Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Vero Beach - Not a good day

Not many flowers, just a few here
It has continued cold and windy, I don't think the high got much above 50 today. I never remembered Florida being this cold. I'm sure a lot of people are complaining about the weather and I'll add my voice too. I got up in good cheer and started working on getting the A/C to work in heat mode. It would cool air quite nicely but wouldn't switch over into heat mode. So I thought I would attack the problem by switching out components since I had two A/C units, one for the aft cabin and another one for the main cabin.

The key component is the solenoid that moves a metal slug in a tube that points the flow of refrigerant to either the cooling side or heating side. The slug is spring loaded to cool but the solenoid can be activated to push it magnetically to the heating side. So if the coil is defective, or the slug is stuck or the control board doesn't send  the right electrical impulse, then the slug remains in the cooling position - which is has so far.

Well, I thought this was simple, I'll check to see if the solenoid was activated by sticking a metal screwdriver into the donut hole of the solenoid and found that it was not activated. That could be due to either a defective solenoid or no electrical current from the control board. So I switched the solenoid with the one from the aft cabin - no difference.Then I switched the control board with the same result. Then I measured continuity from the control board to the solenoid - an open circuit. So I thought I found the problem, an open somewhere between the solenoid and the control board, perhaps a bad connection.

But my problems were only beginning! I had been using the genset to power all the tests, turning it on and off and when I looked over at the display for the genset, I saw a blank LCD. The display was not powered. Well, that's not good I thought. With a blank control board, there's no starting the genset, there's no manual override, it's the push button control board or nothing - don't you love modern electronics...

Now everything came out of the aft locker where the genset was located and I started to look at that problem. Nothing made any sense. The 12v came in and nothing happened. Calls to the Kohler help desk was no help, they wanted you to contact a local dealer which I did and found out they had a three week waiting list! Likewise for marinas in Stuart, everybody is backed up with work. I'm now looking at Ft Lauderdale but I don't have high hopes for that either.

Now it's cold, under 50 and the wind is still howling, not a good cruise south this year! We're aiming for Hobe Sound Wednesday night and West Palm Beach after that. followed by Ft Lauderdale - got to get to warm weather!


Unknown said...

Hi Bob

My wife and and I also sail a 423 "Southern Cross" (2006) out if Rock Hall, MD. This is our first ICW trip that we have been planning for more than 15 years, I retired in 2014 and my wife retired in September. First of all thank you for your blog I found it during your trip last year and have been following since then, we found your tips prior to leaving very helpful for the house, mail, bills etc, in fact we bought the same shopping cart you showed. Your Active Captain comments on the Garmin app were extremely helpful since we were a bit behind you!!
I am thinking we picked the wrong year for our first trip, we left Rock Hall on Oct 23rd and we had 12 lay days due to weather on our way to Stuart. We got to Titusville the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and got stuck there due to 30knt + winds and didn't get out until the day after Thansgiving. We saw Fleetwing there but you obviously we're long gone by then. We left the boat in Stuart and returned home to DE for Christmas and returned yesterday to Stuart to find the boat full of mildew. Our ultimate destination is Marathon we have a slip reserved there starting Feb 1st, we had planned to leave Stuart either Thursday or Friday and work our way down to Marathon. Those plans have changed due to the mildew and the weather later this week. We are shooting for Sunday departure at this point.

Bottom line your blog has been a great help particularly since it's our first trip thank you! Here's hoping the weather changes SOON!

Anonymous said...

Actually, the temperatures are not too uncommon for Florida this time of year... the difference is that this year, its continuous... normally we have a few cold days then it warms up immediately...this year, its been chilly for a couple of weeks straight with only one or two warm days in between cold fronts and those few warm days were rainy and windy. Looks like today and Thursday should be a bit warmer and the wind less strong and clocking around more to the east...

Anonymous said...

That is what we experienced on our last trip down the ditch. We were at Cedar Key for a week. At a dock so we could plug in the ceramic heaters. Ugh. Was that uncomfortable!

Bob423 said...

Hi Bruce,

I'm glad you found the blog useful. The advice is mostly a compilation of everything I did wrong but finally found out what worked the hard way. Hopefully it can save some headaches for others. I sympathize with you on the weather. This is the worse year out of the last six that We've been going down the ICW. The cold weather just doesn't quit this year.