Can we have a more normal toilet?

Ok so each time we get guests over we have to explain how the head works. That the hose through which “All” flushes is quite small, so don’t use a lot of paper each time, or flush a few times. But we also have to explain, fill and flush by pushing buttons. So I set out to make a one button action.

We have a fill pump and an evacuate pump. so the easiest is to program an Arduino driving 2 relais, turning the pumps on and off.

First off the Arduino runs on 5V, so we need a stepdown DC-DC converter, 24-12 -> 5V. Luckily I had one laying around, otherwise I would have used a USB converter, like we have everywhere in the barge.

Then we needed a 2 relais board.

Each will control one Pump. You have the connections Gnd, Vcc ( 5V) and digital 1 and digital 2

And here we have the arduino.

The wiring was quite simple, we made digital 3 and 5 the control wires for the relais, we connected the 5V and the Ground on the Arduino to the Vcc and the Ground on the relais board, then we used digital 7 with a Ground for the button.

So when the button is momentary pressed, the Arduino opens Relais 1 ( flush pump) and let it run for a bit.
Then the Arduino opens Relais 2 ( fill pump) and let both pumps run for a bit.
Then the Arduino closes Relais 1 ( flush pump) while keeping Realis 2 open ( fill pump).
Then the Arduino closes Relais 2 ( fill pump).

I assembled all in a little sealed plastic bock and hooked it up, played with the times for each pump and got it working. A note to the ‘purist’ under the Arduino coders, YES pressing a momentary switch can cause several pulses, but the code only needs one and it runs for a few seconds until it looks to the button again, so why bother.

The button Deb selected to control the head 🙂

Here is the code which I uploaded to the Arduino.

const int BUTTON_PIN = 7; // Arduino pin connected to button’s pin
const int RELAY_PIN = 3; // Arduino pin connected to relay’s pin
const int RELAY_PIN2 = 5; // Arduino pin connected to relay’s pin

void setup() {
Serial.begin(9600); // initialize serial
pinMode(BUTTON_PIN, INPUT_PULLUP); // set arduino pin to input pull-up mode
pinMode(RELAY_PIN, OUTPUT); // set arduino pin to output mode
pinMode(RELAY_PIN2, OUTPUT); // set arduino pin to output mode
}

void loop() {
int buttonState = digitalRead(BUTTON_PIN); // read new state

if (buttonState == LOW) {
//Serial.println(“The button is being pressed”);
digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, HIGH); // turn on flush
delay(1500);
digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN2, HIGH); // turn on fill Both are on for 3 seconds
delay(3000);
digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, LOW); // turn off flush
delay(5000);
digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN2, LOW); // turn off fill
}
else
if (buttonState == HIGH) {
// Serial.println(“The button is unpressed”);
digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN, LOW); // turn off
digitalWrite(RELAY_PIN2, LOW); // turn off
}
}

Now for the ones who do not want to play with an Arduino, or feel it is to complicated, the same can also be achieved ( for about the same price) with 2 time relais ( din mount)
One turns on the flush pump for an interval, the other relais waits a bit and then turns on, here is one who is 220V

Red Alert Shields UP

Yes so this is a startrek soundbite. The issue is getting alerts, and knowing if they have been. One way to get notification of ‘triggers’ is with the use of the Venus, who has 5 digital inputs. But that only notifies me via email, thus for urgent situations it is not a perfect solution.

Using the digital I/O of the Venus for bilges etc is great, so I can tell from far away if the bilge pump went on, and then when it is done it shows ‘situation normal’.

But I also wanted some other way of knowing and also hear/see it immediately when we are on the boat. So looking to all kind of relais systems I was baffled by the high prices. A chat with Daniel Boekel landed me on a relais with 2 contacts ( din-rail ofcourse) Wago 788-312. Here is a picture of a 220V one

And here is the schema.

So you use the input to switch both switches on, while you use one of them to keep the relais on, until you press a reset button. The second switch connection is then used for a light, or buzzer, like here.

Now if you have these automatic whale bilge pumps ( 3 wires) you face the dilemma that the switch closed by the relais, will feed 24V to the bilge pump again, even though it might be done working, so in order to prevent current to go to the test wire of the pump, we drop a diode there. ( like on the side of the schema)

Just a recap of wires

24V -> float. -> A1
Ground -> A2
24V -> ON/(OFF) switch -> 11 . when triggered > 14 -> A1
24V -> 21, when triggered > 24 -> buzzer -> ground

These are dangerous fish

So there I went on the little foldable bike to Hornbach to buy some hardware and stop at a bike crossing for the light to turn green, when I hear in Dutch “These are dangerous fish”. OK I think…what the frell? “They can do some serious damage!” I turn around and expect a homeless human with a beard and uncombed hair mumbling this. But I see a male in his 40’s on a bike talking to me. “I caught one while in Ibiza”, THEN it dawned on me……this guy looked at my T-shirt, and saw the Marlin!

