This weekend was pretty productive for me. I wrapped up the securing of plumbing, routing pex tubing, installing foam insulation over the hot water tubing and even started to make some sense of the electrical so I can plan the install of another bigger high water bilge pump. The weather has been great and the marina is pretty quiet these days aside from the regular live-aboard and walker/runner types enjoying the weather too. I actually found myself enjoying the new heater and running water for washing hands, doing dishes and making tea. So far the new plumbing has been great.
Today I decided to bail on some skiing plans and check out the boat show. I’ve heard of the boat show since I was a kid yet I really have never been from what I recall. I might have been once but I don’t remember it. I knew of such things as ‘boat special’ prices on equipment and that’s worth checking out if only to save money on purchases I plan on making anyways in the future. I was hoping to go home with a new chart plotter but I have my heart set on a brand new Garmin that they are shipping in February. I stopped by the Garmin booth to check it out and ask some questions about how to get my other network data from Seatalk and of course they had no idea how to do it. I thought I was going to give it more time to ponder but then I wandered by the Vesper Marine booth and decided to break down and but their combo XB-8000 Class B AIS transponder and antenna splitter.
A quick stop by West Marine to pick up another terminal block and the parts to make an antenna cable and I was ready to get it done. I started by tracing the existing wiring I used to install the VHF radio and then removed the existing non-functional GPS. Then I installed the new GPS, removed the unused wiring and then began putting it all together in a locker near the VHF radio at the navigation station. Since I’m going to power it at the same time I’m broadcasting VHF it made sense to use the same circuit as the VHF radio. Both the transponder and splitter draw very little amps but I may later decide to add a switch in case I only want the VHF radio operating without transmitting my AIS position. It really depends on if it draws more amps than I’d like.
One quick piece of advice about getting the iPhone and iPad setup. Follow the video on YouTube and you cannot go wrong. I accidentally switched a couple of things that lost the GPS signal. After watching the video I fixed my issue and was up and running. Once the installation was complete I went to both my iPad and iPhone to connect to the wifi that the transponder was broadcasting and then was able to see all of the other AIS broadcasting vessels in the area. Some were class A and others were class B. I’m still learning what the other data they are broadcasting and probably won’t see much until I install the chart plotter and send it the AIS data and also pipe the GPS data to the VHF radio.
One thing I noticed about the iPad vs iPhone app was that the iPad version had names for each AIS target where the iPhone app only had their MMSI number showing. Otherwise they were both doing what they needed. Also previously I was using a bluetooth GPS unit to get GPS data onto my iPad but I now have a new dedicated GPS for any device that needs it.
So really today was supposed to be about installing a new bilge switch or skiing in the great weather but I decided to make it an AIS installation day and so it was. As far as the boat show goes, I really wish they had more vendors specializing in solar and wind. I only saw one panel and the guy seemed to want to push it and argue that panels weren’t for charging a battery. Boat show fun!
I’ve been drafting and researching the freshwater system for a few months when I have spare time and have come up with some solutions I would like to share. I’ve decided to install Sharkbite branded fittings so replacing a pipe or fitting is as easy as possible. Also the piping is blue from the holding tanks and red from the hot water tank. This will make tracing easy as well at no extra cost. Inside of the engine compartment on the hot water side I have enclosed the piping with foam pipe insulation to help prevent heat loss in the unheated portion of the boat.
The plumbing from the deck fitting to the tank is 1 1/4″ sanitary hose and schedule 80 PVC with hose clamps. Removing the hose is simple as the barb tank fitting is not exactly 1 1/4″ which means removing the tanks for cleaning will be a little easier over time. I contemplated over going with 1 1/4″ pex but decided to make the deck plumbing more permanent. The main argument? It’s a pain in the ass to route the hose from the deck fitting to the tank. Hopefully I never have to replace the hose.
The tank vent is 1/2″ npt so I chose to join the vents with a ‘T’ fitting and pex tubing, then at the end opted for a brass breather vent to prevent debris from entering the supply line and also close the vent down as small as possible to prevent any water overflowing out of the tank from flowing at the same rate as the rest of the system. The idea being that the tanks will be full of water and start filling up to the deck fitting so you know when to turn off the water. The vent only leaks a small amount of water out into the bilge until you can run water through the galley sink to drain out the deck fill hose to a level that prevents the vent from spewing water. The alternative would be to keep an eye on the vent and wait until you see it leaking water and then run up and turn off the water. At that point you’ll have likely gallons of water already in the bilge and then need to clean out the primary bilge after every filling. The photo below is only one example of a vent fitting and I accidentally opted for something different which is simply a screen inside the fitting with a tiny hole drilled into the side of the nut portion. It turned out to be the right amount of air for filling with a garden hose at full flow and displacing the water in the tanks while consuming the supply. The interesting thing about vent fittings is that there isn’t already a solution out there and everyone is left to their own accord on solving this problem.
A ball valve for each tank will allow me to isolate the tank output for any reason. The previous valves were sitting low enough to be in contact with water in the bilge. The new valves sit three inches above the bilge instead of one inch. The photo below shows the ‘T’ above the tanks but I decided to move it down so the second tank would fill once the first one was half filled.
Tank to the pump
A water meter tracks the total amount of water that has passed through the freshwater system. This way if I do end up filling the tanks I can know exactly how much water I have left without eyeballing it. I can also log usage for replacing the water filter or simply to keep track of my daily and weekly average water use. I thought about getting a digital display but felt analog would be just fine since I will be in the engine room often enough. The meter is quite massive and heavy at likely five pounds but looks like it will last for the duration of Satori’s life and provide dependable service without requiring any electricity and very little maintenance. It’s located in an inconvenient place for reading the meter but I remedy this by taking photos of the meter for logging using my iPhone, which seems to be better for keeping track. Also the mount had to be custom built as you can see below it is odd shaped.
