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Still in St. Helens…

Posted by on November 14, 2011


Dad came to visit the other day, and it was very nice to see him. He drove three hours up the coast to see us and drop off our collected mail. Lachie was very happy to see the first three of the Inheritance Cycle books we ordered, calling it the “Best day so far”.


Dad shouted some fish and chips as lunch for all from the nearby fish’n’chip paddle boat takeaway place, and very nice it was too. I got to mine a little late because of some drama with our shore power connection.

There are a limited number of power points available on the dock, and the ones near us are all taken by fishing boats, so we daisy-chained our connection off our next door neighbor, a converted 30-something foot ex-fishing boat. Unfortunately his old shore power plug requires a seriously firm shove to get it into it’s socket, more of a shove than I gave it. Bruce, the owner of Patty 2 came down to look at his boat to discover that not only did he accidentally left a light on, but his battery charger hadn’t charged anything, his bilge pump wasn’t working and his bilges where rather full and his main battery bank was flat. Feeling quite responsible for the mess, I felt I should forgo my lunch and helped him sort the mess out.

It was really great to see Dad, and we were a little sad to see him go.

I have been suffering with an eye infection for the last four days. Over the weekend my eyelid became quite swollen and painful. It’s better today, but my good wife is trying to convince me to go to a doctor and get a prescription for some antibiotic eye drops on the basis that they will be useful later on.


Not feeling like getting out and about with a droopy eye, I spent a day getting our AV entertainment extravaganza sorted out. About a year ago we bought a 17″ LCD TV with a built in DVD player from JB HiFi, the primary attraction of the unit being that it could run off 12v DC. Based on a recommendation from Richard Andrews, a good friend since my Uni days, we also picked up a WDTV device to play media from hard drives… It also runs off 12v DC. Knowing a bit about how noisy DC wiring can be, and how sensitive digital electronics are, I also purchased a 12v regulator good for 6A power supply from Jaycar.

Not too long after these purchases, we were down in the Duckpond and the boys were keen to watch a movie. Not having an appropriate plug for the 12v inlet on the TV I hunted about and found the WDTV plug to be a perfect fit. A quick snip with some cutters to remove the plug, 15 minutes, a bit a spare wire and some crimp on connectors and Shazam!, we were watching a movie, albeit at the cost of not being able to use the media player. Fast forward 12 months and as we were getting ready to leave Kings Pier Marina, I found myself in Jaycar getting some bits and pieces; I remembered the AV extravaganza project. Larissa had been on me cleaning up the jury-rig of wiring too, to clear up the mess in the locker.

There’s now a much larger wire pair run to support the higher amperage draw down the port side of the boat. This is a feed for all electrics port side, so running it involved making bigger holes and lots of reconnecting. This wire now runs to a positive and negative bus bar in covered cases in the head compartment. From those bus bars a positive feed runs out through a bulkhead to a switch I installed in a little jiffy box under the bookcase with the return running back to the 12v regulated power supply, now securely mounted in the head compartment. From the regulated supply, a feed runs back through the bulkhead to the TV and the media player. I made some brass straps for the media player so I could moist it securely under the bookcase, and then made up a elasticated net to put the hard drive in. From experience, the hard drives get a bit warm when running for a while, so the idea with the net was to allow air circulation while holding it safe in a seaway.


Turns out it’s also a handy place to keep the remotes!


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