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matthewwhill 01-06-2013 10:59 PM

Seattle electronics recomenndations?
Hi all

Just got a 37 yr old sailboat. Very happy with it. It has a nonworking depth meter and power inverter.

Can anyone recommend someone to trouble shoot/repair/replace things like this? Also someone do dissect out the wiring and why certain switches exist etc... One of the previous owners added a complicated series of circuits which gives a minimalist like me a headache.

PorFin 01-06-2013 11:28 PM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?

I've got the perfect guy -- YOU!

Stay with me, now...

You can find someone else to do this for you, but there isn't anyone out there who has as much riding on the outcome as you do.

Since you are contemplating hiring it out, make your first investment in yourself. Buy a couple of good books and start reading. You may find that while intimidating, the problems you face are not beyond your abilities. If you decide to tackle it DIY, you'll save a ton of cash on labor.

If after reading up on the subjects, you still decide to hire it out all your boning up ahead of time will really help when you are talking to the tech that tackles your work. You'll have a much better idea of whether or not he's on the ball or just interested in getting into your wallet.

A couple of recommendations:

- Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Electrical and Mechanical handbook.
- Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual.
- MaineSail's DIY blog posts -- home

I'm sure others can make additional recommendations.

All the best.

matthewwhill 01-06-2013 11:53 PM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
Thanks for the references! I like doing things myself if I can. Kind of crunched for time though.

Lake Superior Sailor 01-07-2013 11:03 AM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
You will become a self sufficant sailor if you do it and you will save time in the long run!...Dale

blt2ski 01-07-2013 11:16 AM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
CSR, Seaview, are probably the two biggest yards in town. CSR has always had a good rep. I know of a couple of mobile ones too.


jrd22 01-07-2013 11:21 AM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
For the reasons stated above I also recommend you DIY. If you don't have the time, and cost is no object (it's amazing how a small job can turn into a huge bill at any boatyard), I've always been impressed with Lunde Marine Electronics in Ballard. I don't know if they do basic wiring, but I know they do electronic installation. Very knowledgeable and excellent customer service. I have gotten advice from them and bought some things however I have not had them install, repair, etc.

ShortCircuit 01-08-2013 12:02 AM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
If you're absolutely desperate, Shilshole has business cards from various folks on its bulletin board, including electrical work. However, by the time you do your homework on them (check the business license for outstanding lawsuits, do interviews, call references), you may as well tackle the problem yourself.

To me, electrical is simple, much simpler than diesel engines or plumbing. A couple basic tools, a book like Charlie Wing's that contains step-by-step diagnostic Q&A, and I can figure out what's not working and how to fix it.

Your first few times plonking around should be on 12-volt DC systems. Be very careful aroud AC until you are more familiar with electrical wiring. Always disconnect your shore power and turn off all AC breakers before you start work. After that, have fun and enjoy the process! Things are easy to learn, confidence builds quickly, and it's a great feeling to know you can tame the lightning.

ShortCircuit 01-08-2013 12:04 AM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?

miatapaul 01-08-2013 12:06 PM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
Yes, even basic trouble shooting is going to cost more than the existing instruments are worth assuming they are as old as the boat. If you check the power going to the inverter, and there are no blown fuses, likely it is going to be more cost effective to just replace it. As for the depth finder, again it likely worth looking into just replacing the entire set of instruments with something new, that you can integrate a chart plotter and what not. This may not be more cost effective immediately, but why throw a few hundred bucks at this, then put in new instruments a few months later.

Unless there is someone already there working on another boat on the dock, it is likely going to be a couple hundred bucks just to get someone to your boat to start the clock.

You could always get a hand held depth finder for those times that you are going through shallow water (handy to have on board anyway), otherwise keep a good eye on the chart and sail without one for a while till you decide what instruments you really want. This depends on how skinny the water is around where you sail, but I have always heard that the north west coast is generally deep. If all you want is depth, and perhaps basic charting, then some folks go with a "fish finder" that has basic charts. Or you can go full boar system for big bucks.

bwindrope 01-15-2013 12:24 PM

Re: Seattle electronics recomenndations?
I echo the DIY comments here, and have to add my favorite truism:

Cheap, fast, durable: choose two!

It is uncanny how true this can be, and how it relates to this thread!

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