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Power Saving Tips


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#1 NB Alnwick

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:58 AM

Ok. