I've been working on Sissi's electrics for months. On the way back from Cuba we had quite a lot of salt water in the boat and a large part of the cables and their connectors are corroded. My goal was actually to have that completed by my birthday. The goal is missed, the four little kittens also played their part. I don't really care, but I'm not in a hurry. My new goal is to give me a functional new switch panel for my birthday. Moving the power supply from the old to the new fuse box is a big deal. In the past I always worked on the electrics in winter camp. The boat didn't have to work then. But now Sissi is inhabited. I need at least a fridge, freezer, water pump, light, radio, WiFi and charging options for my phone, otherwise life is too spartan for me.
First I have to build the new switch panel. A few weeks ago I exchanged the carrier plate for two Heinecken in a carpenter's workshop. It has already been sawn to the correct dimensions for me. I only have to take care of the cutouts for the two instruments and the switches. I stole the counters and their carriers in several shops across the island.
The cutouts for the switch strips have turned out very nicely. The holes for the round instruments are less beautiful. I was missing the right attachment for the drill, so I sawed it with a jigsaw. If the instruments are in their place, you can hardly see the uncleanliness. It is enough for me.
In the drawing room, I want to paint the dark walls white towards the end of the renovations. This will brighten up the salon a lot. That's why I start with the switch panel. Even the first coat turned out very nice. Now I have to let the paint dry overnight. The time until my birthday is running out, but the appointment still has to be kept. I use the time to bring the two new fuse boxes on small wooden plinths to their new place of residence. The cabling is all 3 mm², so I can use a fuse of almost any thickness later. In any case, there are only four consumers that are connected here and draw more than 5A (refrigerator, freezer, autopilot, radar).
Unfortunately, the paint doesn't do me the favor of drying within four hours. The fuse boxes are clear for the wiring. I can't continue here until the new panel is in place. So there is nothing left to do on board.
Since I've had the freezer, there have been packets of puff pastry in it. I still remember Jens' reasoning why we had to buy a rolling pin in Wales. He wanted to make puff pastry for delicious croissants himself. This madness never happened, but the rolling pin was always useful over time. We baked one or two pizzas on board. Now my parchment paper has run out, so I go to the supermarket. Homemade croissants are pretty tasty. When I walk through the shelves, I can't find the parchment paper at first. Instead, I find a previously unknown corona product.
I have to think of the local government's anti-corona measures and I feel like I'm in a déjà vu. How should I celebrate my birthday? How can I bend the measures so far that we can all come together? Last year I partied at the Donkey Sanctuary. At that time it was not allowed to party or consume alcohol on the beach. This has been banned again for a week. The four-person-at-one-table rule applies in restaurants and bars. That was also the case last year. And we have a tough curfew from 10 p.m. Anyone who is found on the street by the police afterwards pays a fine of 5000 florins (if I remember correctly) and spends the night in jail. It was the same last year. Only last year we had a good 100 corona cases, now we are almost 1000. The intensive care unit is full, sick people are being flown to Colombia. This time it is not the old, this time the young unvaccinated are the most affected. As I get it from Germany.
On Friday, the new control panel gets its second coat of paint at eight o'clock in the morning. I like the result very much. I hope to be able to install the switches and instruments on the same day. The paint just needs to dry quickly enough. Meanwhile I unscrew the old panel and put it next to the cupboard. I disconnect the batteries from the on-board network. The wind generator and solar panels are switched off. Still nothing happens. Of course, I didn't switch off the shore power charger. One click, the red control lamp goes out. All other lamps continue to shine, the refrigerator and freezer are buzzing. Where does the electricity still come from? After thinking for a moment, I realize that the power comes from the starter battery. Due to the long idle time, it is connected to the rest of the network via a switch so that it does not discharge itself. In addition, I can start the engine from the consumer batteries if there is no other way. One click and it's dark in the boat.
Now all absolutely necessary consumers are put on a single fuse. I have a nice little power rail for the light distribution that still has some space. Therefore, all cables are temporarily attached and secured to a single fuse in the new fuse box. So I can get through the night. Later it is still possible to equip and wire the new fuse box.
In the photo it is easy to see that I have installed five different switches. They are built by two different manufacturers and bought in three marine shops in Aruba. Either you take what you can get here or you have to order. However, an order does not always have something to do with the fact that there is also a delivery. I'm still waiting for a call from one of the marine shops where I actually ordered 24 switches a month and a half ago.
My goal is almost there. Since I haven't invited the guests to my birthday party in the Jazz Cafe until 5 p.m., I have a few hours left. Of course, it all starts with a drive to the hardware store, because I can no longer use the old hinges for the new panel. The mounting screws are over and I am missing corresponding small screws. I either need screws or new hinges. The old ones suffered a little from the salt water, so I'm replacing them with new ones. Now the panel can be installed and wired in the cabinet. In particular, the lines from the fuse box must all be carefully put in place. Not that the numbers get mixed up.
Now the fridge, freezer and cabin lighting are moving to their new switches. Then I am satisfied and consider the milestone to have been reached. At least part of the electrical system runs on the new fuse box and panel, the rest can now simply be reconnected or clipped on. A nice hard task for the coming week. Some of the old cables still need to be replaced, that's the Herculean part of the job.
I invited about a dozen people. As expected, the Dutch and the Germans come first. The Arubans are a little later. I ordered a single table, but landlady Sanne distributed the reservation labels over three neighboring tables. As a result, a Franco-German, a Dutch and an Aruban table emerged. We order pizza and have a good time, and we are now complying with all corona rules. The police do not come by for a check. It's the third birthday I'm not celebrating in Frankfurt.
Eva from the shelter is also among the guests. Unfortunately she has the sad news that little Magellan didn't make it. Two days before I filmed the four again. I don't think the big guys snatched the food from him. With kittens this small, it's hard to get them all through.