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I'm an unlucky Captain

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charentebob View Drop Down
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    Posted: 18 September 2016 at 12:07
On 5th September we suffered a near lightning strike in the Ionian which has knocked out our Nav instruments. Some of the effects took hold after a day or two. One of the IS40 displays doesn't function & the plotter is only just working. We have since learnt that many boats with Simrad or B & G systems have had similar problems. We are in Lefkas & there are 3 others with blown MHWUs. Normally fitting a terminal resistor in the wind unit wire socket gets everything going until a new unit is fitted. In our case this fix has not worked so it indicates more serious damage. We lost everything in Naples in mid May & that followed a violent thunderstorm as we approached. Lightning strikes all round us on the sea. At that time I didn't know these units were sensitive & a known problem. The local electronics technician in Lefkas says that Navionics now replace the units & provide a 2 year warranty on every unit on an on-going basis as they have not yet designed a robust replacement unit.

We now await a local Surveyor appointed by our insurance company to assess the situation. Any faith I had in Simrad has long since gone & if possible I'm inclined to change to Raymarine. The sensitivity of Simrad gear & other tech issues has ruined our sailing season, so I long to go home to find a different set of problems there!

Nigel
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Mark&Catherine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark&Catherine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2016 at 12:54
I thought the design of the MH unit was recently changed to improve things. We lost our too but the new design wasn't available when we replaced it, so we will buy a spare ' new version' as a spare.

385 ubulukutu sail number GBR 3350L in Turkey and Greece with Mark and Catherine
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415 Singapore View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 415 Singapore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2016 at 02:16
Dear Nigel
Commiserations and there I was thinking we were the only unlucky ones!
We got lightning / electrical discharge damage sometime three weeks ago, not exactly sure when, as we weren't on the boat. But would seem that engine management unit, Hanse Control panel, VHF, AIS, battery charger, B&G instruments have all been knocked out. We don't think it was a direct strike and apparently the majority of strikes are through the water rather than from above, but the photo below shows what is left of the VHF aerial once the discharge had exited the mast.

This the third time we have suffered lightning damage, although the first two times was limited to the B&G wind sensor and the B&G CPU, which we put down to the (B&G admitted) overly sensitive wind sensors and were replaced under warranty by B&G. For a year and a half no problems so I had hoped that the improved wind sensor had solved the problem.

This time there is enough damage to involve our insurers, but it is quite alarming to think you can lose your engine and all instruments at the same time. Gone are the days that diesel engines were simple, I think in future I will carry a spare engine management unit as you can't repair these and the fuse didn't protect it as it hadn't even blown.


Paul - Night Train - 415 #136
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High Time View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Time Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2016 at 21:13
Originally posted by 415 Singapore 415 Singapore wrote:

Dear Nigel
 . . .  but it is quite alarming to think you can lose your engine and all instruments at the same time. Gone are the days that diesel engines were simple, I think in future I will carry a spare engine management unit as you can't repair these and the fuse didn't protect it as it hadn't even blown.

Paul

I consider the engine to be an essential safety system and think it is appalling that modern Volvo engines rely on 2 fragile electronic boxes (the cockpit engine control panel panel and the engine mounted MDI) to start the engine. If either of these fail it is very difficult to start the engine, even if you have jump leads and other tools to hand because of restricted access to the necessary terminals.

My solution has been to fit a push button switch on a small panel on the side of the engine next to the MDI. This connects two of the wires under the MDI - the red (battery positive) and the red/yellow (starter solenoid feed). The push button can then always be used to start the engine even if the MDI and/or the engine control panel fail. 

Roger

High Time (415 #038)
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Ilkhanse View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ilkhanse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2016 at 23:00
It doesn't make sense that B&G is any more or less sensitive to lightning then any other device that has integrated circuits. Who made that claim? I did lose all of my electronics to a strike, and I replaced with new B&G. Hope I didn't make a mistake!!
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415 Singapore View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 415 Singapore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2016 at 05:19
Hi Ilkhanse, it was B&G themselves who admitted that their mast head units were overly sensitive, which they said they rectified by the time we had our third one fitted. Judging from the extent of the damage suffered to Night Train this time, I don't think it had anything to do with the instrument manufacturer.
All the best
Paul
Paul - Night Train - 415 #136
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415 Singapore View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 415 Singapore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2016 at 15:40
Hi Roger
That sounds like an excellent solution, how did you wire the start button in? Extra wires into the MDI connectors? On a more positive note, our engine works again now that the MDI has been replaced, the tachometer had also blown and that has been replaced too. Now just the Hanse control panel, the instruments, shower pump to go!
But at least we can day sail again.
Paul - Night Train - 415 #136
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High Time View Drop Down
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Joined: 04 September 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Time Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2016 at 21:56
Originally posted by 415 Singapore 415 Singapore wrote:

Hi Roger
That sounds like an excellent solution, how did you wire the start button in? Extra wires into the MDI connectors?

Yes. The red and red/yellow wires are connected under the MDI with ring terminals. So, the new push button switch just needs a couple of flying leads with ring terminals that connect to the same terminal posts as the red and red/yellow wires.


Roger

High Time (415 #038)
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scott View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 December 2016 at 16:50
Hi Roger -

This sounds like a smart precaution.

Do you have any pictures you can share on how it's wired & mounted?

Thx!
-scott
Scott
Sailing Mer, Hanse 415, Hull #85
Seattle
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High Time View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Time Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 December 2016 at 20:23
Hi Scott

Please find attached a couple of pictures that show how the new starter (MDI override) switch is mounted and wired.

Please ignore the large plastic bottle in the foreground - that is to catch the drips from the calorifier pressure relief valve that used to collect in the space below the engine.

The button switch (an old heavy duty auto starter switch) is shown bottom right in the first picture with the 2 brown wires routed to the second and third connectors on the right hand underside of the MDI unit. 


Roger

High Time (415 #038)
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