Friday, April 29, 2011

Sewell tames the VGA beast

This is the "Beast", the unholy mother of all over sized cables on a boat. Its huge square head defies passing through almost any hole or conduit in the vessel. Did I use the word conduit, and boat in one sentence? My apologies for that oxymoronic faux pas. Anyway, I'm not exactly sure what chart plotter manufacturers were thinking when they adopted VGA technology to feed images to monitors and TV's, but they sure didn't give the cabling end of this technology a whole lot of thought.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Murse, black is the new pink. Tools of the trade.

I carried my black net book bag into the bar to download some software I needed, and did not want to forget. I was met with snorts of derision from the women in my life. Dani, our artsy and crafty clever bartender grins said "nice clutch Bill", Kate says "it's his murse" (man purse). Ann snickers, Christine laughs, and Carla just looks aghast, and says "oh my, you need a messenger bag", and immediately starts to search on her Ipad for one. Sigh, it seems the installer is not the fashion plate he thought he was. It was just a black bag, to carry the small computer, and the associated things I use every day. How little I knew that the world of high fashion would take such umbrage.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daiquiri Blender

Date 17 MAR 11 12:20 pm 
From: Richard Fogghi
To: Bill Bishop
Subject: Daiquiri Blender

Dear Mr. Bishop,

I have purchased a Daiquiri blender for my Volupturaptor 40' go fast boat and must have a 12 volt outlet installed before the weekend. Please advise me of the exact cost. The boat is located at the downtown marina in slip C-20

Thank you, Dick

Date 17 MAR 11 3:42pm 
From: Bill Bishop
To: Richard Fogghi
Subject: Re: Daiquiri Blender

Dear Dick,

I visited your boat. I can see you're a man of continental tastes, and it has quite the colorful, and furry interior. I assume you would want the outlet installed in what passes for a galley on your boat. I need to know how many amps your new blender requires. The cabin wiring just supports the red LED cabin lights, the rope lighting around the bed, and the stereo. It certainly can't take the additional load of a blender. 

Regards, Bill

Friday, April 15, 2011

The marine installer's glossary

Amateur - Criminy, 20 amps, and he used wire nuts and lamp cord for god's sake.
Arcy sparky - Oops!  
Atocha - Any overpowered, loud, purposeless vessel piloted by someone with an Atocha coin hanging on a gold chain from their neck. Vessels are also often populated with scantly clad augmented females, tunes, and lots of liquor.
Bilge pump - a small inexpensive plastic pump, often mounted in a very difficult area  to access, that requires charged batteries.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Proprietary isn't propriety

It must be by design that technology in life is never simple, and in some cases it can be infuriatingly excruciating. This little adventure follows Jerry's efforts to interface an outboard motor via NMEA 2000 to his chart plotter, and my efforts to assist him. I also want to mention at the onset that Jerry is not slow witted, and did his homework well. It was just the insidious nuances that have bit him. 

Having studied the problem in advance, he ordered the correct interface cables from the outboard manufacturer, only to discover the engine's interface cable would not actually plug into the motor's port. The other end of the cable has some sort of happy colored connector that won't plug into his chart plotter. So off Jerry goes to the forums for help, and he gets it. There are both adapters, and cut and splice options out there, and he buys them. Jerry installs the new parts, turns on the motor, and waits with hopeful expectations, but sadly no data appears. I get a call.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seafair Grand Luxe

Last week I had my head stuck under a console for about a couple of hours, and when I climbed out from underneath, and looked around. My keen powers of observation said something is different here, and how in the world did this vessel even get into the marina? To my knowledge, I think this is the largest vessel to ever port into Sarasota. Let me now introduce you to the Seafair "Grand Luxe". The popular press calls it a yacht, and I won't dispel that term, but in reality, this vessel is a purpose designed floating art exposition venue of substantial proportions. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Press reports of Installers demise inaccurate.

An ugly cold has sidelined me for the past ten days or so, causing the MIR presses to grind to a halt. Despite purported reports in the Weekly World News that this dire infection I acquired was caused by Bat Boy, I think it was really a result of too much fresh air, and a lack of sufficient quantities of Woodford's special reserve cold and flu disinfectant. I will have the presses started again by Monday or soonest. Tnx Bill