What you doin…

All kinds of techie stuff going on the prior blog, but though I would update with what we been up to other than techie stuff.

We arrived this year in Puerto Vallarta and took a bus up to Mazatlan where the boat rested for the summer months.  PV because the plane tickets were pretty very cheap.  Bus is a 8 to 9 hour ride and usually gets you in around 8:00 PM so we took a hotel for one night.

Came over to the boat and moved aboard the next day.  Opened the boat and readied her for departure south.  We left Mazatlan just before Hurricane Sandra kicked up.  We got down to Isla Isabella.  Jim got a rash kind of breakout around his middle that turned out to be shingles.  We ran back to Mazatlan and waited out the storm and the treatment medication.  We saw a Medical Doctor at Marina El Cid for prescriptions…

Left again and ran down to San Blas / Mantanchen Bay then down to Chacala and on to Banderas Bay at San Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Marina La Cruz.  We stayed for bit, saw cousin Tom and Nancy visiting PV for a week…


We then ran back to Chacaka for Christmas eve and a few days peace.  After, we motored up to Mantanchen Bay for a few days then back to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle for New Years Eve.


There is a rumor that a big (75 foot plus) jet boat ran aground near Puata de Mita right after we were in the area.  When we passed Punta de Mita on Jan 30, we were in an incident with a big boat at around 2:25 PM…  Nothing too worrisome, he came across our bow under power (maybe racing another mega yacht) while we were sailing… Not really boater safe navigation and very interesting!


After new years we put the boat into Marina Vallarta and received some boat supplies from Jess’ cousin Bobby and Robert Berger who visit PV this time of the year!  Had a couple lovely visits with them.

We took a bus to Mazatlan a couple times to get some visa (temporary resident) paperwork taken care of.  Stayed at hotel on the beach, Hotel la Siesta, a couple times too…

Had some time so we got a replacement for our non functioning Honda 2 HP dingy motor…  We have tried the coil and plug we got from cousin Bobby but motor is not fixed yet?  We left it with the professionals on sv Landfall at Marina La Cruz…

Returned to PV, got the boat out of the marina and stopped a couple days in La Cruz then headed north again.  This time with the boat…  A stop overnight in Chacala then overnight to Mazatlan.  Where we sit and write this catch up blog…  Mazatlan is getting ready for Carnival, we are hard at work getting ready to get up to Guaymas to meet friends Gil and Lexi (with boat stuff)…  And yes the jib is back filled in the last photo while we motor sail, it’s to cut down the roll when headed mostly into the wind…






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Techie – Batteries LiFePo4 – The three little pigs

Lithium IRON Phosphate battery technology – LiFePo4 – looks to be in production world wide and seems to be a safer electrical storage technology than the previous Lithium Ion battery chemistry was for use on a cruising sail boat. We looked at sources and costs and shipping charges and and and…   We got a note from friends who said they were driving down from San Diego CA USA to Guaymas Sonora MX and and and we jumped at the opportunity to have batteries shipped to them in San Diego and we will figure out how to get them from Guaymas to where ever we are…  Our 4 year old 6 volt GC2 220 Amp hour batteries (4 in the house bank) are showing their age …

There are many cost comparisons on the web for lead acid vs. AGM vo Gel vs LiFePo4 vs vs vs, sufuce it to say we picked the LiFePo4’s …

The LiFePo4 batteries are interesting in that they seem to have conquered the Lithium Ion battery problems of overheating.toxicity, hazardous waste, fire and etc.

The ones we ordered are advertised as “drop-in replacement” for lead acid batteries.  Having studied the web info, bot all of it I am sure, we hope our installation wcan be relatively clean fairly low impact to the boat systems in place.

I’ll go over our planned changes, which we hope to keep to a minimum.   Thinking that if you have to spend a fortune to implement the lithium batteries that them become way less attractive!  And I’ve just put interesting links found investigating making our house bank a lithium iron phosphate battery bank…

  1.  LiFePo4 batteries – 4 each 100 Ah  12v LiFePo4 “drop in: batteries $870 ea,
  2. Battery Monitor – replace the NASA BM-1 Compact with a Victron BM-702 $218
  3. Add Diode Battery Isolator – A battery isolator should reduce the charge voltages passing through it bu 0.4 to  volts effectively reducing out charge voltages from 14.4 max to 13.4/14.0 max – Sure Power 1202-D Marine Battery Isolator 120 Amp max.  We will run both the alternator output and the shore power charger through this… $65
  4. Solar Charge controller – Replace our e20 from eMarine Inc with a 4215BN EP Tracer 40A 12V 24V MPPT Solar charger Controller regulator with MT50. It has user programmable charge voltage settings $210
  5. We are also getting some temperature monitor equipment to keep an eye on the alternator temp while charging and the battery bank temperature.
  6. I also saw some Amp/Volt/Watt hour meters with shunt for $17 each and had to see how they work!  Toy time for this one…  We will put one in system somewhere to access their value!
  7. We may add a solar panel.  We think we are a little under served by the two 135 watt kyocera panels in the current syste,  Thinking of adding a 100 or 150 watt panel…



“Three little pigs”  – you say! 

