Win more races
Call Us: 1-203-877-7453

Happiness is a dry bum

For those of you who have raised children, you know how much a wet diaper can irritate a baby’s bottom. Changing the diaper is one of the “baby care triumvirate” when trying to soothe a little one (aside from feeding and nap time). Think of all those times that you have sat on the rail during a race and had a wet bum – it gets pretty uncomfortable after a while.

Likewise, wet electronics are unhappy. Marine electronics are surrounded by water, so it’s especially difficult to keep everything dry, but it’s worth the effort. It’s highly recommended to keep the CPU and interfaces in a sheltered location to prevent any contact with water. Special attention should be paid to the location of the interfaces by the mast. Many boats douse the spinnaker through the forward hatch, so it’s possible to get water on the interfaces if they aren’t sheltered properly. The CPU is usually safely located behind the nav station or in a similar location, so exposure to water isn’t usually a concern. All bus and sensor cables should be routed away from water where possible. This means that cables shouldn’t be run through the bilge (except possibly depth and speed transducers, because there’s not much choice). The displays are typically pretty immune to water, so they aren’t as much of a concern, although they also have some special considerations.

The mounting angle of some displays can cause water to accumulate along the bottom edge of the bezel near the glass. This isn’t a problem in the short term, but water shouldn’t be allowed to stand there for long periods. If you have an older display with a weak gasket seal, you may find yourself with a failed display once the water seeps in and corrodes the electronics.

Another issue that typically crops up in the spring and fall is the presence of condensation or misting inside the unit. This usually happens when there is a small amount of moisture trapped inside the display. The more extreme temperature cycles found in the spring and fall (warm days followed by cold nights) will really show the tiniest amount of trapped moisture. This moisture is easily removed from the Ockam displays. All displays (005, 007, and 044) have a blue plug on the rear of the unit. This plug contains desiccant that removes moisture from the inside of the display. The desiccant does need to be recharged every once in a while, but this can be very easily accomplished.

If there is a lot of condensation, you may also want to remove the display from the boat and bring it indoors. After removing the desiccator plug, place the display on the windowsill with the glass facing out towards the sun. This will help drive the moisture out of the enclosure. Then take the desiccator plug and place it in a WARM, not hot, oven. I find that a toaster oven at the lowest setting works pretty well. Leave the desiccator in the warm oven for 1-2 hours. Let the desiccator cool to room temperature before replacing it in the display, and then put the display back on the boat. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PUT THE DISPLAY IN AN OVEN – IT WILL MELT!!!

If you are doing this on one display, you might as well do it on as many displays as you can. This way, you know that you have dried out the interior of the display, and recharged the desiccator plug. It’s just one less thing to worry about. You may even consider adding it to your commissioning/decommissioning routine.

Leave a Reply

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux