Ever since I bought Blue Opal, the wind transducer has been a bit finicky. It had problems indicating low wind speeds, and would sometimes just stop spinning. I kind of ignored it, because I don’t need to know the wind speed most of the time – I just look at the water, the state of heel, and the feeling of the wind on my face to approximate what’s going on. However, when the transducer stopped indicating the correct wind direction as well, I figured I’d need to do something about it. I finally got the transducer off last month, with the help of a local rigging company, Masts & Rigging. I’ve used them before for both Aslana and Blue Opal; I had wanted to get it off myself by using the crane at one of the other clubs (I cannot go up the mast, I’ll break the sheave), but never got a reply to my enquiry.

I found a chap on eBay (archive) who was selling the parts I needed; not cheap, but much cheaper than a second-hand complete unit (the electronics are fine, so no point throwing it out), and much, much cheaper than replacing it with a newer model as that would mean a complete boat network upgrade. Well, maybe not, but even the partial uplift to NMEA 2000 via the ShipModul would probably cause me grief with getting the cabling up the metal tubing to the display area in front of the helm. The parts kit came with instructions, and combined with some other instructions I found earlier this year, the work wasn’t too hard. I had to use the vice at the club, as that’s not something I have yet, but beyond that I did everything in the workshop with a hot air gun, pliers, hammer, screwdriver, and a modelling knife.

The MFT top I have in the workshop was very useful for driving the shaft and bearings out of the housing – small end down in the MFT hole, and gently tap on the end of the shaft. The brass-wrapped magnet did not want to come off of the shaft, and I ended up bending it slightly when trying to take it off, so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect the sensor reading too much. It was then too loose to stay on by itself (since the magnet hangs down, it can slip off of the shaft), so a small bit of epoxy was used to glue it to the shaft. By the time the bearings fail again, I’ll be replacing the entire nav suite with something that’s NMEA2000 compatible, and this transducer is not NMEA2000 compatible.

The shafts were sanded with some 1200 wet/dry to remove the worst of the grime and surface damage, new bearings were slid on, shaft and bearings tapped back into the plastic caps, plastic melted with a soldering iron to replicate the effect of the plastic tabs, and a little bit of silicone grease was applied to the exposed face of the bearings, and to the outside of the new o-rings. Pushed and twisted everything back together, screwed in the grub screws that stop the cups and vane from coming off, and it’s done. M&R should be able to install it next week.

Trying to spin with the old bearings
Spinning with the new bearings
Refurbishing the wind transducer
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One thought on “Refurbishing the wind transducer

  • 2021-07-14 at 11:57

    The unit has been installed at the top of the mast today, and seems to read wind speed and direction just fine after calibration. Calibrating is a matter of sailing in circles, then pointing into the wind and using the TRUE/APP button to get into calibration mode (long press until CO shows), using the arrow keys to swing the indicator to agree with the wind, and long-pressing the TRUE/APP button to save the setting.

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