Saturday, May 18, 2013

Are the Deck Lockers Latched?

The Perko deck locker latches (Flush Latches, Fig 1032)  are easy to use and easy to replace when they eventually fail, but have one major flaw: There is no indication on the outside that indicates whether they are latched. The latching arm on the bottom of the latch can be oriented in any direction, relative to the handle on the other side of the locker door, as shown in the two pictures below. We decided to do something about it and make it so that we could know whether the latch was engaged in the daytime as well as at night with no light available.

The first step is to adjust the latching arm with the latch in place. When the height adjustment is set correctly, the latch arm will have about 1/16-inch clearance to the catch or the rim of the compartment. Align the latch arm so that when it latches the compartment, the exterior handle is in a fixed orientation that makes sense. In our case, we oriented the latch arm with the outside handle, as shown in the picture on the right.

Using our trusty rotary tool (Dremel tool) with a cutoff wheel, we carefully cut a small groove in the plastic handle to indicate where the latch arm was located. (See arrow in the picture to the right.) We can see the groove in the daylight and feel for it at night. So there is no question about whether the latch is engaged. Adding some white paint to the groove will make it stand out more.

Update 5/30/13:
We added paint to the deck latch grooves, using a "DecoColor" marker so that they are easy to see in dim light.


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