Dear My Main Man Dr. Motorhead,

I was pumped, psyched, wound up and ready to finish my boat and have the best “Chick

Magnet” on the water. Here is where it all started. I went to the Minneapolis boat show for the

first time in January 2003. I could not believe my eyes. The boats there were awesome. I saw everything from classics at the BSLOL display to super cool 40 footers with 1,200-horse power. What Babe in her right mind wouldn’t go for the layout on these 40-foot “speedos”? I mean Dude, fur on the walls, mirrors on the ceilings, disco lights around the perimeter and the most radical mega thumping hyper-bass stereos one could imagine. It was truly inspiring. When I got home I popped open a cold one, closed my eyes and imagined myself sitting on a boat like this surrounded by a half dozen bikini clad women in high heels. Oh, could life be this great? Absolutely, I thought.

Then suddenly I snapped from my daydream and with a flash, realized this vision could even be better. Danny, I said to myself, you could have the best of both worlds. Turn your 1958 31-foot Constellation into a pleasure palace. That’s it man, you are a genius. Think of it, the classic cruiser. Crusin’ in my cruiser, the mere thought sent chills up my spine. All the Babes will go for it. The classic boat with a new pleasure palace interior. Nothing stopping me now, no sir.

Oh wait man, my bubble just burst, I thought to myself; none of this far out electrical stuff runs on 6 volts. I also wanted one of those 120-volt inverter things so I could operate a blender and a DVD player and television set. It says right on the box you need 12 volts to operate this inverter thing. What was I going to do? How do these inverter things even work? Man, this was too much to take for one afternoon. My dreams, my hopes, my aspirations to be the “Stud” of Lake Minnetonka were wiped out. Gone in an instant right before my very eyes.

“Dude”, my roommate said, “get real you can have it all just like your vision”. “Convert man, just convert”, he insisted. “No way Jose, I am not going to church and settle down, or any of that stuff; not me man”. “Not that kind of convert”, he insisted. “Your generators Clyde, make them 12 volt”, he proclaimed. “That’s it Einstein, you’re a genius”, I declared “ I am going to start tomorrow. Get me another cold one, we’re celebrating”.
No big deal I thought, in fact I had the Doctor Motorhead article from a few years ago on what to do and how to convert 6 to 12 volt, no sweat for this guy. Twelve volts here I come. But your Doctor Dudeship, this is where my troubles began.
Last spring was the beginning. I could almost feel the Babes flocking to my boat as I began removing the generators. Sent them out to Sparky’s Generator and Used Clothing Shop to be converted. Oh did I tell you, I have twin engines, cool huh? Bought new batteries, switched over all the electrical stuff and was ready. Threw in the re-built
generators and fired the engines for my first ride of the season. I was going to do the remodeling and electronics over the summer. Heck, one thing wrong though, they wouldn’t charge. My ammeter showed “0”– one big goose egg. The generator wasn’t generating. Heads were going to roll; somebody screwed up big time and I was getting anxious. Took them out and brought them back to have them fixed so they would work properly. Dropped them off and later got a call to pick them up. When I got there I asked, “What’s the deal banana peal? Why didn’t you do it right the first time?” The Dude behind the counter said, “nothing-wrong man”. “Tested out just fine, throwing out 12 volts and the cutouts are doing their deal at 800 RPM man.” So he said, “Put them back in and go out and get the Chicks like you said you wanted, can’t do nothing for you here”. Seems odd, I thought, how could they work here and not in my boat? Oh well, put them in and go for it I thought. Doc, same thing happened the second time — no juice man this is getting serious. My roommate said, “Those guys at Sparky’s are hosing you man”. Bring them across town to Magneto’s, the Italian generator shop. Get them done right and sue Sparky for all he is worth. So I did, brought them to Magneto’s, I told them they didn’t work and my attorney was in touch with Sparky as we speak. Two precious weeks go by and I finally get a call to come get my stuff. I got there and asked, “Well, what did you have to do?” “Nothing man, nothing.” What? “Nothing man, nothing.” “Sparky did a great job, both work just fine, 12 strong volts and the cutout trips at 800 rpms, perfect man, perfect.” “Put them back in and use your boat.” I was blown away. Now I had to sue my roommate for suggesting I convert. Not only did I not know why my generators weren’t generating, I also had no idea of why there’s a cutout on a generator anyway. Things were getting more complicated, not less.
I put them back in like I was told and you guessed it, they still didn’t work. I was bummed to the max. My dreams were gone, blown away. What will I do? Do I have a jinxed boat? No stereo, no TV, no disco lights. The fur on the walls and the mirrors on the ceiling just aren’t enough without all the electronics. It just wasn’t working man, the Chicks never showed up at the dock. So it must be the lack of electronics. I need 12 volts big time, help me. Help Doc, get me converted. If you do, I’ll meet you at Lord Fletchers and buy you a Long Island Ice Tea or something.
Signed, Disco
PS: By the way, you may have seen me at Fletchers before; I’m the Dude with the Gold Chains.

Dear Danny,
Gold chains? How am I supposed to tell you apart from the other 300 Dudes with gold chains on any given night at Fletchers? Give me a break. Perhaps I should identify you as the one with the battery chargers in your boat. You aren’t related to Dave Schmidt by any chance are you?
Dude, you don’t have a problem, except perhaps with your life style. I will be the first to tell you, believe me. Here is what you got going. Get ready to party. You will be converted. Electronics, you and your “Chick Magnet” are soon to be one and the same. When I received my Doctorate, I took an oath; I offer advice to anyone on any mechanical or electrical problem regardless of life style, religion, means or gold chains.
So are you ready to swing down? Here’s the skinny. Plain and simple, your generators are on the wrong engine. Unlike alternators, which you don’t have, generators work in one direction only. The port engine (or for you the left one) turns clockwise or digital if your watch has no hands. The starboard engine (or for you the right one) turns counter clockwise or anti-digital if your watch has no hands. If you have the right hand generator on the left hand engine you will get nothing, “nada” as they say south of the border. Take them off and switch them to the opposite engine and you will be picking up Babes faster than you can say, “Where’s my “Pina Colada”
Cutouts break the electrical connection to the battery. Remember boys and girls, current runs in either direction. If you shut down your engine the battery will supply power to your generator. Or better said, the generator will draw power from your battery. This will want to make your generator operate like an electric motor. In turn, running down your battery while shortening the life of the generator. So, if all you campers out there wanted to know why your ammeter didn’t move and show that you were charging until you reached 800 to 1,000 rpms this is why. The cutout switches on and off the connection from your generator so it can generate instead of degenerate if you will.
As far as those 120 volt inverter things, where they turn 12 volt DC current to 120 volt AC current, I don’t know how they work either. It’s one of those things I just chalk up to magic.

Catch you on the rebound Dude,
Dr. Motorhead