Picture of shirt on bike

Water….More Water…plus a way to keep busy

When we purchased Jan-kees, there was one water tank, 500 Liter. So last year I installed a 2nd water tank.

When we purchased Jan-kees, there was one water tank, 500 Liter. So last year I installed a 2nd water tank. Part of the sage is here and here.
Because I do not want to go into the bow compartiment each time to connect, one of the two tanks to the pump, or turn a vale, I bought 3 electric 3/4″ 24V valves, with a manual over ride. One for the inlet, and then one for each tank. So either both tanks can be filled, or tapped, or just one. And yes with floats switched I can grab an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi and let it control the valve functions, fill both and when one is full, and the other is not, close the valve on the full one. Or use it to use the water level to level the barge. Another winter project.

So diving into the hold I mounted the 3 valves and turned on the pump…..but no luck…it kept sucking air. I suspected the 4 way connector. Removed all, cleaned all, reassembled and tried again….Again. just cold air, not even hot air !.
I just connected both tanks with a manual valve to the pump and it worked. Must have been the connectors? So I ordered new ones and just waited til then. Of course hot weather came, windy weather came, rain weather came, and then some time with some sun, so I dove in again. The trick was to push the Tyleen in deep enough so the rubber ring seals it. Duhhhhhh…..
So the system worked, now I have to just connect the valves to the control box and we can manipulate them from inside.

The box has 3 push buttons, and it should be obvious which one controls which one. The inlet valve is extra ‘protected’ with a little cover guards, so it can not accidentally opened. When it is open, the pump will not prime. Each tank has 2 float switches, currently I am only going to use one, but with 2 I can have a nearly full and a really full alert.

The push buttons when pressed in lights up the led and the white wire goes positive, when not pressed in, the blue wire goes positive.

The valves use connection 1-3 for open. and 2-3 for closed. (3 being negative)

When I connected the port float wire to the flashing/buzzer light, it started to buzz. OH dear, I missed checking the correct orientation of the ‘floatie’ on the float switch. Crawled back into the bow compartment, and by using my past training by Houdini and an Olympic gold medal winner turner I was able to just on feeling reach deep enough in the water tank and flip the ‘floatie’

port fill valve starboard

Now just for record keeping

Port FloatRed/Blue
Port ValveRed = open (1)
Green = close (2)
Starboard FloatGreen/Black
Starboard ValveRed = open (1)
Green = close (2)
Inlet Valvexxx = open (1)
yyy = close (2)

windows…..

One of this years bigger project is….was. putting in double glas with sun reflective coating. So after spending many hours online we found one of the cheaper ones glasdiscount.nl. One advantage was, they had an ‘inmeet service’, where they had somebody come and take the measurements, the advantage……anything wrong….their problem. Yes customer service in Holland/Europe is not exactly the same as in the USA. Try calling with a complaint and to the typical American way “I need to speak to a supervisor”. Many times that is done by hearing a click and you are disconnected. Or when you have an answer and call back later you might hear “Ah no that was a wrong answer, sorry”

The previous owner had installed single glass, and left a width of 22 mm.

Because of “Ground hog day” I had to reschedule it a few times, but the first week Thursday the measuring guy came. His result was …

Window 3 and 10 were my big worries, he also added the correct profile to mount them. I was first worried I had to rent or buy a table saw to get the correct profile. The profiles on itself were close to. €190. Unfortunately these ONLY came in white, so I need to get some other color to paint them.

With 22 mm available the profile added another 5 mm, so the total width became 27mm.
3mm foam, 4-13-6 and another 3 mm making is 29 mm fitting in the 27 mm, because of the foam

The next day I had the quote, paid and 2 weeks later the windows were delivered, but……yes you guessed it #3 and #10 were wrong, they were rectangular, even though they were measured correctly and even though on the quote they were described correctly and when I called them before I paid they confirmed these windows were not rectangular. A call back to them and the factory would remake them quickly.

I was able to install both front windows that day. On the bottom and sides space holders were placed to make sure expansion because of heat was possible and between the wood and glass there was 3 mm thick foam tape. Max was coming to help me the next day with the others, since there is not much room to stand on the sides of the pilot house
When Max came to help me I had bought one of these vacuum grabbers to help with holding the glas in place. Max also corrected me when I said “the sticker goes on the outside” , just as I keep hearing on the youtube video’s.

but LOOK the sticker CLEARLY says …..INSIDE….so I had to redo the front windows.

With max’s aide the other 6 windos went in smoothly.

Because the profile to hold the glass sticks out, the solution to keep the top part of the door open with a clamp is not working anymore, so I installed a hook and eye, also much safer.

