was built the Webasto heater unit had, apparently, a time switch fitted. By the time we bought the boat the timer had failed, and the previous owner had substituted a simple on/off switch. This works fine and is ultra-reliable, but Ally and Ben would like to be able to wake up in a pre-warmed boat these cooler mornings.
I know, I thought, I'll use a mains time switch to supply a small power supply to operate a relay, the contacts of which will be connected across the Webasto switch. I had a small power supply, so all I needed was the relay. I looked in a Maplin catalogue and found something even better: a mains actuated relay. I didn't know these existed! The relay coil takes 230V AC mains.
Here it is. I've tested it by connecting the coil to the mains and, yes, it switches. It buzzes a bit too, but I can hide it away somewhere so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
And this is the time switch which I'll plug in next to the existing timer for the immersion heater (or in place of it - the Webasto will heat the domestic water as well as the radiators).
All I'll need then is a 13A plug and a bit of cable. And I'll obviously have to insulate the mains connection to the relay.
Cost of components: Relay £4.49; Time switch about £5.00. Total: about a tenner.
Compare this with £85 for a genuine Webasto timer
! Of course, my method needs mains to work - fine for Ally and Ben in the marina on shoreline power, not so handy on the move.
I'll let you know how I get on installing it next time I'm on the boat.