|Image from TheWirie.com|
The marina I am staying at has WiFi so this wasn't a high priority project. But the access seemed a bit unstable so I decided to temporarily setup the Wirie to see if it would improve signal reliability. I had it sitting on the settee and plugged in using a transformer and it helped quite a bit so I decided this weekend that I should go ahead and get it installed.
I wanted to tie it into the 12v "spare" circuit that otherwise only seems to run the cigarette lighter power socket on the panel. Of course, where that circuit actually goes is a bit of a mystery. The copy of the boat manual has basic wiring layouts and a schematic of the power distribution panel. Unfortunately, the manual was printed from a digital copy and the image of the panel is rather pixelated and you can't actually read most of the labels. So I had to turn off all the 12v circuits on the boat except the spare and take my multi-tester down into the engine room to see where, or if, it runs down there. After several trips climbing down into the engine room, I was able to find the circuit. Now I know where to run the power wire that is the only connection that the Wirie AP needs to operate.
|Power panel with wiring complete|
I decided that while not optimal for reception, that I would mount the box on the vertical pole that is part of the davit system and supports the arch. This would keep it a bit out of the weather, make it easy to access if needed, and the wiring run shouldn't be very difficult. I started opening up access panels to run the wire. That lead to the discovery of several wasp nests inside the arch. They looked empty so I knocked them down with a screwdriver. Well, guess what, they weren't empty. Six to eight wasps started crawling around on the deck of the boat around where the nest had landed. Fortunately I had some wasp spray from when I dispatched another wasp trying to build a nest on the arch, and soon the deck of the boat looked like a wasp massacre. Not sure why wasps seem to like that arch so much, but I've removed at least 4 nests and can only imagine there might be one or two more hiding in there somewhere. Sorry, no pictures...I was more concerned with getting rid of these uninvited guests at the time.
I drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the bottom of the arch so I could feed the wire into the boat. Since the hole is on the underside of the arch, I decided not to seal it (just like the rear nav light wiring that is next to it). I ran the wiring along the same path as the nav light over to the distribution panel. I added a 2 amp inline fuse, that I picked up from Sailors Exchange the day before, to the positive lead. I then crimped on the appropriate connectors and attached the two wires to their respective locations on the panel. I powered up the unit and it was alive.
|Installed and operational|
As I'm writing this, the Wirie is picking up 24 different wifi signals in the area. Most are secured, but there are 9 that are not. And I know that at least one of them is a couple miles away and not in direct line of sight. In comparison, the WiFi adapter in my laptop, that I had always thought had pretty good reception (better than my tablet or phone anyway), only picks up 7 of which 4 are unsecured and my phone only picks up 4. I'd say that should increase the ability to find internet on the boat and keep me connected.