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Barry's Blog #149 - 21st century tech

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

These days diode battery isolators are old tech. In the 21st century the new FET battery isolators are the way to go. Let me explain why.

A battery isolator is like the middle man in an energy exchange. I'll use round numbers to make it easier to follow along at home.

If we have an alternator putting out 100 amps of energy and that 100 amps passes through a diode isolator then the isolator takes a middle man cut of 70 amps and dishes out the remaining 30 amps to the battery banks. In our situation we have three banks so they would each receive 10 amps of energy. Very inefficient.

Using the same 100 amp alternator and pushing that energy through a FET isolator the efficiency is 99.9% so now each battery bank gets 33.3 amps. Super efficient.

Old out - New in

In what seems like an eternal quest to discover the cause of the fizzing prop shaft anode we called in an expert while we were at D-Marin marina in Didim and he told us that our battery isolator was faulty.

At Bodrum a nice shiny new Victron ArgoFET battery isolator was purchased and now that we were firmly tied up at our berth in Kaş marina it was time for out with the old and in with the new.

There are only 4 cables attached to the battery isolator and you would think that it would be a quick and easy job to disconnect them from the old unit and attach them to the new unit. But as with any job on a boat it's never that simple.

The old isolator had no indication as to which cable was the alternator input and which cables went to the various batteries, so I needed to test each individual cable so that I could correctly label the connections on the new isolator.

After securing the new FET isolator in place the first cable I wanted to connect was the alternator input but after determining which cable it was I found that it was 2cm (0.8") too short to reach the input connector. Bugger.

The quickest and easiest solution was to turn the FET isolator the other way around and the cable easily reached the connector. But my OCD now forever knows that the writing on the isolator is upside down.

A bit more testing, a bit more boat yoga, a lot of sweating in the 36C (97F) heat and a couple of hours later the job was done. That was one more fault corrected and another bite out of the fizzing anode mystery.

Los Banditos

Five days after arriving at Kaş marina we took a walk into town to buy a few things and see how busy the place was in the summer. The current Covid regulations require people to wear a mask in public places with fines for those who don't comply.

Leaving the marina we donned our black masks and together with our dark sunglasses we looked like a pair of banditos ready to rob the nearest bank. We were also the only people wearing masks.

On the 10 minute walk to town we watched as cars and scooters drove past and not one person had a mask on. When we reached town there were some people with masks on, but at most only 40% of people were wearing them.

Walking around it was good to see that all of the shops were open and even if the number of tourists were down from previous years most of the cafes and restaurants were quite busy. We stopped by Smiley's restaurant to say hello to Serpil and were pleasantly surprised to see that they'd made big changes and now most of the dining area was open air. We made a promise to Serpil that we'd be back soon to enjoy her very tasty lamb shank dish and headed back to the marina.


When we bought A B Sea the quick release brake on the windlass was seized tight so we've always had to drop the anchor using the windlass motor. The job of freeing the brake has been on the 'to do' list since forever and I'd even spent several days applying penetrating lubricant to it while we'd been on the hard in Greece. But I still couldn't budge it.

I had a chat with my mate Mike and he said "Hold my beer." He wandered off to his boat Spicy Lady and came back with a shiny stainless steel rod. Within seconds he had the brake freed up and suggested that I get my own rod made by our magic mechanic friend Aydin.

With the brake now freed I could finally clean and re-grease the windlass gypsy. It was a straightforward job and I was pleasantly surprised at how clean it all was. Another job ticked off the list.

While I was up front doing that, Aannsha was in the cockpit splicing eyes into a couple of short lengths of rope. These were then added into the mix of our spring stern lines as a safety feature in case the metal springs ever fail under load.

The contract

We'd now been in the marina for a week and it was time to make it officially our home by signing the 12 month contract. Putting on some clean non boat jobs clothes we walked to the marina office to meet with Umit and do the paperwork.

At the marina office we were greeted by Umit with the now common place bumping of the elbows and welcomed into his office where we shared stories of where we'd been travelling over a cold bottle of mineral water.

A half hour later with the contract signed we were officially marina dwellers and because we'd been introduced to the marina by our mate Jim on Acheron we received a bonus free month, giving us 13 months in total.

Next on the list was to apply for our temporary Turkish residency and we've been told that the marina office staff can assist us with that.

As we left the marina office I commented that we only had a couple of small jobs to do and then we could sit back and relax. Little did we know that an extremely big job was about to rear its ugly head. But I'll tell you all about that in a future blog. To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.


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