Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Wirie AP Upgrade Kit

I've used The Wirie WiFi access point for a season with mixed results. At the end of last season, I decided that my USB cable from nav station to transom was too long for consistently good bandwidth. Over the winter, I purchased a USB extender--a signal repeater--but haven't installed it yet. It appears that I never will install it because I won't need to. 

The new The Wirie AP avoids the long USB run and a computer to connect it to by adding an access point to the blue weather box afixed to Speakeasy's stern pulpit rail. Now the USB run is just a few inches. The only connection necessary is a power cable. Once I've added the access point to the box, it gets connected directly to the antennae on one end and to the USB WiFi adpater on the other end. All of this fits snuggly inside the box. Once it is configured, Speakeasy should have local and distant WiFi whenever the power is on. Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cleaning a Bilge Pump

I found that it is possible to clean Speakeasy's bilge pump--a Jabsco model that is still made with a different design. The pump and motor are separate. The pump can be taken apart where one finds various rubber, plastic, and metal parts and fasteners. On the bottom side of the pump is a rubber piece that separates the pump into two chambers similar to a reptile heart. On the top is the oscillating arm that moves the diaphragm up and down, which provides the pressure to move water. Also accessed from the top are two round metal and rubber pieces that move water in one chamber and out the other. These discs also do some straining of the bilge water.

I checked all of the pieces for tears, cracks, and wear. All of the pieces look surprisingly good. One can buy a new diaphragm or a more complete repair kit, but none of the parts appeared to need replacing. What I did find were three bits of plastic that had been sucked into the pump. Two of these bits were from tags on newly purchased clothing that had found itself in the bilge instead of in the trash. On a boat, cleanliness is safety.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Bilge Pump

As I was preparing to have an evening on the water with friends, I noticed a pump sound in the salon. It didn't go away. I climbed half-way up the ladder toward the cockpit to hear if it were coming from another boat. It was not. Speakeasy's bilge pump was running dry. For how long I wondered? What set it off just now, I continued to wonder. There must be an open circuit some where. 

I tested the float switch, which I had just installed last season. It had no effect on the pump so I cut the wire to the pump and went off to West Marine for a new switch. Of course that new switch made no difference. I wasn't thinking clearly. 

Later, I went off to the web to order a new pump. Of course Jabsco would have an exact replacement for a month, so I ordered a similar pump. I had a very good pre-sale experience with the folks at Neu Sporting Goods and am looking forward to a new pump.