Q & A — October 2004
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
| Improving ventilation, solving a battery problem, and more.
I’m a weekend boater and experience a fair amount of “stuffiness” when opening up the boat. Do you have any suggestions for improving the circulation while I’m away? E.B., via e-mail
To prevent this condition, you need to provide for a constant flow of fresh air into the cabin. Leaving hatches open is one way, although rain can exacerbate the situation. Leaving the air conditioning on is another approach that works, but it can lead to an elevated electric bill.
A third possibility is a solar-powered ventilator, such as those made by Nicro. They come in several sizes, and assuming you choose the right-size units and place them correctly, they should go a long way in helping eliminate your problem.
For help in laying out a placement plan for your boat, visit www.marinco.com. According to the company, installation to either a deck or a hatch (as shown here) is easy and can be done by most do-it-yourselfers.
My batteries keep going dead even though I’m plugged into shore power. How do I determine if the problem is my battery charger, the batteries, or a bad connection? S.P. via e-mail
That said, there are some things that you can safely do on your own. After disconnecting your batteries and shore power, start by troubleshooting the basic elements first: Are there blown fuses in the shore-power circuit, on the battery charger, or in your boat’s wiring? Are all connections (especially at the battery) clean and tight? Are all cables and wires in good physical shape, with all insulation intact? Is available shore power reliable and consistent?
If all this checks out, you may want to have each battery subjected to a load test to make sure it is capable of holding a charge. Note that if a battery has a short—this will be revealed by a load test—it can drain all the other batteries connected to it, even if they are being charged by shore power.
This is about as far as a layman should go. If the previous tests reveal nothing, an electrician will begin troubleshooting the battery charger by determining that 120-volt A.C. is reaching it. Using a multimeter, he’ll first check the dockside A.C. supply. The voltage should be between 110 and 125. If it’s less than that, the battery charger may not be able to compensate for the variation of incoming voltage, and its D.C. (12-volt) output will also be low. Next he will apply the multimeter—this time set on the 12-volt scale—to the charger’s output side, confirming it has both the proper amperage and voltage.
How can I keep
the snaps and zippers of my bimini top and enclosures working smoothly?
J.W., via e-mail
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.