to wrap this up and continue other important work I’ll go the humble approach. I’ll measure the actual resonance frequency of the enclosure and tune it to something between 36-39Hz for the suggested “maximum flat” response.

Measuring shouldn’t be to difficult, the impedance of the speaker drops at the resonance frequency, so the current spikes ( I = U/R ). So just rig an ampere meter to the speaker, a frequency generator to the amplifier and play with the frequency knob until you reach maximum current. Well, my ampere meter doesn’t like low frequencies at all making it impossible to get a reading. Using a shunt (resistor in series) and measuring voltage I pinpointed the resonance frequency at 35,7Hz. That’s way lower than the expected 43Hz. Good news: That’s the lower end of my target frequency. Bad news: I’ve got to redo the math…

Some site suggests if the distance of the ports to any wall is less than their diameter the tuning gets lower. That’s definitely the case here…  The increase of Volume by damping depends strongly on the material, ranging from 0-20%. If I run the numbers with an estimated volume of 115 litres everything checks out and the estimated resonance frequency with the long vents would be around 24Hz. I guess I have to measure that as well 🙁 Hmmm, 27Hz, not too bad for an estimate…

Hmm, maybe I should give the 31Hz a shot. 18,5 cm for the vents… Let’s say 20 for good measure… After some try and error 21cm turn out to lead to 30.something Hz. Good enough. Yeah, there is more ooompfff on low frequencies, you don’t hear some but feel it in your guts. I had to adjust the woofer level back to +6db on the amp. But it seems to be a trade-off with quality. Most of the time there’s not enough bass and then suddenly it’s killing you when the frequency drops low enough. For example with “Clint Eastwood / Gorilaz”, some low rumbling for the whole song and then the break with a couple of low beats is just plain awful. Somebody suggested that EBS setups often have cancellation issues on the two octaves above the resonance frequency (so 30-120Hz). Yeah, that might be the issue here.

To cut a long story short: EBS doesn’t work out with this enclosure, even if you do it right. I guess that’s 2:0 for the engineers… Disclaimer: I’m working low volume settings (neighbours…) and the placement of the sub is bad. Maybe it’s getting better with optimal placement and if you crank up the amplifier. Maybe not. At least now the sound setup at my desk is ok. Time to actually do some work…