Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May 18, 2016 more generator problems

We spent today on the boat waiting for the squalls to pass.  I spent a good part of the morning defrosting the freezer.  Our freezer has openings to the refrigerator to help cool it.  Plus the freezer drains through to the refrigerator when it defrosts.  A couple days ago, we found a dark stinky water in the bottom of the refrigerator.  We figured it came from a bag of bait.  We keep it in the front part of the freezer that doesn’t freeze, just keeps things really cold.  So it was time to clean everything out.  Beside needing defrosting, I wanted to clean up any residual stinky water and clean everything it had touched.  YUCK!

Since the weather wasn’t good, Dave decided to watch a “boy movie” while I cleaned.  We ran the generator to make water and to power the computer and TV for the movie.  When we turned it on, there was a high pitched squeal that was unusual.  Dave checked on it and determined it was a fan and shouldn’t be a problem.  After awhile, the squealing stopped.  Problem solved, right?  Wrong. 

I had finished defrosting the freezer and had taken a shower on the stern of the boat.  I was just heading  into our v-berth when Dave said “I smell smoke”.  I quickly got dressed in case we had to abandon ship.  He opened the lazarette with the generator and the smoke poured out of there.  He had to shut down the water maker before he could turn off the generator.  The pumps are under a lot of pressure and could be damaged if that’s not released. Talking about it afterwards, if there had been flames, we would have taken our losses with the water maker.  After shutting down the water maker, he was able to shut down the generator. 

He went back out to check what was damaged.  It looked as thought the fan had stopped.  There was probably a bad bearing which made the squealing noise.  When the noise stopped, the fan had stopped.   A couple things touching the generator melted.  A bag of poly rope melted through the bag and melted the rope.  The rope is used with a parachute which can go in the water and keep us heave to in a storm (stay in one place or slowly drift).  That can easily be replaced. 

We also store a drogue in this lazarette that was discolored but didn’t melt.   A drogue goes off the stern and keeps you from going too fast down a swell or wave or helps slow the boat from drifting away from where you want to stay.  Actually, it was a good reminder to me that we have these safety devices and how to use them. 
Dave hasn’t pulled everything out, but he could see that the insulation from the fan wires crumbled.  Things could have been a lot worse.  Of course we had to air out the boat from the smell of melting plastic and insulation.  Dave was really kicking himself for sitting and watching a movie instead of investigating the squealing to begin with.  Hind sight is always 20/20.  We ran the Honda generator to flush the water maker system AND finish Dave’s movie. 

Tonight about 10:00 a squall came through with rain and wind.  It really rocked the boat.  Even after the winds died down, the boat continued to rock all night.  In the morning, we found out it was about 40K.

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