Tech Net C


Query: I am using a 110 V, 450 watt cable wrap heater, plugged into shore, providing radiant heat to the cockpit sole and cabin. With GFI, is it a safe thing to do?
Comment:
Probably. It shouldn't be a problem to leave it on if you're onboard.

FYI:
Force 10 brand has been bought by Dickinson. (Shining Star)

THINGS THAT WORK
Webasto diesel heaters work well and reliably. Uses only 1 gallon of fuel for over 8 hours. (Beluga)

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Query: Any advice on LED replacements for standard bulbs?
Comments:
They come in warm and cool light. Warm is closer to incandescent light.
The 19 or 20 LED clusters make excellent reading lamps.

Innovative Lighting brand [thumbs down]
The fixtures failed after only ten hours of use. They are/were 6" fluorescent tubes; 7 watts.

(also LED lighting)

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Query: What's the best way to clamp the wire bundle at the top of the mast?
Comments:
Use a special cable tie that has it's end secured to the mast. (Blue Jacket)
Wrap Rescue Tape around and through the bundle.

Issue: The wires on a ribbon cable are frayed rendering it useless.
Comments:
They are difficult to repair.
To make a temporary fix, carefully peel back the insulation and bridge all gaps on broken wires.
Go to Digikey for a replacement cable.
Search e-Bay listings for a replacement cable.

THINGS THAT WORK
Large sized shrink-wrap tubing can be used for insulating female quick-connect terminals. (Salty Paws)

Bread tabs (the flat plastic tabs found on bread bags) can be used on cables as ID tags. (Scaramouche)

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Query: What's best to use for cleaning cameras and other lenses?
Comments:
Use a mild solution of vinegar and water. (Mon Amie)
Use an eyeglass spray solution. (Valkyrie)
Use UV filters on cameras as a cheap throw-away. (Scotch Mist)

Before buying a new camera, go to dpreview, a non-advertising site for camera comparison. (Salty Paws)

Disposable cameras have expiration dates listed. Most will still work after that date (2-5 years). Store in constant temperature and humidity, away from sunlight, UV, and heat. Storing in the fridge is a good place.

CAMERA RECOMMENDATIONS:
See Jimages Photo Tips

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Fix a broken can opener.
Use stainless fishing leader to wrap behind the wheel of a two-wheel can opener when the wheels fail to make contact. (Salty Paws)

FYI:
In a pinch, use a standard church key for opening cans by punching around the perimeter. (Salty Paws)

(more galley tips)

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Query: How to tension Sunbrella between poles.
Comment:
Use polyester lines with the holed soft webbing from Sailrite.

Query: Is Makrolon as an acceptable replacement for isinglass? It's like Lexan, but very thin.
Comments:
Its not flexible, but it's very good for stationery uses.
It's got anti-scratch and UV protection on it.

Issue: Folded isinglass cracked in very cold weather.
Comments:
Will probably need replacing.
Use a piece of sail tape as a temporary fix.
Use packaging tape as temporary fix.
RV suppliers have 4" wide tape for canvas that could work.
Put a hole at the end of the crack for stress relief.
Cracking potential increases as the material ages, and outside temperature goes down.
Avoid rolling or folding isinglass if temp is below 50 F.

Query: Can zippers be sewn directly to isinglass?
Comments:
Not recommended. The thread will cut through to the edges and tear out the zipper.
A backing of canvas or webbing will prevent tears and secure the zipper.

FYI:
Sewing repairs on canvas can be more durable by using sail-makers thread. The Sailrite Catalog carries a good variety. (Blackfoot)
Profilen thread is best for sunbrella. It's supposed to last the life of the fabric. (Beluga)

CLEANING
Toilet bowl cleaner removes rust stains from canvas. (Dyad)

CLEANING SUNBRELLA
For heavy cleaning use 1 Cup bleach and 1/4 Cup dish soap in 1 gallon of water. You can add 1 Cup vinegar to this if you want. (Do not use detergent.)
Dry brush the sunbrella with a soft brush. Then apply soap mixture and soft brush it in. Allow to soak for 15 minutes. Hose off and air dry. (Dyad)
Dish soap, ammonia, and hot water will work well. (St Jude)
Oxy Clean really works. Soak but don't agitate. (Salty Paws)
White vinegar mixed 50/50 with water. Use a soft brush. (Mon Amie)
Apply a bleach solution with a paint brush to clean mildew spots.
Use Woolite. (Cat Tales)

PROTECTING
Issue: I need to patch sunbrella. What works?
Suggestions:
Find a patch for polyester.
UV could be a concern, place the patch on the shady side.
Use sticky-back dacron as a temporary patch.
Contact cement will hold a patch.

