Archive for December 14th, 2009

Tenuous Technology

Monday, December 14th, 2009

We operate at the pleasure of several oxymoronic systems upon which we are painfully dependent:

Outboard Motor (who came up with this?)

Inflatable Boat (you gotta be kidding!)

Marine Electronics (zzzzzt!)

Electric Windlass (the motor gets soaked in muddy seawater every time you use it!)

Air Cooled Marine Refrigeration (its 90 F in the cabin, we just need to add a few more btu’s from this ice box so the drinks will be at 40 F)

Although we’ve been fortunate to avoid failures beyond our skills in this category of the ridiculous we had a fright with the fridge last week. One of the refrigerant lines had a wee leak.

EnsenadaGrande 001This triggered an avalanche of questions about what the correct refrigerant charge should be. After blowing most of a can of R134a into it with a drilled out tire pressure chuck I realized it had only leaked a couple of PSI.

These little units have no sight glass, one gauge tap and no manuals. How does one optimize the liquid expansion process for minimum battery consumption you ask?

The expansion plate speaks to K (would you leave the country in a small boat with this man?). Is it liquid or is it gas? (and they say I know nothing about babies).

At the end of the day you add refrigerant until the evaporator plate just freezes but the lines aren’t frosty. Phew, beer’s still chilly, fish isn’t stinking, solar panels are keeping up.

And the angels sang.

EnsenadaGrande 007

24°30.70′N 110°24.10′W 13-Dec-09 14:00 PST