Sunday, November 4, 2012

Label Me

A boat of Sea Gem's size has countless devices (pumps, electronics, lights, fans, motors, etc.), and each of these devices is operated by some combination of switches, buttons, and levers.  Unfortunately, because most of these devices were custom fit to the boat, it is not always easy to tell what switch, button, or lever controls which device.  Unlike, for example, a television, with a "power" button directly on the front of the television, many of our devices are located far away from their respective controls.  And, even if we knew which switch controls which device, it is not always easy to tell which direction is "on" and which is "off" (not to mention the various valves aboard with control levers with more than two positions).

The solution?  Labels.  Lots and lots of labels.  Sea Gem's former owners fortunately labeled most of the devices and controls with a labelmaker, but I am nonetheless constantly trying to figure out what various mystery switches are for, which pump controls which freezer, etc.  And so we recently bought our own labelmaker and have picked up where Sea Gem's former owners left off.

Epson Digital Labelmaker
Take, for example, the refrigerator.  We need to be able to turn off the refrigerator every once in awhile to defrost it.  But if we turn off the "refrigeration" switch on our electrical control panel, we turn off both the refrigerator and the freezer, which we may not want to do.  Fortunately, I eventually discovered that one of our mystery switches turns off the refrigerator alone.  How did I figure it out?  I flipped it, and nothing happened.  A couple days later, our fridge wasn't cold anymore, and so ended the mystery of the mystery switch.  (A boat fridge runs for only an hour or so per day, so flipping the switch on or off is unlikely to result in any change in noise, function, etc. - at least until the food spoils).

Now, the mystery switch has a label, both to identify it as the fridge power switch, and also to identify which direction is on and which is off:

We also labeled the light switch for our electrical panel:

And lest we not forget:

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