Nothing Ever Happens If You Don’t Do Anything

From the companionway fiasco we get to the next big mistake. I managed to connect the battery cables wrong and I shorted out the starting battery! Fantastic. Its easy to laugh at this story, if you haven’t done anything yourself.

Everything began when I installed the new starting battery. Piece of cake, a job that I’ve done dozens of time for several boats during the past 15 years. But not this time.

Power on and WTF?! There’s sparks and smoke everywhere!

Putting the battery on its place as always. Black cord to the minus and the other blue one to plus. Power on and WTF?! There’s sparks and smoke everywhere! I had no idea what just happened. I thought there was something seriously wrong with the battery. The thought didn’t even occur to me that the cables would have been connected wrongly. I went back to the store and changed the battery, which they did at Motonet. (The customer was wrong on this one, but points Motonet anyways for their customer oriented approach)

One of the battery terminals had melted a bit. It was only when I was buying new ones that I realized what had happened. The goddamn minus was a plus…

I installed the new starting battery and went through the damages. After switching the power on, a buzzer started in the Yanmar panel, but the motor couldn’t be started. Fuck. Radio is not working, OK, minor damages. VHF is not working, that was old anyway… Everything else seemed to be working and the electricity came normally from the other batteries as well. Later I found out that also the inverter for the shore power had gone.

I wasn’t able to find out reason for the buzzer sound. Not even the old geezers at the yacht club or the Yanmar service man or the electrician I rang up had an idea what was the cause for it.

If you’d have to guess, do you think I was pissed off? I can’t even describe how annoyed I was. My week was saved again by the same sales man at Motonet, when he comforted my anger against myself by saying, “Well, nothing ever happens if you don’t do anything”.

The alternator is fried due to the short circuit!

Without a solution I continued googling. Finally I found the solution from an American boat forum: the alternator is fried due to the short circuit!

Is this the solution for the problem?

Was that really the solution for this problem? I didn’t know for sure, but I had to try. My summer vacation was also half gone. So I bought a new alternator and went back to the boat.

Changing the alternator is my middle name.

I learned some new things again! In the end, changing the alternator was easy. And what’s best, there was no Yanmar Buzzer sound and the engine started beautifully! Now I was smiling from ear to ear. 🙂

After this incident I have triple checked the battery cables. A year later when an electrician was renewing the cables mentioned, he was wondering the color choices on these cables and how easy it is to mix them up. Luckily Timo is a pro and we didn’t have to through this exercise again.


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For more articles under the category Fixing the boat, click here!

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