Over the past several weeks the Systems program has been very busy wiring the devices that make up the vessels electrical infrastructure.
There are several systems that need to be installed, tied together, and controlled from a central point.
The main circuit breaker panel that operates most of the vessels key electrical functions are being assembled separately in cabinets and will eventually be linked to the hull. These panels will become our central control for supplying power to the vessels systems.
Key components such as the batteries, inverter, battery charger, blowers, bilge pumps, hot water heater, pressure water pump, and macerator are all being installed and ‘hard wired’ into the vessel.
Blowers are fans that are designed to vent explosive fuel fumes out of the engine room before start up. The pressure water pump provides the ship with running water. The macerator is a pump/ blender device that helps maintain the waste system. Bilge pumps remove unwanted water that seeps on board and accumulates at the lowest point in the hull. Batteries store power for the vessel and the battery charger restores lost power to the DC system while the vessel is docked and connected to shore power.
Inverters are the components that allow us to generate AC power from our DC battery supply. Inverters are being used more and more often now aboard boats to supply the recreational yachtsman with some of the creature comforts of dry land. Microwave ovens to DVD players can all now be easily installed on your floating home away from home.
To control all of these devices students are carefully wiring the back of the Main Breaker Panel and combing out the wires into colorful rainbows. Conductors are color coded based on ABYC standards. AC/DC systems are separated and ‘ganged’ together on bus bars.
Attention is paid to every little detail in assembly right down to the double crimp at the conductor terminal being of the same plane as the terminal itself. Care is taken to label every conductor as to where it will supply power to and from. Aesthetics as well as function are the main focus here when assembling the panels harness.
The ‘harness’ is the bundle of conductors that attach the panel to the ship. It is preferred to have a panel that can be easily accessible when needed. For our hinge to swing freely and the cabinet be free of clutter we bundle the conductors together in a harness. The harness has enough length to allow for service and future modification. Now that our cabinets are completed they will next be joined to our hulls to power the installed systems.
The systems program has had the opportunity to take several field trips to break up the work in the shop. Our first outing took us to visit Hunt at Melville Marine Complex in Portsmouth. We met with the design team and learned how 3D CAD (computer aided-design) drawings are helping them to test options for deck layout and construction. We were given a tour of their production facility and took a peak at a semi-custom jet drive boat under construction.
Systems Instructor John Stier arranged for us to visit Titan 14 that was up ‘on the hard’ for some routine maintenance. The 115' ship gave students an idea of what to expect at the high end of yachting. John served as Engineer aboard Titan 14 before coming to us at IYRS. Students got to walk through the engine room while John explained how the systems on the ship are maintained at sea.
New England Boatworks gave us a tour of their facility also at Melville Marine Complex in Portsmouth this past week.
We met with Project Coordinator Bob Sharky and Human Resource/Safety Director Karl Nordstrom. Students got to see where some of today’s most advanced custom composite yachts are constructed. We got a peek at projects that were underway for the government as well as a 3 million dollar custom day sailor that was recently launched. Mechanical / Electrical Department head Paul Dow spoke with students after our tour and answered questions about NEB and their services. Paul will be instructing IYRS students in the spring on the intricate refrigeration & air conditioning systems. Afterwards students walked their expansive yard where they store over 400 boats!
Several Systems students, in effort to advance the use of the great outdoors, have created a lunch break wiffle-ball league. The rules are simple and the fun level is off the charts. Students have challenged local vendors and restoration school to competition and have plans to develop the league.
Outdoor Activities club is planning it’s first of three ski trips to pay homage to the vertical terrain and need to hurtle oneself downhill. The first trip is planned for January 2010 (hint hint guys: sign up as soon as possible to secure group rate passes!).
Lastly, the ABYC Electrical Certification study group is meeting weekly to review for exam. Students: Chapter 3 and 4 will be discussed this week. Please read chapter 3 & 4 of the study guide as well as all related material in the Standards. Remember to bring your ten questions and answers for discussion!
That's it for now... more soon!