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  #421  
Old 08-13-2012
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Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Boat Storage:
I've found boxes unsuited for small curved spaces but bags are too floppy. A great middle ground is a rectangular cooler bag. It's just stiff enough to hold its shape stay open and make finding its contents easy but easily stuffs into lockers and odd spaces. I have 4 or so of them to store engine parts, electrical supplies and household supplies.

On clearance at the end of the summer they are about 10 bucks each.

http://www.amazon.com/Ensign-Large-Insulated-Cooler-Black/dp/B000IG47UU/ref=sr_1_49?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1344887178&sr=1-49
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  #422  
Old 08-14-2012
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Re: Low buck "Solar Panel"

I have very basic electrical needs; I have one group 31 battery that I use to run the stereo, keep cellphones charged and run navigational lights when needed.
Me, being the way I am, don't like to leave the power cord connected to charge the batteries while I'm not there (I'm afraid to come back to a charred piece of fiberglass on the bottom of my slip) so, when I go sailing I don't spend too much time in the slip, therefore, I never get enough charge to sustain the battery. The solution: solar panel.

I looked for something small that I would not need a controller (keep it simple) and found a 5watt panel at Harbor Freight for $39.00 (great deal compared to a similar 5 watt panel at WM for $69.00) I actually like the aluminum construction of the frame a lot better than the plastic one at WM.



Then I considered the best place to mount it on the boat and came up with the stern pulpit, the only challenge was to come up with some sort of bracket or something to hold it in place, I dug through my garage scraps and found an aluminum "L" section that was perfect for the job, a couple of "U" bolts, nuts and washers from the store and some fabricating....

Here it is mounted to a pipe in my garage



Here's a closeup of the mounting bracket



Here it is on the boat



Another one



I installed it last Friday when the battery was showing 90% charge, came back on Sunday for a sail and the battery showed 100% charge, so, I'm pleased with the results.
I forgot the cable ties, so I still have to finish the installation.

Panel cost: $ 42.00
Miscellaneous nuts, washers and bolts: $ 5.00
Aluminum L bracket (garage scrap) $ 0.00
Not having to worry about charging the battery " Priceless"
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  #423  
Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Sev - That is great! I have the same panel sitting on a shelf in the basement. Is yours mounted loose enough that you can adjust the angle of the panel on the rail?
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  #424  
Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
Sev - That is great! I have the same panel sitting on a shelf in the basement. Is yours mounted loose enough that you can adjust the angle of the panel on the rail?
Thanks!!

And, no, it's not loose at all, I put a section of rubber between the U bolt and the railing as to give it more "grip" and avoid movement; I'm not using the clamp that comes with the U bolt, that one is flimsy and bends when tightened, instead the aluminum bracket is much more robust and allows for a good tightening; but it's just 4 nuts and I can re adjust the angle if needed. (the picture on the post above shows a closeup from behind mounted to a pipe in my garage, not on the boat)

I figure for my location 34deg. (which is the latitude) is the average position of the sun throughout one year, so, set it there and forget about it, sometimes it will be more effective than others (that is most effective when sun is in celestial equator) but for my needs it's fine.
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  #425  
Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

One of my stereo speakers in my boat went to speaker-heaven.
I quite violently ripped out the old one, leaving me with some surface damage .

In an a secondhand computer store i got this car speaker (4 Ohms).



With a cheap underpant I upholstered the ugly grille:

Using some scrap metal wire. I added some drops of glue, to prevent unrafeling.
Result:


Speaker: 5 Euros (yes Euro's!)
Cloth: 3 Euros
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  #426  
Old 08-17-2012
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Keeping the "boat smell" at bay...

I installed two Camframo 3 speed fans a while ago.

These were NOT low-buck.

They work great while I am aboard, but I do not leave the boat connected to shore power when I'm not there. (Don't want to encourage galvanic corrosion, also don't want to find a charred hull at the bottom of my slip because I forgot to shut something off.)

I wanted to keep the air circulating when I was not there to help cut down on mold/mildew and other nasty sources of "eau-de boat", but I did not want to drain my batteries...

I bought a 5W solar panel for $35 on Amazon.

When I leave the boat, I leave the solar panel on a cockpit seat and connect it to the 12V outlet under the companionway. My bow points north when I am in the slip. I turn the "Off, 1, Both, 2" battery switch to OFF (I also unplug the shore power at the dock box), but leave the breakers for the fans, and the 12V outlet on. When the sun hits the panel, the fans kick on and circulate the air.
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  #427  
Old 08-24-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

A few weeks ago we were debating whether or not a homemade swamp cooler would cool a mid sized boat during really hot weather. Lots of pros and cons, but after researching the cost of construction I decided to give it a try.

