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Old 12-16-2011, 10:07 PM   #1
redbopeep's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236
Default Finding things and breaking things

It would be a dream come true--RFID tags on everything. When I lose something, I'd just scan and "find" the lost item. Ah, such would be a great life aboard.

Finding the big things--no problem. They only fit in so many lockers/spaces and they certainly don't go wandering around on their own. Same goes for engine spare parts and so forth. My "losing it" problems relate to little things. For example, a couple weeks ago I "ran across" my Aladdin lantern wick cleaner in a strange but somehow "OK" place. I left it there (wherever there is...). The item is a little plastic disk that only costs about $1.50 but is absolutely necessary for cutting/cleaning the circular wick on my Aladdin brand kerosene lantern.

We use the lantern for heat (it puts out approximately 2500 BTU/hr which is pretty nice) and so we've been using it daily for more than a week as it has gotten cold here. I managed to break the glass chimney two days ago (oops!). Lucky me--the spare chimney is both large and delicate--thus it only "goes" in a certain location in the boat. Found that in no time flat. Also smashed the delicate mantle as part of that oops--but that item was in my "lamp spares" kit of various parts and pieces of the Aladdin lamp as well as our Weems and Plath trawler lamp and W&P yacht lamp. So, after replacement, things worked wonderfully for a day and then the lamp started dimming. Oh, that's because of too much char on the circular wick. No problem...just twist the little wick cleaner thingy over the wick and the burn should be perfect.

Uh, well, that would be if I could REMEMBER where the little wick cleaner disk is. Not with the spare lamp parts, not anywhere logical but yet as I recalled seeing it so recently and thinking "that's a good spot!" it must be somewhere close by....ummm...

Ah, here's where things get even more interesting. I decide to be "clever." I can tell you--clever is NOT necessarily clever. Perhaps it's impatient and definitely un-clever. Since the little plastic disk basically just rubs the charred edges off the wick, I decided to do so with a twist of paper toweling. It worked. For about 12 hours we had the most lovely lamp light and heat, clean burning and just perfect. Then...the lighting was dimmer and dimmer and no amount of turning up the wick could bring us back to full light and heat. This isn't exactly surprising since the wick is fairly delicate and has a fixed life--my rubbing off the extra char was also taking away some of that life and likely much faster than the proper wick cleaner disk would do.

I evaluated the height of the wick and compared it to a new wick I had in the spare parts bag. Yup, I decided that its life was pretty much gone--so why not use the new wick?

Do you see where this is going?

I replaced the old wick with the new. No small task. I've only done it once before on an Aladdin lantern so I couldn't recall the method and actually had to rely on the instructions:
  1. Remove gallery assembly by turning anti-clockwise.
  2. Remove burner from container.
  3. Take out flame spreader (perforated cap in center of burner). Remove outer wick tube by turning anti-clockwise and lifting.
  4. Turn wick up fully and pull it out of burner with wick carrier. (The burner is now ready for new wick to be fitted).
    • Keep carrier and throw old wick away.
  5. Pass paper tabs on new wick through two semicircular slots in burner base. Pull tabs until bottom of tape INSIDE wick is just below top edge of center tube.
  6. With arms uppermost fit carrier to burner on winder side. Push carrier down until rack just engages with winder cog.
  7. Hold top of wick and turn winder counter-clockwise slowly until carrier arms engage with wick clips. Ensure that they are properly engaged and then turn down wick.
  8. Pull tails of wick evenly so that wick carrier rack engages with wick winder mechanism inside large tube. Turn down wick as far as possible.
  9. Replace flame spreader (holes facing upward).
  10. Replace outer wick tube by locking it under all three tabs inside rim of burner.
  11. Tear paper tabs from wick. Replace burner in tank. Fill container with lamp oil (Aladdin Lamp Oil or Kerosene) and allow the new wick to soak for at least one hour before lighting.
Guess what these instructions DO NOT tell you? Ah--that you actually need that durn little wick cleaner to get your newly installed wick working properly. Why? That's because you have to "char" the wick before burning it. I didn't know this before I followed the above instructions and then tried to light my lantern--which wouldn't burn. I went online to figure out what I was doing wrong. Oh, my, how could I have just followed the instructions on the wick itself--silly me!

Here's the "char" instruction found in the "Aladdin lantern Enjoyment Manual" Really--that's what they call the owner's manual.

ALADDIN WICK CHARRING TIP: It is important to have a properly charred wick in order for your Aladdin to produce a
good even blue flame. To char wick (a) Remove gallery and flame spreader. (b) Turn wick up 1/8” above outer wick tube. (c) Dip
top of wick into Aladdin lamp oil briefly (5 seconds). (d) Light wick and let it burn until flame goes out ( 3 to 5 minutes). (e)
Allow top of wick to smolder or glow until completely out. (f) Use Aladdin wick trimmer to smooth top of wick (See page 6 on how
to use). Re-install flame spreader and gallery assembly. NOTE: Wick must be completely dry in order to char wick top.

OK, so now I have a fully wet wick (per the wick instructions above) not a dry one. So--how to char? I've taken the wick out of the kerosene and I'm presently drying it out. Who knows how long that will take. In the meanwhile, I can hope that I'll find my little wick cleaner disk since I will need it to smooth the top of the wick for proper burning after I've charred the dry wick.


"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 12-17-2011, 12:37 PM   #2
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I know exactly why redbopeep wants RFID tags on everything. Having similar problems I have made an exhaustive list on my MacBook of the location everything on-board Thetis. But, sometimes I end up rummaging in lockers and bins too lazy to fire the computer.


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Old 12-19-2011, 02:09 AM   #3
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Posts: 3,236

I have a notebook with scratched out lists of things (foodstuffs mostly) and a longer term spreadsheet on the computer of the big stuff. Even so, there are these tiny things that don't manage to get cataloged. The amazing bit about my little wick cleaner disk is that I know I own not just one but TWO of these things!

I let the wick dry out, charred it properly, brushed it up a bit with a paper towel twist and I'm using the lamp. Works OK but I'll be glad when I figure out where I hid that little disk from myself!

Of course, it's so small that an RFID tag wouldn't make sense anyway. I'd have to bag it and tag it. LOL.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:25 PM   #4
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Home Port: San Jose, CA
Vessel Name: Coyote
Posts: 215

Obviously, it would be convenient if all your Aladin bits were in the same place. And where is that place? Perhaps a label on the Aladin could point you to it.

If only stashing stuff on a boat were that easy. Things have to go where they fit. Sigh.

I stumble across things like that once in a while. "Oh, that's where I put that!" and like you, I immediately forget.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:46 PM   #5
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I enjoyed reading the original post.

My suggestion: add the ordinal post to the sailing wiki.
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