A strainer eliminates any large particulates that make it into the tank or rust that may come from the tank itself. This will attach to the input port of the pump. A 4.5 gallon per minute, variable speed pump delivers water pressure (35 psi) and freshwater throughout the boat. Variable speed pumps eliminate cycling using a solid state pressure sensor to regulate flow. Simply turn the water to your choice of volume and the pump will maintain a constant pressure flow without the need for an accumulator.
Pump to manifold
A 3.5 gallon per minute freshwater whole system filter eliminates most contaminants and provides clean freshwater at a reasonable cost. The filter will not eliminate the need for potable water and I would never want to introduce water that has not been treated to eliminate hazardous organisms such as giardia or cryptosporidium, which would make anyone ill from drinking. It will filter water down to .2 microns which eliminates everything I’m concerned about from most potable water sources.
I debated on purchasing a manifold of solid copper with sharkbite attachments but the manifold presented a few problems I did not like. First off I was stuck with adding a 3/4″ to 1/2″ sharkbite reducer just to install the manifold into the system. Also the manifold seemed a bit excessive for simply distributing freshly filtered water so I opted for “T” fittings instead. The cost is about $36 for the manifold and $6 for the reducer but only $12 for three “T” fittings. They can be fitted closely together and accomplish the same thing and I can just add another “T” if I want to tee into the line pretty much anywhere I want.
Filter to hot water tank
A check valve is placed inline between the filter and the hot water tank to prevent hot water from back-flowing into the cold water lines. Since I’m running a variable speed pump, no need for an accumulator.
Currently I’m plugging the pex tubing straight into the hot water tank and then to flexible hose with Sharkbite fittings on both ends. I plan to replace the pex with copper on the tank end for long-term use as it’s better suited for near tank plumbing.
Hot water tank to radiant heater
A temperature gauge at the heater outlet allows me to visually see what the current temperature of the hot water is at any moment. If the tank has been off for some time I can check to see if it’s ready. If the tank registers unsafe temperatures I can switch the tank off or possibly add a mixing valve if necessary. Either way it’s added peace of mind.
A pressure gauge at the heater outlet allows me to monitor hot water pressure for the same reason I am monitoring the temperature; peace of mind for just a little extra money.
After the gauges I have a 2.2 gallon per minute solar pump so hot water is circulated throughout the boat and allows for instant hot water for any of the faucets on the boat. This prevents wasted water while waiting for the hot water to warm up in the bathroom, which is common in regular households with hot water tanks. The pump is wired with a simple rocker switch that can be operated from the bathroom in case the hot water heater is on and I’m not running the forced air heater to supply instant hot water to the bathroom sink as needed. I debated over the switch location and this seems to be the most logical location as it also supplies the heater with power in the same circuit as the pumps.
A ‘T’ sends hot water to the cockpit and then out to the rest of the boat to begin a recirculation loop. The loop heads forward with another ‘T’ to the galley sink and down under the floor in the salon on the port side to provide a little extra heat to assist in heating the cabin from below the floor. The loop then heads up to the bathroom sink and another ‘T’ provides hot water for the bathroom sink. The loop then heads to the forward berth and supplies the Dickinson Radex forced air heater with hot water to blow warm air into the forward part of the boat.
Heater back to hot water tank
The loop then heads back to the salon under the floor on the starboard side to provide a little more heat and finally back up to the hot water tank, which completes the hot water circulation loop. This is also known as an open hydronic system.
All of the plumbing fittings are ordered from PexSupply or at my local Home Depot, which carries most of the basic Sharkbite fittings. Home Depot does not have any manifolds, gauges or check valves so if you’re planning on building a similar setup, expect to buy some parts online and the basic fittings as you need them at your local Home Depot. I underestimated the amount of elbow fittings I would need and suggest that if you’re going to use Sharkbite that you buy plenty of these parts to make the routing much easier. Also, Sharkbite fittings are expensive but when I did the math for hose clamps plus the same barb fittings it seemed about a dollar more per fitting. The pipe is less expensive than quality marine water hose so it might only be a little more. I’m not entirely finished with this project yet as the plumbing and electrical needs to be secured and some rerouting would be nice to tidy the engine compartment but it’s nice to have water back on the boat once again.
Finishing this project, I plan on repairing my Dickinson Pacific diesel stove by replacing the water coil that provides hot water to the hot water tank without the need to run electricity. The hydronic system with the heater fan on and pump draws less than 4 amps of power so it should prove to be very nice while away from shore power. I’ll follow up later when the heating coil project is complete. There is also an option to plug in a calorifier that uses hot water from the engine to heat the hot water tank. It would be nice to have another source of heat for the tank and the hot water tank already has fittings so I may also plumb in another pump for this as it does not look too difficult. I’m still debating the need so I’ll reassess once my Dickinson coil is in place.
This weekend is the Seattle Boat Show, which puts me into another project of getting a new chart plotter and radar. I’m hoping for a discounted deal at the show. Wish me luck!
I’ve thought about the best way to carry a figurehead aboard Satori. What would it be? Where would it be placed? What purpose does it serve? It’s an obvious choice to have Buddha aboard so this Christmas I employed my mother to choose one for me. My only request was that it be solid brass or bronze and around 6″ in height. She delivered with an excellent choice of which Buddha represents Satori.
Buddha is shown in full Lotus pose with his hands held in the Samadhi Mudra, two palms folded face up one on top of the other holding the alms bowl which contains herbal elixirs used to invoke his healing presence. It’s difficult to determine if this statue represents Gautama or Amitābha but for all intents and purposes both assist in the embarkation toward nirvana. Nirvana is achieved while Satori is underway and the Buddha figurehead carries her karma; both protector and healer.