Ever since we bought Kokomo we keep finding new things that need attention. One big topic that has been scaring us were the electrics. Over the years the previous owners seemed to have added things without any real strategy and the cables in some cases look more like spaghetti than anything done with much sense.
so this week we are lucky to have two friends visit us that could not be more qualified to bring clarity into this mess. Both of them are airline technicians by trade, Kai being an all-round magician and Falk specializing in electrics.
One of the things that quickly became clear to me was something that we all know, but not always follow: a quick fix may be quick but will surely become a major issue sooner or later and should be done right form the beginning! we discovered many (and I mean MANY!) cables that had been badly affected by the salt air and water as they had been installed as one would do in a house . The lack of good contacts and connectors caused entire cables to suck humidity many meters inside the cables, where one could not see any damage from outside, but the cable were so eroded that in some cases the electricity could not even flow anymore.
Amazingly both Kai and Falk had a way of quickly pinpointing the critical areas and in a matter of a few days repaired many of the things that had been annoying us for months. An example would be the engine that sometimes started and sometimes did not (without any obvious reason). After investigation one of the cables between the engine and the panel at the helm was corroded inside and needed to be replaced. Sure enough, after that everything was like new!
These days were a good training for me to learn how to search and identify problem areas and hopefully will help us in the future when we are at sea and do not have smart friends around anymore.
For the ones of you that are going through similar experiences, i can only recommend to take some extra time rather than rushing things, such as:
solder each cable connection possible. this is the only way to stop humidity entering the cable.
use heat shrink wire as this will waterproof the connections. if you have not used shrink wire, it is like a wonder tool. it is a rubber hose that you put over cable connections, heat it with a lighter and ‘presto’. a waterproof connection safe for marine use.
don’t use electrical tape hoping that it will last, it will not!
clearly mark as many cables as possible, even though they may seem obvious right now. later you may not remember or someone else needs to work on them.
for many of you these may seem obvious, but over and over again, shortcuts seem so much easier and are tempting to apply… try to resist the temptation!