Systems & Propulsion

Battery Power Packs: Are They Too Good to Be True?

Batteries dead? Need to jump start your engine? We test four 17-lb., 17-Ah power packs that can do that job and others. The most expensive is also the best-the Solar ES-5000.

On a Side Note: Holding Tanks

Although none of the test tanks or the test boat’s holding tank accumulated solids sufficient to restrict pump-out, we observed significant differences. While vent filters did not increase tank solids beyond what is normal in a poorly ventilated and un-treated tank, some of the subject tanks did better than others.

Yamaha 2.0, Merc 3.3 Our Picks Among Tiny Outboard Motors

A few years ago there were more than a dozen small outboard brands to choose from, including Mighty Mite, Tanaka, British Seagull, Suzuki and...

Some Propane Dos and Don’ts

Theres nothing more satisfying than capping a pleasant day on the water with a good meal, be it burgers and dogs on the grill or some fancy, culinary extravaganza whipped up by the galley wizard. Most marine stoves and grills use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Its efficient, relatively cheap, and widely available. Its also highly explosive-particularly with regards to boat installations-which makes proper installation and regular inspection so critical in onboard systems.

Silence of the Engines

The Westerbeke 4-107 had been through three owners by the time I got it. It had plenty of hours on it, and somewhere along...

Even 2020 Yielded Some Great Gear

Once more, the bulk of the past year’s testing focused on maintenance products, safety essentials, and do-it-yourself substitutes for higher priced marine gear. Part...

Diesel Additives

Whether by condensation, through a deck fill leak, or contamination at the fuel dock, water inevitably finds its way into our diesel tank. How much damage it does over time depends on our tanks design, material, and maintenance regimen. Can fuel additives help? We tested seven diesel additives to determine which is the best at battling tank corrosion: Hammonds Biobor JF, Valvtect Bioguard, Fuel Right, Stanadyne, Sta-Bil Diesel, Star brite Star Tron Enzyme, and Sea Foam.

When Choosing Pilots, Err on Side of Caution

In a nutshell, autopilots have one main function: to assume control of a vessels steering and control its heading, be it a specific course or on a selected route or to a waypoint. As with any crucial piece of gear (anchors being a great example), cost should not be the primary consideration in the selection process. Its crucial to select a unit that has both the power and ability to steer your boat effectively in all sea conditions youre likely to encounter.

Mailport 05/01/00

Battery BurnupIn your January 1, 2000 issue, Mr. Dale Botwin reported his experience with an inexpensive Group 24 starting battery getting very hot and...

Tinned Wire Myth Busted

I recently purchased an older boat. Not long before the purchase, the previous owner had the wiring replaced. All the workmanship seems to be in good order, with all connections and terminations made with Ancor crimped connectors and sealed in shrink tubing. All the wiring is the proper gauge (AWG) stranded wire. The only problem is that the wire used was not marine-gauge tinned wire. I am wondering what the risks are to leaving it as it is. Clearly to rip it all out and do it again would be very expensive. I am not using the boat that much and don’t intend a circumnavigation any time soon. If the connections are well made and the wire sheathing remains intact, what is my risk of wire corrosion with the un-tinned wire in a marine environment?