Six days of work got me quite closer to completion. Still a lot of finishing but most of the work is over.
We're using a pair of RS-232/DB9 connectors to connect the superstructure/funnel/mast to the deck.
Everything electric/electronic is connected when the superstructue is installed onto the deck. I only have to plug the silicone hose for the FiFi monitor.
There are nine pins on a DB9 connector:
Two switching boards were made from PCB: one in the hull; one in the super structure. Power and signal wires are routed to (hull) or from (superstructure) those boards.
Smoke generator draws much more current than expected: around 3.5 Amps at full throttle. A little under 3 amps when running half throttle (which would output more than enough smoke - this is a diesel tug ...).
Looks like the smoke generator will actually draw more power than the propulsion motor. Not much of an issue though as I'm using two 12V 12Ah SLA batteries.
Still using spray cans. I'm not sure I want to get a real spray gun (with the compressor that goes with it). I'm getting slightly better results with more practice. But I still ended up with some less-than-desirable finishes on some of the parts (namely the upper deck).
Selecting the right nozzle for the job (either high pressure nozzles for wide areas like the hull, deck, funnel or smaller low pressure "detail" nozzles) helps a lot.
Paint has to be applied in multiple light coats. Key word here is light. I got the best finish on flat parts with up to 8 or 10 light coats (three or four minutes apart at 20-25°C).
Spraying from the right distance is also critical. The "right distance" depends on the nozzle. Maintaining a constant/appropriate spraying distance is quite difficult on complex parts likie the mast with all the lights and stuff protruding.
Too close and you end up with way too much paint. Then you'd have to wait five to ten minutes (instead of 3-4) to make sure all solvents flash of or it will take literally days for the paint to cure.
Too far away and you end up with a dusty surface. Not even matt but real paint dust you can brush or wipe off when cured.
Last but not least: surface preparation is essential. This usually involves a lot of sanding, priming, sanding, priming ... Some excessive use of Stabilit Express glue when assembling the superstructure had me sanding and priming for two days in a row. I litteraly got a blister on my right hand from sanding a "blob" of glue.
I assume I would probably have the same issues with a real spray gun. There's only so much the hardware can do.
The main drawback of spray cans to me is their cost. I got mine through eBay or from home improvement stores. Each 400ml can is around 10-12 EUR. I'm not going to count how many cans I used for the Odin and the Sequana.
While searching Google for affordable acrylic spray paint I found that graffiti shops sell paint for 3.50 EUR a can. That's not even a third from what you pay at home improvement stores. I went to a graffiti shop in Paris asking whether their paint was decent and suitable for RC models. The guy told me he had model hobbyists using his stuff, the finish mostly depending on the type of nozzle ("cap" as they call them). I got six cans of various colors for the price of two cans. Also got a bunch of caps. Will try this out on my barge project. I hope it will turn out good.
Instead of RAL #1023 "Traffic Yellow" - which is "too yellow" / citrus for my taste - I decided to get RAL #1028 "Mellon Yellow" for the mast. "Melon Yellow" is more orange.
3D Printer should be up & running in a few days. I just got the last grub screw (thread was stripped on the original one and I failed to notice it when I ordered spare parts). I should then be able to print the new wheelhouse.
Next time I go the my parents' I think we'll be able to complete her. Here's what's left: