Tag Archives: Wiring

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and a long post!


It is now 2017.  So time for an M/V Autumn Dream Update.  As Beth mentioned previously, we are staying in Somerset and have repurchased M/V Autumn Dream.  This did not break my heart having to buy back such a great boat.  You may remember from a previous blog that when we sold the boat to Dr. Andy he had an extensive survey (physical) performed on the boat to make sure she was as healthy as I was telling him she was.  You may also remember that the surveyor gave this 43+ year old boat a clean bill of health.  So buying her back was a no brainer.  We loved this boat but it was not the right boat for our place in FLA.  Getting her back we are now doing a few upgrades that we were planning to do before we sold her.  Some of the upgrades include the new Pilothouse headliner which Beth has already blogged about.  Before physically re-installing the headliner panels in the overhead we had decided that we wanted to insulate the overhead (pilothouse ceiling) area that the headliner covers up.  Want to insulate to make the Pilothouse a bit cooler and maybe a little bit quieter as the insulation will absorb reflected sound.  The insulation part is a quick and relatively easy job.  However being a boat ……..   So the quick and easy job gets a bit longer.

OK so not as a result of the headliner job but this is a good time to do it since the headliner is removed.  I’ve always wanted a second multi-function display (MFD) in the pilot house for redundancy, and also so I could run the radar on one MFD and the GPS on the other MFD when navigating in crap weather.  Currently we do a split screen on the MFD with both the radar scan and the GPS chart displayed.  Not a big deal in good weather when you can look outside and see what is around you in addition to looking at the MFD screen.  i.e. other boats, rocks, islands, big ships.

Our existing electronics (radar, GPS, VHF Radio etc.) are from the stone age (pre-digital).   Also with consideration that I had recently replaced the radar array the boat came with, (a pre-stone age vacuum tube display) a more current stone age array to match up with our existing stone age MFD.   I figured that due to all the new digital navigation equipment now being sold, I should be able to purchase a second stone age MFD for short money.  So it was now time to go out to the world to look for a second Raymarine C-series  MFD.  Well there’s tons of Raymarine C-series MFD for sale as everyone is upgrading.  However because there are many others like me (read cheep bastard) who wish to save a few $$$$ the second hand market is showing strong prices for MFD that are in less than optimal condition.   Well after a protracted search, I managed to find a Raymarine C-80 MFD in Salem MA.  For a fair price and in reasonably good condition.  Only issue no power cable.  So to the internet to look for a cable.  New replacement cables from Raymarine are about $50.00.  Found a used cable for about $19.00 including shipping!  The internet is a great place some times.

As an unexpected bonus the “new” MFD came with a local area chart card.  These electronic chart cards are about $200.00 for a specific region.  So since this was an unexpected bonus (I was only going to run the radar through this MFD and not the GPS).  However since I have the card I can now also use this as a back-up GPS to the other GPS.   However to utilize the GPS chart card you need a GPS antenna.  That means you have to feed the MFD GPS data and the data comes from the add-on items like GPS antenna.  In the event of a failure I could use my existing GPS antenna and move the cable from one unit to the other, but no wait!  That’s not all hmm…..   I could get a used GPS antenna!  Redundancy Redundancy!

With this requirement to use the new toy to the fullest…  Well now off to look for a used Raymarine GPS antenna.  A new Raymarine GPS antenna that will work with this MFD will set you back about $400.00.  So M/V Autumn Dream being a boat you can see that BOAT actually is an acronym for = Break Out Another Thousand.  Back to the internet revealed many used GPS antennas that “may” work starting cost at about $75.00 up to $300.00 used.  You may also remember that we love Marine Consignment in Fall River.  Before going on internet for any of these used items Beth and I spent several hours picking through the racks of equipment and stuff and talked to Bill!  Well unfortunately no MFD or cable, but wait he did have a Raymarine GPS antenna but he did not know the status of the battery in the antenna.  So for the very reasonable cost of $25.00 USD we had a GPS antenna.  I did have to take it apart and check the battery and I found it was dead.  This particular unit does not have a replaceable battery but once again through the wonders of the internet I learned how to replace the battery and test the unit.  Long story short, all is well and I now have a $30.00 functioning second Raymarine GPS antenna. (antenna + battery, and of course a $15.00 mount for the antenna, because this new mount looks cooler than just surface mounting the GPS to the roof of the Pilothouse)

OK where was I going with this?  Oh Yea!  So as a result to do the electronics updates and insulate the Pilothouse overhead and replace the headliner I need to move the radar cable and run a new cable for the GPS antenna.  Oh also in the process of doing the cable and insulation work I decided to replace the VHF radio remote speaker which also goes in the overhead!  So as of January 1, 2017.  The new MDF and GPS antenna is purchased and tested to be good.  All the cabling is completed except installing the GPS antenna and running the wire to the MFD location.  The GPS antenna requires some fiberglass work on the Pilot House roof so that will wait till spring.

