Monday, January 31, 2011

Honeywell HW2000i Generator Inverter - Part 1

This is another installment of the ongoing woes & joys of our portable generator/inverters aboard So It Goes...

See previous posts:
Last Thursday, we picked up our brand new Honeywell HW2000i portable generator/inverter.  We took the bus up to Sunny Isle and then walked down to VI Cargo (company that ships from Florida to St Croix). Paid our $68 for shipping & duty, and got a $20 taxi back to the Christiansted Boardwalk just a few steps away from the dinghy.

We got back to the boat before noon. We were looking at the unit to see where to put in the oil and Bob noticed that the carburetor appeared to be shock mounted. How strange... Turns out that the elbow connecting the carb to the motor was broken off which is why it was moving. This was so frustrating as we were looking forward to charging up the batteries and turning on the refrigerator.

I also noticed that the door to this area has damage to the plastic ribs on the inside that correspond to the air filter housing and carb which might be due to someone not taking the top to line up the door properly so it would close, but to give it a good whack. There was no damage to the box or to the exterior of the unit so this damage appears to have happened at the factory.

It says on the box not to return it to the store (bought from but to call this number.  I called and got an automatic recording that did the old "press 3 for company directory" menu things and when I pressed a number it would say "Didn't understand response".  The toll free number they gave didn't work from the USVIs... Aargh!

I looked on the internet for the website they gave in the manual (Northshore Power Systems). The lady who answered is a different company (Generac) which will now be handling Honeywell products but they aren't yet.  She called the toll free number for me to get a "real" phone number with a proper area code that I could call. She said that she told them our situation and that they don't usually give refunds (we don't want a refund, just a working generator). We would probably have to ship it to Florida to be repaired. I could call, too, but the expense and time wasted in back & forth & waiting for repair is too much.

In the meantime, while I was on the phone, Bob looked up on the internet someplace where we could buy a new part for our new, unused generator. I called up Fall Mountain Small Engine in New Hampshire and Tom was great! I sent a few photos of the damaged part and he's sending us a replacement part (the carb elbow) by US Priority Mail. It was only $15 plus postage (small flat rate box) so perhaps $20 which is what the St Croix taxi cost to transport the generator to our boat :)

I'm so happy that he has the part in stock and is willing to ship it to us by US MAIL and TODAY. So many companies are reluctant to ship via the US Postal System.

I have to contact Amazon and the Honeywell Registration/Warranty Department to tell them that our unit was defective but I'm just not up to it right now...

So we have a few more days without refrigeration or ability to run the battery charger.  We keep hoping we'll have enough sun to power the computers with the solar panels.  So it goes...

The quality of the Honeywell parts are not as nice as our Honda, but it was about half the price and maybe the Honda can be fixed.

More news to come...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Online 2011 Sailors' Cruising Guide to Gibraltar

The 2011 Sailors' Guide for Gibraltar from Yacht Scene is now available online (FREE) and you can purchase a paper copy, too.

When I have a bit of time, I plan to give this a good look. If we were going to be sailing there this year or next, I'd definitely purchase a paper copy.

It includes information such as: Gibraltar and approach chartlets, Weather & Radio Forecasts, Tide Tables, Marina Info & Plans, General Guide to Gibraltar, Marine Services Guide to Gibraltar, etc.

It was so cool arriving in Gibraltar and seeing The Rock which was made famous to me by Walter Cronkite's show "The Twentieth Century".

We found some authentic English-style fish & chips there that was very good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where's my haggis?

January 25th is Burns Night and there's not a haggis to be found on St Croix... Did they sell out that quickly???

Here's a good site for How to Organise a Burns Supper that tells quite a bit about the celebration.

Here's a few pages of interest from the BBC:

We don't have any Scotch either, but we did buy a bottle of Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum to try...

Have a good one!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Renewal of USCG Certification of Documentation - Boat Registration

This week I finally called the National Vessel Documentation Center about our boat's US Coast Guard Certification of Documentation. It expired on Halloween.  I never received a notice because the address that they sent the renewal form to last time would have forwarded it to St Maarten. But, this wasn't their fault. Everytime I would think about dealing with it I would be distracted by other things...

