Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Today, the sparks fly. Not.

Well, not anywhere near the battery bank, it would seem.....

Yes, while Jackie enjoys a well-earned rest in Egypt, Pippin has decided to test me with some new Elecktrickery Nonsense.

This morning, I was on early turn at work, so the alarm went off at 06:00.

As I ran a sink-full of water for the mandatory morning shave, I noticed the pump sounded a tad sluggish. The Whale Gulper pump was sounding even less energetic.


A quick check of the battery monitor showed the voltage at 12.2 and well in the red.

How did that happen?

I'd had the 5.9kva generator on last night, both to charge the batteries and to heat some water for the following morning's ablutions.

(The genny feeds any spare power direct to a 240 volt immersion heater in the tank, necessary as our Alde gas boiler has thrown all it's toys out of the pram, and is currently refusing to do any meaningful water heating while making vile and expensive-sounding whirring and gurgling noises.......

A matter not helped by the fact that our wonderful Alde boiler engineer, Graham, is on holiday.

Until August.....

But I digress......)

So hot water there was aplenty, but whither amperage?

I fired up the Pramac, then flipped the inverter switch to 'charge only'.

This normally opens a floodgate of amps which soon has the batteries topped up to 100%.

Today? Zilch. Nada. Sweet Fanny Adams.

I then had to dash off to work, so was only able to empty the freezer compartment of the fridge then turn off the fridge at the DCU.

Power from Pippin's redoubtable solar bank then started to flow into the batteries, augmented by Windy, our Rutland 913 turbine, who had doubtless noticed the absence of erg and awoken from his usual slumbers to do a bit of generating.

This combined effort turned a 5 amp discharge into a 2 amp charge (early morning, 8 oktas cloud cover, winds light to variable....)

So I left the boat knowing that while I might have to do some Speed-Pizza-Eating this evening, the battery bank was not in danger of Death by Discharge......

At lunchtime, I rang our favourite Boaty Sparky Person. He is up to his Tessler in work at the moment and can't come out until Friday at the very earliest, and possibly not then.......

This meant that tonight, I decided to initiate Phase Two of Pippin's triple-redundant heat and light systems and started the good old Beta 50.

So, now, I'm getting hot water from the engine calorifier and amps into the batteries from the alternaters.

The latter was a bit of a worry at first: the engine amps go straight into the batteries from the engine, so don't register on the battery monitor. (This only measures what is going out /in through the inverter.)

Suffice to say, the monitor has been showing a 6.2 amp discharge (fridge back on plus computer and wifi) while the Volts and Percentage Available have stayed at 14.0 and 100%.

So we are charging, even if the monitor says we ain't.

Boating, eh.....

Don'tcha just love it?




  1. Hi John,

    As a fellow member of the widebeam club, it's nice to know you're blogging again, last time I looked, thought you'd given up! I only know of 3 widebeam bloggers. You, me & Kev. Nice blog, Keep it up!

    Widebeam "Takey Tezey" Heth


  2. Hello Heth, no, we haven't given up.

    I occasionally pause to catch my breath, is all!