Current project status:  All insulation is installed.  New VHF remote speaker is installed and wired back to the location of the VHF radio.  To accommodate the new MFD I had to run a new electrical circuit and re-work the helm console.  All this is done and when spring arrives a few hours of work will see two MDF’s, a new headliner, new GPS antenna and VHF speaker in the pilothouse!    Some photos of the work.



Pilothouse with old headliner


Old radar and MFD installed in console.  Old radar removed a few years ago and location of MFD was moved to where the old radar was in this picture.


Pilothouse overhead with headliner removed


Starting to remove cabling and the old remote VHF speaker


Who ordered a boat taco?   M/V Autumn Dream all bundled up for a cold New England winter!


Insulation installed and cabling well underway.


Who ordered the spaghetti?  Actually this is a reasonable well organized control console, I am running the new power cable for the new MFD which will eventually fill the open hole on the left in this picture.  


Blurry phone photo of completed (mostly) insulation and cabling reinstalled for radar etc. 

Finally owning a boat is no fun without a way to get to the boat on when you keep it on a mooring.  To get to the boat on a mooring you either swim or take another boat to your boat.  In our case we have a small boat called dinghy.  In our case it is an old Dyer that I have been in the process of continual maintenance.  The dinghy is really a work horse and she takes a ton of abuse as your big boats tender.   We use her to move – us, food, water, fuel, luggage, wine etc.  So she occasionally needs love.  As you can see in the following photos she is back in my shop getting some much needed love.  She will get some minor fiberglass work and paint this winter.  Also Dr. Andy bought some perimeter gunnel guard to put on the dinghy to help protect the mother ship from scrapes.  This too will be applied once the painting is completed.  Some photos of the work in progress for your amusement!


Sanding paint to raw fiberglass to prep for some new fiberglass


Close-up of sanded area almost ready for a filet prior to fiberglass tape.  Filet is to reduce the curvature that the fiberglass has to make.  Fiberglass does not like to make a 90 degree turn.  Likes a radius better!


Filet done and curing.  Next step will be a strip of fiberglass or 3 or 5 to complete this step.  Then sand, sand, sand.  Then finally paint!   More to come!


Peace, Joy and Happiness be yours in 2017 wherever your world takes you.


Boat Work, Part 1

On most weekends, at least one day has been spent by Kevin (and sometimes me)  working on Autumn Dream’s winter projects.  Kevin has a very reasonable list to accomplish before the 2011 boating season.   I have my own list of projects (mostly sewing/canvas work).  He spent some time in the workshop making very nice speaker boxes from Mahogany (salvaged from another boat) for some Cambridge Soundworks “in the wall” speakers we no longer were using in the house.   Last weekend he installed the speakers in the pilot house, part one of installing the stereo system.

The location of the speaker wires in the boat was a complete mystery.  There are speakers in the main salon, but we didn’t know where the wires were run.  Jim (the former owner) said the speaker wires were grey and ran thru the engine room.  In a fit of frustration, Kevin pulled the speaker covers off in the main saloon and we tried to trace the wires under the headliner.  They appeared to disappear without a trace.  We pulled off many pieces of moulding in the pilot house and found the wires (black and white) then spliced onto red and yellow wires.  These actually were traced to exactly where he wanted to install the stereo (over the helm) but they were attached to more wires that then went back the way they came…  After a while he gave up and I decided to trace them some more… and we discovered that they did go down into the engine room and ended up in the stateroom – hidden in the hanging locker (that’s a closet for you non-boaters) and the over in a wall somewhere.  This used to be a party boat and the stateroom was bar central.  Mystery solved, speakers now can all be hooked up to the stereo.  Photos show the new speakers and boxes, and the wiring mess that is actually much better than when Kevin first found it.  If you know Kevin, you know that he will leave it neat and tidy when all the wiring is completed.

While he was wiring, I spent several very exciting hours carefully pulling 1,999,997 staples plus about 30 carpet tacks out of the ceiling in the stateroom to remove most of the forward section of headliner.  We needed to remove the headliner so we can install the two new opening hatches purchased earlier.  The hatches will fit as hoped and there were no scary surprises when I pulled the headliner down (and no bugs!). 

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