Query: What will help waterproof outdoor sunbrella?
Comment: Scotch Guard or 303 Fabric Guard.

Use as piping on dodger rails to protect isinglass. (Mon Amie)

Renew snaps by cleaning them with Scotch Brite, then use a bit of oil for protection. (Evening Star)

Marykate Canvas Waterproofer. Comes in a pump spray. Spray two coats on clean canvas. Inexpensive and durable. (Destiny)

To extend it's life, freshen the color and protect it all at the same time, Paint the Canvas with siliconized elastomeric coating.(C_Language)
Update:
The roof coating on my canvas is still working well after 6 years. I recently repainted with a second coat. This coating is mostly self-healing, also protects the stitching. [2014] (C_Language)
Kool Coat is a similar product that costs less at WallyWorld. (Valkyrie)

WATERPROOFING FORMULA
1 part Spar Varnish, 4 parts mineral spirits.
Stir vigorously and apply with a spray bottle; like the kind 303 comes in. As you would expect with a spray bottle, we probably did not get a very uniform coverage, but you couldn't tell that after it dried. It's been working great for a couple of years. Will do it again when required. (Barefootin via Sandpiper)

RECOMMENDATION
Rockywoods Fabric in Boulder, CO has great prices on Sunbrella. They also carry some open weave, see-through fabric for sun shades which is sturdy and looks like it will last 'forever.' (Valkyrie)
Comment:
Textilene fabric is great for sunshades too. (Kumbaya)

(also mold & mildew, upholstery, waterproofing)

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Query: How to best prep a car for long-term storage?
Comments:
Disconnect the battery.
Add air to tires if storing in cold weather.
Use Sta-Bil in the fuel tank.
Trickle charger.

To discourage pests:
Place mothballs under the engine compartment to discourage rodents.
Use cedar oil spray as a repellent for bugs. It's a pet store purchase. (It's also good for mosquitoes, gnats, mold and mildew.)

(also insects)

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Query: Will SilPruf work to seal fixed ports?
Comment:
Yes. This product needs to cure overnight and is compatible with stainless. It remains soft and pliable.
SilPruf stays flexible and lasts for years after application. (C_Language)

To determine the shelf life of 3M caulk, look for the lot code on the top of the tube. The first four digits is a Julian date. Their caulk has a 12 month shelf life.
Example: 0 - 123 means it was manufactured in 2010 on the 123rd day. (Calypso)

Polyurethane caulk will not cure if there's any alcohol around. I had cleaned and prepped the surface area with brake cleaner, which has methanol in it. That was enough to prevent curing. (Dyad)

THINGS THAT WORK
Store silicone caulk in the freezer. It will keep for years.

Use a bit of dish soap on your finger to help tool silicone caulk smooth without it sticking to your finger. (C_Language)

RECOMMENDED
A product called Caulk Saver is used to seal an open tube of caulk to keep it fresh and workable between jobs. (Beluga)
You can get a six pack of these through Amazon for about $2. (C_Language)

(also butyl tape, glue)

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Issue: New installs of Captain crash.
Comment:
Install wmm to main directory to fix it. It has to do with fixing the time/dat/magnetic variance which became problematic in 2011. Google wmm.dat to find it.

Issue: I'm using an old version of Captain and it will not recognize bsb files.
Comment:
Some charting software requires and only recognizes the .KAP file extension.

Query: I'd like to keep my digital chart files by region. How do I do this?
Procedure:
If you like to keep your charts in folders by region, then:
1. Download the region that you are interested in from the NOAA site.
2. Expand the downloaded zip file, and copy the entire contents to a new folder called, for example, "NOAA Region 3"
3. Point your charting program to the new folder.
4. Do this for each region you want to download.
If disk space is critical, most charting software will work OK if you delete the .BSB files, and keep only the .KAP files.

Query: On vector charts, where is the "Note A" that's referenced?
Comments:
It's held in a text file on the electronic charts.
It's found inside the chart book on paper charts.

Query: What program can I use to open and use electronic charts?
Suggestion:
OpenCPN. Start the program then use the tool bar icon to open your charts.

FYI:
Keep paper charts aboard as backups.

RECOMMENDED
ChartAid program is software that can be purchased online. It uses images from Google Earth and overlays it onto charts from any navigation program you're already using. Useful for seeing sandbars, shallows, etc.

USACE for current depth and clearance of the Okeechobee. (Kismet)

SOURCES
Print paper charts nauticalcharts.noaa.gov (Shining Star)

Charts are free to download at Office of Coast Survey (NOAA). They're updated annually and the site interface has been improved. Raster and Vectors are available. (Salty Paws)

S57 Vector charts available from NOAA have been improved.

