Monday, 2 May 2016

Alternator now wired up correctly (I hope!)

We had a visit from two fellow BCF members, Peter and Maureen, this afternoon. They had responded to a message Jan had put out saying that we were in Braunston should anyone want to come for a cup of tea. It was lovely to make their acquaintance, and even lovelier that Peter should turn out to be an electrical engineer who has managed a hire fleet in the past. He was keen to help me with our domestic alternator so, while Jan got some (eating) tea ready, Peter and I set about rewiring the connections to the domestic alternator.

As a bit of background, the original alternator had burnt out; the new replacement seemed to produce no output; the Sterling ABC was cut out of the system and the alternator small connections fed from the starter battery. With this setup the alternator produced charging current for the domestic batteries but this quickly dropped to nothing as the starter battery charged.

Peter and I examined the old relay that I had and discovered that the contacts were burnt away. That was no good so, in the absence of a relay, we wired up a switch as a temporary measure. On firing up the engine it all seemed to work. The alternator put out 100+A initially; this fell over the course of a few minutes to 50A. After 20 minutes the batteries were taking 32A, but the 8pm deadline had arrived and so I switched off.

Until the relay is installed I will have to remember to switch on the switch before starting the engine and switch it off when stopping. The AUX warning lamp will remind me if I forget (as long as I see it); if I do forget then current will flow back into the alternator and I run the risk of damaging it.

Tomorrow we will finally move away from Braunston and the engine will get a good run. I am hoping that, finally, the alternator will give the batteries a proper charge. We will see!

Before all this Jan and I helped with the dismantling of the marquee etc. This was all done by 1130, well before the rain came. It has been a very enjoyable weekend.

Oh, another thing I did was to pump more water out of the cabin bilge, this time from next to the shower sump. I still don't know where the water is coming from, nor if it is still from the original leak. We inspected the water pump: still dry. So it cannot be that. I managed to tighten slightly the Jubilee clip securing the hose to the sump outlet - will this make any difference? The boat's list seems to have reduced from two weeks ago, so perhaps no more water is getting in to the bilge.

The photo shows the pump I bought from eBay (£11.25 inc postage). I got a large washing up bowlful out with the pump, then another quarter bowlful using a sponge. Water still appears when we walk around the boat - I hope it all goes away soon!

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