Ya, “the three little pigs”,  what do I mean?    Our major problems in our conversion from Lead Acid batteries to Lithium batteries looked to be the three charging systems we use on-board s/v Hajime:  1) solar panels,  2) the diesel motor alternator, and 3) the shore power battery charger…   We hope to slaughter the pigs as follows:

Some new equipment needs for s/v  Hajime:

As an overall control tool, we have ordered a Victron MC-702S.  It is a gauge for being able to count Amp Hours in and out…  The 702 also gives us info on an aux. or starter battery and programmability to control relays based on state of charge limits (SOC) if we feel it necessary in the future…

Victron Energy Precision Battery Monitor BMV-702S Retail $243.00

Seems our “NASA BM-1 Compact” is a bit crude for using with a LiFePo4 bank, it has no programmable features and no re-set-able functions :

Image result for nasa bm-1 image

We are changing our solar controller for the photo voltaic panels which we can program voltages for the charge phases.  We found this 4215BN on ebay which is user programmable on all three phases between  9 and 16 volts…

4215BN EP Tracer 40A 12V 24V MPPT Solar charger Controller regulator with MT50

We are thinking of adding a third PV panel to our two panel system:

Kyocera 140 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel Fixed Frame KD140SX-UPU, Kyocera, 140 Watt Solar Panel

Size 26.25 x 1.88 x 59″  of our existing two Kyocera 135 W panels came with the Hybrid Wind/Solar kit from eMarine Inc. purchased in 2010…  and we are looking at adding a third panel when we can…:  more later

We need to manage/track the alternator  charge cycle so we don’t overheat our 120 AMP Beta 30 OEM 120 Amp internally regulated alternator…  We do need to get the output voltage limited to <=14.0 volts … Our studies conclude that a diode based charge splitter will reduce the voltage output of an alternator by  0.4 to 0.9 volts. Using this we hope to reduce the output voltage of both the alternator and the shore power charger…

Sure Power 1202-D Marine Auto RV Battery Isolator 2 Batteries 120 amp


Our alternator a 120 Amp OEM from Beta Marine supplied on our Beta 30 Marine diesel engine looks to top out at 14.4 volts output, so maybe the splitter/diode  (old tech) is just the ticket to reduce our alternator output voltage to around 14.0 volts max. without trying to use an external voltage regulator… TWT  (time will tell)

Rebuilding A Westerbeke Alternator

We plan to monitor the temperature of the system components ie. alternator and batteries so we found a temperature gauge and type K thermocouples to put in-place to help us monitor, we had a infrared gun  type and have added thermocouple type…


Engine Temp Monitoring & Over Heating Baseline Assessment  Digital-Thermometer-Dual-Channel-Input-Thermocouple-K-J-T-E-R-S-N-C-F-Type-TQ22 New-Omega-120-0-01-Fine-Wire-Glass-Type-K-Thermocouple-SA1XL-K-120-SRTC


We may need to add similar process controls for our shore charging and get a procedure in place prior to replacing charger with better suited equipment but to begin with we will run our existing charger through the diode based battery splitter and see if it reduces voltage to acceptable levels!

Installing A Marine Battery Charger Image result for marine battery charger


New Equipment :   Bayite DC 100 AMP meter and Victron BMV-702s and 100Ah LiFePo4’s.  The “Bayite DC100 meter”  is a toy for us to see how a well a $17 gauge will work in this environment …  A remote temperature gauge and thermocouples,  A programmable solar charge controller and a cahge splitter 120 Amp for alternator and battery charger output voltage reduction…

100A DC Digital Watt KWH Current Power Energy Meter Ammeter Voltmeter 7-100V US Victron Energy Precision Battery Monitor BMV-702S Retail $243.00  LIFEPO4-12V-100AH-LITHIUM-PHOSPHATE-DEEP-CYCLE-BATTERY-FOR-SOLAR-WIND-SLA-Repl NEW-Sealed-Sure-Power-1202-D-Marine-Auto-RV-Battery-Isolator-2-Batteries-120-amp  Digital-Thermometer-Dual-Channel-Input-Thermocouple-K-J-T-E-R-S-N-C-F-Type-TQ22  New-Omega-120-0-01-Fine-Wire-Glass-Type-K-Thermocouple-SA1XL-K-120-SRTC 4215BN EP Tracer 40A 12V 24V MPPT Solar charger Controller regulator with MT50

Summary (for now):

I have looked and looked to see if anyone has been dumb enough to to try to put the “drop in” 100 amp hour into a 400 amp hour house bank by building a parallel connected battery bank.  No one has been brave enough to stand up and say “I tried”.

Well, we are going to try and in order to only risk half of out battery investment in the beginning, we are looking to try two of the 100 Ah batteries in parallel and if all goes well we may add the other two we purchased to the house bank if needed!

General Info, parts info etc…

Thanks Alan, a post link:


There is a blog/web page by Compass Marine takes issue with the idea of “drop in replacements” and we are taking his concerns and warnings to heart while we implement the energy storage system into s/v Hajime:  Here is an ir-reverent rant from Compass Marine (http://www.marinehowto.com/) on Pbase.com, it is really rather comprehensive and in my opinion well done, Thanks Compass Marine!   Could title an entire blog, “Oh my, what have we gotten into?”  or maybe “Ha Jim e! it’s your LiFePo4!”  …:


Liked this info from above blog, hope my quoting the below text is taken as a compliment and not a copyright infringement:

“LiFePO4 Pro’s:

2000+ “claimed” cycles to 80% DOD (depth of discharge). If we compare the best AGM batteries to LFP we find that reputable manufactures such as Enersys/Odyssey claim just 400 *lab ratedcycles to 80% DOD.