More Sources for Marine Navigation Charts

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Issue: My Garmin Plotter hangs up when I scroll off the screen.
Comments:
It's trying to reduce the level of detail on large charts.
It may be a memory card corruption; reload.
Unplug everything then re-plug; it may realign pin connectors. (Puddle Jumper)
Clean the connections on AIS NMEA bus and input. (Dyad)

Issue: On Windows 8, OpenCPN can't find Garmin Etrex 10.
Comments:
Download the latest version of OpenCPN.
Check serial port settings.

Issue: Unable to remove an unwanted waypoint on Raymarine. Rebooting doesn't work and it's been serviced twice.
Comments:
Move the waypoint on top of the current route. It should disappear after it's been reached.
Stop the plotter while underway then restart it.

Query: I'm installing a new chart plotter. Can it interfere with the compass?
Comments:
It seems unlikely because it's a common set up to have them close. Probably factory tested.
Ours is mounted one foot from the compass and have never noticed any deviation.

Issue: Raymarine auto setting for magnetic variations changes randomly.
Comments:
Check wiring on GPS.
Look for the diagnostic mode and run it.
Unplug the unit then re-plug it to force a reset.
Contact customer service through their website; excellent response time. Don't bother calling them on the phone; poor response there.

Issue: The power switch on my Garmin sometimes fails to work.
Comments:
Check all connections, especially to the buss bar.
Check the voltage by using a light bulb to see if there's a draw.
Check the connections in the switch itself.

Issue: My Raymarine chart plotter fails 1 out of 10 times when tracking is used.
Comment:
Check chart plotter to auto pilot configuration.

Issue: My Garmin shows the landmass rotating anywhere from 40-360 degrees using Course Up, Boat Centered. It does this even while secured to a dock. If I shut autopilot off, the problem stops. I have re-calibrated the compass.
Comments:
Try North Up rather than Course Up.
Tweak options on the menu.
What you describe, is typical of Course Up.

Issue: My Raymarine E80 display goes dark intermittently.
Raymarine no longer manufactures this model and says it's not their problem.
Suggestions:
It may be a voltage ripple on the 12VDC supply wires to the plotter. The supply lines may be too close to a 110 VAC line going to another instrument.
Don't allow the power supply lines to run parallel for a long distance, in order to reduce interference. Cross the two wires at right angles if possible.
The chart plotter may like a bit of physical warmth to reliably start the LCD backlight.
You may try to download new firmware to chart plotter via an SD card at raymarine.com software updates.

Issue: The screen blanks out occasionally on my E80 Raymarine chart plotter. It does this about 40 times a day for a few days at a time.
Comments:
It could be a poor connector.
Take it off the boat and activate it on a 12 volt supply to determine if it's the plotter itself or the wiring on the boat.
HEADS UP:
If using a Garmin chart plotter offshore, zoom in occasionally to see detail of shallows or other sea mounts. (I Wanda)
Comment:
That should also be done if using CMS charts.

FYI:
Navionics on an iPhone can download charts for $10 for the Southern Caribbean. Since all is built into the phone, you do not need to be in cell range. [November 2010] (Scaramouche)

Garmin 152 tide update software can be found at Garmin.com

RECOMMENDED
Brookhouse makes a good NMEA data multiplexer. (Itchin)

(also OpenCPN)

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Ciguatera is an accumulated poison found in large reef fish. Neurological problems may develop from eating these fish. Barracuda, some jacks, hog fish, and black grouper are the fish most likely to carry ciguatera; there may be others.
Rule of thumb: Avoid reef fish over 30". (Salty Paws)

Read more

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Query: How to remove pen ink from skin?
Suggestions:
WD-40 Goo Gone or rubbing alcohol.

RECOMMENDED
Awesome Orange from the Dollar Store is a great cleaner and de-greaser. (St Jude)
Comment: Caution, it may remove decals or paint. (Hydrotherapy)

Barkeepers Friend contains oxalic acid which cleans metal, but won't dull the shine. (Salty Paws)
One tablespoon Barkeepers Friend in a little hot water can be used to soak small stainless steel parts. Leave it a few days and give it a stir once in awhile. Parts will turn out like new. (Dyad)

Borax can be used as a scouring powder. It cuts dirt and grease but doesn't dry out your hands. (Dyad)

Microfiber Cloths make clean up real easy. They pick up better than regular rags. (Mon Amie)

Streak Free Microfiber Cloths. These are different than the fuzzy cloths. Use them without soap or other cleaning agents. Especially good on stainless, glass, and plastics. (Dyad)
These are also good for isinglass, reading glasses, etc. (C_Language)
You can clean them in the washing machine, but avoid fabric softener for that will ruin the cloth. (Salty Paws)

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Buy specialized filters in bulk at Amazon.com. My year's supply was under $20. (Valkyrie)

Buy bulk coffee online and save. Coffee Bean Direct. (Dyad)

Coffee Press, aka French Press or Press Pot makes great coffee without traditional paper filters.