The cooler chest is a good quality Coleman that was purchased at BJ's Wholesale Club as a closeout for $12.95. It's a 36-quart cooler chest that came with a small 6-pack chest at no additional charge.

The fan, a 12-volt, 120-mm computer fan with 4 blue LEDs was purchased online for $6.99 with free shipping.

Another $4.99 went out at Radio Shack for a universal, 12-volt cigarette lighter plug.

I had some scrap paneling in the shed and lots of scrap speaker wire in the workshop, which rounded out the parts needed for construction.



About 18-pounds of ice was placed inside the cooler chest. A 7-pound block, a 6-pound bag of cubes, and another partly filled bag of cubes that probably had about 5-pounds in it.

The boat's cabin was about 84-degrees when all the hatches were shut and the swamp cooler fired up. The fan is dead quiet, and within a few seconds the air emitting from the vent holes was ice-cold. The blue LEDs served served as a great nite-light and provided a soft, blue glow in the main portion of the cabin. This turns out to be a great asset for old codgers with BPH that have to get out of the sack and visit the head a couple times a night.

It took about 2 hours before the cabin temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees. While I waited I watched the second half of a pre-season football game on the flat-screen TV. As anticipated, the humidity remained quite high inside the cabin, but at least it was cool enough to sleep comfortably. I have no way of measuring the humidity, so I don't know if it increased, but at that point I really didn't care.

At 4 hours the temperature had fallen below 70 degrees, which was just fine with me. I had to use a light blanket to keep warm. (Old folks get cold when the temperature falls below their age! That's why we go south in winter.)

The ice lasted about 5 or 6 hours, but the air coming out of the swamp cooler was still relatively cool because the water in the cooler was ice-water. It took about another 2 hours after the ice melted for the water to warm to the cabin temperature. By that time I was cooking a cheese omelet with some chopped, sauteed onions and mushrooms to go with my English muffin and a couple strips of bacon. The stove, obviously, caused the temperature to rise a couple degrees, but it was still comfortable in the cabin.

Conclusion: The swamp cooler is by no means an economical method of air conditioning the cabin. It can, however, make life a lot bearable on those evenings when there's not a breath of air blowing where you're anchored up for the night and the temperature and humidity are in the mid 80s. I DO NOT believe it would be beneficial to use it during the day - it just couldn't handle the sun beating down on the cabin and hull. There are other benefits, though.

The swamp cooler can still be used as a cooler chest for keeping the booze and food cold. Additionally, the computer fan insert can be used as just a fan. It can be propped up on the opposite side of the Vee Berth or the far end of a quarter berth and used to circulate the air. The fan draws 0.41 amps, which is negligible and the turbo blades move 2.7 CFM of air, which is a fair volume for such a small fan.

The Swamp cooler will definitely be going with me to Florida for the winter. Last winter in Marathon's Boot Key Harbor was pretty darned hot during February and March, so I think it just may come in handy.

Cheers,

Gary
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  #428  
Old 08-26-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Our boat has a typical narrow transom from its era, and sitting on the coaming on a long beat it's always been a struggle to get a good foothold/footrest, esp when it's a bit bouncy.

For a few dollars' worth of plumbing bits, 20 mins with a tablesaw and a left over bit of Starboard this is the solution I came up with.

This unobtrusive disc attached to the center rear wall of the cockpit well...



And this drop-in foot rest fashioned from an ABS "T" fitting and a short piece of 2 inch pipe.



I originally wanted to use white plastic pipe, but we were just heading out and I couldn't find any at the time.. with this prototype I'll look around over the coming winter for a nicer looking model; but in reality it's stowed when not in use so maybe it doesn't matter.

Perhaps $12 in pieces, much of which was left on the shop floor...

BTW... after searching around for this thread I've decided to make it a sticky... congrats, BLJ!
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  #429  
Old 08-31-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Quote:
With a cheap underpant I upholstered the ugly grille:
Holy crap, Batman. If this thread starts giving out awards, this will require a new category. McGyver's Underwear

That is a wonderful solution.
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  #430  
Old 08-31-2012
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
Holy crap, Batman. If this thread starts giving out awards, this will require a new category. McGyver's Underwear

That is a wonderful solution.
I actually giggled at that one. Wildly imaginative and shockingly frugal.
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