I suspect, (wild ass guess), that LFP prismatic cells, from reputable manufacturers such as Winston, CALB, Sinopoly, Hi Power, GBS and others, can last approx 1600-2400 cycles even when pushed regularly to 80% DOD, in the real world of the marine environment. The manufacturers claim more, but so do the lead acid makers, and these are always ideal “lab” conditions. Of course at this point in time this is a WAG (wild ass guess) on my part. I can assure you even 1600+ cycles is a very long time. I have been busting my hump for approx 28 months and have only managed to put 550 cycles on this bank and that is with accelerated cycle testing..

Of course the average lead acid battery on boats is often dead well before 150 cycles and they rarely if ever even come close to the “lab rated” cycles. Do the math on your own bank, be honest about it, and see how many cycles you had, to 50% SOC, before your bank needed replacement. Most boat owners are shocked when they do this math.

*I have never seen a single lead acid battery bank hit its lab rating in the marine environment, especially not on cruising boats. These lab numbers are fairy-tale ratings when translated into the real world. I also don’t entirely trust the lab ratings of the LFP cells, though some have done the testing and have seen this.


Alex MeVay the CEO of Genasun firmly believes in 2000+ cycles to 70% DOD. This is utterly amazing cycle life if it can really happen. Based on what I am seeing at 550+/- cycles I am trending towards believing it..

Approx 80% of an LFP banks capacity is fully usable. With lead acid you often have just 30-35% usable capacity (50% SOC to 80-85% SOC) due to charge acceptance current limiting. With LFP current limiting or acceptance taper is very, very short in duration, even at relatively low charging voltages of 13.8V – 14.0V.
Very, very short current taper even with large current sources. Charge to nearly full before even attaining absorption voltage. This of course is entirely dependent on your charging voltage and your current source. We charge at 120A steady (160A alt set up to run at 120A continuously) and our current taper lasts only 30-35 minutes. Compare that to HOURS and HOURS of current limiting using a 120A charge source on 400Ah lead acid batteries. With a small charge source, like solar or wind, you will hit 99%+ SOC before any current limiting occurs. Our bank literally has to be chock full before our solar array can even get to 13.8V…. These batteries can take immense current, and charge extremely fast, but really tend to do extremely well with .3C to .5C in charge current…..
Less than half the weight of lead Ah to Ah and almost always more compact. The 400Ah bank in this article weighs 134 pounds less than a 400Ah lead acid bank. However, to equal the usable capacity of a 400Ah LFP bank you would need approx 900Ah’s of lead. This makes the 400Ah LFP bank approx 400 pounds lighter than the equivalent usable capacity in lead acid!
The term “dead lead” is s term I coined in my electrical seminars. The typical lead acid bank consists of 65-70% of the weight being comprised of “dead lead” or the excess lead you carry around but that you can not use. If you have a usable capacity of just 30-35% of the bank, when out cruising, this means that you are carrying around 65-70% of that weight in unusable “dead lead” capacity. This 400Ah LFP bank weighs 130 pounds & 80% of it is easily usable. This means just 20% of it not easily usable or you simply don’t want to use it for best longevity. As a result, we carry around a measly 26 pounds of unusable battery on our 36 footer..

Lets go back to usable capacity for a moment. If we want to equal the usable capacity of this 400Ah LFP bank in lead, we would need 8 GC2 6V golf cart batteries or approx 900Ah’s. 35% of 900Ah is a usable capacity of 315Ah’s. 80% of the 400Ah LFP bank is a usable capacity or 320 Ah’s. The 900Ah lead bank weighs 520 pounds. If you use just 35% of that bank then you are hauling around 338 pounds of “dead lead” or 338 pounds of unusable capacity.. Twenty six pounds of unused LFP or 338 pounds of “dead lead”..?? Points to ponder…

LFP banks have a very strong & flat charge & discharge curve with a very steep & fast rise or drop at either end. These ends are called the “knee’s”. LFP’s will maintain voltages well above that of any fully charged lead acid bank, and remain very close to their 3.3VPC / 13.2V nominal voltage level, and hold quite steady voltages with little change almost all the way to 80% DOD. They will maintain a very tight voltage range even under “normal” house loads. Espar heaters, refrigeration, watermakers etc. will all perform better. Equipment likes higher voltages. Even bilge pumps will pump more water. Voltage sag that can drop out electronics during bow thruster or windlass use is almost entirely eliminated.
Charge efficiency is also referred to as the Coulombic efficiency. These batteries are as near 100% efficient as I have ever seen on my test bench. Take 200Ah’s out and put 200 Ah’s back in and you hit the voltage and net accepted current at almost the exact same Ah’s out to Ah’s in. Until LFP I had never witnessed anything like this, even with the best AGM’s. Lead acid ranges from 70% to as high as 90% +/- efficient but you still need to put back in 10-30% more than you took out, and this is with “healthy” lead acid batteries. As they sulfate the charge efficiency or Coulombic efficiency gets even worse.
We know the Achilles heel of lead is sulfation and in order to fight off sulfation we need to charge them to 100% SOC as often as possible. This proves very difficult for many boaters and cruisers unless your boat resides at a dock after each sail or sits on a mooring with an adequate solar system. LFP batteries do not need to get back to 100% SOC so, FOGEDABOUTIT…….! This is a major win for LFP. When we come back from a weekend on the water, and our battery is at 50% SOC, I DON’T CARE!!!! I shut down the boat, and the solar and go home. LFP batteries actually prefer to sit at 50-60% SOC rather than at 90-100%.. As I said earlier this is a mental paradigm shift we need to overcome in our human behavior/thinking around our batteries…
Sulfation is by far and away the cancer and #1 killer of lead acid batteries. These batteries do not sulfate, no cancer, so there is no need or worry to constantly get back to 100% SOC before you leave your boat. LFP batteries actually prefer to be left at mid range SOC rather than full. Enjoy that sail home, WITHOUT THE MOTOR!!!
Without question LFP is the safest of the Li battery formats. Many argue, and these arguments have certainly been well made, LiFePO4 is as safe or safer than lead acid. ALL BATTERIES ARE DANGEROUS, let us not forget that. As Li goes LiFePO4 is currently the safest. Remember we are surrounded every day by far more volatile Li technologies in computers, iPads, iPods, tablets, video games, cell phones and even cordless tools. LFP is less energy dense than other more volatile Li formats, but when compared to lead acid everything looks energy dense. We have no need on boats for “Dreamliner” level energy density, thus we use the considerably safer LiFePO4/LFP technology not LiCoO2 like Boeing chose.. If you believe LiCoO2 & LiFePO4 batteries are the same PLEASE STOP READING HERE and go back & hug your lead acid batteries…..(grin)”


