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Old 08-27-2017, 08:31 AM   #1
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DIY Phobia

In the past, before forming a relationship with Makin Memories, my nature was to only tinker with electronics, at best. Plug it in and hope for the best. Check the fuses, explore whether or not there was current, that sort of thing. But to open the case and explore the insides of the black box- that was a foreign land best left to an expert. Since all relationships take work, compromise, and commitment, I decided to extend my horizons and invest myself fully in the experience of learning new systems, come what may.
My Furuno 1830 radar started to work intermittently on our cruise to Key West from Tarpon Springs this summer. My wife and I found that the radar is truly a very helpful friend in navigating the GICW during the many rain storms we encountered. But the failing radar was not only unsafe but downright dangerous. In the past, I would have gone out and bought a new one - a smaller foot print, color, dependable. I knew deep down though that I had to try and repair the unit myself, hence opening the box up and delving into the mysteries of the black box.
I began with the basics. Stay in familiar territory and don't touch anything that could break easily, such as, capacitors, resistors, wires drop soldered. God forbid I confuse the colored wires and where they plug in. I felt paralyzed because nothing was familiar. But, with persistence, I carefully sanded connections, reconnected loose wires, and cleaned up the insides. To my amazement, the unit turned on and continued to operate without shutting down. Of course, there was no rain in sight, and we were not in danger of running aground, but the radar did function consistently for the test period.*

Moral of the story, give DIY a try, the worst that can happen is that you go out and purchase a new whatever. The best that can happen is that you gain a new found confidence in yourself and you save a few bucks.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:45 AM   #2
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Well done! You have saved yourself a few boat bucks. I still remember you standing on the swim platform with buffer in hand.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:48 AM   #3
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I generally agree....

I also agree with the scaredy cats that it is what you dont know that can either hurt you, permanently damage something expensive that a pro wouldn't or somehow compromise your boating safety.

But I REALLY believe many of us are smart enough to research the above and take on mamy DIY tasks with success.

For those that dont, I dont let their limitstions become mine.
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Old 08-27-2017, 09:23 AM   #4
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Dioxit has a strong following with vintage electronic rebuilders. Non gold based connections become risky after decades of operation.
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Old 08-27-2017, 09:55 AM   #5
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That's pretty much how I felt when I bought this boat--first diesels, first bigger boat with lots of systems, hydraulic steering and shifting, etc.


Lots to learn and overwhelming at first. But digging in and attempting to fix issues is part of the fun of owning a boat. Another part is knowing when to call an expert.


I'm no dummy but I do recognize when I might be getting in over my heard.
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Old 08-27-2017, 10:44 AM   #6
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Not knowing what I am doing has never stopped me from doing anything.
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:11 AM   #7
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I hope all is well with you guys and that you and Michelle (and doggy) made it through the storm unscathed!!
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Old 08-27-2017, 12:08 PM   #8
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Funny, I have the same phobia, but in different systems...

I have no problem opening the black box with a multimeter and a soldering iron nearby.

Rip into upholstery with a walking foot sewing machine? Great.

Jump in the water with scuba gear to scrape props and swap zincs? Easy

Do anything to the diesel engine besides an oil and filter change? No thanks. I'll call someone.
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Old 08-27-2017, 12:25 PM   #9
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MakinM, good to see you got that radar going again!

I had similar issues. The flexible circuit board/button panel didn't work on a couple of buttons. The fix is a little kit of silver-loaded paint for the connector pads of the flex circuit board. Easy and cost effective to do!
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Old 08-27-2017, 06:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattkab View Post
Funny, I have the same phobia, but in different systems...

I have no problem opening the black box with a multimeter and a soldering iron nearby.

Rip into upholstery with a walking foot sewing machine? Great.

Jump in the water with scuba gear to scrape props and swap zincs? Easy

Do anything to the diesel engine besides an oil and filter change? No thanks. I'll call someone.
What is interesting though...99% of issues people have with their diesel are usually easy unbolt, bolt new one on kind of stuff.

With just minimal internet search and a few questions on here and most all of that kind of repair is pretty safe and easy.

I stepped out a bit this year with a head gasket change, but sent the transmission out for seals as no workshop and presses, etc made the transmission job a crapshoot for success in my mind. I know many here will say no big deal even doing them in the boat....but I know my personal, tool and space limitations. If the worst I spend on labor every year for engine/tranny work is $300, I feel I am OK.

Complete engine teardown? Nope....let the guys with the shop, tools, reputation and warrany handle that...hopefully no more than once every 20 years.
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Old 08-27-2017, 06:55 PM   #11
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Electrical and mechanical im fine with its the carpentry, fiberglassing and the head I am kind of timid to do on my own at the moment.

In time ill be fine but right now not having to be comfortable enough till that time comes is my diy tread water cautiously vice.
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Old 08-27-2017, 07:03 PM   #12
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Assess the Downside

What is the downside of "having a go at it" yourself? The OP seemed to be at the point of replacing the unit, if a basic connections etc check didn`t improve it, nothing was lost.
Not being all that hands on practical, if I work on something success level 1 is "It`s no worse". Often, with good planning and thinking the problem through,I can fix it and get a buzz out of it. If I can`t make it worse that`s often a green light,sometimes you just have to "have a go".
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Old 08-27-2017, 10:09 PM   #13
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totally Agree on the DIY options.

