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Keeping Up

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Keeping Up last won the day on October 3 2013

Keeping Up had the most liked content!

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About Keeping Up

  • Birthday 06/10/49

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    Milton Keynes
  • Interests
    Electronics, computers, music (60s/70s rock), drink (wine whisky and beer)

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    Keeping Up
  • Boat Location
    Stoke Hammond

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  1. DC current leakage problem

    Some random thoughts from my wandering ponderings about GI's, especially after my hull corroded away last year: As asked above, does anybody really know whether a slight ac leakage is significant towards corrosion or not? Would the slight current through a GI monitoring meter be a problem, especially if it's DC? If so, diodes are better because they pass no current until they conduct (if you see what I mean) In our tests in 2009, ChrisW and I measured that the dynamic impedance around the GI, from boat to shore earth via the hull and canal, was less than 3 ohms. Thus any ac leakage into the boat's earth/hull would inevitably by-pass the GI (unless it was a massive current) hence a capacitor would make no difference except maybe on a GRP boat. This was on a 67ft steel boat with the hull blacked but not the baseplate, in 3ft of water against plastic piling. I discovered that my Sterling battery charger did not have any significant leakage of AC or RF to the mains earth itself. But it did however have about 20mA of AC leakage from the 240v side to the 12v side when it was working. I had not noticed it before because I had tested it on a bench and not on the boat when trying to work out why the RCD had started tripping. It went out for re-cycling.
  2. I've just looked at the original paperwork in which "Worcester" was registered at Hull as a 13 ton ship in order to qualify for a marine mortgage. The boatbuilder is listed as "Harborough Marine Ltd, Market Harborough, Leics". The Owner is listed as "Mid-England Narrow Boats Ltd having its principal place of business as 80/81 Wood-Gate, Loughborough in the county of Leicester". The date of construction is shown as 1970 although I am fairly sure that the build started in late 1969. I do know that the boat went directly to Trevor to be one of the boats in the hire fleet there. When Anglo-Welsh sold Worcester out of Trevor in 1975, the bill of sale is on Harborough Marine headed paper, and is signed by (illegible) as "Director, Mid England Narrow Boats Limited, Harborough Marine Limited" I have a 1973 brochure from Anglo-Welsh which says "Our hire fleet began in 1965 with two converted narrow boats based at Market Harborough. Each succeeding year has seen an increase in the number of boats, and new bases have been opened at Wootton Wawen and Great Haywood. As new boats of improved design are introduced, so the elder ones are phased out. For the 1973 season we have a fleet of 48 modern narrow boats at our four bases" All of which gives no real information about the relationship between the company names - but is interesting.
  3. Beta glowplug wiring

    My Beta never needed the plugs in its first year or so. Perhaps the situation is: Beta wiring makes the plugs ineffective. Beta's don't normally need the plugs so it doesn't normally matter. I have an issue which can make it difficult to start after a week or two. So does System4-50, it may be the same issue or a different one. The issue can alleviated by using the heater plugs, but only if they are working properly. More boating is the best solution.
  4. Beta glowplug wiring

    My engine has done about 3000 hours Last month it had been left for 5 weeks and it was extremely difficult to start. The fuel tank had been topped up before we left the boat, so the fuel was at least a foot above the top of the engine. So it couldn't be draining back into the tank. Pumping the primer a lot felt as if there was fuel there and didn't help. When the engine did finally start, there was a big cloud of black smoke (not blue or white) which seems to suggest that there was no lack of fuel. The negative return is indeed via the block. But the positive supply travels from the engine up the harness to the dashboard to the switch and back to the engine, so 10m plus about 1m around the engine first
  5. They didn't become Anglo Welsh until later. In 1969, according to our boat's original paperwork, they were still called Mid England Narrow Boats, and were based at Market Harborough.
  6. Beta glowplug wiring

    I can only assume that it's a combination of the block and pistons taking more than one night to become really really cold, plus possibly then a bit of dampness or condensation forming inside the Cylinders as the temperature constantly cycles day by day. At first I thought it was compounded by the fuel draining away, possibly flowing backwards through the lift pump, but then ruled that out by the fact that it still happened if it was left with the tank filled to the brim so the fuel was above the highest point of the engine.
  7. Presumably that is Wyvern Shipping's Pandora? We were her first ever hirers at Easter 1969
  8. Our Harborough boat "Thistle" was built in 1969 with a steel Hull and GRP top, to be one of the first boats in their new fleet at Trevor where she was named "Worcester". When we met Giles Baker one day on our travels (as we were being towed because our rudder had fallen off) he recognised some of the features and told us that it was the 8th steel boat that they had built, and that their hulls had been wooden before that. He also told us that for the wooden hulls they had created a new bow shape by simply pulling on sheets of plywood until they fitted the existing hull sides. When they started using steel they had merely replicated this in steel sheet - hence their uniquely distinctive high bows.
  9. Like most Beta engines, my Beta 43 usually starts quite easily without recourse to using the heater plugs. However it has always seemed a bit reluctant when it has been left for a long time (say a week or more) and using the heaters seemed to make very little difference, so I started looking for any possible problems. One particular point I found was that the voltage on the heater plugs was only about 8.5 volts, even though the starter battery was good. I spoke to Beta technical support but they barely listened to me, merely emphasised that their wiring loom had been designed by professionals and that there couldn't be a problem unless the connectors were dirty. Well the connectors were OK, but I have the extended loom which is 5m long, so the current for the plugs has to pass through more than 11m of cable as well as the fuse, the switch, and 2 connectors before reaching the plugs. Now the plugs are nominally 1 ohm each so could ideally be expected to take 48 amps (or presumably less as they heat up?), but the cable that Beta have used is only 2.5mm which not only is seriously under-rated for this current but also provides a significant voltage drop. It's probably a good thing that the cable limits the current however, as everything passes through a 40A blade fuse too. Anyway, despite Beta's advice that it was a waste of time and would have no effect, this week I fitted a relay to the circuit so that the plugs now get almost 12v. Result, after a month standing, and on a bitterly cold day, the engine fired up instantly after its 10 seconds of heating. SO if you have similar problems, look at the voltage on the plugs and consider fitting a relay. Incidentally I added one small refinement, that I can now select whether the heaters are powered by the starter or the domestic batteries, which will allow me a better chance of starting if I am suffering from flat batteries.
  10. New batteries - problem