Cruisers forum topic, at this writing 326 pages and growing, a topic on using LiFePo4’s as a house bank.  Kinda WOW for using the web as a crowd sourced wealth of information… taking it as every web thing with a grain of salt …


Here is a fellow who has pondered the problem some, maybe too much “some”:


A links for charging recommendations for the LiFePo4’s:


Here is link to the alibaba site for the EWT manufacturer and the info (what there is) on the 12v 100Ah LiFePo4 battery module we are getting:


Here is link to site selling the BMS (Battery Management System) shown in the photo on the above site, Model Number is  PCM-L04S50-674, looks like the is the BMS in our EWT 100 Ah batteries:


And a link to purchasing the BMS via alibaba  at $0.6 USD per unit???:


BMS Specifications from above site:

Model: PCM-L04S50-674
No  Test   item Lifepo4 Li-ion/Li-polymer
1 Voltage Charging voltage DC 14.6VCC/CV
DC:16.8V CC/CV
Balance voltage for single cell 3.65V±0.025V 4.20V±0.025V
2 Current Balance current for single cell 36/72±10mA 42/84±10mA
Current consumption for single cell ≤20μA ≤20μA
Max. continuous charging current 50A 50A
Max. cont. discharging current 50A 50A
3 Over charge
(single cell)
Over charge detection voltage 3.9V±0.025V (optional) 4.35±0.025V (optional)
Over charge detection delay time 0.5-2.0S 0.5-2.0S
Over charge release voltage 3.8±0.025V 4.15 ±0.05V
4 Over discharge
(single cell)
Over discharge detection voltage 2.0±0.05V




Over discharge detection delay time 100~300mS 100~300mS
Over discharge release voltage 1.9±0.1V 3.1±0.1V
5 Over current
Over current detection voltage 0.06~0.6V 0.06~0.6V
Over current detection current 80~500A (can adjust) 80~500A (can adjust)
Detection delay time 5-20ms 5-20ms
Release condition Cut load, Cut load,
6 Short
Detection condition Exterior short circuit
Detection delay time 200~500us
Release condition charge up
7 Resistance Protection  circuitry ≤50mΩ
8 Temperature Operating Temperature Range -40~+85℃
Storage Temperature Range -40~+125℃
9 Dimension L130*W70*T13mm
 So it looks like the batteries are covered for abuse, we are looking into temperature monitoring for our alternator and for the battery compartment too…
Misc info:
The Yanmar 3.15″ mount is found (of course) on Yanmar as well as Mercruiser, Lehman, Perkins-Sabre and Hitachi equipped engines.  3.15″ is the internal dimension between the two mounting feet.
Here is our existing Iskre Letrika AAK4855 120 Amp 12v internally regulated alternator:
Image result for alternator AAK4855  


Description:-  Alternators Iskra Letrika

Product Alternator
Aftermarket P/N IA1196
Voltage 14 V
Current 175 A
OEM P/N 11.204.252  Letrika
Description AAN8164
Notes Dust-proof

Cross References

Manufacturer Manufacturer P/N
BETA MARINE 200-05261


Product Alternator
Aftermarket P/N IA1542
Voltage 14 V
Current 120 A
OEM P/N 11.204.479
Description AAK4855
Notes Dust-proof


http://www.bowest.com.au/library/theorems.html   woohoo techie’s




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Batteries again?

Battery one woe:  We keep two banks of batteries on-board s/v Hajime. During the last voyage up coast, we switched over to the starter batteries to start the boat motor and left the switch there for a couple days.   The starter bank is two group 27, 90 Ah, lead acid batteries from Sam’s in the US dated 2/1012.  We ran the bank down to near 11.0 volts over night and the next day.  Since the only charger for that bank is an echo charge which only operates when the house bank is charged over 13 volts.  So the bank got NO charge for a couple days and all the usage from the boat and we drew it down to near the 10.5 volt empty.

When we saw the low voltage, we switched back to the house and all was well…  Or was it?  The only charge, again, is the echo charger and if the house was just keeping up the starter bank was not getting charged.  The next time we ran the motor for around 6 hours, we set the batteries to ALL so both banks would charge on the 120 Amp motor alternator.  The starter batteries still did not charge.  When we made it into dock and turned on the shore power on-board battery charger it kept shutting off and the starter bank still did not want to charge up…

Finally opened the battery compartment for the starter batteries and felt the heat.  One of the starter batteries was so hot you could not touch it.  We disconnected it quick as we could and set it out on the dock.  It did eventually cool down.

Diagnosis?   SHORT in a battery…  The other 12v starter battery which was in parallel with that one did finally come back to charged voltage and is holding a charge and the charger is acting properly again…  So we are back to a single starter battery and that’s OK.  We are 50 pounds lighter.

