A while ago a friend of mine drove two batteries down from Up North so that I could connect them to my solar panels and have a decent battery bank.
Then there was a storm and my panels came off the boat. I put them back on the roof but didn’t notice that a connection had come loose. Then I went away for a week. This mean that the regulator had been pulling from the batteries for a week without them getting charged at all. Boo hiss!
So the batteries were sad. One was reading 11.2 and the other 10.7. Not good at all. After being placed on the ‘recondition’ round of a charger overnight each, they both seem a lot better but still are having problems holding a decent charge (they were holding about 12.3 and now after a few days of brighter sunshine its gone up to 12.5). I’m investigating ways that they can maybe be helped more.
So far I’ve been thinking about checking them with a hydrometer and topping them up if necessary, insulating them so they’re a bit toastier when they’re charging and discharging, and I’ve heard tell of some battery aid tablets but am very dubious about them. A friend of mine says that they did wonders for his starter in his van, but the internet says Wack!
Going to start with the hydrometer and insulation and then see how that goes for them…
So in order to get on with things I made a mammoth list for the mammoth move [I should probably stop calling everything mammoth before it all starts to feel mammoth too]. So far I’m about 1 and 2 half tasks in.
I’ve moved all of the tool like things into closing boxes so that I can add some dehumidifying stuff and stop them getting a bit rusty. I also divided them up into tools and consumables. I was also going to tag them all too, so I know what’s mine, but I’m going to wait and check what is definitely mine with the SO first. So that counts as half a task right?
I brought the insulation in to start drying out. That’s a whole task.
And the SO bought me a battery hydrometer, so I can start along with the testing and checking of the batteries. Maybe that actually counts as a quarter. Does it count at all? Yeah, for sure. Must a little right. What if I’d put ‘buy battery hydrometer’ on the list as a whole other point? Then it would count as a whole task, and I’m not even claiming that…
I have a plan.
That plan involves some exciting new features inside with the aims of making more storage, more space for swinging the dog and trying to make the use of space more efficient.
At the moment wood is kept under the bed. Its inconvenient. The bed clothes dangle in it, you can’t see how much is there and the dog thinks its a fantastic game. I’m jealous of my friend who has lots of space by her fire and uses it to store and dry out wood. I also have a cooker that I should probably rescue from another friends shed and actually install.
I can’t live much longer without a table. Its hard to eat properly and forget drawing or writing in anything bigger than a note book. At the moment we play dice on a tray, and I lose everything in my bed all the time. At least one third of the sofa is going to be sacrificed for a table, which will possibly make room for a dog bed on the floor, if he can be persuaded off the bed.
Doing both of those things means losing storage, so some more needs to be made to compensate. I’m going to take out half the huge bathroom and add some shelves in there.
In order to do anything in the confined space you have to move things around from one place to the other, meaning that you kind of have to work backwards to a starting point (or I have to anyway). For instance, the new storage needs to be built first so that there is somewhere to put the stuff that is being made homeless. That means the bathroom needs to be taken apart, but there is stuff stored in the bathroom, so that needs to go somewhere. The only place that can go is the leakiest place in the boat, but the stuff can’t get wet so that needs to be fixed first, but the batteries are under there and that needs sorting out, but, but, but…
So in order to do anything I’ve decided to that a list is necessary:
-Empty out left hand side (clear tools, fix leaks, wash soft furnishing + insulated)
-Empty bathroom into the left-hand side
-Build upper shelves
-Move stuff from under sofa
So the jabsco stopped pulling water again. After emptying the filters and pulling a bit of crap out of the feed pipe it still wasn’t working. This time I was pretty sure that there was a hole in one of the hoses that meant the pump was pulling in air.
So we checked this in the most obvious and grim way you can: take it apart bit by bit and try to blow through it covering one end to see if it leaks. Cue mouth full of canal water and radiator rust. Yum. We also didn’t find a leak; all pipes were fine.
After establishing that the pump impeller was still whole (and then having a minor moment of despair: Oh Jabsco!! why why why?!), we decided to put the whole thing back together part by part checking the suction at each stage by running the engine quickly. This seemed to be going fine, leading me to hope for it to be miraculously solved, even if I never knew what was wrong. Then, when the whole thing was put back together, it wouldn’t pull any water again!! Argh!
By this point the boredom of failure was well entrenched, and we gave up on our mission and decided to drive back to where we started, just around the corner. We learnt two valuable lessons on the journey back: don’t rev up the engine needlessly when the cooling isn’t working properly (especially to pretend to crash into your friends), and don’t take off the radiator cap when its overheating. Rookie errors. We didn’t actually crash into the other boat and I didn’t actually sear my face off in a explosion of boiling water.
Over the last few days a major break through has occurred. There has been some tidying and sorting out and the world is a little less complicated.
Fantastic advance One:
This used to be a berth referred to as the coffin, so-called as there was so much space underneath the back deck that you would mostly be contained in a little box if you wanted to sleep there. I took the cushions and wood off of the outside half of this, leaving the gap there and left the wood in the back bit to make a shelf. Now there are two lots of storage that go way back, getting a lot of stuff out the way.
I’ve even put the stuff that needs it in boxes that seal and written a list of what’s down there to minimise rummaging. Oh yeah.
Fantastic Advance Two:
After installing the new leisure battery (the black one) and doing other electrical bits and pieces, the electrics were functional but a mess.
The SO did a fine job at making it understandable to someone who isn’t him:
Now the batteries just need insulating and boxing up. But that’s for another day for sure.