Instructions: How to Use a Press Pot

Run the grounds down the sink. It scours as it goes.(Blackfoot, Dyad, Llamados III)

(more galley tips)

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Issue: Staying warm on cold nights.
Comments:
Use an old style hot water bottle. It makes a good bed warmer.

Use fleece sheets; they're better than flannel.
Use an electric blanket.
Wear a cap to bed to retain body heat.
Keep tomorrow's clothes nearby.

(also hot weather, self-care)

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Sometimes physically moving the compass will improve it's performance. (Southern Estate)

When mounting your compass sensor, keep it away from areas where other metal objects will affect it, such as storage areas. (Cat Tales)

Twisting the cables will help reduce interference. (C_Language)

THUMBS UP
Viking Instruments fixed my old compass when rubber seals had failed. (Shining Star)

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Issue: Computer shuts down on it's own. No bsod, no shut-down screen. It will not run on the battery, just the AC adapter.
Comments:
Remove the battery. It may have a short that interferes.
Check inverter integrity with a plug-in lamp, etc.
Check the AC adapter. You may need a more powerful one.
Decreasing the brightness of your screen will reduce power demand.

Issue: My taskbar disappeared.
Comment:
Use your left mouse button and click-drag to get the task bar back from the bottom.

Query: When I shut down, my computer sounds like a loose bag of nails.
Comment:
It's most likely a loose fan or fan blade.

Query: How to remove the old motherboard for replacement?
Comments:
It's simple. Remove it from it's plastic connectors carefully as to not break them. Go slow, take pictures.
Sometimes holding screws are found under stickers.
Search with the phrase "Disassemble [model of your computer]" on YouTube for instructions.
Use Goop to help install the new motherboard.
CPU Burn-in is free software for a new install.

Query: How to get the computer to recognize a new device?
Comment:
Plug in the device, then turn on the computer. The computer will find it and will notify you. Turn on your device.

Issue: Computer cannot find locally stored profile and is losing newly updated programs (XP).
Suggestions:
Create a 'new user' which will be like a fresh start.
Make sure your 'new user' account is given full admin privileges.
Find a site online that will live-scan for virus and rootkit problems.
Worst case: choose a restore point and use it. > Control Panel > Backup and Restore.

Query: Where to find the wireless network controls on Vista?
Comment:
Settings> Network Connections. Right click on "wireless network connections."

Query: Is there a good repair service for an 8 year old laptop?
Comments:
Probably not worth it.
Find a used unit and swap parts.
Upgrade to a new computer.

Query: Is there a power strip available for a laptop that has separate switches?
Comments:
Lamp sockets may have the switches you're looking for to build what you need from scratch.
You could build an automatic relay using a USB port to switch a relay.
Solid state relay has low voltage control. Draws very little current.

DIAGNOSTICS
Showmewhatswrong.com, where you can record all of your screen moves in order to show someone where you're problems are and get some help. This can also serve as a tutorial maker. (Salty Paws)

Ifixit.com is very helpful for step-by-step computer problem solving.(Windswept 4)

Remote Servicing from Compu Doctor aka David Keller, comes highly recommended. He also instructs at the SW Florida PC Users Group in Ft Meyers. Remote servicing can be done from any location. (Blackfoot)

MONITORS
Issue: My secondary monitor displays okay, but across the bottom of the screen, there's a black band with an "out of timing" error message.
Comments:
Try to activate laptop keyboard monitor toggle: internal display, external monitor, or both. This will check all possibilities.
When trying to run both at the same time, timings may not be compatible.
Check your monitor specs.
External monitor adapter; choose "optimal" refresh rate from the Windows Device Manager menu.
Check to see if there's an updated driver for your monitor or video.
Clean up all power connectors.
Update: Success by cleaning connectors.

HEALTH AND CARE
Highly rated, Cruiser Recommended, Free Programs to keep that computer happy and healthy (and a bunch of other freebies too).

For Linux users, take a look at the Linux Gazette. By the way, the editor of this site is a cruiser.