Battery two woe: When we bought s/v Hajime in 2010 we remodeled the area under the binnacle, removing the water heater tank so we had some room for a instant on water propane water heater and for the new house bank battery box.

In this box, with inside dimensions of 24.5″ x 14.5″ x 12″, we put 4 each GC2 6 volt batteries.  When wired serial then parallel, we had a house bank of 440 Ah at 12 volts.  We replaced the batteries in 2012 before leaving for Mexico, after living on-board for 2 years, and it is time to think about replacing them again.

We have plenty of solar to get them charged up daily, but given a cloudy day or two and normal loads we tend to have to run the motor to charge.  When new they took a charge better and seemed to have more capacity.

Overnight usage is probably:

Nominal aux and nightlights 1.5 amp for 10 hours = 15 Ah

Refrigerator 7 amp for 8 hours max = 48 Ah

Total max overnight = 63 Ah, this should not take the battery bank from 12.8 volts down to 12.2 volts overnight…

If 12.2 volts  is 60% battery capacity then we should have used 40% of 440 Ah or 176 Ah overnight…   Maybe the system is inefficient to the tune of (63-176)/176 =  -65%.

I know lots of things happen to lead acid batteries depending on rate of discharge, temperature, and number of discharge cycles:

But….  Starting to think (and have read, some where?) that a house bank is GOOD for a couple to three years so we are right in there for our third set of batteries since 2010… Today is Jan 09, 2016

Now the fun and techie bits…  We are in Puerto Vallarta. We ran over to Zaragoza Marine Chandlers from the Marina Vallarta docks where we are keeping the boat and looked at AGM marine batteries.  Looks like, for us to get similar to our existing 440 AH house bank we are looking at around $1800 USD for AGM lead acid batteries.  And maybe reworking the battery box.  Can’t find AGM GC2 batteries around here (haven’t looked real hard).

For a while we were thinking that AGM (absorbed glass mat) seems the way to go because they don’t out gas during charging and need no distilled water for maintenance.  They are spec’d to be a little more efficient and maybe last a little longer than lead acid.  AGM are more expensive than the USA Sam’s club GC2 flooded lead acid batteries we have been using.  Sam’s  ran about $300 for a set of 4 lead acid batteries.  I think in the US we would see about $1000 for 4 each GC2 – AGM batteries.

Battery WOW: Now, we are excited for the lithium iron phosphate batteries we just ordered and our BEST friends are bringing down to Guaymas for us!  We will bus up there and bring them back the end of January…

LiFePo4 batteries are way cool, they have almost no energy loss during charging and don’t drop in voltage during use.  You can use close to 80% of the battery Ah capacity when compared to the 30% usable in a flooded lead acid battery.  Meaning you should be able to replace a 400 Ah lead acid battery set with a 200Ah Lithium iron phosphate set…  ( We decided to double our house bank capacity by keeping the house at 400 Ah in LiFePo4 batteries.)  They also have maybe 10 times the discharge cycles in them, so they are even (maybe) cost effective when compared to the Sam’s batteries?   I understand the Ah capacity of LiFePo4 reduces with the increase in discharge cycles.  Maybe up to 25 % over the life of the batteries.

We ordered 4 each of the 100Ah LiFePo4 “Lithium Iron Phosphate” batteries with on-board battery  management system , similar to the blue one pictured below.  The open battery shows the BMS circuitry loaded into the case:


LiFePo4 sizes BSM 2




These are a drop-in replacement for a lead acid or AGM battery, and the BMS takes care of cell balancing, over charge protection, short protection, under voltage protection, and provides for data output to a computer as needed…  Specs on the 100Ah LiFePo4 lithium batteries we have ordered…


s1 (Copy)s2 (Copy)

These batteries run $875 each


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Closing out 2015

Christmas in Chacala a few days in San Blase then back to Banderas Bay for New Years Eve.   San Blas good and bad, food is great, bugs are not so great.  We do pretty well on the boat, but on land the jeyjenes, zancudos, and moscos are all a bit of  trial.

Nice sunsets and sunrises, jeyjene bites too, we headed back to Banderas 12/30 had a sunrise underway and and caught a dorado too…

Jess writes:

