by Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder is an author and expert on boat systems and diesel engines

Double Shaft

by Nigel Calder, Posted March 11, 2009
Alan Therrien of Boxford, Massachusetts, asks:"The two zincs on my prop shaft were eroding quickly last summer, so I hung a zinc guppy over the side and attached it to the backstay. I measured the current between the backstay and the guppy with my multimeter, which read between .04 and .07 amp of current with all battery connections removed. Where is this current coming

Strike out

by Nigel Calder, Posted January 12, 2009
Bob Graveline of Bismarck, North Dakota, asks:"Last summer my 34-footer was hit by lightning when it was sitting unattended in my marina slip. The boat was plugged into shore power when it was hit, but it was not drawing power. Do you think that having a boat plugged into shore power increases, decreases, or has no effect on the chance of damage from a

Power packs

by Nigel Calder, Posted December 15, 2008
Jim Taylor, CMR 435, U.S. Army, Germany, asks:"I’ve purchased a 15-year-old Nauticat 38 that is being overhauled in the Caribbean. I have a long list of items I plan to replace and have a specific question about power generation. I need a new 12/110-volt inverter and am considering a Xantrex Prosine 2000 inverter-charger. Is that unit compatible with a wind-powered

Oil and Water

by Nigel Calder, Posted December 3, 2008
Ralph Halstead of Marmet, West Virginia, asks:"My Perkins 4-236 is a great engine and has an external cooling system. Recently I’ve noticed some drops of water on the dipstick after use. What do you think might be causing this condition?"Nigel Calder replies: It could be a number of things. I would first check whether water is siphoning in

Surging Power

by Nigel Calder, Posted December 3, 2008
"I have two 12-volt lead-acid batteries in my boat, a starting battery and a house battery. The positive leads from both batteries are connected to a conventional battery switch with the standard 1, 2, Both, and Off positions. My two negative battery terminals are connected, and the one closest to the battery switch is grounded to the engine. A Guest battery charger is connected to the number 1

Nuts over terminals

by Nigel Calder, Posted November 24, 2008
"I am curious why electrical connections that hold a terminal on a threaded post use a stainless-steel post, a nut, and a washer. If you assume that the post can’t be changed—because it comes with the equipment—wouldn’t it be better to use a bronze or brass nut and a copper washer? I’m asking because stainless steel is less conductive than bronze, brass, or copper. If there is room to do so, why
My brother was hanging upside down, peering through a 9-inch square cutout in a bulkhead at the raw-water pump housing on his 3-cylinder Yanmar marine diesel. “How the heck do you get the impeller out of there?” he asked me.This is a very good question. Removing an impeller is something that should be done on a regular basis; Yanmar recommends replacing the impeller on this particular

Evolution, not Revolution

by Nigel Calder, Posted November 12, 2008
October’s Annapolis Boat Show opened as Wall Street experienced one of the biggest sell-offs in history. With the scary economic news, it was easy to think that many people would put off investing in a new boat. That idea went out the window as VIP Thursday appeared to be more crowded than ever. Instead of panicking, sailors seemed to be turning to sailing, much as they did after 9/11—as a

Curious Zincs

by Nigel Calder, Posted September 22, 2008
"I’ve had my boat, which has a Volvo Penta saildrive engine, for eight years. For the first six years, when I hauled the boat for annual maintenance I found the zinc anode on the saildrive was slightly eroded but was still firmly attached. I changed the zinc annually.However, when I hauled the boat two years ago, I found the anode was loose and the erosion had occurred primarily around the

Charging Into the Future

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 22, 2008
For the past 30 years, lead-acid batteries have always been the principal limiting factor in the design of high-capacity DC systems for sailboats. Over the years a number of technologies have been developed that attempt to circumvent this roadblock—NiCad, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion (LiI), fuel cells—but none has had sufficient life expectancy at a price affordable enough to be
  • facebook
  • twitter