Initial projects on Kaos

I've owned Kaos for just about a month now, and am already knee-deep in some smaller projects. I am a big fan of iterative design and project execution, and many of these fall into that category. I may not have all of the pieces of the final design in place, but I've made progress in improving things, and know more about the systems involved.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Congrats on the new boat, thanks for writing about your projects, it’s very interesting.

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Another great write up. After I finish up with my Chinook install I’ll be tackling some of the same l projects. Specifically, the toilet and lighting upgrades. The lights on my boat are all over the color and element spectrum and my vacuflush system has been a PITA since the beginning.

Are you selling the Garmin Radar? I’m looking for a temporary dome style solution until I add my new mast or radar arch. If so, let me know the details. I added a new NMEA 2000 backbone and Garmin plotter last summer and plan to build my Garmin system from there.

Thanks! I love writing about projects just about as much as doing them!

I am selling the Garmin HD radar plus other bits and pieces including a GPSMAP 5212 chart plotter, a GPSMAP 5208 chart plotter, and associated cabling. I also have two GMI10 displays. I can grab more details on the models and such this weekend.

Definitely let me know. I’ll be working on the boat in Bremerton and spending time at the boat show all week.

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Great article, as usual, Steve.
Congratulations on the new boat.
We, also, are in the middle of a new-to-us boat renovation project.
N2K system install going well and all electronics replaced with 2 19" & 2 12" (1 12" displays the Maratron Mbb300 data) touch screens running TZPro with the Furuno digital radar overlay.
Also followed your exceptional article on N2K powered raspberry pie setup. I have problems with the pie SD corrupting every once in a while and I have to start over.
I would be very interested in learning about your unix server setup. Are the setup instructions identical to the rPie setup?
Thanks and keep the great blogs going.

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Really good stuff here. I am curious, do the reverse cycle hydronic and wabasco share the same air handlers, pumps etc? I am thinking of adding a diesel hydronic heater toour existing system. And suggestions on companies to assist? I cant get a lot of traction in SoCal.

Good on ya for mentioning your SmartPlug upgrade. If I’m working on a boat that doesn’t have one I’ll harangue the captain until they see the wisdom. Actually it doesn’t take much, for the money it’s one of the best safety upgrades anyone make make.

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An early COVID project was to finally tackle a complicated electric toilet install. I’m with you regarding Raritan (and most others) toilet controls. A little too much for guests and crew. Also, thanks to heightened sanitation awareness due to COVID, I decided that I wanted foot switches. Since nothing existed that was quite what I wanted, in my typical way I ended up building a toilet control that gave me exactly the features I wanted. The user only has to deal with 2 momentary switches: fill & flush. Everybody gets it immediately.

I use an Intel NUC for my main boat Linux server (Using an Intel NUC as a powerful boat server) that has a proper solid state storage disk and more powerful CPU which is important for the amount of data I have flowing through it. I had issues with the SD card as you are, and also just overall horsepower.

The setup process is not identical. The basic operating system and general steps there are a bit different. Once past that point, most of the software is similar if not identical in the installation side.

The Webasto and reverse cycle system use separate pumps and air handlers. Some share the same ducting, but that’s about it. Someone else asked me about this recently, and there was only one mainstream system that offered it from Webasto called BlueCool. I also didn’t like having everything integrated to that level where one failure takes out both systems, sort of like I’m dealing with now! But I do know that space can be at a premium, and some of these systems could be a benefit on that front.

Agreed! I’ve done it on all of my boats since they started offering the product, and on many customer boats!

Foot switches are a great idea! Awesome install!

Thank you for sharing this. Really nice to read and understand the various stuff going on in the boat world. Giving me lots of encouragement to finally buy a boat!

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Steve, congrats on Kaos and also on a bunch of successful initial projects! I was particularly interested when I heard about your battery issues as I was expecting you would probably replace with a more modern chemistry. I was a bit surprised that you just put flooded back in Kaos but sounds like that is a temporary measure. I’m curious what your plans are for LiFePO4? I just reread your adventures in adding LiFePO4 to Grace back in 2018 and am curious how things will work this time with a different boat and 3-4 years of time passed. Are the options pretty much the same or possibly better/simpler now? Are you planning to take on and write about that project pretty soon? (I’m going to need to replace our boat’s house bank soon myself and would like to try something different.) Thanks for all your articles, they are always an interesting read.

Congrats on your newest vessel, and thank you for sharing informed details about all your projects. I always find your write-up very informative.

Our vessel also suffers from diesel exhaust smears since both the main engine and generator exhaust amidships on the hull of our Nauticat 43.

As you noted, many products remove some/most of the soot marks, but always leave evidence behind…

Last year during our haulout, some dear experienced boating friends handed us their bottle of 'Someone to do it’ cream cleaner. [No affiliation…]

A quarter sized dob on a cleaning rag and a minute later all evidence we are diesel powered was erased.

Since the product is non-volatile it can be shipped USPS, therefore we could even order some delivered to us in Alaska.

We won’t ever be without it…

This is just a FWIW as our- and the experience of others we have recommended this product to- has always been outstanding.

I should also mention our hull was painted with 2 part LPU [AWLgrip] in 1995…

In case this is useful.

Cheers! Bill

I am planning on a LiFePO4 main bank using 48 volt batteries and various other bits to other banks. I mentioned a bit of the design in the initial post about Kaos here: Meet Kaos!

I’m hoping to finalize my design this week so I can begin ordering the big parts, and I will be posting multiple articles about the design throughout the process.

Thanks for the recommendation!

New user to Seabits. Loving the informative posts and engaging style. I’ve a 42’ mid 90s Catalina — solid fiber glass cabin healiner, a few questions. You seem to have a plethora of supplier knowledge.


  1. recommend any surface mount fixtures for the LunaSea red/white? existing lighting consists of small tacky -brass spot lights… wall mount. i would love continuous overhead lighting all over.

(i’d love to do red or white (integrated) dimmable tape lights, alas, i don’t believe my product use case merits an actual product ?)

  1. driver and remotes for the tape lights? you mention another post (pending) and homelink. possible to share a link to these?

Best regards on the new acquisition — super excited to watch the build!

Not 100% sure I understand, but if you’re looking for surface mount fixtures to replace the brass circular ones that are between 5 and 6" around, LunaSea offers a silver/chrome option that has a switch to flip it between red/white or blue/white. I used those on Rendezvous in a lot of areas.

I’m currently experimenting with this particular controller on three strips Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Single-Color LED Controller - Alexa / Google Assistant / Smartphone Compatible - 3 Amps/6 Amps - 12-24 VDC | Super Bright LEDs

It uses WiFi for control, which is both better and worse than the proprietary stuff that I’ve used a lot before with dedicated remotes. It is compatible with Home Assistant, and they have their own iOS and Android app you can use as well. So far it has been working well, although I am hearing a high pitched hum at some times depending on the power level which I am trying to trace. It’s very faint, and no one else but me seems to be able to hear it, but something I definitely want to investigate.

Thank you, Steve!

To clarify the cabin salon, interior headliner (to which any overhead lighting would mount) is fiberglass-- no space for recessed lights or wiring. So surface mount is the only option (which is why the low profile tape lights are attractive.) I’ll share photos asap.

I appreciate the response and kudos to the vibrant community, here! Much appreciated!

The surface mount light I’ve used and mentioned above is this one: Lunasea Lighting LLB-10WR-2A-CR | Fisheries Supply

Left field question here, but a habit of mine to see a nautical chart and figure out where the boat is from limited data. Your two chartplotter screens are showing waters I can’t seem to recognize! Sure , haven’t had coffee yet, but still! Any clues?