It's often amazing what skills we find with owners.... often superior than some of the professionals in specialized areas. I see this in aviation as well as boating all the time.

Quite often a DIY is not a jack of all trades, but has a specialty or areas of expertise, and often from previous experience. And often the specialty is with a particular boat or appliance.

We can often get to know "our" boat and do some repairs or maintenance items faster and better than a pro... because we've done it over and over again. While the expert has done it a lot but on different boats, and different engines.

I have no issue with taking and engine apart and rebuilding from scratch, but just don't want to spend the time doing it nor buying some of the tools needed, so I won't. But maintaining it and changing little things is not a big deal, nor time consuming. But electrical stuff, beyond the basics, I want help. However, if I don't feel totally competent with any job I do, I will get advise or training on how to do it.
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
What is the downside of "having a go at it" yourself? The OP seemed to be at the point of replacing the unit, if a basic connections etc check didn`t improve it, nothing was lost.
Not being all that hands on practical, if I work on something success level 1 is "It`s no worse". Often, with good planning and thinking the problem through,I can fix it and get a buzz out of it. If I can`t make it worse that`s often a green light,sometimes you just have to "have a go".
IMO, you skirted around the reason I don't often "have a go at it"...

First, do no harm.

And with engines, I am simply not confident that I won't do serious damage inadvertently. I'd love to take a basic mechanics course to improve my skills -- but for the time being, I don't mind necessarily messing around with the dangly bits on the outside of an engine, but the power plant itself I don't touch.
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Old 08-28-2017, 07:22 AM   #15
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IMO, you skirted around the reason I don't often "have a go at it"...

First, do no harm.

And with engines, I am simply not confident that I won't do serious damage inadvertently. I'd love to take a basic mechanics course to improve my skills -- but for the time being, I don't mind necessarily messing around with the dangly bits on the outside of an engine, but the power plant itself I don't touch.
I agree, but often messing around with the dangly bits leads you to find the problem.

The last 2 years in a row my genset died at convenient times just before being in non-use for a month or more.

Both times I rolled up my sleeves and prepared for the worst. The first time was much more complicated as I didn't fully understand how the wiring cut the fuel off through the normal and emergency shut down circuits. I kept finding the fuel filter empty so I made a rash assumtion that it could be a fuel pump.

Fortunately better troubleshooting skills prevailed snd I did end up checking all the shutdown wiring, sure enough, a loose terminal connection.

The second time was much easier as the first wire I grabbed was the loose connection culprit. Now I know the system pretty well.

Had I called an pro in both situations, between travel time, getting set up, immediately finding the wires and billing would have been at least 1.5 hrs each time....so I think the total savings were over $400.

Same with main engine stuff. Starting with simple posdibilities may lead you to the problem. If not, at least you eliminated them long before the $100 plus an hour mechanic shows up.

As I posted before, the hard to do, internal engine stuff is rarely the problem. As long as you are doing the external systems yourself, you are way ahead of the "need to ask?.... better call a pro" or the checkbook crowd if they really can't afford it (like me) .
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:06 AM   #16
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After reading through this post, It's refreshing to hear owners talk about DIY. There are those on this forum that tend to say "get an expert". My PO was one of those and my boat has enough plumbing and electrical messes and screw ups done by the "experts" to keep me busy for a year.

This I know... when I do it, it's done to my satisfaction and level of perfection. IF, I really have no idea what to do about something... I ask, I research and I learn.

Happy DIY days!

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Old 10-28-2017, 12:04 PM   #17
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The more time you spend working on your boat the more opportunity you have to catch issues before the become problems at inconvenient times.
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:09 PM   #18
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I'd be careful about "sanding connections". Typically, connector pins and/or PCB contacts have a very thin flash coating of gold or other corrosion-resistant material over the top of some pretty suspect metals (tin, etc.). If you sand through this coating, you may be asking for trouble down the road.

I usually use a pencil eraser to clean contacts where possible and/or spray-can corrosion cleaner with a straw if difficult to get to.

A thin coating of dielectric grease could be a big help in either case......
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:27 PM   #19
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Isn't YouTube great? ��

Of course, one has to use common sense when watching and learning in that venue, but there's nothing quite like a good "how-to" video to give me the knowledge and confidence that I'm doing the right thing. Or, as others have already mentioned, that I'm not doing the wrong thing and causing further harm.
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Old 10-28-2017, 02:04 PM   #20
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I'd be careful about "sanding connections". Typically, connector pins and/or PCB contacts have a very thin flash coating of gold or other corrosion-resistant material over the top of some pretty suspect metals (tin, etc.). If you sand through this coating, you may be asking for trouble down the road.

I usually use a pencil eraser to clean contacts where possible and/or spray-can corrosion cleaner with a straw if difficult to get to.

A thin coating of dielectric grease could be a big help in either case......
I'll second the comments about the eraser and not sandpaper for pin contacts and such; also about the dielectric grease, a small wipe of it. No I'm not an electroncs guy but I did have to deal with a lot of it at work and that's what I was taught.


Otherwise congrats for getting it going.
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