Last Weekend in March

Last weekend was pretty quiet with lots of little jobs done. The two main ones worth mentioning were rewiring the alternator to replace its regulator, and fitting the under-deck tiller for the autohelm.

The standard alternator is, as you can imagine, absolutely fine for standard use. However I’m not planning for standard use, so I want to replace the regulator to make the alternator more efficient. The plan is to piggyback the new regulator onto the old one, so if the new alternator should ever fail that the old one kicks in again.

Step one was to take apart the alternator. Easier said than done, when the bolts are seized from many years of life in a salty environment. I ended up cutting the securing bolts and splitting it with a hammer (as gently as one can be with a hammer!). This photo shows the alternator opened up, with the stubs of the cut bolts still showing.

Alternator Apart

Using silver solder so as to prevent future corrosion, a wire was soldered to the field connector of the stock regultaor. You can see the new green wire coming in from the top of the picture, neaty soldered (glad I paid attention that day in labs!) to the connector on the alternator.

Neat Solder

Then the casing was put back together, taking care not to pinch any of the stator windings or the new field connector. The new wire was led out of the casing and a connector was crimped and soldered in place ready to connect to the new regulator.

New Regulator Connector

Thankfully the bolts that I had cut were metric M5 bolts, with standard threads (yes I did check before I started cutting!), so I was able to source stainless steel replacements.

Then on to the tiller arm… I had Jefa in Holand fabricate a really nice aluminium tiller arm for the autohelm. As can only be expected, when it arrived I discovered they had made it slightly too small for the stock. Several hours gentle filing away at the aluminium with a dremel and it fitted absolutely perfectly. In the picture you can see how it fits around the aluminium rudder stock under the deck (look for the shiny arm attached to the vertical aluminium stock).

Lever Arm

The autohelm will be attached to this and will control the rudder enabling me to do everything else around the boat while she steers straight and true.