Monday, April 13, 2015

Cellphone Boosting

Cradle type booster by weBoost
Cell phones are becoming an essential tool not just for coastal cruisers wanting to keep in touch, but more and more people are using their phones  as data wifi hotspots for their computers and instruments. We used our ipad extensively for navigating ( along with our charts) using google earth, in the Maldives. We were able to do this because they had excellent cell coverage over the whole archipelago.  It made choosing an anchorage easier, as we were able to see what reefs were around and could even see "bomies" (Coral Heads). It gave me more confidence, in navigating around these, than the charts. The charts do show isolated rocks at times, but google earth seemed more accurate.
Anyway, cell coverage is now more important to us, and with that goes the need to get cell coverage in more remote areas. Often in these remote areas, coverage is poor, but that can be improved with a cell phone booster.
Some of you may be interested in taking a look at these devices, made by weBoost, formally Wislson Electronics. Here is a promotional video put out by them. Jump over to their website and take a look.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quick and Effective, Water Hose Repair

I've been cruising for a while now, and sometimes you can not get proper boat bits in the more remote parts of the world.
Recently I replaced a raw water hose which had a steel spiral wound "spring" in the core of the water hose, which gave the hose "anti kinking properties" when bent around corners.
This hose however corroded at the ends and the hose started to leak at the ends.
I replaced it with this hose shown to the left. Good quality radiator hose without the wire. When I installed the hose, it took the radius I imposed on it just fine. However after some months of running the engine, I discovered the hose kinked like that shown to the left.

I had no new hose other than the same type to install and lamented having not purchased the spiral wire bound hose to replace the original. I also didn't have a 25mm elbow to replace the kink with, BUT did have 38mm radiator hose pieces. I used one of these pieces to make the bend. The kinked hose was cut at the kink and the ends push fitted into the elbow.

Finally I used the tool shown to the left (which an explanation of how to use can be found here).
The hose has been installed for a month now, and is both water tight and kink free. This will do until I can purchase the original type of hose which I will carry spare lenghs for future replacement

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Portable Fuel Transfer Pump and Filter

Pump and Filter in Plastic Box
Have you ever siphoned fuel and got a mouth full of diesel?
Have you  ever transferred fuel to your boat with jerry cans and other fuel containers with no pouring spouts?
Need a quick and easy method to transfer fuel?
I recently made a fuel transfer pump with filter for transferring diesel fuel from tank to tank or jerry can. I needed this through out South East Asia, where the fuel most often was not clean. I also had to obtain fuel in jerry cans as fuel docks were few and far between. This necessitated pumping out of the jerry cans so that what went into my tanks, went through a filter first. Since then, I have also used it to pump fuel between tanks so that I can clean the fuel tanks from time to time. In fact, if my tank is not heavily contaminated, I use the pump system shown here to "vacuum" the bottom of the tank. The fuel filter stops all the contaminants and separates the water out.

 CAV Filter
I used a CAV filter housing similar to the one shown to the right, along with an oil tranfer pump (12V). The filters for these are readily available in most countries around the world, and quite cheap.
The oil transfer pump, which I use for the diesel fuel, has a switch on the end of the pump, which makes for easy on/off operation.
It was just a case of connecting the hoses, hose tails, and wiring with a long piece of duplex wire with alligator clips to connect to a power source. This was all placed in a plastic box for ease of handling, and to keep it "water proof" as I store it in my aft lockers, where sometimes sea water will get in.
Packed and ready for it's Lid
The filter housing was mounted to the side of the box to keep it upright.
Hoses are easily stored with the pump and the whole setup is ready to go. I used fuel line hose.
Warning! The pump I used is OK for diesel fuel, but Not  for use with petrol.
To keep the whole lot from having fuel leak into the box, I used rubber bungs on the end of the hose. You can see one on the hose in the picture to the left.
You can also use the box for a diesel rag, if you use one from time to time
The type of pump used in my fuel transfer/filter box

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Adapting Old Water Pipe to New

On my boat, I have half inch water pipe made from a "plastic" and flexible material. Unfortunately, this is now outdated, with most boats now using 15mm flexible pipe. This presents problems with adapting the old to the new. Also, the fittings used to connect this pipe, (black elbow to left) are no longer available and sometimes come apart.
In New Zealand they have a 12.5mm pipe with push in fittings. You would think the half inch pipe might fit...., but no, it doesn't.
So here's how I have over come this problem...
Fortunately this plastic pipe is similar in size to copper half inch pipe and the compression fittings are available at most plumbing hardware stores.

To the right is a photo of old and new fittings used to attach to the faucet at the sink.

To the left is the new compression fitting disassembled. To the inside, is a rubber ring and star washer to grip the pipe.

Compare the above photo to the plastic one to the right. They work in a very similar fashion.

The fittings come in a number of arrangements. I bought a straight connector, a "T", and end threaded adapter.

To the right, the nut goes on first, then the star washer, followed by the rubber washer. Once the pipe is inserted into the fitting, the nut is screwed down to secure the pipe.

Now, the fitting, made for copper pipe, doesn't quite fit the plastic pipe, so a little modification has to be done.
First, use a dremel stone to slightly enlarge the hole in the center of the compression nut so that it slides over the plastic pipe. It only needs a "human hair" thickness taken off.

The pipe also has to fit the fitting. This requires a little sanding on the end so the pipe fits, snugly.
You can see that, in the photo to the right.

When assembling, slide the fitting onto the end of the pipe and mark with a felt pen. Slide off the fitting and then with the nut first, slide on the star washer with the points towards the yet to be fitted copper fitting. Slide this on till just past the pen line so that when the rubber washer is placed, it is is pushed on till just past the pen line.

To the right is the fitting about to have the nut screwed on to make the compression. Once that is done, regular plumbing fittings can be attached.

I've also had success with another type of compression fitting using a copper compression sleeve shown to the left. However, on occasion, some of these have leaked due to the copper sleeve not being perfectly aligned before compression. One has to remove a short piece of the pipe, (because the compressed sleeve is almost impossible to get off) and place a new compression sleeve on and make sure it is seated correctly before tightening up. It seems to me, the compression fitting with the rubber washer is a better fit and can be reused if one has to undo the nut.

Another method, show to the right is to get a hose tail with a plumbing threaded end, and attach with a suitable hose clip , or for a more secure fitting, use the wire tightener, and it's use can be viewed here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hole Saw Enlarger

Here's a handy tool. A Hole Saw Enlarger.

Expands holes in tight retrofit situations. Applications are many and varied but are not limited to, door lock installations, through holes, and for conduit fittings.



  • Changes hole saw sizes in seconds - Enlarging a hole is quick and easy with the HE1 Hole Enlarger Kit from Bosch. You use two hole saws, the original saw that you cut the first hole with and the hole saw size you want the new hole to be. You combine both hole saws with the dual adapter and us the mandrel to attach it to your drill. Insert the first hole saw tip into the hole and start enlarging
  • Provides easy plug removal with angled reinsertion of the pilot bit
  • Makes the Bosch Quick Change system universal. Quick change adapters fit most major brand of holesaws
  • Enlarges any existing hole that matches a hole saw diameter, starting with 9/16-in - 6-in