Simplified liveaboard systems

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by cluttonfred, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    On a related note, anyone know a good reference book for simple DIY marine plumbing and electrical systems?
     
  2. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Yup. Replace the damn hose with a new one every year. It's an ok way to go if it's just one of you aboard, and you never, ever leave it unattended. I just run it for a few minutes in the morning when the temps are well below freezing. I had a pet parrot that lived aboard all winter. I took it too work during the day, but had to keep it decently warm at night. It traveled in a duffle bag on the dingy, then it would crawl out when the truck got warm on the drive to work. The Mr Heaters are pretty well made, but not intended to be user serviceable in any way. Toss it and buy a new one if it acts up. Even simple stuff like a clogged pilot light jet is nearly impossible to access to fix. The pilot gas tubes have a habit of collecting mineral oil from the gas transfer equipment. I use them in RVs as well, and have run a couple thousand pounds of propane through them over the years.
     
  3. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Just logged in, listening to Bruce Springsteen/Tom Hanks and Bon Jovi on TV and having a scotch.....interesting day.

    Cluttonfred, if you could buy only one book, here is the one I'd recommend.

    https://www.amazon.com/Boatowners-M...p-0071790330/dp/0071790330/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

    You read my post above. When I started working on Pearl all there was, was a mess. A birds nest of DC wiring. The AC shore powered system consisted of a Square D breaker box and some Romex 12/2 AWG residential wire. Yikes! :eek: I needed to start from scratch. I could do a little residential wiring and work on cars but this is much more involved. Where do I start?

    Calder's book contained the information I needed. Read it, study it. My wife used to laugh at me. "How many times are you going to read that?" she'd say.

    I read it until I understood it. It takes more than once or twice. Spend time with a text like this before you spend a penny on anything electrical and you'll save yourself a lot of money.

    It's $50, and might be the best $50 you ever spend on your boat.

    Phil, I might stick with the Mr. Heater but I might splurge a little and install a small propane powered direct vent heater. I found this one but it's pretty pricey. I like the idea of the air being drawn in from outside the boat. We'll see.

    http://dickinsonmarine.com/product/newport-p9000-propane-fireplace/
     
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  4. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    Thanks for that, I ordered myself an older edition used for $9 delivered to get started.
     
  5. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    The older editions should be fine. I think that the publisher/Calder has to keep updating the book every few years because technology is changing so fast. The good news is that wiring practices and designing an electrical system hasn't changed much over the past years. If you do decide to build an AC/DC system for your boat by all means post. There are many online retailers that compete for sales of the exact same items in the electrical area. You can save yourself quite a bit of money if you are armed with knowledge and don't need someone to physically hold your hand. I have no problem buying local but I learned years ago that if the local guy is charging 50% more for the exact same item, he's taking advantage of me. 10% or 20% maybe. I get that he has to pay the rent but still.........
     
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  6. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    Thanks, MIA. Right now the tentative plan would be to have an engine battery charged off the four-stroke outboard's alternator with small solar battery maintainer when not in use. That would power engine start, instruments, running lights, and helm electronics (GPS, VHF, maybe a depthfinder). The 12v house system would be all solar, possibly something like a Goal Zero Yeti 400 (the lead acid one they still sell) with a couple of extra batteries tied in for additional capacity. If I wanted a proper refrigerator, AC, or little oven then I'd go with a shore power connection (which would also keep the Goal Zero charged with or without sun) but I might see if I could get by without shore power. Needing nothing but a garden hose for fresh water opens up many more options in terms of liveaboard locations including unused private docks.
     
  7. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    I would suggest you rethink your idea of an outboard. An inboard diesel will give much better service.
    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  8. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    The point here is that this would be a liveaboard boat capable of coastal cruising, not a cruiser adapted to living aboard. A four-stroke outboard in a sheltered well gets basic mobility with the least possible complexity, maintenance, and up front cost. If the “engine room” hatch is lockable and in steel the engine is also very secure from theft or vandalism.
     

  9. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    I suspect you can't get the torque that you really want from an outboard. If it's a motor boat I'd be looking to make sure it motors well. With a 33' boat you are probably in the 20-30Hp range, which means it could be doubled up nicely as a generator while not motoring. It can also give you the hot water for your shower. The cost difference upfront will be insignificant on the total project cost. I'm sure you could find some good second hand units.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
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