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Posted by ericbphoto | Dec 08, 2015 @ 09:05 AM | 4,496 Views
One of the first boat plans I acquired when getting into this hobby was Pat Tritle's version of the SS Minnow. That is still unbuilt. I also had dreams of building a large (12ft+?) USS Missouri out of steel with many, many working functions, controlled by an industrial PLC since I have experience with the PLC's and I enjoy machine automation. That project is beyond my current metal working ability and way beyond my financial means. However...

I have recently stumbled into the world of microprocessors, mainly Arduino, and I am finding that to be fun and much more affordable than buying PLC's. So, my new idea is this; What about building the Minnow at about 2X plan size - around 54" - 57", and incorporating Arduinos and possibly something like Raspberry Pi? The overall idea would be to combine the collection of telemetry data with actual control of the model and also produce a console-like Transmitter radio. It would have a ship's wheel, engine RPM and temperature gauges, GPS display, compass binnacle or digital display, throttle and fwd/rev controls, lighting controls, etc. that would look like a real boat. It would be a boat simulator controlling a RC boat.

This is still in the planning stages. But if I stretch it over a year or two, it will be financially feasible. I have already started acquiring some of the sensors and microprocessors needed to collect boat data. There are several threads around here regarding building the Minnow and I have the plans. The control console shouldn't be hard to build. I'm not sure what to use for radio equipment. That will either be a commercial RC transmitter/receiver system that incorporates open-source programming, or I may investigate using some radio transmitter/receivers called XBee. I have some learning to do. But that's part of the fun.

If anyone out there has helpful information to steer me in the right direction, please feel free to pass it on.
Posted by ericbphoto | Sep 13, 2014 @ 06:37 PM | 4,850 Views
I know this may be old news to many of you. But it's new to me and I'm having fun with it. I have a new BMW lease car on order. The cool part is that I have been able to track it's progress through ordering, the build process and now delivery. They gave me the name of the shipping company and even the name of the ship that is bringing it to the USA. Out of curiosity, I googled the ship name and found websites that give ship information, including current location, speed, next destination, etc. So I can go to a map and see exactly where my car is on the ocean for the next 2 weeks. wow! modern technology is cool. BTW, car carrier cargo ships have got to be the ugliest things ever designed. (see "Columbia Highway" or search for photos of 371172000 )

In other news, I know I said I was going to get back to the boat builds. But I haven't. I underestimated how much time a new puppy demands. Livvy is 3 times the size she was when we found her. She is healthy, happy, worm-free and a holy terror when awake. I'll have to get a fresh photo posted soon.
Posted by ericbphoto | Jul 18, 2014 @ 01:48 AM | 5,095 Views
Well, the RC Boat hobby has been on the back burner for a while. Sometimes life gets in the way. I have been busy with dr appointments, business trip to Detroit, yard work, bought my wife a '06 Mustang GT and did a few minor performance mod's, sold the old Honda Accord, etc. We still haven't sold our old house. So I don't have the money to build a shop yet which means there isn't a good place to leave a boat building project and tools laid out while in progress.

On the bright side, I recieved a great birthday gift this week. My parents gave me a "Elliot Bay Launch" kit by Midwest. AND.... On the outside of the box they wrote a note that the steam engine will be following at Christmas time. What a cool present. Now I have even more incentive to get busy building boats. I will make the launch RC controlled.

So, it's time to get busy. Tomorrow after work, I erradicate a yellowjacket nest in the back yard (Hey. I didn't ASK to be stung ). The next day, resume lobster boat building.
Posted by ericbphoto | Nov 18, 2013 @ 09:24 PM | 5,329 Views
Well, I haven't solde the old house yet. So I haven't started to build my shop yet. So I haven't begun any boat building yet.

BUT.... I took a walk down to the pond the other day. This is the larger pond on our property. It is detached from the main piece of land by a skinny right-of-way that is a very pleasant walk through the woods or ride on the golf cart/tractor/truck. It was an overcast day, so I just took these with my cell phone.

I could easily picture the SS Minnow and a springer tooling around here. I'll probably build a safety screen to keep boats from accidently going through the spillway.Name: pond1small.jpg
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Posted by ericbphoto | Sep 03, 2013 @ 04:31 PM | 6,113 Views
I have added another project to my RC boat list. I believe I may build one of these This would be a quick and easy build and give me something fun to play with while building the Minnow. I have downloaded the plans. Now, all I need is time and a bit of tolerance from my wife. I may even have some suitable would in my stash from my rocketry days.

This thing could even be fun if we get a bit of snow this winter.
Posted by ericbphoto | Aug 25, 2013 @ 06:49 AM | 6,214 Views
As I have been investigating the RC boating hobby, I have been e-mailing my dad about interesting stuff I find. He actually had 2 RC boats way back. I remember seeing the smaller one, what he calls a Harco 42' Cruiser.

(from dad's e-mail) Harco 42 foot cruiser that I had built and was wishing I could give it to you now. I originally started with a Kit which was perhaps 20-24 inches stem to stern but with the state of RC (size wise) in 1955 it proved to be too small to realistically operate in the water – it sat too low in the water. Subsequently I took the plans and doubled them cutting the ribs from “ plywood to make a boat that was about 48 “ stem to stern
I don't believe I ever saw a radio in the boat. But I do remember, on at least one occasion, he put a battery in it and ran it in our above-ground pool with the rudder in a fixed turning position.

Sure would be a cool model to have now, with today's technology - smaller, lighter receiver and battery. His radio had tubes. Dad got rid of the larger model way back before I ever have any memory of it (I came along in '64). The smaller boat was sold/given away in the late '90's before they moved down here to SC from Berwick, PA. I believe both boats probably saw service on Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos, but that is just a guess at this point. I know that there were connections to a fishing club at the lake and I had visited that clubhouse several times as a child.

Oh, well. Just some early Sunday morning rambling memories. Anybody have a Harco 42 model out there?
Posted by ericbphoto | Aug 10, 2013 @ 09:52 AM | 5,735 Views
Hello. Is this thing on? Testing. Testing. 1, 2, 3 Can you hear me out there? Does anyone even read these things?

Ok. I'll assume at least one person in the universe might check this out.

My name is Eric and I'm a hobby addict.

I grew up in a house with a basement full of HO scale model railroad layout, workshop, etc. My dad has an electrical/electronics background with interests in almost anything technical and machinery related; and I fell right into the same pool. I built many models, even 2 detailed metal steam engine kits and a scratch-built throttle system with adjustable brake response, momentum and acceleration response to mimick prototypical operation.

While in the Navy, (EM2-SS on the USS Dace SSN 607) I got into boating with a heavy interest in wooden boats. After 6 years, my career went to industrial maintenance with Michelin Tire Corp. I also started my own electrical contracting business to stay busy for the other 120= hours of the week. Hobbies fell off for a while. Eventually, my employment changed again and a friend got me interested in rocketry - model, mid and high power. I did that pretty enthusiastically for about 9 years. Yes, you CAN get an adrenaline rush watching your hand-built model flying at hundreds of miles per hour. I am still interested in that, but will probably finish phasing it out. I have several model kits I would still like to build, such as a very well detailed Saturn I which will be about 40" tall if I remember...Continue Reading