Modern marine repair – Our electronics have come a long way, but can still be tricky…
After spending the previous week working on some pretty tough old boats, we felt special being called to work on this Wellcraft Coastal 36 by Bryan B. and his family over in Saint Pete Beach. The vessel is a 2006 model, but you would be hard pressed if you had to guess – this one looks like new thanks to an owner and a few dedicated Grandsons keeping her shipshape! As I shared with the crew – this is how a fiberglass boat should be tended to – it really was lovely.
After coming aboard, it became quickly apparent that the only marine repair issue with this vessel was the one that Bryan had contacted us about: a malfunctioning 2006-vintage Raymarine e120 (in a pair) GPS tracking / interconnect problem. The tricky part with this sort of problem is an apparent sporadic loss of signal, or better said, an intermittent inability to fully lock GPS satellite comms. With digital systems, this is always a bit troublesome, as you can never be completely sure whether you are wrestling with a software issue or a physical RF issue without breaking out the radio gear.
In this case, after running through the basic steps for RF systems/connections validation (as always, we’re always thinking ABYC on these issues), we made walking through the procedure for resetting and re-initializing the Raymarine units and their software our primary focus (if it’s a software issue, this is almost always the most cost-effective for the customer) and voila! – we had signal on both units again.
We took the Wellcraft for a short cruise (nothing like two turbo-diesels whistling along at 40 knots in, like, 2 seconds…), and all location systems / compass were working well once again. We reconfigured the autopilot while underway and confirmed via test that it worked well also. While under power we did notice some water draining from the hardtop (which contains all of the cabling for the GPS / VHF / radar gear), which raises a concern about water intrusion into the RF cabling components/terminations. After a discussion with the family while underway, we collectively decided that we would take a watch-and-wait approach: the next time it rains, the crew will power up the Raymarine systems and check the signal levels – if we’re not in spec, Naviguru will finish the job off with a rework of RF connections and hardtop reseal of all of the fittings up top. Given that the rains are almost here, we should have our answer shortly!
We were a little spoiled on this trip – we had a great afternoon on a great boat. Marine repair doesn’t get better than this – What a pleasure!