Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hot modified BBQ

Original Magma BBQ
Some of us have BBQ's on our boats, which after time, seem to not perform as well when new, and in my case had an annoying feature. Mine progressively produced less heat and had  grill bars which allowed fluids to drip into a "catch tray" but often overflowed and dripped on my deck. In the end I couldn't bbq any way, because the heat from the element just seemed to die.
With the cost of new BBQ's being very expensive, I decided to rebuild the unit myself and hopefully save some money.

So, first I "gutted" the heating element from the BBQ. Then I purchased a 5.5KW, two ring propane burner. This I purchased in New Zealand for about $30USD from a hardware store, but I remember that these where very common in the islands at most of their hardware stores. They use them to put large pots on to cook with.

Two ring burner

Next I cut the end of the BBQ with a Dremel to open up to allow the valves of the burner to protrude through and allow gas hookup.

Next I purchased a BBQ plate with it's own raised ridges and channels for fluid to drain away from the meat. The BBQ plate was a generic plate and wasn't quite the right size for my

Control valves for gas. Comes with burner.

Magma. I used a metal cutting wheel and cut to size. But to keep all fluids produced while BBQing, I welded a metal strip along where I had cut. The BBQ plate came with handles at the sides, which proved to be a bonus for handling the plate. Plate cost $15USD from the BBQ Factory Store.
Finally, I purchased a small 3KG propane tank along with a new regulator and hose. The tank had a bracket made for it so that it could be mounted on the railing close to the BBQ.

BBQ plate in place. Metal strip at front.

Finally, to "season" the plate, a coating of oil, was rubbed into the plate and the plate "cooked" to allow for the burn in.
It is now important to heat the plate and then turn down the heat, because it actually gets too hot and burns off the seasoning. Cooking steaks is now a great success, with the steaks being seared on the plate with ease, rather than a slow broiling which use to happen. All guests have declared my BBQ steaks  to be wonderfully cooked.
All fluids seem to "evaporate", including fats, so it is important to spray periodically with oil to keep the "seasoning" up. Otherwise the plate will just turn rusty.

Bottle to BBQ
Cost for the BBQ mods. $45USD and about a days work looking in the stores and the workshop work. A small piece of scrap mild steel strip I had lying around and a welding machine was needed in addition to the dremel and steel cutting wheel on the angle grinder.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Light Upgrade

Original non working light

We have had a florescent light inverter/ballast fail on us and had a number of options to choose from. My first thought was to change the whole light structure to a more modern fitting, but was eventually convinced by my wife that to do so, was taking from the character of the boat. A new light could have been procured from the USA, but I was still looking for a better light that uses less power. Here's what I did to keep both the orginal light fixture, but upgrade the light that consumes less power.

I removed the light fixture and purchased a LED strip light that would fit the light fitting. 
New LED lights ready to be fitted.

I removed the the two ends for the florescent tube to make way for the new LED strip. I applied double sided tape used to attach mirrors to walls etc, to secure the LED strip and the switch, to the old light fitting. It was important to keep the original switch as it contained the electronics which helps with the LED strip to function efficiently.

Removal of the florescent ends needed

New LED light fitted.

The refitted unit was wired so that the original switch on the side was the main means of turning the unit on . The inline switch supplied with the LED strip was left on and fitted inside the light fixture. My wife has  declared the light very good, and now wants me to convert another light so she can do fine needle work.
Finished light.
Time to complete was about 40 minutes and the LED strip procured locally in New Zealand for about $37USD