The king and queen of Mantanchen bay have left.  Or perhaps they are still there.  I have to explain about Alicia and Varo, who run the Playa Hermosa Restaurant in Las Islitas, on the shore of Mantanchen Bay.
 Alicia is the restaurant owner, proprietor, and chef.  She’s 67 or so, and has diabetes, and four kids in the states.  “I’ll go join them in a year or two,” she says.  Varo rolls his eyes as if he’s heard this before.  “Or three or four,” he says.
Varo usually wades out and waves us in to the spot on the beach with the least waves.  This time he did not.  When we hauled our kayaks out, we finally saw him, walking barefoot as always down the road with a branch (if you can call it that) of coconuts over his shoulder along with a coil of rope, and a machete in the other hand.  Now you know where coconuts come from.  Someone climbs a tree with a great big knife and cuts them off.
I brought Alicia a little loaf of the panatonne I had baked the day before, and we were suddenly friends, which is what we had been progressing towards anyway.  She let me explore her garden, which is what the place is after 35 years of domesticating the jungle, and the restaurant interior, clean as it is, and help myself to a beer.  When I emerged from the building, Varo said, “you should have sarandeado today.  Come see.”  He took me back behind the wood-fired grill where two enourmous dorados lay, intact.
“Okay, I’m there.  We’ll do the grilled fish today.”
 So Jim had to paddle back to the boat for a little more money than the beer or two we’d planned on.  I got to watch fish prep (A hammer is a useful thing for splitting the big bones, pounding on the back of the knife) and listen to them bicker;  Varo can be a little casual about grabbing things with fish-filthed hands.  Alicia will have none of it.  “Go wash, you pig!”
Most of the fish went into the freezer, but a kilo of it stayed out, just for us.  Then the anticipation began to build.
She made a marinade, (beer, chili huichol, salsa ingles, pimento, limon) and let the fish sit for a bit, with long cuts in the meat the long way and the meat left on the skin.  Then Varo put it between two pieecs of wire netting and put it on the grill.  For a long, long time it sat high above the fire.  Half of the fun was in the anticipation.  Varo was rubbing his hands excitedly, and talking about exactly how tender it would be.  Meanwhile, Alicia went in the kitchen and made beans and rice and salad to go along with our feast, and warmed the tortillas, and fried a few of them for chips. Jim and I lounged at table, with limonada and beer, watching the show of the two of them in thier familial bickering, cheerfully working to feed us.  We were the king and queen of the green bay, with the world at our feet, and friends feasting us.
But maybe Alicia and Varo are the king and queen, because they get to stay there. They have a little piece of pardise, with the green bay and the jungle-clad mountains rising up in the distance behind.  The jungle and the bay feed them, they have their friends, their comforts, and the world is in thier hands.

end Jessica writes…

We made it to Marina La Cruz around 4:00 PM and anchored for the night.  New Years Eve we took some fish in to some friends in the marina; Nakamal and Vivacia and .  A big lunch at Colombo Restaurant in de Huanacaxtle and ROWED back out to the boat with a bag of ice for margaritas and a few groceries. Stayed up til fireworks at midnight.  The whole shoreline lit up from Punta de Mita to PV…

Oh ya, ROWING.  We had our friends on s/v Landfall take a look at the 2HP Honda 4 stroke which quit running they also think it is the coil.  No spark!  So we have added it to the list of stuff cousin Bobby is bringing down from the USA when they come Jan 3rd…

We are looking at a little bigger dinghy motor available here in Puerto Vallarta at Zaragoza Chandlers.  Getting real serious after a month of ROWING…    I need to see if we have space to keep both around.  It will be pretty tight on the transom for two dinghy motors.  We are looking at a Tohatsu 5HP 2-stroke.  2-strokes look to be considerably lighter than 4-strokes and the Tohatsu goes for USA list here at Zaragoza which is a pretty big surprise.   Usually things are quite a bit more expensive at Zaragoza than USA chandlers.

Ooo pretty…

Outboard engine / gasoline / 2-stroke / 5 hp M5 Tohatsu

They make a 2.5 3.5 HP 2-stroke which would probably be FINE, but the throttle looks to be on the front of the motors and not on the tiller arm.  Kinda like the tiller arm throttle for a dinghy…

Will go through all the repair parts and new motor in a week or two.  May have to wait til we get back from 1 to 2 weeks in Mazatlan.

We leave Jan 9 for Mazatlan where we are we have to visit immigration to renew out temporary resident cards.  We are hoping we can get a three year renewal this time around.  We have booked into the the “Hotel La Siesta” on the south end of the malecon (boardwalk) in the area near old town called Olas Altas. for a few days and then will decide where to spend the rest of the time needed to get the cards renewed…

habitaciones confortables habitaciones confortables

We have booked 3 weeks for the boat in Marina Vallarta starting the 3rd of Jan.

Marina Vallarta Light House



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Christmas eve and xmas in Chacala, Nayarit MX

We left Banderas Bay, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle at 11:00 AM and headed out past Punta de Mita around the corner and north to La Peñita de Jaltemba to anchor for the night.

Banderas Bay3.JPG


Seems they have recently added buoys around the island to ensure NO PARKING inside the buoys.  We anchored near the panga bay closer to town and ROLLED and ROLLED all night.

Then on to Chacala Bay and XMas eve…

Mantanchen Bay is another 20 NM North and we might run up there before turning back to the south.
Suppose to blow a bit next couple days, maybe some rain?    We are tucked in right in front of the Port Captain here in Chacala and the “row” in is nice.  Dingy motor is on s/v Landfall in Marina La Cruz dock 11, being fixed (waiting for parts)…
We check into Marina Vallarta Jan 3 for 3 weeks, Jess cousin,Bobby, coming in for a month.  We leave the boat, bus to Mazatlan Jan 10 for as long as it takes to do the temporary visa work with immigration there then back to boat and think about heading south (some more)…
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A talk, a walk then time to go!

A talk – Jess went to the Women Who Sail meeting last week and said it was a blast.  I’ll leave space for her review here:

