Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Naughty grass cutters in Braunston? And more on batteries etc.

It is the first day of summer (in some people's reckoning) so, naturally, we had the stove going.

A boater at Norton Junction thought it might have been January. My hands got so cold in Braunston Tunnel that I put my gloves on.

Rewinding slightly ... at Watford Locks we joined a queue of four boats waiting to go down. There was only one boat coming up, and that was near the top, so it wasn't too long before the southbound boats began to move. I did expect the boat we were behind to shuffle up as the queue moved, but it stayed put. It transpired that the crew were complete novices, having just bought the boat at Crick. It appeared that the two miles they had just travelled to get to the locks was the only boating they had done. When the last boat ahead of them disappeared into the top lock I thought that they would surely move now. But the skipper had gone with the lockie into his hut. His crew explained that they had discovered that they had no windlasses. After a short while the skipper returned with a windlass given to him by a boater in front. They got down the locks OK; we followed and didn't see them again. Derek and Judy on Firoza were following us.

We tied up behind Dane and Clara just below the Admiral Nelson; then we walked to the Boathouse pub for a filling carvery.

On the way back Jan noticed something to make Nev weep.

A boat splattered in grass cuttings at towpath level. (Nev's boat Percy suffered the same fate, just after a full repaint. Nev got compensation; the details are in his blog.) It would appear that the message about avoiding cutting or strimming close to boats hasn't got through to all of CRT's contractors.

And now a quick update on our new 12V fridge: it's wonderful! The battery voltage is staying higher and the initial charge current on starting the engine in the morning has reduced from over 100A to about 50A. This indicates to me that the batteries have lost much less charge under the new regime.

I looked at the little "traffic light" tell-tale indicators on all the batteries today; all four were showing green. This was very pleasing to see. This, too, would seem to indicate that I haven't actually killed the batteries (when the alternator wasn't working) after all. So I probably don't need to replace them. So I will probably tell Midland Chandlers, who are holding a set for me at the Crick Show price, that I don't need them after all. And my wallet will be correspondingly heavier.

I had a look at the Adverc website in my quest for a means of regulating the alternator a bit more. The external regulator Adverc does seems to be similar to the Sterling device that I disconnected, in that it takes a feed from both engine and domestic alternators. Having separated the two charging systems I don't really want to go down the combining route again. I want something very simple, just to hold the alternator down to 14.4V once the bulk charging has happened. I have experimented with inserting a (forward-biased) diode in the feed to the small + terminal, but nothing happened apart from the diode getting warm. I might try a beefy transistor with a zener diode limiting the voltage. Something for me to think about tomorrow ...


Martin said...

Had you thought of asking Tony Brooks, or posting a query on CanalWorld forums? They have a range of knowledgeable people who will discuss your questions and you should be able to filter out those whose responses are less valuable.

stevecarter said...


I would recommend you actually talk to someone at Adverc, rather than rely on the website.
Explain your previous problem to them and what you are hoping to achieve.
I have always found them to be more than helpful, even if it does not lead to a sale.

Peace and all good.