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  #1  
Old 09-01-2008
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simple questions after first night on my new boat

I have just spent my first night on my boat. I have just bought a Hunter 33 (1978) and in 2 weeks I plan to permanently live aboard. I have a couple questions for you guys please:

The Head:
After finishing your business.. I assume you flip the switch to the left (its a jabasco) and pump it to get some lake water in the bowl. Then I flip it right and pump it into the blackwater tank right? If i pump it bone dry.. why does the bowl eventually fill up over time.. after an hour or so.. will it stop filling it up eventually? no risk of it overflowing? how do you know how much more space you have in your blackwater tank? just manually inspect the tank every now and then?

Power:
The boat is plugged into a 30amp power from shore. Does power go into to the charger and constantly charge the battery. And is that DC power then get converted to AC for all the internal wallplugs in the boat? Does that mean I have to flip the "battery charger" to on the AC panel at all times. should i leave it there. Or does the AC from shore route directly to the wall sockets?

Sink:
When I turn on the faucet, and it pours down into the drain.. I believe it goes into a "grey water tank". How do i know if this is filling up. I have to figure out where that tank is located.. Or does that go out of the boat into the lake? is that allowed.. dunno how I feel about having that dirty water floating out around my boat?

Water tank:
The previous owner put antifreeze in the watertank?? What is the purpose of this..just for longterm storage? how many times do i have to flush and refill with fresh water before its drinkable again?

Battery:
When i first walked into the boat, i flipped on every light in the boat (boat is connected to shore..) after 35mins or so with no provocation, the "cabin" breaker flipped off.. I had to flip it back. Is this a short in the line or am i using too many lights.. how could that be.. its just a few dim bulbs... hmm

Sorry for asking very basic questions. Please be kind to me I am very new to this, and its all a big adventure to me at this point..

Robin
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Old 09-01-2008
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Thumbs up Congrats

First congrats on buying a boat and making that big LA decision...

Second, I am curious if you had a survey and/ or the seller or surveying could answer someof those questions???

Third, Cruising World Dec '07 had a one page article on winter maintenance..
I think what the other owner did was attempt to protect systems sensitive to freezing... Ie; potable water tank, sanitation tank and plumbing... If you are going to live on the boat, I wonder how practical it is to completely empty a tank. If LA you will be using the tanks- ( probably best not to have them completely full as to leave room for liquid expansion... As far as ANTI FREEZE.... There is a difference between (permenant engine type anti freeze)... (use NON TOXIC Anti Freeze)- Foam, smell, taste from NON TOXIC anti freeze is non toxic...

Good luck and Hope others here and / or nearby you can help with ALL your questions... Good Luck on your boat and decision..
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Old 09-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgydingo View Post

The Head:
After finishing your business.. I assume you flip the switch to the left (its a jabasco) and pump it to get some lake water in the bowl. Then I flip it right and pump it into the blackwater tank right?
Basically correct...I find it helps to pump a little water into the bowl first before sit down activities! Only use the very cheapest and thinnest TP you can buy and put NOTHING else down the pipe.
If i pump it bone dry.. why does the bowl eventually fill up over time.. after an hour or so.. will it stop filling it up eventually? no risk of it overflowing?
You have a leaky intake valve OR a leaky joker valve. If the water is clean it is likely the intake. Jabsco has rebuild kits for the pump. Get one and learn how to fix it. It won't be the last time! As to overflow...the water will stop at the level of your boat waterline. If part of the bowl is above the waterline, then you're OK...if not...then the boat will sink. There should be a sea **** on the thru hull that your head pump is attached to from the 3/4" intake hose. keep it closed till you know for sure or have the leak fixed!
how do you know how much more space you have in your blackwater tank? just manually inspect the tank every now and then?
Inspect often...after a while, you'll figure out how many days "supply" you can provide without the "problems" an overflow tank or pressurized hose can provide!

Power:
The boat is plugged into a 30amp power from shore. Does power go into to the charger and constantly charge the battery. And is that DC power then get converted to AC for all the internal wallplugs in the boat? Does that mean I have to flip the "battery charger" to on the AC panel at all times. should i leave it there. Or does the AC from shore route directly to the wall sockets?
Power from the plug goes directly to the AC control panel from where it goes to the sockets and the charger. Your capin lights typically run off the battery and your sockets, water heater and air conditiong and microwave if you have them are typically AC powered. Learn where your AC main circuit breaker is!

Sink:
When I turn on the faucet, and it pours down into the drain.. I believe it goes into a "grey water tank". How do i know if this is filling up. I have to figure out where that tank is located.. Or does that go out of the boat into the lake? is that allowed.. dunno how I feel about having that dirty water floating out around my boat?
Typically there is NO grey water tank. Sinks and shower drains are typically either lead directly overboard or to your bilge where the bilge pump pumps the grey water overboard when it fills to a certain level. Is your bilge pump working? Run the sink and watch the bilge...if water comes in, you know how the sinks are plumbed!

Water tank:
The previous owner put antifreeze in the watertank?? What is the purpose of this..just for longterm storage? how many times do i have to flush and refill with fresh water before its drinkable again?
Pink non-toxic antifreeze should be gotten out of the tanks AND plumbing lines by running a few tank fulls of clean water through the sinks and shower systems. Once the water is clear you can add a capful of bleach to kill any bad stuff. Anti-freeze is necessary when the boat is stored over the winter where a freeze is possible.