Sometime in the last week or two (it’s been busy) there was a meeting of the facebook group “Women who sail.”  At least, all of them who were in Banderas Bay.  First, let me tell you about the meeting place.  Los Arroyos Verdes, in Bucerias, just down coast from La Cruz.  This is owned, operated, and built by Lupe, actually Guadalupe Dipp Reyes, who happens to be a woman who sails.  She’s also an architect.  She also competed on a boat that was winning so well that the Mexican president at the time had to let them actually put the Mexican flag on it.  Anyway, Lupe has designed this fabulous place, which consists of a central meeting place (the pool, the bar, the excellent restaurant) and an array of bungalows.  Oh, she’s an artist, too.  All of the bungalows are very well designed and artistically informed.  It’s a green space.  Enough said.  Go there.  Or, as another one of the speakers said, “We all have super powers.  Including the woman next to you, including you.”
Okay, pile eighty or so exceptional women into this space, and have a smattering of them talk.  An author.  A badass ex-coastie.  A woman who said, “So you’re afraid of something?  Knowledge is power.”  And proceeded to hand out strategies for dealing with the fear that accompanies challenging yourself, including the fabulous distraction technique.  You see, she lost a fish off the line whilst in a gale on the strait of Juan de Fuca, and she and her DH (that’s sailor speak for Dear Husband) proceeded to argue, while the boat went ripping along, quite happily sailing the gale without their intervention.  Another woman who had to go and rescue DH after he went overboard, which it turns out is a fear many of us share.
The theme was “We can do anything we decide to,” or so it seemed.  I jumped into the pool and wound up chatting with three other women.  Can’t remember their names.  Might bring up their boat names if pressed.  Heard some lovely stories from them.  But what stuck was the superpowers comment.  We all have superpowers, just have to find them and honor them.

A Walk – We took the day hike with April (the surfer) from “Wave House” .  April is a 30 year resident of MX and has a tourism business.  Great resource in the Banderas Bay area!  We contacted her on the Cruisers Net VHF CH22 mornings in the bay at 8:30 MA Mon-Sat.  The walk started with a pickup of the group by April at PV Sailing near the Marina Riveria Nayarit (Marina La Cruz) Near Buseras, in a van, and she took us to Boca de Tomatlan.  La Cruz is just west of “Bucerias” on the map below…  Boca de Tomatlan is on the south east corner of the bay…

Banderas Bay

From Boca to walk ocean side thru the deciduous rain forest to Playa Las Animas for a lunch break then on to Quimixto, A half hour or so more up the river to the falls, a dip, a beer, then back to Quimixto for a panga ride 6 miles back to Boca de Tamatlan and a van ride back to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle…  Quimixto is mid way between Boca and Yelapa on the map below…

Banderas Sur2a

Some photos of the trip:


The beginning bridge


Boca de Tomatlan


First supersize “Blue Water”


Ooh pretty


Black Iguana?


The troupe


The boss (April)













Dog for the day at the lower falls


One last time  to ford the river


Ready for panga regresso


A pickup with a ladder tied on the tailgate for fixing a traffic light…

I left out the Quimixto Falls photos just in case you want to do the trip for your selves and like the surprise!

then time to go – The anchorage and marina are getting busy for the Christmas holiday so we are getting the laundry done, making the boat “ship shape” and checking out with the port capitan in order to head north for Xmas in Chacala 40 NM (maybe).  Another 20 NM to Mantanchan Bay (maybe after Chacala gets old).  Then back to Banderas Bay…  These are the plans “written in the sand at low tide” …



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George is FINE – cooling tube stack serviced

TECHIE:    We cleaned the cooling tube stack today and now it is a scheduled maintenance item.  Once a year.  From the looks of our stack, it can probably go a couple years under our conditions.

A few notes.

Start by draining the coolant using the drain cock under the tank holding the tube stack, port side.  We slipped a plastic hose on the nipple under the drain valve and got about three quarts of coolant drained into a container.

Turn off the power to the boat motor 12v.  You will be working in the area of the engine where the battery connects !  You will need to roll the alternator up to remove the belt and then down to get it away from the front tube stack cover ( 13 MM socket/ratchet and spanner (wrench)  ) so you can remove the 5MM cap screws in the cover.

Turn off the raw water thru hull valve and you can drain off some of the raw water from the system by releasing a hose clamp or two.  A 7mm wrench works great on the factory hose clamps.  Hard to get a flat head screw driver oriented onto some of them…

Yes, you do need a set of new O-rings for the re-assembly.

Once the end caps are removed you can pick off the old O-rings (then look more like tetrahedral rings before removal. And push the tube stack towards the aft end of the motor.  and it WILL slide out.  We used a persuader ( a wood drift )  and a helper (hammer).

Clean it and inspect the tubes by looking thru them.

If you have a rod to fit the inside diameter of the tubes it will make you feel better that you cleaned the tubes out and not just looked through them.  We had a long shaft screw driver with no widening of the driver shaft and it fit perfectly at 0.185 inch diameter.

Re assemble and SMILE!

BY THE WAY…  We did not find any little pieces of rubber from the impeller?  We even removed and flushed out the rigid stainless tube which runs from the raw water pump over the engine to the rear cap on the cooling tube stack to see if they stuck in there, none found!

They MUST have passed through the cooling tube stack  ( tube ID approx. 0.20 inch ) and out the exhaust.

Photos of the work, and the worker:



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Poor George – impeller bits gone missing

Alternate title:  Where oh where have my little impeller rubber pieces gone?

Can you guess?

btw. “George” is the name of our Beta 30 diesel motor imported from Beta Marine Engine in England and installed here in the Marina Riveria Nayarit on Banderas Bay near Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco MX  ref blog post.

Yesterday was “change the zincs” day.  We have prop shaft and shaft support zincs they were fine.  And we have a small pencil zincs in the water cooled refrigerator compressor and one in the Beta 30 raw water system.

I turned off the sea water valve to the Beta 30 and changed the zinc. Then moved on to the compressor cooler zinc and got into a broken pump issue for a while.    Forgot to turn on the raw water to the Beta 30 motor!

Winds shifting around and around and we were dragging around the anchorage a little so we decided to take the opportunity to not just reset the anchor but to run into the fuel dock to top up the fuel tanks.  We calculated we were around 50 gallons down.  15 in the jerry cans and 35 in the 50 gallon capacity main tank!

