Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Computer Upgrades

The original Fujitsu LT C500 is getting called on to do more these days.

I added a Cingular PCMCIA AirCard and the service and performance have been outstanding. I'm seeing over 1 meg connection speed all over the south Sound with no dropouts. The advertised cost is $60 per month. The real cost is a bit over $70 with taxes and all the usual add-on fees. Still worth it to me. PDANet on the Treo is still backup and I also can do WiFi at various marinas.

I used WiFi last summer in Friday Harbor, Victoria, and Port Townsend through Broadband Express. When it worked it was fine but there were several times I had to call support to get it going. I finally gave up on it and went back to PDANet on the Treo. Broadband Express has also been promising "fall 2007 install" at my home marina for quite some time.

Turns out the LT C500 has a built in CompactFlash slot. I picked up a 16 gig CF card on eBay for $50. That's the same size as the built in hard disk so I effectively doubled storage capacity. It just looks like the D: drive to Windows. So far I'm just using the solid state disk for recovery and log data.

I picked up the two-DVD set of "Raster & Vector Charts for United States Waters" from Managing the and now have an enormous library of publications and all NOAA charts on the CF card as well.

I've been fooling with getting HF weatherfax and NavTex messages into the computer using SeaTTY connected to a Sony 7600GR SW receiver but haven't been able to tune in any stations so far inland. The SeaTTY software looks good though.

With all this computing going on I bought a second LT C500 on eBay for $150. It's essentially a "hot spare" in that it has everything installed and ready to go. I don't keep it powered up, however. Maybe a plan would be to switch computers every month or so to make sure the spare is good.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sailing With the Campbell

Yesterday was a very nice day. Temp in the 50s, party cloudy, 8 to 12 knots of wind. I sailed for a couple hours in Commencement Bay and then over to Quartermaster harbor where I anchored for a couple hours and had lunch and a nap.

I have to say that I can't see much difference under sail between the old Martec and the new Campbell prop. It was easy to see 6 knots of boat speed in 10 knots of wind. This is pretty comparable to performance with the Martec. Coming to anchor, ghosting along in the wind shadow of Vashon Island under main alone, the boat made way in drifting conditions with no problem.

On the other hand, with no wind on the way home, an effortless 6.5 knots at 2200 RPM was wonderful.

(Morning View: thanks for the question.)

From Martec to Campbell Sailor

Removing the Martec and installing the Campbell went pretty well. In fact it only took 10 minutes. I was anticipating all manner of problems.

The "nut" that holds the center section of the Martec to the shaft is the cylindrical thing on the end of the "T" handle wrench in the middle of the picture. It has a hole in the end that a 1/2" drive fits into. You remove 4 split pins, two for the big pin that holds the blades and two to keep the nut from turning. Stick a 1/2" drive into the hole in the nut, and apply force. I used a monkey wrench to hold the shaft.

I picked up a gear/wheel puller from Harbor Freight for $15 and it made quick work of getting the Martec's center secion off the shaft.

Putting the Campbell on was even easier. I re-used the key, greased the shaft, and slid the prop on. Two nuts and a split pin and you're done.