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Old 06-19-2018, 02:07 PM   #221
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Did a bunch of work on our 35 Sealord the past few years. This is the fly bridge before and after. Shes in now getting the teak sundeck removed and glassed and a new rub rail.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:06 PM   #222
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Great Loop Update

We started the Great Loop on 6/6/18 and are now in Manasquan NJ. We hope to move on to NYC Harbor tomorrow. We are having some technical difficulty getting our blog going, but once itís up Iíll post a link here.
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:08 PM   #223
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Sounds great. Have fun. We were in Manasquan 2 years ago bringing our boat home from VA. My wife left her appendix in Manasquan.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:59 AM   #224
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Here's one that's been on my list since day one. A very minor change that took a bit more effort than it should have, but is SOOOO worth it!

The only way to turn on my engine room lights was from the breaker panel. There's really no ideal place to install a switch that wouldn't be either inconvenient, or in the way.

So I went with one of these:

It's a "door jamb switch" like you'd use for a closet or cabinet. Turns on the lights when the door is opened (switch is un-compressed.)

The problem was, each ER light fixture had wires which went into a bundle. No way to tell which was "first" in the circuit. I also found there were TWO wires coming from the breaker, so I had to find where both went.

After hours of tracing and un-bundling wires, I discovered the first fixture in each string. First thing was to wire them together, so now I have only one circuit. The other, now-unused wire was coiled neatly and left for future use (an infrared ER camera or two.) One wire will be sufficient, because I've changed all the bulbs over to LEDs and they draw a fraction of the current the old incandescent bulbs did.

Once all that preliminary work was done, I drilled a hole in the 2x4 that the engine hatch rests on, and wired in the switch. The breaker stays on all the time (reducing wear on it) and the lights come on whenever I open the hatch.

Sometimes small victories are the best.
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:43 AM   #225
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Great idea Tom, I have to copy you!

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Old 06-26-2018, 09:44 AM   #226
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I also think itís a great idea. I donít know how many times I have removed the V berth stairs and opened the forward ER hatch to find out that I forgot to turn on the lights.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:45 PM   #227
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I also think itís a great idea. I donít know how many times I have removed the V berth stairs and opened the forward ER hatch to find out that I forgot to turn on the lights.
Oops. Hadn't thought of that. I very rarely go in to the ER that way, and usually only after I've already got the main hatch opened up. I think I'll be OK, although I could wire another switch to each of the other two hatches (fore and aft.)

My thing was forgetting to turn OFF the lights. Especially when I had florescent bulbs down there. They'd put interference on the tach cables and the gauges would be whacky once I got back up on the flybridge. Also coming back after a few days off the boat to find the ER lit up was always a "Doh!" moment.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:09 PM   #228
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Oops. Hadn't thought of that. I very rarely go in to the ER that way, and usually only after I've already got the main hatch opened up. I think I'll be OK, although I could wire another switch to each of the other two hatches (fore and aft.)

My thing was forgetting to turn OFF the lights. Especially when I had florescent bulbs down there. They'd put interference on the tach cables and the gauges would be whacky once I got back up on the flybridge. Also coming back after a few days off the boat to find the ER lit up was always a "Doh!" moment.
Sometimes I will also forget to turn off the ER lights even though my panel has a red light next to that circuit breaker. Living aboard while weíre doing the ďLoopĒ Iíll check the electrical panel every night before I turn in, and every once in a while see the red light on, then have one of those ďDoh!Ē moments.