Battery:
When i first walked into the boat, i flipped on every light in the boat (boat is connected to shore..) after 35mins or so with no provocation, the "cabin" breaker flipped off.. I had to flip it back. Is this a short in the line or am i using too many lights.. how could that be.. its just a few dim bulbs... hmm

SHORT...or bad connection somewhere. Trace it down and start by inspecting and cleaning the main battery cables at both ends.

Sorry for asking very basic questions. Please be kind to me I am very new to this, and its all a big adventure to me at this point..

Robin
Hopefully this will be of some help! Hope you got a survey done.
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Old 09-02-2008
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On Cams last one ..It could be a worn out breaker also..Breakers do wear out and start tripping prematurely..I have had several
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Old 09-02-2008
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Tripping Breaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
On Cams last one ..It could be a worn out breaker also..Breakers do wear out and start tripping prematurely..I have had several
I have had this experience too. Just a little corrosion in the breaker can cause it, as well as being worn. Stick an ammeter on it to be safe. If you don't see a surge from something also on the circuit (like a pump) then replace the breaker.
Chip
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Old 09-02-2008
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I've got a 1982 Hunter so the boats are probably very similiar in setup.

I have just started experiencing the problem you are having with the water seeping into the bowl. Thanks for the timely question and I will be rebuilding the head in the fall. In the meantime, there is a seacock in the engine compartment on the starboard side of the drive shaft. Shut it off when you leave the boat, turn it back on when you return.

By the way, the book for the Jabsco says to leave it in the right/dry position, do your business, pump it several times to evacuate the stuff (I would think there should be a little water in the bowl when you start) and then switch to left/wet position, pump about 6-7 times to clear the bowl and then back to the right position.

If your boat is the same as mine, the galley sink (and the head sink) drain out the side of the boat via a thruhull. There is no grey water tank

We have used the non-toxic antifreeze in the water system to prevent freezing, just fill and drain the system in the spring a couple of times and the smell and taste will go away. The suggestion to run a bit of bleach through is a good one.

Enjoy the boat, refer to hunterowners.com for lots of info directly related to your boat.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2008
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Some comments:

On the "HEAD", having it fill back up seems to be common on Jabsco heads. I personally think it's due to poor design of the joker valve. That's the funny looking widget that is in the output port of the head. One thing you can check is to make sure the anti-siphon valve on the line going from the head's output is working properly. It should be vented outside somewhere. If this valve doesn't work right, the liquid column in the hose will have gravity helping it feed back into the head.

Gray water may go to a tank or directly overboard. Usually that's easy to tell. Just follow the hose from the sink. If it goes straight down to a seacock or ball valve, it's discharging overboard. If you don't want it going overboard, you have some serious work in store for you. You'll have to install an awful lot of new plumbing, since most boats just dump gray water.

The anti-freeze was probably an RV type, which isn't as toxic as the stuff in your car, since it's purpose designed for drinking water systems. I'd guess that you could flush the tank out three of four times and be rid of most of it. If you're worried, add a large canister-type water filter just downstream from your water pump and put a charcoal filter in. That'll make the the taste better and incidentally remove most dangerous chemicals from the water. I use them simply because it removes the nasty 'city-water' taste.

Before you assume the breaker is bad, count up all of those 'dim little lights' and see how many watts/amps you're pulling. I assume most of them are the little incandescent lamps we all know and hate, and you'll be surprised at how much current they pull for the amount of light they put out. Assuming you're well under the rated capacity of the breaker, take a look at the voltage at the bulb socket farthest from the breaker. It should be about 12.5 volts with fully charged batteries. Odds are high, however, that it won't be. Boat mfgrs are tightwads and use the smallest gauge wire they can get away with, and I've seen some factory lighting hooked up with 18 ga. wire. Small wire=high resistance=more current, and bingo! pop goes the breaker.
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Old 09-02-2008
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Thumbs up on the purchase & the best of luck, enjoy your future sailing.

Sorry, but what was the 'simple question', as Cam & the others seem to have answered the difficult ones already.
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Old 09-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary1 View Post
Small wire=high resistance=more current, and bingo! pop goes the breaker.
This is actually incorrect. Ohms law states current = voltage/resistance so the higher the resistance, the lower the current, if the voltage is constant.

The best way to figure out whats up with a breaker that trips is to turn everything on and measure the current. If it measures higher than the breaker rating, you need to reduce the load somehow (less items on the circuit) If the current measures lower than the breaker rating, and it still trips, replace the breaker.

The trouble is, it is not easy to measure DC current with most meters, as the circuit would need to be opened up and an ammeter wired in series. Probably the easiest thing to do would be to just replace the breaker and see if that fixes it (and it probably will).

Eric
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Old 09-03-2008
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Good questions all and, fortunately, repondents with the time and patience to help. It's amazing the experience that one gains from owning a boat. I have learned plumbing, electricity, carpentry, painting methods, diesel repair and maintenance, sewing and seamstress techniques, and marlinspike work. And all that without even leaving the dock yet!!! Love my boat and all she's taught me, but, boy, sometimes she wears me out!!!
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