The weather has finally broken in the NE US and a lot of time has gone into spring clean up and getting ready for the new season. During the winter there's no incentive to go outside at all, so the tug building can progress at a steady albeit slow pace. (I'm not very fast, but I sure am slow....).
The smoker relocation was done in anticipation of this season's running.
There were a couple of factors leading up to the new mount for the smoker. One was to eliminate a nuisance, another was to take a little heat out of the "engine room" (although in the space it was in and the volume of fresh air circulating through, heat wasn't a real issue. Potential leakage and visibility around the unit was an issue to me, and this modification helps in that aspect.)
The unit was originally mounted adjacent to the main motor with a pipe extending from the top of the unit towards the centerline at a slight angle then vertical to penetrate the 01 deck and engage the stack. This seemed a little cumbersome. Every time the smoker needed fuel, or the fuel level checked, the deckhouse had to be removed and set aside to accomplish this. Once completed, resetting the house while lining up the stack and doing this all while the tug was waterborne was sometimes a troublesome proposition particularly if there were wakes, a light breeze, or any wave action. (before I hauled the 50 lb boat out of the water just to check the fuel I would turn off the smoker and claim the engineers were burning anthracite coal in harbor mode!)
Another issue was this scenario; you've been operating the boat for a period of time. The boat is on the far side of the pond, and you've been running pretty good - not hard, but perhaps 2/3rds. The smoker manufacturer recommends wiring the unit in parallel to the motor so the ESC controls the smoker in concert with the main motor. You notice there's not much smoke coming from the stack and you're a pretty good run back to the landing. Decision: run hard to shorten the run in a potentially dry condition, or take twice the time idling back hoping to keep the smoker coil at a minimum temperature so it doesn't damage itself or the boat. (This particular unit has no failsafe and in the instructions in all caps "DO NOT RUN DRY!") Well, Cap' what'r'you gonna do?
Here's my solution after actually experiencing the above situation. (I did burn a hole through the bottom of the unit for this boat.)
Figuring the warranty was probably shot anyway,(😀) I cut and glued a metal plate to the underside of the smoker with "JB Weld". I have used this stuff in several situations and it has proven worthy of this sort of job. My dog and I shared a tin of sardines so I could claim the tin for a catch-can since the size was appropriate for the purpose.
I had a channel on my radio open that used an on/off toggle and a rheostat so incorporated a Pico switch and stand alone ESC to operate the smoke unit.
With this system I can lay at the dock with just a wisp of smoke and no turns on or increase the smoke to full capacity at will. If the boat is a long ways off and the smoke is declining, turn off the unit altogether and bring the boat back, or turn it off, carry on and service the unit later.
The mounting of the unit to the underside of the 01 deck has proved advantageous in that the deckhouse can remain in place, fuel can be checked/added easily, and there's plenty of air around the unit. If there is a failure it would be readily apparent and contained. In this build having the few extra ounces relatively high has had no effect whatsoever.
1. The burned-out bottom of the unit.
2-6 The fitting fabricated to allow filling and checking the
smoke unit from above the 01 deck eliminating the
need to remove the entire deckhouse.
7-8 The smoke unit and the high-tech catch can.
9 The assembled unit.
10 The unit mounted to the underside of the 01 deck.
11-12 All that shows topside is the fabricated elongated
mounting studs and the fill pipe.
13 Fittings covered and disguised under the engine room