Saturday, December 10, 2011

Catch 22

Yossarian: Is Orr crazy?
Doc: Of course he is. He has to be crazy to keep flying after all his close calls he's had.
Yossarian: Why can't you ground him?
Doc: I can, but he has to ask me.
Yossarian: That's all he's gottta do to be grounded?
Doc: That's all.
Yossarian: Then you can ground him?
Doc: No. Then I cannot ground him.
Yossarian: Aha!
Doc: There's a catch.
Yossarian: A catch?
Doc: Sure. Catch 22. Anyone who want's to get out of combat isn't really crazy. so I can't ground him.
Yossarian: Ok, let me see if I've got it straight. In order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.
Doc: You got it, that's Catch 22.
Yossarian: That's some catch, that Catch 22.
Doc: It's the best there is.

Welcome to my Friday. This job really isn't very difficult to do. I'm adding a Raymarine wireless autopilot remote control. The boat has a second steering station on top of the hardtop, but there isn't an autopilot control head there. The owner wants to use the pilot while up there. There are two straight forward solutions to the problem. The first is to install a second autopilot control head up top, and hard wire it into the system, or use the Raymarine Smart Controller Wireless Remote. In this case the latter is far easier to implement.   

Installing the autopilot wireless system is simple, as long as you can get to everything, and in this boat I can. The base station is screwed to the bulkhead next to the autopilot computer, and its Seatalk link is connected to the course computer. Piece of cake. The remote display cradle is installed in the console dash, and a Seatalk cable used for charging the remote is installed at the same time. Turn on the pilot, turn on the remote, and it all works. Take the remote up to the second station, and it works there. Job done, I think at the time, what's next on the list?

I get ready to bail out. This boat has a "Security Shield", a plastic panel that slides up and down. This is used to cover the electronics, and protect them from miscreants who might desire your expensive electronics for use on their own boat, or to sell on Ebay for fun and profit. I command the panel to rise, and the great electronic gods giveth me said rise. The battery switches are turned off, and all of a sudden I hear a beeping from inside the security shield. On go the battery switches, the shield is lowered, and the autopilot remote was crying the "Looking for Network" blues because it couldn't find the now not powered base station. Silly installer, I forgot to turn it off, and it's running on its rechargeable batteries. I pick up the unit, and push the Off button. Powering down 3, 2, 1, and the screen goes blank, and just as I stick it back in the cradle, it turns back on, and starts to look for the network. Huh? I try it again, and again just as it shuts off, it turns itself back on. I try again, same result. Not being insane, this is not repeated again, and I call the kids at Ray, and ask about this. Here is my version:

Installer: Am I crazy? I can't turn off the autopilot remote.
Ray: If the remote is connected to 12 volts power, you can't turn it off.
Installer: So wait a minute. If it has no 12 volt power, I can shut it off, but if has 12 volt power I can't?
Ray, That's right. If it has no 12 volt power, you can turn it off.
Installer: But if the security shield needs the 12 volt power to close. I can't turn off the remote's power until the shield is closed. When the shield is closed I then can't get to the remote to turn it off.
Ray: That sounds about right.
Installer: That's some catch, that Catch 22.
Ray: It's the best there is.

So in the perfect world, you can't get there from here. The option remaining is you have to unplug it from the charger circuit, turn it off, close the panel, then you can turn off the battery switches. That's some Catch. 22.

The dialog between Yossarian and Doc Daneekas is verbatim from the movie version of "Catch 22", and not the book by Joesph Heller

That wasn't anywhere near the verbiage used by Ray in the very fictional conversation. But some of the essence is there. They were helpful, and gracious as always.  

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