If you believe there are suspicious programs running on your machine, use online sites to check suspicious files. Virustotal.com is a good online source. Free. (Salty Paws)
Comment:
Casper Complete PC Backup System; a purchased program, takes a drive image including the boot sector, which free programs don't touch. (C_Language)

If you're running XP and need to reload while out in the boonies, use TinyXP. It's an option that works without needing authorization. Download it free and make a disk. It will also run on Vista or Win7 machines. (Dyad)
Comment:
wikiHow has full instructions on how to install it. (Blessed Spirit)

For physical care, cut the material from the guts of a furnace filter and use that on your computer vents. Will keep the internals cleaner. (Dyad)

NAGS
On Win7, turn off the UAC to stop the nag messages about security. UAC is mostly used for privacy from kids and bosses on networked computers. (Salty Paws)

PASSWORDS
When it's time to change ALL your passwords:
Come up with a "recipe" to create a password, then you'll have very few steps to remember and have password access anywhere.
1. Come up with a two word phrase of 7 or 8 letters (for example: blue sky).
2. Substitute numbers for two of the letters (b1ue sk7).
3. Insert the first two letters of website into the center (Google.com -> b1ue go sk7).
4. Change those letters up one in the alphabet and capitalize them (b1ue HP sk7).
5. Remove spaces (b1ueHPsk7).
With this recipe, your Yahoo password would be b1ueZBsk7 and Flickr would be b1ueGMsk7.
You can vary your two word phrase, the number substitution, the choice of website letters (like 2nd and 3rd, or the 1st and 4th) and whether to go up one letter in the alphabet or two, or up one on the first and down one on the second.
The important thing is that you remember your personal recipe.
I recently changed our recipe, and it only took about an hour to change all 33 of our passwords. (Salty Paws)

Store your passwords in a text document. Password-protect that document and keep it on a thumb drive, etc, not on your main computer. When you need your password for a site, go to your text document and use cut and paste. This method prevents key-loggers (hackers) from stealing your passwords. (Dyad)

From downloads.com, get the Windows admin recovery tool for re-setting your computer password. (Island Spirit)

HEADS UP
RF can damage laptop touchpads. (Slow Mocean)
Comments:
Use ferrites.
Use a wireless mouse instead.

RECOMMENDED
Zotac 350 motherboard for nav computer. Has no fan, quiet, faster, lower power use, big heat sink, stays cool. (Dyad)
Xenarc Monitors (C_Language)
Sparepartswarehouse has all kinds of parts for computers. (Beluga)
Asus Eee PC. Small notebook computer with a 7' display; fast and portable. Wifi ready, solid state components. Mail order only. (Merlin)
Carputers work well. They use lower power. 12 volts. (Celebration)

Read PC Magazine and PC World to stay up to date. (Lionheart)

FYI
Win7 64 bit legacy drivers are available online.

THINGS THAT WORK
Use a track ball instead of a mouse where space is a consideration. For instance, hold a wireless track ball in place with velcro at the nav station. (Serengeti)
Use a regular thermostat switch for computer cooling. (Shining Star)
A switchable power bar can help save juice for computer stuff. (Salty Paws)

(also internet, software, wifi)

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MEAT REMOVAL
Put the whole conch into a plastic bag and freeze. When thawed, the meat will slip out whole. This does not alter the taste or texture. It also self-tenderizes. (Salty Paws)

Place conch in the microwave for a minute or two. The meat will slide out of it's shell. (Naked Lady)

Use conch meat remnants as bait. (Valkyrie)

TOOLS
Use a carpenter's hammer to create a hole to put a knife into the shell. (C_Language)

Painting POR on conch hammer was an absolute success. It's much better than a rusty hammer. (Valkyrie)
Update: The paint is still holding up fairly well after one year of non-use.

Bahamian Legend says conch will not populate where empty shells accumulate. (C_Language)
Locals leave empty shells on shore so they won't waste time going after harvested shells.

(also fishing & diving, galley tips and recipes)

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Multipurpose Contact Paper
Rolls of contact paper can be found at Dollar General. We use the marbled pattern on our cockpit tabletop. It lasts a long time and the seams don't show, even when overlapped. (Salty Paws)

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Issue: The overflow bottle is overflowing and has antifreeze in it.
Comments:
It may be contaminated with salt water from the heat exchanger.
Check the radiator cap. (Island Spirit)
Check the exhaust elbow for blockage. (Salty Paws)
Make sure the heat exchanger is clean.

Issue: Recently changed fresh water pump and all parts of the system. The original pump lasted 10 years, the new one lasted 6 months.
Comment:
Find a rebuilder and have the spring built up.

Query: Is there a way to detect saltwater in the coolant?
Comments:
Use TDS meter on a non-contaminated sample as a base, and also on engine sample. A higher number on the engine sample will indicate salt contamination.
Use a pressure meter on the coolant to check for possible leaks.

Query: New Cummins engine is creating too much water that's too hot for the hot water tank. How can I lower the temp?
Comments:
Install a flow restrictor.
Change the temp pressure value on the water heater.
Open a hot water tap for a few minutes to relieve the pre-pressure.
Use an accumulator on the tank side of the check valve.

