Sunday, July 18, 2010

What a dumb idea, stupid, why I oughta.....

This should have been a simple job. A Raymarine E-120 wasn't getting a fix, and the investigation begins. Let's check the power, and antenna wiring. The wiring is by the book, and we have good power. The Seatalk cable is plugged in, so let's make sure that it is the master, and it is. I do a software upgrade, and follow it with two factory resets, and still, the GPS page is blank. So where is the GPS? This is the question of the hour.

It's not on the top of the T-top, and it's not in the electronics box. I looked under the combings, nope, I chase the antenna cable, and find the antenna must be mounted on top of the electronics box. You can see the wire passing through the hole. I had to clear the wiring away just to see this much.

So I reach my hand up to feel where it was, and I couldn't feel it or see it, because someone at the factory had covered the entire area with two part foam, I guess to seal the two small holes passing though the electronics box. The actual GPS was fully encapsulated in several inches of foam. This is one of the areas in a boat, where you can look, or you can get one hand in, but you can't do both at the same time.

It took about an hour to excavate around the GPS enough to free it from the box. Two part foam is very tenacious and the GPS was well adhered to the electronics box, but with the judicious application of numerous explicatives, and some hard digging with my fingers, the GPS finally was removed. The point of the exercise was to see what the little LED on the Raystar 125 was telling me. It couldn't tell me anything, because the chemicals in the two part foam, had obscured the clear port you look through to see the LED status.

I happened to have a new GPS in the truck, and when I plugged it in, the unit immediately started to blink happy green, and within a minute, we had a position fix. So what was wrong with the original unit, we will never know, maybe the foam out-gassed fumes that got into the unit, or maybe stuff just happens.

Recapping the moral of the story, there had to be many other ways to seal the two small penetrations through this box, and I think the worst possible way to do it was to use two part foam. It made pulling new wires through the existing holes almost impossible, it was ugly, unprofessional, crudely done, and I'm going to revoke the boat rigging licence of who ever did this, if I ever catch him. I do have my sealing suggestion below, and don't confuse this with 3M 5200, or I will revoke your licence also. 

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