Loading Map

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HI to MX Day 13

Well we had our first major failure of the passage last night.

About 10pm I started the motor because the wind had died (we've finally got close enough to the Pacific High to get light winds) and shortly after I put the engine in gear the depth sounder started beeping madly. On the screen it said the battery voltage was too high and I should turn off the sounder. I checked the battery monitor and sure enough, the alternator was putting 55 amps into the batteries at 16.5 volts! (The maximum should be 14.4 volts).

I quickly shut off the motor and removed the cover to find a sea water hose had blown in such a way that salt water was spraying all the way across the engine compartment and onto the alternator regulator! We have a primary regulator and a backup mounted next to each other and both were soaked.

I quickly turned off all electrical to the motor and rinsed down both regulators with fresh water. Then I put a fan on them to dry. In the mean time Linda got under the pullman birth to get out a spare hose.

With the hose replaced and the regulators dried out I started the motor to see if we could still charge the batteries, no luck. One regulator is completely shot and the second will only charge until the batteries are 85% full.

On top of it all, the battery charger which we run on the our Honda generator, also got sprayed. So this morning I took it out and check to see if it had gotten water inside. It looked clean so after re-installing it I ran the generator and thank god, the battery charger works.

I'm a little leery of using the malfunctioning regulator, but I hate the idea of running the engine without any charge going into the batteries. I have a few 1/2 watt resistors on board so I'm going to look through some of my electrical books to see if I can hard wire a circuit that will keep us charging without frying the batteries.

The good news is we seem to have (nearly) turned the corner. If we can make another 400 miles in 3-4 days we can get to the eastern edge of a new High pressure system that's building in and then it's downhill all the way to Mexico!

{GMST}21|32.420|N|152|34.228|W|Hawaii to Mexico Day 13|Day 13{GEND}