Youíre not alone, Tom.
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:21 AM   #229
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I replaced the ER lights with LEDs. I sometimes forget and leave them on but since they draw so little power I guess it isnít too bad. I do leave them on when we are underway so I can see the ER on the camera better than with the infared lights on the camera.
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:50 PM   #230
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I replaced the ER lights with LEDs. I sometimes forget and leave them on but since they draw so little power I guess it isnít too bad. I do leave them on when we are underway so I can see the ER on the camera better than with the infared lights on the camera.
+1 Same here.
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:03 AM   #231
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I replaced the ER lights with LEDs. I sometimes forget and leave them on but since they draw so little power I guess it isnít too bad. I do leave them on when we are underway so I can see the ER on the camera better than with the infared lights on the camera.
I do like your ideas. Iím suppose to be reducing my ďTo DoĒ List, but it feels like itís increasing. I guess thatís part of owning an older boat and being out here on the ďLoopĒ. The good news is that Iím staying out of trouble because thereís always something to do. Lol
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Old 07-25-2018, 12:48 PM   #232
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We just got done painting the hull and sundeck sideboards. Replaced all the portholes, what a job between the two. It does keep me busy. In a couple of years I wonít have anything left to do except routine maintenance. I am in the process of installing a second MFD so I can keep the engine room camera and the depth sounder displayed all the time. Thinking about replacing my fuel tanks. No problem yet, but they are steel and 31 years old. I want to replace them before I get too old to do it. I may do one each winter and do a cleanup of the engine room at the same time while each engine is out.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:23 AM   #233
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FOG
I thought you were supposed to be done with all the maintenance and enjoying the Loop?

Oh yeah...we own older vessels so work is NEVER done.

Enjoy the Loop and remember us back here who are still putting things together and planning and hopefully might get out there one day.

Tim
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Old 07-27-2018, 09:35 AM   #234
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FOG
I thought you were supposed to be done with all the maintenance and enjoying the Loop?

Oh yeah...we own older vessels so work is NEVER done.

Enjoy the Loop and remember us back here who are still putting things together and planning and hopefully might get out there one day.

Tim
Tim,

Definitely enjoying the Loop. But as you said the work is never done.

We started a blog, but decided not to post everyday as some do, not to write much and just throw some pictures up every once in a while. Hereís the link for those that might be interested.

And Locks - America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:40 PM   #235
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Thumbs up Loop

Great pictures... Keep them coming.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:44 PM   #236
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Autopilot Update

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When I purchased our Prairie 36 there was not an auto pilot in the listing. However, there was a circuit breaker for one on the electrical panel. The broker said it was not working and had been removed.

A few weeks ago I found the Course Setter 21 by Benmar control in the fly bridge cabinet piled up with some other stuff. There was a cable attached but a little bit of water started coming out of the plastic enclosure so of course I didn't turn it on.

I couldn't find manuals, but thanks to Sam here on the forum I now have an electronic set. When I opened the enclosure I found the compass cylinder is filled with a fluid. I think the fluid is suppose to be there but I'm not 100% sure. The manual doesn't say anything about it but it does say that is should be mounted level. So I think the compass needs to float like a regular compass.

I have a theory on how the compass may be providing electronic signals to the auto pilot circuitry but before I dig any further I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this.

Anyone have experience with this model?
I was able to get the Autopilot up and running. It turned out to be an easy fix. Just needed to be taken apart and then a good cleaning of all the electrical connections. Had I known that I would would have done it much sooner.

Anyway I got some good use out of it on Lake Michigan and continue to use it here on the rivers while doing the Great Loop. Even though itís an older unit, it works well giving me some relief of hand steering for hours on end.
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:41 AM   #237
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Congrats on getting the Autopilot running. That can be a HUGE help on those long, straight runs in open water.

We never get to use it much in Maine, since we're always dodging lobster pots. Offshore it's great though.

Keep those loop blog posts coming!
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:09 AM   #238
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Hi FOG,
Just started checking your blog. Love the Prairie 36. Amazing progress you have made. We moved from Wilmington a year ago back to the Raleigh area. Rough times after Florence but area seems to be recovering, if slowly.

Rediscovering Trawlerforum after a hiatus. Good luck on your travels!
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:55 AM   #239
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Hi FOG,
Just started checking your blog. Love the Prairie 36. Amazing progress you have made. We moved from Wilmington a year ago back to the Raleigh area. Rough times after Florence but area seems to be recovering, if slowly.

Rediscovering Trawlerforum after a hiatus. Good luck on your travels!
Thanks Ben,

Everyone says a picture is worth a thousand words, so we decided we were not going to write much in our blog. See the link in post 234.

If someone wants to know more about the picture, they can always contact us.

We are now in Green Turtle Bay with several other Lopers. The Great Loop has been a fantastic adventures so far, but we are going back to Wilmington soon to take care of business. We have been told our house is OK, but there are several fallen trees that have caused damage to our car, a shed, etc.
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