Issue: The fresh water pump for the engine is beginning to fail.
Comments:
Check tension on belt.
Change antifreeze; it may have salt contamination which will destroy seals.
Make sure the seal is seated properly.
Get a rebuild kit. The work should only take 30 minuets or so. Motion Industries and Depco carry kits and parts.

Issue: Older antifreeze appears sort of waxy.
Comments:
It should come out the same color as new. (Beluga)
Use a litmus paper test strip. It may reveal crank case oil contamination.
It may be a from salt intrusion which could cause the waxiness. (Salty Paws)

Query: Impellers need changing every 100 hours or so. Would a larger pump help?
Comments:
Not if carbon buildup in exhaust elbow is the problem.
Increase effective diameter of hose pipe instead.

Issue: Westerbeke 40 engine: antifreeze fills the overflow tank when running and does not return to expansion tank when cooled.
Comments:
It could be saltwater intrusion.
Renew the seal between the antifreeze and seawater.
Check heat exchanger for leaks.
Check radiator cap: clean the gaskets or replace cap.

Query: How often should antifreeze be changed and why is this needed?
Comments:
Yanmar is recommending yearly change for 'extended life' antifreeze.
It needs to be changed due to the additives in it wearing out.
Be religious about changing the coolant.

Issue: Losing coolant from expansion tank on startup.
Comments:
Saltwater may be getting in the coolant. It's easy to detect as the fluid will be cloudy.
Radiator cap may be rusty or corroded. Replace it.
Check the condition of the gasket on the radiator cap.
Update: Success. Replaced the radiator cap. The old one had a missing gasket. (Kite)

Issue: Losing water in the radiator.
Comments:
Loss may be through the heat exchanger.
Check water seal on water pump.
May have a bad head gasket.
Check for leaks in water heater circuit.
A leak in hot water tank heat exchanger would cause an increase in water pressure.
Replace overflow cap.
Bolts may have vibrated loose; some may pass through the water system.
A helpful tool is Leak Down Pressure Tester, about $20 at Harbor Freight.
A stethoscope is also useful to help locate leaks.

Regular antifreeze is not optimal for diesel engines. Zerex G-05 is recommended by Practical Sailor. (Valkyrie)
Comments:
Have been using regular green antifreeze without problems in my 41 year old engine. (Beluga)
Newer engines may be more touchy due to the mixed metals now in use.

New antifreeze formulas are not as robust or long lasting as earlier formulas.

Extended life antifreeze is orange in color.

There are test strips available for antifreeze. (Calypso)
SCA test kit from Car Quest is good. Test strips are also available there. (Evening Star)

Cummins and Detroit Diesel recommend using antifreeze even in non-freezing situations. (St Jude)

Shell Rotella has additives that include antifreeze and it works well.

There are only two or three manufacturers of antifreeze, which is pre-branded at the factory.

FYI
Dex-Cool brand is too acidic for diesel engines and is problematic. (Kismet)

Blockage in the cooling system caused some insulation to melt. Secure all insulation. Years back a Cheoy Lee burned to the waterline from the same problem. (Dyad)

THINGS THAT WORK
Amsoil makes an antifreeze that only needs to be changed every seven (7) years. It's biodegradable. (Puddle Jumper)

Fresh water cooling pump developed a hole about the size of the little finger. Cleaned it out and successfully repaired it with J.B. Weld. (Dyad)

At the next antifreeze change, pour some antifreeze into two glass containers. Add seawater to one, and fresh water into the other. Now you'll see the color difference to be able to identify problems later. (Salty Paws)

A continuity tester: with ohm meter for checking for salt water intrusion. (C_Language)

Recommended Reading
Coolant versus Antifreeze Distinction article by Practical Sailor (Valkyrie).

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Issue: Frozen deck fitting. It has a winch handle fitting on top. I soaked in Liquid Wrench for a few days with no luck.
Comments:
Use PB Blaster.
Tap with a hammer. A shock may induce it to budge.
Use heat to break the bond and o ring.
You may have to remove the entire unit from the deck if it's that stubborn.
Freeze Off aerosol works well. I've had excellent luck with it.
Freeze On is another product that may do well. It's usually used for electronics. (Naked Lady)
Stainless needs a lot of heat or cold to be temperature-responsive due to conductivity.
Add oil before turning because of tendency for stainless to gall. (Bayou)

Issue: Electrolysis damage on underwater bronze fittings.
Comments:
Double check connections of all copper ground connections and ground wires.
Especially check bonding plates.
Check galvanic isolator for operation. To test: disconnect then use test lamp across 12 vol t supply. If bad, it will show zero volts. (C_Language)
A reddish appearance of bronze parts means zinc is coming out of the bronze; zincs may be disconnected or shot.
Check bonding wire system.
Consider de-bonding all through-hulls. Read Calder...

