The fuses are in “banks” of fuses, each sitting in a little hinged plastic cradle. To check the fuses you just tilt up the little plastic cradle and put on a volt meter. Popping in a new fuse takes seconds.
Jeff called yesterday afternoon to ask if I had a spare for the little plastic fuse cradles. Apparently one of the fuse holders broke off. I carry a big supply of replacement fuses, relays, switches, all kinds of parts. But, not the little fuse holders. Without the little piece of plastic the fuse goes into, having a new fuse does no good.
By now, I’m sure Jeff has solved it, but I doubt it was as easy as it sounds. Everything in the electrical panel is fairly tight. In Seattle, or any big city, all that would be required is a trip to Radio Shack, or any electrical store. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple when something goes wrong and you are in the middle of nowhere. Los Suenos is about as big a city as exists in Costa Rica, but I’ve looked for parts enough around Los Suenos to know that the guys are unlikely to find anything helpful. My guess is that they had to dig out the wires, and improvise some sort of fuse holder. I doubt it’s an elegant solution.
That’s the part that worries me most about having the boat in far-off lands. I carry spare parts for everything obvious, but it’s not always the obvious things that break. I need to think system by system about the little things that can break, and to solve my problems without any outside help beyond what I have on the boat. This means carrying spare wire, hydraulic fittings, rubber hose in various sizes, every tool imaginable, etc. Now I know I need to carry fuse holders… Most of these things cost like 50 cents, but not having one can easily wreck your whole day.
I did call the boat this morning, and one of the crew answered. He said he believed they had solved the electrical issue and gone to the store for provisioning.