Monday I phoned the Documentation Center and I'm happy to say that they are still very nice folks to deal with. The first person asked for the expiration date and she forwarded my call to someone else.  That person said that I was too late to renew and only have the $5.00 late fee as I fall outside of the 45-day grace period. She transferred me back to the original woman. She told me that it was worth a try, but now I have to pay an $84.00 reinstatement fee and fill out form 1258.

So I filled out Form 1258 and the credit card authorization form and sent them via email. I requested that they reply to let us know that they received everything OK and they did!

Don't procrastinate.  If you renew on time (you can even renew early) it is FREE. If you renew within 45 days of expiration it is only $5 which isn't too bad and way better than $84...

Ms Cheapseats will definitely be on time next year :)

See previous post about renewing your Certificate of Documentation.

So It Goes...

Thanks to the Boat Bits reader who bought a Perfect Butt from Amazon... We appreciate it & every order helps out :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boat Bits on Huffington Post!

Wow!!! The other day when looking at stats for Bob's BoatBits blog we noticed that he got a couple of hits coming from the Huffington Post...

Click to enlarge

How cool is that???

So It Goes!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lionfish in St Croix, US Virgin Islands

While Bob went looking for lobster the other day, he came across his first lionfish. Actually, about five of them in three different wrecks.

I didn't see them as I was in the dinghy to watch out for speeding fishermen who might not be looking for swimmers within the mooring field.

Lionfish are very pretty and TASTY TOO!

Read more at BoatBits.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Beatles museum opens in Argentina

This is for all my fellow "Beatle People" out there...

The BBC has a video about a new Beatles museum in Argentina with the world's biggest collection of Beatles memorabilia. Rodolfo Vazquez started collecting at the age of 10 and received a certificate from the Guinness Book of Worlds Records in 2001 for having the largest collection of Beatles memorabilia.

See the video here:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cool Idea for Cat Training

In the past, we have used squirt guns to emphasize the "no" when Wacka or Bullwinkle had done something wrong, such as getting up on the desk or shredding paper towels. A squirt gun is also useful for a long-range attack and also to keep distance between me and the pointy bits on the cat in question.

One disadvantage of squirt guns is water.  You don't want to spray a cat on the desk and also get the computer wet... So It Goes...

Here's something neat that Bob saw on SSSCat Cat Training Aid

It is a can of compressed air that is triggered by a motion sensor.  This product even works when you are not around. I just noticed that it is sold on, so check it out :)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Honda 2000i Generator quit. Honeywell HW2000i next up?

Last weekend we started having problems with our faithful Honda EU2000i generator. We bought it 4 3 months shy of 3 years ago in Sint Maarten for $1100 after our other Honda died.

We weren't doing anything special, just running our battery charger for a bit.  We noticed the change in the sound of the engine and noticed that the red overload light had come on and, while the engine was still running, it was no longer producing power (which is normal in "overload" situation).

After that, we had intermittent problems. We thought maybe it was the electric light we had plugged in because it worked OK the next time without the light and just running the charger. Fritzed again. With NOTHING plugged in, it still goes into overload mode. We performed various tests that we could and everything seems fine.  A friend sent us bits of his shop manual which didn't give us a YOWZA That's It moment... In fact, most of the solutions were to "Call Technical Service" and this is for the guys in the shop.

I now declare that it is permenent and not intermittent as it hasn't worked in about 5 days. Darn.

We assume it is probably the inverter portion of the unit which was also the problem with the previous Honda.  The inverter costs over $650 and how much more for the service of diagnosing the problem, buying and shipping the part, and installation, plus getting it to and from a service repair center?

We can buy a new Honda from Indiana for $899 including shipping to 47 states for free. He would ship it to Florida to VI Cargo for us.

But, do we want another Honda??? They are great while they work, but after having two quit...

