Friday, April 21, 2017

Autarkia's Pooper Part 3

I ordered some mini computer fans off Ebay a while ago and was holding off working on the head until they came in the mail.  I have them now.  Also in the meantime, I have got most of the electrical work done - having installed the batteries, solar panels and mounting the electronics.  I still have the VHF antenna to mount as well as the transducer for the Lowrance.  The stereo is installed and working along with Sirius satellite radio which now graces Autarkia's interior with the sounds of Bluegrass, Folk, Jazz and Old Time Country from the seventies and earlier.  If I find my pinkie extended while sipping tea we may even switch to classical....

Anyway, before continuing with the pooper saga, here are some self-explanatory pics of some of the work done so far:

The solar panels are 200 watts in total, and are connected to the deep cycle battery via an MPPT controller.
Nav lights are LED of course...

Oh, and one more little clarification before further pooper discussion:  I'm still going to fit Autarkia with a mast and rig - most likely junk.  But for this summer at least, we want to take her out and enjoy her.  Lorri and I have had a lot to deal with in our personal lives this year - nothing particularly bad - but LIFE nonetheless, and we need to get out and have some fun.  So with a few more little jobs completed we'll start doing that and build a rig next winter.  In the meantime we will fly kites from her deck, shoot the pellet gun at passing flotsam, fish, take pictures and enjoy.

So here is what I did with a mini computer fan.  The fitting is an inch and a half PVC pipe coupler, and I made it into a little turbo to vent the toilet by trimming the corners off the fan, wrapping the perimeter in foam tape, and squeezing it down into the fitting.  The wires got fed out a drilled hole.

I sat it over the vent hole on the toilet have since left it running:

It will exit out the front bulkhead, and per RLW's excellent recommendation, will have a bug screen.  Anyway, what I found out while leaving it running, was that over time even the very heavy plastic contractor's trash bag sucked away from the sides of the pail because everything was so well sealed.  So I will have an inlet pipe directed over the poop so we get a drying wind across it.  That will prevent too low a pressure developing inside.

Here is the pee tube arrangement:

I drilled a one inch hole in the side of the bucket for the tube to exit. 

I installed the tube on the bowl assembly...

And routed the tube out of the toilet through a hole cut in the bag, sealed with tape.

The poop pile will never reach that level; it will be emptied well before that happens.

In Part Four, which should be the last pooper post, I will detail the pee bottle, the air inlet, outside exhaust, and the peat sawdust mixture we will spread on the bottom of the bucket and sprinkle on our droppings.  We'll likely give it a couple of weeks of trial before reporting.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Call Me Crazy

Today I'm going to try and complete the wiring aboard Autarkia.  We have bought solar panels, a controller, a satellite receiver for Sirius music, and the battery box has been built and installed.  I will detail all of this in a post as soon as the  work is complete - probably in the next few days.

The fact is - Autarkia is just about ready for sea trials - sans a sailing rig.

But I have been thinking crazy thoughts.

Consider the following:

1) .  Autarkia has a very reliable and pretty much brand new engine, that is quite fuel efficient (Evinrude Etec 30hp).

2).  Autarkia also has large, uncluttered and unencumbered decks, that we are very fond of.

3).  She is low, stealthy, and sleek looking in her present state.

Given the above, you may think that we are considering abandoning wind power altogether and simply using Autarkia strictly as a power boat.  But that is not the case.

But we have long considered how we would actually SAIL Autarkia given who and what we are, our skill-sets at this stage of life, and how much effort and bother we want to put in to powering the boat with the wind.  And I have always said - probably in the blog previously, that most of our SAILING would be downwind in ideal conditions.

If that's the case (and getting closer to being sure of it) then a rethink of how we might harness the wind is in order.

Firstly, since we would sail only with the wind say - 30 degrees either side of aft - then the lateral resistance of that honkingly big and heavy off-center board I built is not required.  What IS required would be a a couple of smaller skegs (say about 2 sq.ft. each below the waterline) that I could make up with 3/4 inch engineered plastic sheet held in place against her sides with a through bolt and large wingnut to allow them to give way upon striking the bottom.  Also, a smaller rudder could be made up from the same material and of course be designed to kick up as well.  I could make all three items in very short order.

And what then would be capturing the wind in these ideal conditions?

Why THIS of course!

Or Something Like It

A pilot-lifter kite, appropriately sized, is very stable in a range of wind conditions, has a LOT of pull, and is inflatable without any solid spars.  In other words, it packs in to a little bag when not in use.  They can be readily purchased ready-made, or can be sewn up by yours truly from many proven plans that are free online.

Those of you who are so inclined, can do some research on kite-powered sailing, but in a nutshell you will find that most efforts so far employ parafoil designs that are very powerful, but are very unstable as well and must be controlled constantly.  The surfboard crowd who use them for example, fly across the water with these kites way out in front of them at a low angle - not high up - so that the force is in the direction they want to go.  Forward as oppose to up, although there are many examples of people flying up in the air with them.  But to get that forward pull, they must constantly weave the foil in a figure eight pattern ahead of them.

There are also efforts being made by a German company to use kites on cargo ships to reduce fuel consumption.  But again, these are parafoil designs that in this case are controlled with servos and computers.

Which brings us to our very stable and hands-off pilot lifter kite.  It pulls, but as the name implies, it is lifting more than pulling.  The force applied is in most cases at an angle greater than 45 degrees straight up.  A waste of effort in that direction.

But there is a low tech solution I have come up with, though I do not claim to have thought of it first, though as of yet I have not found an example.

It is best explained with this horrible schematic sketch:

Launching large kites can be challenging - especially from a boat.  However, Autarkia with her large fore deck, flat and without the clutter of lines or rigging, would certainly have an advantage over other boats.

I would also have a short mast - say ten feet or so - that could be used in some way to assist in inflating the kite (the mast could also accommodate the anchor and steaming lights).  Three inch aluminum pipe would be more than adequate, and it would be low enough that it could be fixed in place.

Let the controversy begin!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Working on the 12 Volt System

It has been a while since my last post.

The reason is that the pace of work when doing this tedious stuff doesn't provide a whole lot to write about!
Nonetheless, SOME progress has been made.  The galley area has been finished out, and the finishing work yet to do in the sleeping area is going to wait until later.

Our priority now is to get the systems in, and possibly the off-centre board installed so we can take her out and start using her under power.  I fear that her sailing rig may be next winter's project.

So, yesterday I made the DC distribution panel.  It is very simple.  I am using an automotive fuse block and readily available car fuses to protect the circuits.  Lighting, since it is all LED and requires little power, will be on one.  Another will supply the electronics that consist of a VHF, a chartplotter/depthsounder, and a stereo.  A third circuit will supply the fresh water galley pump, the propane shutoff solenoid, and the desiccating fan for the composting head.  There are three spares for later circuits - if any.

I also bought a small 450 watt inverter to run our coffee grinder, stick blender, and a small food processor.  It also can run a computer and has a USB port for charging the phones.  It will come off the battery directly using a fusible link - since it can draw up to 45 amps.  It does not go through the DC panel.

I bought a small deep cycle battery to supply everything, and it will be isolated from the motor battery.  My plan is to keep it charged with about  100 watts of solar power.  We will also be able to charge it with shore power, or a small Honda generator.

The panel itself was made up with a piece of aluminum I had kicking around.  Mounted on the front are an automotive voltmeter that is activated (along with it's illuminating light) by a small push button that will be labelled 'test'.  Below that a row of four switches - one for running lights and another for the anchor light, and two spares.  On the back side of the panel is the fuse block, and a buss bar for the negative connections.  The positive connections will come off the fuse block directly, or a switch.