Tuesday, May 24, 2011

managing braised plastic

Sometimes a man learns from the most improbable things. The pic above is of Annie on display at our local community festival- an event normally about land-locked things, with an emphasis on local produce and skills. I was asked to display her by a desperate organiser, and I complied largely because I feel that I do so little for what is a wonderful country community with a real spirit.
Of course it rained most of the day, but there was no wind so Annie was never tempted to run away on her trailer. I was amazed at the interest shown in her, and it did add something unusual to a rural event I suppose.
The purpose of this story is to reveal some failures of my electric propulsion system, and to illustrate just how capable I am of making wrong assumptions. The sailing prior to this had led me to assume that I couldn't run the electric motor at full speed for long, and I assumed that was part of the nature of the beast- the cut-out would break the circuit if I got too enthusiastic, so I took that more as a consequence of my behaviour than as one of a system failure...but then the next time out we smelt that horrid smell of cooking plastic, and the speed controller failed, looking like a burnt sausage in the process.
I replaced the unit, but in doing so I realized that little thing that a clever person would have considered weeks ago- that in triple insulating the speed-controller under the deck, I had made it impossible for any moisture that might weedle its way into the switch via the shaft from the normally dry deck, to escape. That moisture just sat there braising the unit every time it was used. That rainy day at the local festival had been my un-doing. So hell-bent had I been to avoid the great briny from soaking my electro-bits, I had over-looked the more common (and obvious) hazards of precipitation.
I have since installed the little dear into a small box mounted on the motor hatch, with the knob protected from the weather. I hope that sorts it.


  1. Not surprising you forgot what rain is Rob after the drought we have had.

    Question I'm starting to think about trailers and couldn't help notice how good yours looks and I reckon it should suit Coquina. Please point me in the right direction, ta.

  2. Was very reasonably priced, bought as a kit- but they don't import this size anymore I think. But try Carlex Easy Trailer (. com .au) I think their biggest is now for a 3.9 metre boat. Good luck