Query: How to fill in and repair corrosion on a sail drive? The leading edge is in water.
Suggestions:
Use muriatic acid to wash out pitted area.
Dremel then clean with Salt X.
Apply epoxy after thorough cleaning. Jam it in, fair it out, then paint.
Defective zinc installation may be the primary cause.
Rough up the zinc first, and install with good contact.

Issue: Corrosion on antenna connector.
Comments:
Use aluminum foil to fill gaps in connection housing.
Use Corrosion Block or Noalox due to dissimilar metals.

Issue: Seized metal parts; aluminum and stainless.
Comments:
Use PB Blaster then Lanocote or Loctite.
Use a heat source if you're not using flammable products.
Use mechanical shock. An impact wrench may be helpful.
Marykate On and Off helped remove a stainless bolt from aluminum. (Dyad)

Issue: Stuck snaps.
Once a year put a dab of Vaseline in each snap for corrosion prevention. (Dyad)

Issue: Stuck zippers.
Suggestions:
Vinegar, soap, wax, or chapstick.
Soak in Corrosion X.
Update: Success. What ended up doing the trick was The Works, a toilet bowl cleaner found in dollar stores. Don't leave it on too long as it will eat the nickel on zippers. It also removes rust stains. (Salty Paws)

Penetrating Oil Test Results On Corroded Metal Joints from an aviation magazine.
Found and submitted by Evening Starlight:

PRODUCT

FOOT LBS

COST PER OUNCE

Force

516

n/a

WD-40

238

.25

P.B. Blaster

214

.35

Liquid Wrench

127

.21

Kroil

106

.75

ATF/Acetone*

53

.10

*automatic transmission fluid 50/50 mix with acetone.
Note:
ATF formula test showed that this worked best to remove seized parts. Apply with a Qtip, let sit for awhile. The acetone acts as a carrier for the transmission fluid. (Abraxis)

ELECTRICAL CORROSION PREVENTION
Penetrox is a conducting grease for aluminum to copper or aluminum to aluminum joints. it comes in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle and product will slowly ooze into contacts. It's good for antennas and corrosion prevention. AES catalog carries it at a good price. (C_Language)
Comment:
Electric Companies use this type of product as it's much thicker than dialectic grease.

To help prevent galvanic corrosion in aluminum tanks, make sure you have no copper in direct contact with aluminum in a wet or damp location. Use stainless washers as isolators if you have copper wire. (Baboo)
Comments:
If it's dry, then you're fine.
Avoid stainless on radio system.
Slather Lanocote on after connection is made.

Never Seez seems to leave graphite behind when liquid dries.
Graphite will corrode aluminum. (Moira)
Their regular formula contains copper, aluminum, and graphite.
They also carry a marine grade formula. (Abraxis)
Never-Seez Blue Moly is graphite-free, keeps steel bolts from permanently bonding to aluminum heads and blocks. (St Jude)

RECOMMENDED
GB Ox-Gard, De-Ox, Noalox and there are probably others.
How are these different from dielectric grease in chemical makeup? I'm not sure, except the dielectric greases I have used on TV, electrical, and communication connectors have always been clear or slightly translucent, while the oxidation suppressor has always been gray. I don't see why the oxidation suppressors wouldn't do the same job. In reading the contents of the little plastic dispenser, I see it has silicon dioxide in it's composition (5% by weight), so I may have to take back my assertion from the other day about these being two distinctly different products. I decided to go look at my antenna connection. I didn't have any dielectric grease the morning I installed it, but I did have some clear silicone Goop, so I used that. This morning I spent 15 minutes with a knife and pliers de-Gooping the connection. It was clean and shiny as the day I put it together two years ago. It wasn't 'clear' anymore, it appeared foggy. Yet the seal was good. The connection was good. (St Jude)

Corrosion Block will protect all connections on things like computers, phones, notepads, etc.

