Saturday, 5 January 2013

Solar Panel Mod

Power for me is always an issue when doing more than a day trip, especially if I do something silly like forgetting to put the bung in. This happened recently when I was 5 k's offshore and suddenly realised I hadn't put the bung in.
Lucky I have an electric bilge pump on board and was able to empty the hull in a few minutes and head back to shore. The downside of this was that by lunchtime I was down on battery power which runs my gps and sounder.
I run a completely waterproof battery box system which drops into the rear hatch and sits on a couple of foam guides.

I will show you what I have and go from there. Firstly I made up a fully waterproof battery box with a lighter socket to recharge it with. The whole system drops into the rear hatch and gives me a very slight bit of nose up which I wanted anyway.

Now for the solar panel, the type I purchased was a 80 wat 12 volt system and a regulator. All up in cost $100 AUD and the parts are from Jaycar.

The panel itself simply lays on the tramp and is help in place with the standard shock cord that you use to tie the tramp up when rolled. I have another bit of shock cord running to the rear of the tramp to stop is flapping around.

I have fitted a waterproof electrical connector to the wall just behind the seat and wired it to the battery box with another waterproof connector. The regulator fits into the water proof box and I have added a shut off switch for when I am manually charging the battery at home.

here's the system rigged up. I have used it 5 times and I do not drain any power from the main battery. I have been out for 3 days in a row without having to charge and now I can go away for extended camping trips without having to worry about power.

Seat Bung Mod, self draining seat area.

The biggest pain and design flaw with the Hobie Ai is the area under the seat. It takes in water and gives you a constant wet bum.   This mod fixes that once and for all.

This mod replaces the stock seat bungs and replaces them with valves cut out of a cheap syphon pump. They are installed from the bottom side and pushed into position or tapped with a rubber mallet, then sealed with silicone.

Once they are installed the valves act like a venturi system, sucking out any water in the seat well. When you stop the valves float and seal themselves so you dont get any water coming back in.


You need 2 cheap syphon pumps as per the pic. These are readily available in Australia.

Cut out the exit valve (the top one) and the surrounding plastic. The surrounding plastic is inserted into the bung hole and provides a frame for the valve. It's a tight fit but goes in with a little tap. The below image is what you should be left with once cut out.

Insert into the bung hole and seal with silicone.
The valve flap must be facing backwards.
Smooth the silicone out and there you go. Simple and effective.

Thats it and one of the best mods I have done. The system has been in place for 4 months now without any issues at all. When your sailing you can hear them sucking the water out and when your parked nothing can get back in. 

Skipper Seat Mod

The first thing you will notice in you new AI is the wet butt syndrome that you get when sitting in the stock seat. To remedy this is easy and consists of fitting a stock skippers chair to the AI. It's simple and easy to do and will give you the greatest amount of enjoyment from the new seating position.

3mm spectra rope poked through hole in chair then down to the stock eyelet and secured by cleats. one on each side, pull on them and the chair is locked in place.

 simple loop of rope goes through the chair and secures to 2 hooks. I have also added a shock cord loop that gives additional stability
 I have added a simple waterproof bag to the back of my seat that hooks on. It's waterproof if needed but really I just use it for water, sunscreen or anything else that I need to carry around with me.

The completed seat with additional side rod holders for fish grips or anything else you want handy to you. To make this mod perfect you should look at the seat well bung system i have made. It will drain the water out and stop it coming back in.

Hobie AI Rear Sail Control Lines Mod

These are the details for moving the sail controls closer to the seat. No more leaning forward or untangling lines out of the mirage drive.

I love this mod and have used it in very heavy conditions with no issues at all. It is very easy to use and takes no time to fit. I have used nylon sheet as the mounting base. Ropes do not need to be lengthened.
After all testing I will never change back. 

I have used the existing cleats and simply relocated them. Using nylon sheet and the tracking system to mount them. You do need to relocated the turn block.

I have used tracking as I already had a ram ball mount setup with rod holders and thought this would be the best way to keep it clean and allow me to move things around. The front pulley is needed to be moved outboard to keep the furling line free of the mirage drive peddles. You need a drill a hole and mount it close to the support fitting. Screws must be flush with the inside of the bar otherwise the ama hits it.

I know if you do this mod you will love it. Feel free to email me any questions you have.


Hope you have enjoyed this mod and I hope it brings you more joy from your AI. I have many more which will be added shortly.