Now in their fifth generation, the new Tramex Skipper V (SMM5) is a dual-depth, non-destructive Marine moisture meter which safely detects excess moisture hidden in GRP boat hulls, decks and coach roofs including sandwich or cored structures. The unique three-electrode array provides both shallow (10 mm / 3/8") and deep (30 mm / 1¼") perceptivity to help establish the depth of any moisture within GRP composites. In addition to the classic moving-coil display, readings may also be sent to the free Tramex App on paired Android and iOS devices. Pocket-sized and specifically designed for GRP the Tramex Skipper V is self-contained, easy to use and ready to go, needing no user calibration.
On the outside the Skipper V has a new, ergonomically designed moulded rubber grip which fits snugly in the hand and feels more robust than earlier models. Overall weight has increased slightly to about 460 grams, due in part to the two AA alkaline cells which power the instrument. The switch to AA cells provides greatly extended battery life whilst their weight at the bottom of the meter improves balance and handling.
However, the biggest change to the Skipper V is the unique three-electrode array on the base of the instrument. Depth of field or ‘perceptivity’ is determined by the gap between the functioning electrodes, so the three electrode array allows genuine deep and shallow readings from the same instrument. Readings taken in the Shallow mode use a much smaller footprint than deep readings so it is possible to take readings where antifouling ‘coupons’ have been scraped from the hull.
How it Works:
GRP composites and hardwoods are non-conducting materials; nevertheless their electrical properties change with increasing moisture content. The Skipper 5 determines moisture content by applying a high-audio frequency signal between a pair of soft rubber electrodes on the instrument base. A third electrode provides genuine shallow range measurements on a smaller footprint. Capacitive coupling between the electrodes and the sample allows impedance to be determined. This is interpreted as a moisture value and displayed on a large, clear moving coil meter.
The Skipper V retains its classic ‘analogue’ moving coil display, but on the inside it has Bluetooth connectivity allowing readings to be sent to a free Tramex app on paired Android and IOS devices. At present functionality is limited to remote mirroring of the meter readings, and capture of photographs with readings and geotagging for recording purposes. Both Android and IOS devices have the ability to record what is seen on screen so it is possible to take and record series of readings. However, the app is under constant development and will be developed to provide more comprehensive recording and reporting functions.
Why Use a Tramex Skipper Meter?
Elevated moisture readings are associated with an increased risk of gelcoat blistering in GRP composites; better known as 'Osmosis'. Boats laid up with Orthophthalic resins (before about 1990) are at particular risk, but a quick check with the Skipper Plus can provide a valuable early warning of unseen problems beneath the gelcoat.
The Skipper meters are particularly recommended for those looking to purchase a previously used yacht. Many purchases fall through at the survey stage owing to high moisture readings, so the Skipper meter will allow you to shortlist suitable vessels before engaging a Surveyor. The new Tramex Skipper V provides a number of new features which make the job quicker, easier and safer.
The Skipper V will read through most antifouling paints in 'Deep Mode', avoiding the need for scraping off, but may give elevated readings if metallic copper coatings such as Coppercoat and Copperbot have been applied.
Furthermore the Skipper's enhanced depth of field (of 15 - 20 millimetres) means that it will detect moisture deep within the composite even if the gelcoat layer is unusually thick.
This package includes VAT, express delivery within the UK and a copy of the acclaimed Shorter Guide to Osmosis and its Treatment. an optional Calibration Check box and Extension Handle will be available shortly.
© Nigel Clegg Associates, Hardwick Road, Sedgefield, County Durham, TS21 2AL