Ajax with Front seats

No we did not go to a soccer match with Ajax, but a few years ago I ran across an article where they offered the seats from the Old Ajax stadium. Since our friend Remy is a Ajax supporter, to great dismay of the 2 sons ( who support Feyenoord) I thought it might be a fun Birthday gift for him, so I purchased 2. Unfortunately he had no place for them anywhere, so they stayed with me, waiting for a perfect time to come out of hiding. Since the front and back were re-done last year, it seemed like a good place to utilize them there. Using them on the back, would make it too crowded, so I opted for a fold up table there. So they were promoted to the front of the barge.

The first thing was to find a welder who was an Ajax fan, to weld 2 steel strips to the bottom, so they could be mounted on the fold down hinges. A non Ajax fan might have ‘by accident’ got the plastic to melt.

In order to mount them we had to remove the top of the storage wall, so we could drill holes, to mount these seats

One these holes were drilled, the hinges could be attached, and we had to test one to make sure they were not too low, since the deck slopes up where the feet are. Had to get an extension for the screw driver, because it was impossible to get between the hinge to fasten the bolt with the allen facing.

And here is the certificate, showing that after 21 years in the Ajax soccer stadium these two now have been given a second life on Jan-Kees

Why did we go to Europe in the summer? What car is that ?

Well….because it is not as hot and humid as in Cincinnati.
Whomever said so needs to be keel hauled, whipped, accused of being fake news.
Yesterday and today it was hotter than in Cincinnati. 86F in Cincy and 93F (33C) in Zaandam with an expected 99F (37C) in Arcen where Marius lives.

So after waking up, we made the already hot trek to Action, looking for an inflatable kid pool. We found one at €3.50 and a shelf closer to the checkout a little bigger one, who just would fit on the back deck for €6.45.

At the barge I had to clear the back decl of my painting stuff, I started painting the fold up shelf I got yesterday from the local welder, and use the battery operated blower to blow up the sides. Connected both hoses and turned the cold water feed on….and as kids happy with our toy we dropped our feet in, to exclamations of joy joy joy

And yes I did let my R/C controlled alligator head out for a swim in it 🙂

In the afternoon Max and Aafi came by to pick me up. Max bought a 2nd car, but it had to be picked up in Friesland, and since max has no drivers license, he ‘volunteered’ grandpa, as he calls me.
When they picked me up the were waiting with the hood of the Chevy Monza opened. Max had repainted the whole care in mat black, used in chimneys. With a nice phoenix painted on the hood. Seems the 93F was too much for the little car to keep the cooling at the normal temperature. While driving to the highway, windows wide ope, the engine temperature got even warmer, hovering around 200F. I suggested to turn on the defrost, to take some heat away. Both looked a bit funny, but did it and saw the temperature gauge crawl lower.
So there we drove for a tad over 1 1/2 hr, with the defrost on high, since-ing the hairs of my legs. See now why chef’s never have to shave their legs!

After some searching around close to Urk, Max finally relented and called the seller to ask for directions. Max, with his typical Italian flair had been yelling to look for number 11, which we saw nowhere. (Max’s verion…..We could not find number 11 because watt and half watt, Aafi and me, in the front took the wrong road ;). But yeah i was to stubborn to calling the guy. First look for it yourself .and we spaghetti munsers are good in yelling 🙂 ).
A bumpy potholed gravel road led to the sellers garage. More like a ride to…OK we are ending up surrounded by Russian mobsters at the end fo the road, who will sell our organs right there to the highest bidder. Well it was kinda scary, since after meeting the seller it came to attention that he was a tin foil hat person. Covid-19 is a ploy to allow governments to track us and inject a tracer. Luckily I was able to keep my mouth sealed

When Max saw his future car, he got excited like a 5 year old, with daddies Amex card, in a candy store. there it was a nice red Ruska Regina. Ruska built a series of cars based on a VW Buggy frame. The Ruska Regina is like a facsimile of a Morgan. It was especially fun for max, because these were built 4 houses away from where he used to live in Amsterdam.

I was going to drive the Regina back to their barge. After transferring the title we set off, and then not even 100 feet later the Chevy Nova got a flat. There was NO spare, so the ANWB ( AAA for the Americans ) was called, and in typical Italian fashion Max was yelling and cursing the whole time when navigating the press this and that button menu. When he got through, we learned it would take 40 minutes before help would arrive. Because the Regina is based on a VW frame, and the engine has a ton of hours, the best speed was 60 – 80 Km/hr ( 35-50 mph). It is a great sunny weather touring car, but not perfect for a 1 1/2 hr trek along the afsluitdijk. (Which was built to keep the water from Mexico out, according to Greg Shapiro in his “America First, The Netherlands second video“)
So here I am ready to set off, all dapper with my hat, which was quickly tossed to the floor so it would not blow out.

