The weather here has been pretty bad, with lots of rain and not much sun. We’ve continued to prepare, taking on some of the jobs that I’d been putting off for a while. Having fixed the electrical control boxes, there was an outstanding issue on the switch modules for one of the boxes. The Privilege electrical system is split into 2 parts. Above the nav station is a number of columns of buttons and lights. Each button operates a relay in a box in the hull (some in the port, some in the starboard hulls) and the associated lights shows the status of the circuit. These predate CANBUS which would be the solution these days.
Whilst the Privilege solution saves quite a lot of cabling and has the nice effect of the lights by the buttons showing if the circuit is operating, or if the fuse is blown - after 20 years, it can be a bit fragile and spares are not available. Fortunately its all discrete electronics and fairly simple printed circuit boards (just 2 layer!). When this given module failed a few years ago, I was able to remove the chips (CMOS 4013 Dual Flip-flops - still available) and replace them with sockets. Unfortunately I did not have my good soldering station here on the boat and a few issue arose, which meant some of the buttons would never switch off. For some reason, of the 4 button modules, 3 had their 4013 chips in sockets, but the one that failed naturally was not *sigh*.
Peter and I sat down and carefully worked through the circuits with the meter. I reverse engineered the design and worked out what patches needed to be made. Some deft soldering later, and all the buttons now work correctly! This is really pleasing as its been a while.
From there, we moved onto the compass - the light on that had failed. They are very small bulbs, and I don’t have any spare - but I did have some blue strip LEDs… So a bit of disassembly, cleaning and more soldering meant I now have a compass that lights again.
So with the jobs continuing, we’re now watching a potential weather window for the weekend. A low passes south down the Queensland coast and into NSW and behind that we have a period of westerly winds. This is quite rare at this time of year. I’d been expecting we’d have to sail quite tight on the wind - but its beginning to look like we will get some downwind sailing for quite a way. This would be ideal, so we’re keeping everything crossed. In the meantime, we’ve started the official paperwork …