farmer boy 7:06pm, 7 February 2011
Here we go again!!!!! (note better camera!)

I have a VERY old (Euromarine - probably original) set of instruments. (depth and speed) having looked at the price of new replacements I was wondering if replacement is vital? The previous owner stated that they were unreliable but I suspect he was not familiar with how to use them... gain, range etc.. (neither am I!)

I have turned them on and get 2.3 meters on the depth (its on a trailer) and zero speed ... is there a way to calibrate or at least check their operation before getting near water?
here are pics of the system..




An alternative I have looked at is a "wireless" wind, depth and speed system from Tacktick but it is quite expensive....

Anyone any experience of it or suggest alternatives.....

Skykomish E29 8 years ago
You won't get a reliable reading out of the water. The only really important unit would be a depth gauge and personally I would invest in a new unit you don't need the wireless instruments unless you are very rich, a depth unit can be got at a fairly reasonable price.
I wouldn't even chance second hand on the depth side of things as you usually find out it is unreliable when you need it most in the shallows.
Other instruments are a luxury which are not essential and so you could take a chance on second hand etc.
As you are out of the water and are refitting the boat I would suggest doing this work now so that you can fit the gauges where you want them and then you can refit the interior around the units. A cheap alternative to a proper depth instrument is a fishfinder which can be bought for between £50 - £100 and are easy to mount.
We have a NASA unit on Skykomish and this works very well once we had worked out the "offset" that had been applied by the previous owner. This is fitted in the cockpit where it can be easily seen from the helm , a lot of Achilles had their units fitted on the interior bulkhead between the cabins, not the easiest to see when you are "creek crawling" as is the way of life on the East Coast
farmer boy 8 years ago
Hmmm.... Neil Rothwell mentioned Fishfinder - I thought it was a "Trade name" - silly me... will check out the interweb and see whats available - thanks again...
rothwell_neil 8 years ago

Sent you an email with details of fishfinder. No reason why you can't try the speed log as get someone to flick the paddle wheel at a consistent speed should show something. Depth should work as simple ultrasound operation, the sensor may need checking to see that the well and grease are still there but will be easy to test out of water by removing the sensor from the plug and test in a big barrel or wheely bin. Bucket might not be deep enough to get a reading but if you get a reading in a big bucket or bin then you will be fine so long as mounted with lashings of vaseline or grease. In other words should be able to test log and depth in the shed with bit of ingenuity and a son how wants to borrow the car?
songeur2010 8 years ago
I've got slightly older digital readout only VDO gauges for depth and speed. They were the only things on the boat which actually worked initially although the seed/log has stopped since.
You will be able to replace both items at a small cost, the paddle wheel log has caused a lot of problems as they tend to seize up with growth, you could try applying propsaver or some other product to keep the nasties away.
You definitely want to calibrate any depth gauge but they will come with instructions on how to do this.
Also putting them where you can see then while hanging on to the tiller is a very good idea, a swing out panel in the companion way as norm has done is an excellent solution.
Andrew Curry 8 years ago
Most Achilles tend to use NASA gear probably down to to cost. Looking at your log transducer it does look like a NASA one.
Mike A1 8 years ago
I may be wrong, and Neil has actually seen the boat, but I would expect the depth transducer to be fitted through a hole just forward of the keel. Depending on how well it has been sealed in, removing the transducor may break it. It's fitted from underneath so if you are going to change it, now would be a good time.

However, there isn't much to go wrong and if it isn't working then it is more likely to be the display that is at fault. Euromarine is the old name for NASA and on another boat I changed from the display you have to a newer NASA Target 2 without changing the transducer. It worked fine but if you had any doubts you could try contacting NASA to get their advice.

Personally I wouldn't worry about the log. Even on the rare occasions when it has worked, the readings are substantially different depending on which tack I'm on.
rothwell_neil 8 years ago
Comment made without looking at the transducer! Thought that the paddle wheel was one of those depth transducers that fits in a tube of grease to give ultrasound contact through hull!
NormanKlipspringer 8 years ago
Fishfinder is best solution for depth since gives better indication of ground and also does other things. EG Gramin 90 gives voltage with voltage alarms. Photo of this unit installed in my photostream.
Depth transducer can be checked by switching on and listening near to the unit (outside the boat). With good hearing you can often hear the ping every 1sec? At least this worked for me with Raymarine. Speed log a waste of time continually getting fouled and although mine can be cleaned when under way by removing and inserting a blank, I never bother.
songeur2010 8 years ago
After reading Normans post and talking to some guys at the boat club I took deep breath and pulled the log paddle wheel thing out of the hull while still in the water and quickly plugged the hole. The paddle wheel was completely gummed up with mud and a barnacle. I was able to clean it and reinsert it without too much bother. Let in about 3/4 bucket of water which was contained within the compartment under the berth so easily mopped up with a big sponge. I would never have dreamed of doing this but wouldn't have a problem doing it again, the log now works perfectly, it seems this will be a bi monthly exercise.
NormanKlipspringer 8 years ago
Are you sure it works perfectly? Mine was (even when clean and calibrated) inconsistent (at least 10% out) and unreliable. You cannot really check it until you measue its performance on the water. I went to a great deal of trouble when I first had the boat to clean the paddle wheel and calibrate the instrument - all a waste of time. You might as well use the GPS/Chartplotter for the speed over the water and use your tidal stream atlas or chart diamonds to estimate the tidal vector and work out the boat speed over the water from that. Normally its the speed over the ground that is of interest in any case.
Skykomish E29 8 years ago
I agree Norman. Bring back the good old trailing log...haha. Another thing that can effect the paddle wheel is which side of the boat it is on and angle of heel as it is possible for it to be actually out of the "smooth" water and in the air filled spray/ foam of the waves on the upward side of the boat.
For the hassle alone I wouldn't bother, besides it is good for us to use our brains and calculate the speed manually and not rely on instruments.
The only real use the logged speed is is when you are on an extended trip away from site of land where you do need to be more aware of your speed / distance travelled to plot your position in case the GPS goes down
busy home [deleted] 8 years ago
Two years ago Ian bought a NASA log, WE fitted the new impeller
WE fitted the unit in the bulkhead (opposite and matching the depth sounder ) Looked good ,,, One problem . it dont B work and we cant calibrate it. Waste of cash ,,, Pay £20 on wbay for a trailing job like what I got 20 yrs ago and still working dead accurate
Skykomish E29 8 years ago
I paid a bit more for mine Ron, unfortunately it got soaked in a thunderstorm and hasn't worked since due to water ingress. But agree they are far more reliable
songeur2010 8 years ago
Well I got to say once cleaned it seems very accurate, measures down to 0.1 of a knot and seems to concur with the GPS (took it for a 6 hour sail just to be sure) It does come completely out of the water when healed right over so clearly doesn't work then. You do get to feel quite quickly what the boat speed is in spite of instruments but it is nice to tell the small differences, I'll stick with it for the time being and see how it goes.
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