Monday, 4 May 2009

Harnessing the Power of the Sun...

So its a solar vent for the head. For all you landlubbers, head is boatspeak for bathroom. I know it seems strange, but I didn't make the rules, I just morphed into a boating guy who talks strange.

The head (as you can imagine) can get stinky from time to time. Also, condensation has a bad habit of collecting in the forward area (front) of boats. Iris would often have beads of moisture on the ceiling when we woke up in the morning. Moving the air is the best way to remedy the problem. Of course moving air means a hole in the boat, and a way to push the air through it. A fan.

A fan takes power. Power means wires. Wires (as you may know) don't get along with me.

I found a way to shortcut the whole wire issue by buying a solar-powered vent. All day long the sun powers the vent, and a little reserve energy is pumped into a battery that powers the fan all night. This is heaven for the electrically challenged.

First thing to be done was to determine the perfect location for the vent. Many options were considered, and then a tiny X was placed on the deck. The X became a square, the square was used to scribe a circle, then another location was chosen, and the drill was put through the fibreglass without any regards for X's, squares, or circles.

It is both scary and empowering to put a 4" diameter hole through your boat. Mostly scary. In any case, with the hole through the boat, the area was taped off both above and below to prevent anything marking any spot where nothing was supposed to mark the fibreglass. Then it was time for epoxy...

Epoxy resin and hardener were mixed and used to seal the edges of the hole. With the edges all sealed, I freaked out. The plan had been that the epoxy would harden and hold the vent in place, but it all ran out into the cabin. I spent most of the night mopping up runny epoxy resin. Then I took a week off from vent installation to try and figure out what to do.

Eventually 3M 4200 sealant was decided on to form a gasket around the plate. The interior trim ring was installed with the sealant around the plate. Above decks, the sealant was used to form a gasket, and then more was used to seal the screw holes. with the plates above and below forming a gasket, the vent was popped in to place.

I went below to see if the fan was happily humming away, and was surprised that nothing was happening. Harrumph. Dead battery? Dead fan?

Either way, I was tired of being cramped on the foredeck, so I pulled back the tarp. Whirrrrr... Oh yeah - SOLAR powered!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, solar powered generally means that the item has to be able to "see" the sun. A tarp makes great sunblock :) Sorry, couldn't resist.


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