Anyway!  I ran the motor for around 3 to 4 minutes without raw water to the impeller in the raw water pump and overheated the pump and lost a few pieces of the impeller into the cooling system in the motor.

I am guessing that this may be the first time in the history of boating that someone has done this kind of thing!

When I heard the exhaust “without water” sound from the tail pipe on the boat, we were near the yellow entrance buoy at Marina Riveria Nayarit so we got out of the fairway and killed (bad choice of words?) the motor and dropped anchor as quickly as we could.

We opened the impeller cover on the raw water pump, found one of our spares from the spare parts kit, soaped it up, installed it, replaced the cover, 10 minutes down.

We talked over the consequences of starting the motor with little pieces of rubber floating around in there, another 10 minutes…

vessel engine overheated

then we decided to try it.

SO, we headed to the fuel dock which was only about 6 to 8 minutes ahead of us and then onto a dock in the marina which we could arrange on ch. 16 VHF, another 5 minutes.

Watching the temperature gauge and water production from the exhaust pipe closely we proceeded.  All looked FINE!

The Beta owners manual is a bit light on detail for cleaning out the cooling water tube stack so I asked Beta Marine in England for more detail.  While waiting for a reply, I found a REVISED and UPDATED .PDF of the Owner’s maintenance manual online.  The NEW manual has much better descriptions and illustrations for the cooling tube stack…  Manual Reference link: http://betamarine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/downloads/operators_manuals/1640-2838-HEKC-SOM-0714.pdf

AND it turns out you should disassemble and clean out your cooling water tube stack on these motors every year or 250 hours if sooner.  We just turned over 200 on the trip down to PV from Mazatlan, and the motor has been in the boat since April 01, 2014, so it’s TIME.

Here are the photos supplied in the NEW manual from Beta Marine on the Beta 30 tube stack and cooling water drain location…


I’ll let you know how it goes…












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Rocking and rolling

The title just came to me…

We are at anchor in Chacala Nayarit MX.  We stopped in here in 2013 and had a red tide and left immediately. Now we are safely at anchor and this little anchorage,about 50 miles north of Banderas Bay,  is a bit rolley…

Today we left Mantanchin Bay around 10:00 AM.  There was a time change coming down from Mazatlan.three days ago to San Blas, Mantanchen Bay.  By the way the hurricane  Sandra petered out and we got a little rain and no wind to speak of!  So much for weather forcasts! Knock Wood!

Kinda backed into all that huh?  So last post was Thanksgiving, we had Shrimp and coconut pizza at La Mona in Marina Mazatlan for thanksgiving dinner.  La Mona’s is at the end of the rainbow in the photo below!



Maybe shingles are all gone, still not all cleared up but getting there.  Nothing a little salt water wont cure!  Jess has been great, I’ve just been a lump!

We decided to get out of Mazatlan again and left on Wednesday Dec 3 and motored and sailed down to Mantanchen Bay Just south of San Blas.  Its a 60 peso cab ride into town if you need to go?

On the beach are palapas (resturants where you can get a beer and food) what more can you ask?  We stayed a couple nights had the best ever shrimp empanadas and guacomole at one called “Palya Hermosilla”.  Comming onto shore at the east end of all the palapas, its just to the left of the two story masonary building called Neptuno’s .  Nice dingy landing and Barro will take care of you!  Some photos of Mantanchen Bay:

Leaving Mantanchen today we got swarmed by bees about 2 miles off shore?  We threw up the companion way screen and hit until we came up with a plan to put Jess in her bee keeper outfit and chase the bees away!  It took a can of “Begone” bug spray, a fly swatter, and a water hose, but crew of Hajime one, bees nothing!  Bad photo but the brown blur were bees, lots of bees!


We may stay a day or so, word is cousins are in PV so we may run down there too?  Let y’all know next post!


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Happy Thanksgiving one and all

Jess is washing the boat, she is salty from 4 days sailing…

Me?  I am weather watching on computer models.  So, when we were questioning the logic of coming back to Mazatlán or continuing on to Puerto Vallarta, the correct answer may have been to continue on!  So it goes !

Shingles:  We did find out that the quickest doctor visit was a dingy ride over to El Cid marina, walk up the fuel dock to the “House Doctor” sign just down from the “Harbor Master” signs.  Consultation, diagnosis and prescriptions $35 USD.  Drug of choice:

Consultation, diagnosis and prescriptions $35 USD.  Drug of choice:


Aciclovir, also known as acyclovir and acycloguanosine, is an antiviral medication. It is primarily used for the treatment of herpes simplex virus infections, chickenpox, and shingles. Other uses include prevention of cytomegalovirus i… Treatment is 3 times a day for 7 days 1000 mg. Cost for 2 days was $400 peso or $25.5 USD… AND a cicloferon spray (acyclovir/lidocaine spray) 50ml, it may last 7 days?, for another $400 peso or $25.5 USD… Jim is an expensive boy!

On to the weather watching:

http:/windyty.com  Windyty is kinda cool to watch


http://www.wxug.us/1s29c  Weather underground setup to watch storm path models


20151125WUSandra  20151127WUSandra

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/?epac  NOAA national hurricane center tools…

Loading Storm Graphics Loops

https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/wxmap_cgi/cgi-bin/wxmap_loop.cgi?area=nvg_tropepac&dtg=2015112406&prod=prp&tau=000&set=AllA USN model site:



There are more weather sites, but,  enough is enough?

More later, the fridge just quit working and jess is emptying the lazarette.  Woo hoo!



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