Monday, July 24, 2017


It never ceases to amaze me why people supposedly skilled in the art of building boats can do such stupid things. It could be in their minds it seemed to be a good idea at the time, or perhaps it's the delusion that their work is so good that it will never need to be touched again. So off we go on a modest photo essay of things I see that just drives me nuts. Our first case is corrosion protection.

I don't know what all this goo really is but the boat builder no doubt had 55 gallon drums full of this stuff by the way they smeared it on. In the picture it looks like silicon, but it's not. It's just as gooey and slimy as  the day it was applied. I had to have paper towels to wipe off the probes from my voltmeter while checking a circuit for power. I felt like I needed a shower afterwards. A light spray of Boeshield T9 would have done the trick faster and better.

Cut hole, check. Stick gasket in place, check. Put MFD in hole, check. Screw the MFD in from the front, check. Attach bezel, check. Go behind the MFD and seal it completely with 3M 4200 or the ilk, why?

This was unnecessary. I have to remove it. If it hadn't been glued in place it would have been five minutes to drop the cables and replace it with the new one

Instead it became a 45 minute battle to extract it resulting in damage to the case in the process. I  cut as much of the goo as I could get to with a utility knife but the installer was meticulous in ensuring it was thoroughly sealed.

Despite the fact that the console was only a quarter of an inch thick the goo was one half of an inch thick in the places it was hard to get to, like the top of the unit where I couldn't get the utility knife in to cut it.

So what was wrong with the gasket? Nothing other than the layer of spooge copiously smeared on top of it. Nothing at all. What was this moron thinking? All things break someday and typically sooner than later when it will have to be removed.

This is the last WTF moment for today. This picture is from a high latitude yacht. To translate this into americanized English for everyone this means it was designed to cruise in cold climates and hence is heavily insulated with spray foam everywhere. 

Instead of  investing a few bucks in conduit almost all of the primary wiring was foamed in place. This guaranteed the wiring could never be replaced, and even worse it makes it nearly impossible to pull new wiring in. 

The yacht is going through a substantial upgrade and the largest single cost is the time it takes to get new wiring from A to B all caused by saving a few bucks on  conduit. Progress on some pulls is measured in inches per hour. WTF

Yeah I know it's been a while, and I'm sorry about it. Without going into the details life and work became extraordinarily complicated, distracting and very time consuming to say the least. Things have now calmed down to near its "Abby Normal" state and posts and life are resuming. Boy is there a backlog of stuff to talk about. 


  1. I'm glad you're back Bill! You always have an interesting perspective on all things boat related.

  2. That's just dielectric grease..very standard stuff, messy yes, but effective. They put a lot on. Boesheild T-9 would not last nearly as long. For someone that criticizes boat assembly/maintenance, the fact you don't know what dielectric grease is makes me very suspect of your own qualifications.

    1. My point is you can have too much of a good thing. Who wants to work on, add to, or test something that requires rags to clean your tools afterwards. The nature of dielectric grease is it isn't conductive and shouldn't be applied directly to connections, especially low voltage ones. I'll stick with the Boeshield.

  3. Glad to have you back Bill. The whole concept of using 5200 or the Like to attach a replaceable component seems crazy!

  4. "The nature of dielectric grease is it isn't conductive and shouldn't be applied directly to connections, especially low voltage ones."

    I totally DIS-agree...starting at least 20 years ago, every new Honda or Toyota I owned had virtually every connector filled with clear silicone (not "silicon") dielectric grease, and with any well-designed connector, it never creates a high-resistance connection, despite not being conductive. On the contrary, it prevents high-resistance from building from oxidation. All my Molex and DEUTSCH-style connectors get filled with the stuff...even direct-burial slice kits come with it, even for very high voltages.

    1. Hi Karl, I don't doubt the efficacy of dieletric grease, aka silicon grease. Vaseline does exactly the same job but with a lower melting point. It's supposed to be applied in a thin layer to the conductor mating surfaces and the connection has to be tight enough that it squeezes out the excess. If the connection isn't tight arcing causes outgassing which can do damage to local electrical parts. It also shouldn't be used on switching (arcing) contacts. In the end the the photo shows the stuff was slathered on top of the connections making it a P in the A to clean up when changes occur, it's expensive and I don't keep tubes of the stuff laying around. I do however have a can of T-9 which does a good enough job especially in protected areas, is easy to apply without making a big mess, and it doesn't require a roll of paper towels for clean up.

  5. Glad to have you back Bill! I agree that the extra goop is poor practice - it gets on other things, must be wiped off, obscures what's underneath, is hard to renew (if you even know what it is!), and there's no guarantee of complete coverage. A spray is better here for sure. FWIW, if I did have need for this kind of goo - thinking battery terminals for example - I have a preference for lanolin. Which used to be hard to find, but Amazon has fixed that.