The car drove like a charm, but it was clear it is a ‘fun’ car, slow speeds so your stuff does not fly out. Quite hard to get into when you are over 6 ft. The radio and tach were in the dash, but no wires to it. Quite fun to be waved at by many other drivers, tumbs up a lot, seeing a British BMW speed by you, then braking slowing down until next to me again, shouting “great car” and speeding off again. I have to borrow it one afternoon to take Deb to the beach.

Road trip & McD


Yesterday, Sunday August 3, we drove to Sneek, together with Mint, to pickup Daniel who had to be back, because his Grandma (93 yrs old) passed in her sleep, and August 4th was the funeral.
When we arrived in Sneek we saw Oving1, surrounded by a few smaller boats, and we also saw that Lars brought his dekschuit, and had secured his camper on top, as a more comfortable sleeping place.

Because Daniel wen to Sneek with Oving1, I was going to bring him back to his barge. But we needed to fill the tank of the Volvo and grab some food with the other 2 passengers. So first we filled up the Volvo, a mere 15.8 gallons. ( 60.39 Liter) @ €100.19. Translating to $7.10/Gallon. Perhaps now you realize why public transport is sooooo much more used in Europe. Even though if you travel with 2+ persons , a trip over 50 km is usually cheaper by car.

After fueling the tank we went to McDonalds. They do have the Covid-19 distancing under control, Only ordering via a screen, 1/2 the place marked off for no use. The nicest surprise was, they have bitterballen ( 4 pieces in an order.). Bitterballen are the quintessential bar food in holland, the size of hush puppies, but filled with steaming hot Roux ( or as some refer to it thick gravy) with bits to meat in it. Normally they are served 8 in a potion. Yes you can also get them filled with shrimp, salmon, sateh. but that is for the special people.

Now not to promote McD, but in The Netherlands, they have Veggie McChicken and Veggie homestyle Chrispy Chicken, just funny that Vegetarian dishes are not available in the USA. !! They even have gluten free Ham burger, Cheese burger and Quarter pounder.

The sun is peeking and the Senseo is hissing and “fugget about it”

Yes it was 06:00 in the morning, the sun is peeking just over the horizon, there is barely any wind, and the Senseo is hissing. The handy invention of Philips, which after making an entry in the US market got dis[laced by Kurig and Nespresso. Beging Rave …..Philips has made some remarkable inventions, like theCD/ DVD, Betamax etc but they really really lack in consumer marketing….end rave….
The Senseo1 is a great machine to pop in a single serve coffee pod, and get not boiling hot coffee.

The Senseo running on the batteries, using 1500 watts when the sun is barely energizing us.

Enjoing a wake up drink in the shade

The Victron Venus, showing us the state of our energy. Since last night we used 5% of our energy, and the sun just started to recharge us. we have 1040 Watt of solar panels, which during the day gives us up to 870 watt of solar to recharge the batteries. NO we do NOT use shore power. Daniel has programmed our new inverters to only grab shore power if we go below 80% of charge. We are usually back to 100% charge around noon, we also run the washer dryer, vacuum cleaner and power tools on it. During our 2 week quarantine, we have had the SOC ( State of Charge) go down to 89% once, but we did had a lot of overcast and rain.

Because of the nice weather we needed to get our feet wet, so the beach was the decision. Had to first fill the car. Kinda funny, in the USA you pre-pay for your gas or you have to insert a credit card, before you can start filling up your car. You usually also see some signs that if you dare to drive away w/o paying they will take your license etc. This at a price of about $2/ Gallon ( or about 0.45 Euro/ liter).
Now in The Netherlands you drive up, fill up, then go inside to pay, this at a price of around 1.50 Euro/liter. A tad over 3 times the price in the US. Wonder now why there are no gas guzzling ‘yank tanks’ driving around in Europe ?

So after filling up, on our way to Wijk bij Zee, a leisurely drive along the Noordzee kanaal. But then….lots of cars slowly moving. We see the large grass field being used as an overflow parking lot, but by some miracle we could get to the real parking lot, to see it is packed, full, and a few cars slowly driving around like sharks in the water looking for prey. After driving around we give up and decide to go north to Egmond aan Zee, driving through the villages, we see a few back roads leading to the beach, but are being met each time with a traffic jam. Finally in Egmond aan Zee we end up….behind another traffic jam. Trying a back road we end up on the square there seeing an even bigger jam with delivery trucks for the local restaurants. In the mean time the temperature was steadily rising, forcing us to turn on the A/C and giving up on the beach. Later that day the did closed the roads to the beach off, to keep congestion and crowding at bay.

While driving to find a lunch place, Deb realized I had taken her to Uitgeest. After some driving around we found a parking place and stopped at Bistro Het Stokpaardje . The place we have been many times with Daniel, when he had Oving 1 parked there under the bridge. Deb remarked that they do great fun stuff with Tuna Sandwiches, I had a broodje Kroket.