So, we have decided to buy a Honeywell HW2000i portable generator.  Yes, it is a bit louder but it is $417 from Amazon. There are good reviews and bad reviews but some people enjoy complaining while others don't read the manual, plus sometimes you get a unit built on a Friday :)

I called the Honda car dealer (who, we've been told, also repairs generators) Friday afternoon but the store was closed, probably due to the Crucian Christmas Festival's Children's Parade. Many places close down for that.  So Monday we'll see what they have to say, and then order the Honeywell.

If the Honda can be fixed, we'll sell one or the other.  If not, I wonder if anyone wants our Honda for parts as the motor runs great. It would be a shame to throw it away.

So It Goes...

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Day MONDAY Hodgepodge

Looking through my various newsfeeds this morning while waiting for Coffee #2, I came across this interesting video on the BBC News UK:
Pogo the cat faces a series of dog encounters every day to decide if the dogs are suitable for life in homes with felines.
Click here to see Pogo the cat at work.

According to our weather forecast this morning, it will be another breezy day.  I think they should have another category above that called blustery, with a toupee warning :)

This is a holiday week in St Croix due to the Crucian Christmas Festival, although the other islands also get to cash in... especially if one is a government employee!  The schools in STX are out this week and most government officials appear to have the week off... or, they at least have the days off for the Jouvert Jump Up and the Food Fair. Enjoy!

Have you clicked the purple button today?  This year, try to do it every day... They'll even send you an email reminder, if you ask.  For those of you who don't know the purple button, it is to support The Animal Rescue Site and it doesn't cost you anything, although I have scored some nice stuff from their store.  Also, if you have time (it only takes a minute), click on the other tabs along the top (Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, Rainforest) and press their buttons, too!

OH... MY... GOSH... I mentioned the BBC Radio Show "The Archers" in my previous post. I just looked at the BBC News Feed and the writers have killed off Nigel Pargetter in their 60th Anniversary Show. I'm shocked! He's been a character for 30 years (since 1980, can you believe that's 30 years).

Saturday, January 01, 2011


I just realized last night that today would be 1111... put the dashes or slashes according to your personal favorite date format as it really doesn't matter today.

This morning I went and read a few pages of my book and when I woke up it was 11:11 on 1-1-11... how cool is THAT! (Can hardly wait until Veteran's Day!)

Yesterday, we walked up to Pueblo to try and find some fixings for our New Year's celebration. Couldn't find the packets of smoked salmon that we are used to having, so no blinis. We miss French St Martin where we have such a fine selection of cheese, charcuterie, pastries, and whatnots. Three Kings Day is a big event in St Croix as it falls during the Crucian Christmas Festival but I bet we won't be able to find a Galette des Rois anywhere. So It Goes...

Anyway, on our way home from shopping, I looked down the street and there were two wandering horses with herons (or are they egrets?) flying onto their backs for a very comfortable perch.  The horses didn't mind.

I took this 4 second video by mistake as I didn't realize my pocket camera was set to "movie".

Here are a couple of photos...

We were surprised that it was quiet last night (New Year's Eve).  Festivities were held on the West end of the island in Fredriksted, but I still expected to hear car and boat horns, gunshots, the odd rocket, some doofus shooting off a flare... but, thank Goodness, nothing out here in our neck of the woods :)

Being the holiday season, I miss the BBC. We used to listen to the BBC daily when we lived in France and around Christmas time they would always play classic Round the Horne and other comedy radio shows.

I went to the BBC website this morning and discovered that this is The Archers 60th Anniversary... Of course, no British sailor will admit to tuning into the Archers. They only listen to it accidentally because it comes on after the Shipping Forecast, but they can always let you know what is happening if you've gotten behind... strange that :) Here's a link that Archer fans will enjoy.

We're sort of taking the day off, I'd like to watch the DVD Love Actually... I've been especially wanting to see Bill Nighy as the aging rock star, as well as the bit where Hugh Grant, as the Prime Minister,  dances to the Pointer Sisters' Jump for My Love.  Good stuff.

Wishing you a healthy, happy, prosperous, fun, and all the other good stuff for 2011...


Thank you to the person who bought an Amazon Gift Certificate today.  We appreciate it!