THINGS THAT WORK
Use Tef Gel on things that don't need to be taken apart often. It comes in a small container and lasts "forever." (Salty Paws)

Strike-Hold is another good product for cleaning electrical connections. (Beluga)

No Rust Shield is a small device that can be found in department store hardware sections. It has a timer and lasts 90 days. Use for metal parts/tools in storage. It emits a vapor to prevent rust. (Shining Star)

Naval Jelly and Aluminum Jelly are helpful to remove corrosion. They can be found at automotive stores, WallyWorld, Home Depot, Lowes. Both products received mixed reviews from cruisers; depending on the project. Naval Jelly is most effective on bare steel.
Hoppe's products. It's a line of gun cleaning products that work well for marine applications. Especially recommended is #9 Solvent for removing rust from tools and #9 Lubricating Oil which is anti-corrosion and "Does not harden, gum, or expire." (Salty Paws)
Two or three coats of liquid rope whipping compound, such as Dip It Whip It will also protect exposed wire connections. (Shining Star)
Self-amalgamating tape protects wiring connections that are exposed to the elements. Can be found at West Marine or WallyWorld. (Dyad)

(also Ballistol, Lanocote, Noalox)

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From Cruiser-friendly Grocers:
Great Bridge, VA - Farm Fresh
Georgetown, SC - Piggley Wiggley

Bus Service:
Acadia National Park, ME - Free buses around the park.
Titusville, FL - Free shuttle to various locations.
Vero, FL - Free shuttle from marina; groceries, hardware, etc.

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Affordable Golf Carts for house batteries. Golf cart battery pricing is highly competitive. (Valkyrie)

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty has a good catalog online with many crossover r products that are useful to cruisers. (Evening Starlight)

Bogart Engineering carries TriMetric Battery System; battery monitor. TM2025 was actually manufactured for RVs, but it's more than perfect for our needs. (Trumpeter)

New Holland Tractor carries oil filters, fuel filters and parts for Volvo engines.

TSC Tractor Supply Co. Kubota. Diesel engine parts.

USEFUL RETAIL
Auto Parts Stores
Camping Suppliers
Golf Cart Dealers
Hardware Stores
Industrial Supplies
Truck Supplies

SUBSTITUTIONS
Chain Plate Bedding = Automotive windshield bedding (Pandora)

Clevis Pin = Cotter pin or bolt that's not threaded the entire length (Salty Paws)

Coolant Hose for heat exchanger = Car radiator hose. (Valkyrie)

House Batteries = Forklift Batteries, Golf Cart Batteries

Watermaker feed pump = Bait Well pump (Dyad)

Boat Wax:
Future Floor Wax uses the same ingredients as boat wax and lasts two years. (Solitaire)
BTW, In case you can't locate this product, it's been renamed Pledge Premium Finish with Future Shine.

WHERE TO SHOP FOR...
Pickling Compound
Sodium metabisulfate, which is a compound that will pickle a watermaker, can be found at Home Brewing Suppliers at less cost. (Cat Tales)

Camping Gear
Life Gear LED Glowstick is found in the camping section of WallyWorld. Use as emergency equipment on dinghy. All-in-one LED flashlight, flasher, glowstick and has a built-in whistle. Free battery replacement program included. Inexpensive. (Barefootin)

(also parts)

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Plan ahead. User Fee Decals take 2-4 weeks to process.

Clearing Customs in Florida Call 800-423-1216, and be patient on hold. Give them your info and receive a clearance number.

IMPORTANT
If they require you to make a personal appearance after receiving your clearance number by phone, make haste and make it happen within 24 hours or less... or they'll be VERY unhappy with you. (Windswept IV)

Port Canaveral
Don't transit the lock before checking into customs. (Kokomo)

Local Boater's Option (LBO)
Is reported on the Tech Net to be honored at:
Cape Canaveral
Fernandina (office is easy to find)
Panama City
Riviera Beach
St Augustine
Tampa
(other locations have no first hand accounts reported here yet)

LBO participants may now use the new Small Vessel Reporting System.

If your passport has been renewed after your Local Boaters Option was issued, you need to visit customs in person and give them your updated passport info. (Mon Amie)

FYI
When checking into the U.S. with the Local Boaters Option, tell them so immediately or they'll automatically assume you need regular forms to fill out. (Dyad)

BAHAMAS
Your fishing permit time is not necessarily the same length as your visitation time. Be sure to check your paperwork. (C_Language)

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Query: Can you use Super Glue to help seal cuts on skin?
Comment:
Yes. It was originally designed for this and it will last 3-4 days. It works especially well on paper cuts. It is not recommended for seawater contaminated wounds because these need air and drainage. Apply Super Glue after the bleeding has stopped, so it will adhere.

When using Super Glue, apply a top patch of tissue paper. (Kabria, C_Language)

Super Glue can also be used on cracked heels. (Salty Paws)

A string saturated with Super Glue can be used to wrap around fingers or toes, but don't allow the glue get into the wound. (Moira)

If the glue gets into the wound, it creates a barrier and prevents healing. Just use the glue on the surface skin.

Butterfly patches or band aids with iodine are helpful. (Amazing Grace)

Use Neosporin for a few days. (Cat Tales)

Derma Bond works well in emergencies. Comes in small vials. (Cat Tales)

(also sharps, self-care)

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