    The current set is a bank of 4 Exide 115 Ah Dual leisure batteries https://www.tayna.co.uk/Exide-ER550-DUAL-Leisure-Battery-Porta-Power-PP115-P7641.html ... would Exide count as a "decent" brand? The word Dual puts me off - it almost certainly means they are just re-badged starter batteries. The top looks like it may be removable but it has resisted all my efforts so far. I found during the summer that in absorption mode they followed the typical "rule of one-third" in that every hour the current reduced to one-third of tis previous value (plus a bit for tail current) and the amp-hour deficit according to the BM2 also reduced to one-third of its earlier value. Thus after taking my usual load of 80-90 Ah, the charging current was roughly: After 1 hour, 30 Amps After 2 hours, 11 Amps After 3 hours, 5 Amps After 4 hours, 3 Amps After 5 hours, 2.6 Amps After 6 hours, 2.5 Amps After 7 hours, 2.5 Amps After 8 hours, 2.5 Amps To me this suggests that they are nearly charged after 4 hours, and that after 5-6 hours it merely holds the "status quo" I can limit the current when equalising, as my bench PSU is a variable-voltage variable-current supply. But I rarely find that the current rises far above the 2.5A figure, after the initial burst of enthusiasm is over. During the summer we do travel a lot, so roughly two-thirds of the hours I quoted in my regime are a fortunate by-product of cruising.. But the other third (ie about 300 hours this year) represent a colossal waste of diesel! At the moment plans A B and C all look equally attractive (or unattractive) to me.
  11. New batteries - problem

    If you mean, how do I get the charge voltage to 16.5v , I have a bench power supply which I can run from the inverter powered by 2 of the batteries to equalise the other 2. Then swap them over. But I am wary of doing that with my existing bank of sealed batteries.
  12. New batteries - problem

    As an indication of how far from ideal is a 2-hour per day charging routine, my typical weekly routine from a Beta 43 charging towards 14.8v with a 175 amp alternator is: 2 days for 4 hours 1 day for 6 hours 2 days for 4 hours 1 day for 6 hours 1 day for 8 hours That makes one whole week, then it gets repeated for every subsequent week. If on any day the charging current has not fallen to below 1% of the battery bank capacity, the above time is extended. Typically the SoC at the start of charging is in the range 60%-70%. To me this looks like a good regime; yet this summer a set of super-cheap batteries lasted only just over a month and the replacement (slightly better) set has now given 3 months of service yet its capacity is already down by about one third. I am now wondering about a change of regime. On the 2 days that were previously subject to 4 hours of charging each day, ie a total of 8 hours of diesel being used over the 2 days, I have been contemplating allocating the 8 hours as 2 hours on the first day (probably reaching 90% SoC) and then 6 hours on the following day thus holding the batteries at a high voltage, low current, high SoC condition for longer on those days. I wonder, would this help? Or even doing 1 hour and 7 hours. Clearly a longer time holding at a high-voltage low-current state could be good, but on the other hand I have observed that batteries seem to show a sort of memory effect somewhat similar to the old NiCd cells which disliked it if you ever stopped charging before they were completely full. With lead-acid cells I have noticed that if on one day you only part-charge them, then the next day the charging current reduces drastically when you pass the point at which you stopped the day before so that it is far harder to get more charge into them, which could negate the advantages or even make things worse. For example with with the Varta batteries that I had previously, whenever you stopped charging prematurely, it was almost impossible to get any more charge into them beyond that level unless you used a ridiculously high voltage (typically 16.5v), and the steady loss of capacity was clearly seen on the meters day by day. So what do people reckon would be the best charging routine, based on this info?
  13. Charging of domestic batteries

    The ones I am using now are sealed (not my choice). I must say I'll be glad to get back to using unsealed ones when I next change them, but these are less than 6 months old so I hope it won't be all that soon. I'm trying to decide whether or not to fit 12v Trojans next time.
  14. Charging of domestic batteries

    How are they at handling high charging currents? I am definitely thinking that the high output from my alternator (175A) is contributing to the short life I am getting from cheaper batteries.
  15. River canal Rescue, worth joining?

    True for 0845 but I think you will find that 0345 numbers are included within contract by all mobile network suppliers. However they will be expensive if you are over your contracted limit or are on PAYG