Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to do with some old equipment?

In the process of rebuilding Windsong I am uncertain if I should ditch some old equipment or try to keep it going. At this time none of these pieces of equipment are functional, and I had not bothered troubleshooting since I figured I'd try to salvage what value I could out of them by selling and upgrading. However, as the list of things I need to buy grows, I am further seeking to save a buck. Please tell me if I should keep it or ditch it.

1. 1993 Seafrost SA-III (134A) Series engine driven & 120 volt refrigeration & freezer system. I would like a DC system, but have given the current one some thought. It is already set up, though I would like to give the boxes more insulation before cruising. I plan on cruising in the tropics, and I know that matters when choosing a fridge system. I am curious if this old system is worth keeping though.

I don't really like the idea of an engine driven system, I'd rather keep my batteries topped with solar and an good alternator and have a constant cycle DC system. Is that a good idea or should I seek to get this one working? Would this old system have any value to sell? Any particular units I should look at to buy? Since the system uses chill-plates, and they are already installed, would it be worth ditching the engine driven compressor and just buy a DC run unit to use with the existing set-up? If I have a DC unit, I question keeping the AC unit since if I were to be tied to shore-power I would be charging my batteries regardless.

2. 1983 Alpha 4404 Autopilot. I would like a windvane for my self-steering, but want some sort of back-up and for motoring. I figure I would get a wheel pilot, but this old beast is attached to the boat. There is a mechanical control arm, a cockpit control unit, and a compass unit. I wouldn't know where to begin to start troubleshooting this, but would be willing to give it a shot. If just one of the three parts needed replacing, would these old things be worth trying to get going?

Any opinions from my wise readers would be appreciated!

1 comment:

bob said...

Hi Erick -

1. I'd ditch the engine-driven refrigeration. Those systems leak Freon like an old car air conditioner, because that's essentially what they are. Refrigeration is going to be your biggest energy load onboard - this is a very good place to do an upgrade. And I agree with your analysis and conclusion on the DC system. Our system on Eolian is DC too. If the existing Freon plumbing and holding plates are in good shape, I see no reason that they should not be retained. As for the old stuff - put it up on craigslist. Who knows?

2. I am not familiar with the Alpha 4404, but you will definitely want to have an electric autopilot as well as a windvane. The old electro-mechanical systems have one thing going for them: they are electrically stout. Which system do you think would be more likely to survive an electrical surge (regulator problem? lightening strike??)? In general, they are also typically fixable as opposed to replaceable. I think I'd spend some time troubleshooting the Alpha.

bob