Monday, June 13, 2011

Water Maker Issues and Poopy-Copters

One of the things we checked out as soon as we arrived in Turkey was the water maker.  We ran it and it worked fine.  But I noticed a leaking starting capacitor on top of the 230 volt high pressure pump has two 30mf capacitors.  I thought "no problem."  I found a water maker service shop and bought 2 replacement capacitors.  I came back to the boat and went about the simple job of replacing these capacitors...I thought.

When I completed the replacements and secured all of the wiring, I decided to give the water maker a try.  As soon as the high pressure pump tried to start, it pulled so much amperage that it shut down the generator.  What did I do wrong?  Well, for one thing, I did not photograph the wiring of the old capacitors before I replaced them, so I probably wired something wrong.  I opened the junction box and switched the wires, same problem...I looked at the wiring diagram and switched them again, same problem.

So I called the Turkey water maker service guy.  He comes out and rather than wiring the capacitors correctly removes the entire system and brings it to his shop.  Next day he returns the system and has a very large smile on his face...everything is fine, he says.  I test it and it works great.  My screw-up cost me 180 Euros or about $260 USD for the guy to wire the capacitors correctly, and that is the reason he is smiling.  Oh well!

About 5 days later while in the Greek Islands, I run the water maker for an hour making about 190 liters of water.  It works fine, then abruptly quits making water...oops!

So, I methodically check things out.  The first problem I find is that the head bolts on the high pressure water maker are loose...damn that smiling Turkey service guy.  I have to remove the entire HP motor and pump to be able to tighten the head bolts.  After 4 hours of hot sweaty work, I am ready to test fails to make high pressure and does not make water.  OK, I assume that the low pressure feed pump is not working correctly.  I remove it and use an overhaul kit on it to make it as good as new.  After 2 hours of hot sweaty work, I am ready to test works fine, I think; but the HP still pump fails to make high pressure and make fresh water.  OK; I check intake water strainers and begin to take hoses and valves loose looking for either some air in the lines or some blockage.  I found no problem and after 3 hours of hot sweaty work, I am ready to test it...the low pressure pump works fine, I think; but the HP pump still fails to make high pressure and make fresh water. WTF?  It is now way past beer-thirty and you know I do not miss that very often, so I declare "EOW" (End of Workday).

While lifting the anchor the next morning I noticed that when Judy throttled up on the engine that the anchor wash pump slowed to a dribble.  Ah-HAH!!!  Eureeka!!  At that moment I realized that I had not checked to see if there was sufficient salt water flow coming into the sea chest to be able to support salt water needs of the generator for cooling and salt water needs of the water maker while they ran simultaneously.  You see, again Henri Amel thought of everything.  The sea chest gives preference to the generator and the main engine.  Secondary preference is available for everything else --  toilets, air-conditioning, anchor wash and water maker.  I had only been able to check the salt water flow to the generator when it was running and the flow to the water maker with the generator off...A true ah-hah moment when the engine took preference from the salt water anchor wash pump.......there was not sufficient flow for both.

As soon as we re-anchored I am in the engine room and take my "special tool" that cleans the pipe and valve between the Sea Chest on the outside of the boat.  It is a piece of PVC pipe with a bottle brush attached to the end.  It is the perfect size to run through the Sea Chest, through the ball valve on the bottom of the Sea Chest and finally through the pipe that runs from the valve through the hull.  I pushed the "special tool" through the Sea Chest and through the valve and hit something...I pushed harder and the something was expelled.  After 30 minutes of NOT sweaty work, I was ready to test worked fine and made really good fresh water from salt water.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Always, always, take a picture of something before you take it apart.
  2. Turkeys always cost more than you think they should, and can be avoided if you take a photo
  3. When looking for a problem, eliminate the easiest possible culprit first.
  4. As my Dad used to say, "Don't fix what ain't broke!"  Had I not replaced a leaking but working capacitor, none of this would have happened. 

While at Yacht Marine in Marmaris, Turkey I attended one of the Captain meetings which was put on by a long-time resident of Yacht Marine.  The purpose was to fill us newbies in on everything we needed to know.  It was moderated by a British guy and most of the attendees were long-time residents of Yacht Marine,also from the UK.  Judy attended a similar function called "Ladies Coffee" which was conducted at the same time as the Captains meeting and for the same purpose and was moderated by several long-time residents of Yacht Marine who were British women.  Really PC, aren't they?  Judy is a licensed Captain -- unlike most of the men in my meeting who call themselves captains -- but her ladies coffee was during the Captain's get the picture.

I was rude and left the meeting early because I quickly determined that these British men had nothing to tell me.  In fact, I was certain that most all of them had not left their marina slips in years.  However, before I rudely left the meeting, the moderator told us newbies about the holding tank rules in Turkey and specifically the helicopter patrols of anchorages and marinas in Turkey.  He said (and his fellow countrymen agreed) that Turkey has a fleet of helicopters that patrol anchorages and marinas looking through high-tech infrared goggles for brown spots being ejected from cruising boats.  The story went on that if they see a brown spot, they will land and issue you a hefty fine.  I left after that one!

Judy was told exactly the same story in her coffee meeting!  She wasn't as polite as me and questioned how such a practice could be beneficial.  What would be the likelihood of a helicopter passing over a particular yacht at the precise moment that someone flushed a toilet after a bodily function that normally happened only once a day??  And the likelihood of actually being able to see this brown spot from the height of a helicopter even using special infrared goggles??  She was told, "it happens all the time" -- although not one long-term "resident" could name one single yacht that they knew this has personally happened to.  Judy declared her disbelief about this helicopter scenario to monitor holding tank compliance.

We compared our meeting notes and especially the outrageous story about what we began to call the Poopy-Copters, We thought that they were joking, or that the joke was on us.  However, they were just as serious as could be.  But, bless their little hearts, they had not left the marina to go anywhere in years and they were just passing along what they believed to be true.  You know, another cruiser myth.

Well, that is what I thought until we ran across one of the Turkey Poopy-Copters...Judy took a photo for all of you folks who thought this to be a myth.  And, for you true believers who knew they existed, bless your little hearts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be posted after we confirm that you are not a cyber stalker.