Wednesday, August 17, 2016


WEEK 2  

We were up early on Monday morning the 8th to start our journey to Detroit Boat Basin to get our alternator repaired. We got there a little after 9am. We cleared in with US Customs. We met Dan Miller, the service manager, and we went over our alternator problems. I asked him about getting a heavy duty type alternator, such as a Balmar, as I did not wish to have any more converted car alternators with the potential to fail. I also gave Dan the installation instructions I had for a "Sterling Power AB12130 Alternator to Battery Charger" which was on board but not connected.  Dan stated he would start checking. On Tuesday morning, Dan reviewed what he got from Balmar. They wanted to sell a larger alternator, and a serpentine belt system to run it. About $2k worth. Dan gave me the contact at Balmar. I called them, and talked with a different person, as the Balmar rep Dan had talked with was out. It appeared to be an attempt to sell more parts. I looked for local Balmar suppliers, and came up empty handed for one on the shelf. I reached out to TransAtlantic Diesel, a Perkins rep, who I knew sold Balmar kits for the Perkins. By 3pm on Tuesday, I had a 100A Balmar with overnight shipping for less than half of Balmar's quote, but without the serpentine drive belt kit. On Wednesday, DBB surprised us by sending their marine tech over to install the Balmar alternator.
Balmar Alternator Installed on The Perkins

We had earlier been told that the electrical tech was on vacation, and getting the other mechanic would probably be late in the week as he was the only tech on duty this week. Mark was quick and accurate, but despite his efforts, the alternator did not function. A call to TAD was not a lot of help, other than their rep suggested a ground problem. It was the end of the day, and we agreed for a call back. Mark showed back up late morning on Thursday. He had other scheduled customers to take care of. The volt readings were all over the place, and he went to get a better instrument. It turned out the ground being used for the alternator was intermittent, and tied to the flybridge. A place where other electrical problems had been. New grounds, and the alternator was putting out a good charging current. Mark left after making some cables for me to complete the Sterling installation. I had sent the Sterling rep questions and photos of the Balmar Installation manual. No call back or answer to my Emails. I tried on Friday to complete the Sterling installation without input from the factory rep following the installation manual. The unit did not work, nor did the alternator. I undid the connections between the alternator and the Sterling unit, and the alternator went back to charging. We settled with Detroit Boat Basin, and thanked Dan for his help, and complemented him on Mark's determination.
        On Saturday morning, we prepped to leave DBB. As we were getting the holding tank pumped out, the showers came. We waited a few minutes for the shower to end, checked the weather radar on the gas dock's computer, and left for Port Huron, Mi where we had a docking appointment at Port Huron's River Street Marina. We had a 52 mile run to make and the GPS said we would get there about 6:15pm. We passed by a sailboat race taking place on Lake St Clair. They were getting good wind and moving at a good pace.
Sailboat Race taking place on Lake St Clair, despite scattered showers

As we were leaving the lake into the St Clair River a freighter was gaining on us. And there was a tug pushing a barge coming down the river. It looked like we all three were going to converge at the 100yd wide river channel at the same time. The tug passed, and then the freighter caught and passed us.
Freighter that Passed Us

 Later the second string of rain showers caught us on the river. We were about 2hr from Port Huron. The rain was hard enough that I operated SummerTime from the lower helm versus the flybridge for only the third time. The rain cleared, and we picked our pace back up so that we arrived at Port Huron's River Street Marina at 6:30pm. The staff is very good, and after we got everything settled with the boat, they drove us to a nice little Italian restaurant, Pompeiis. It was a good evening, that capped off a less than good week.
         We are sitting in Port Huron making our plans for next week. We are watching the weather for a window to cross and cruise the SE shore of Lake Huron and Canada.

No comments:

Post a Comment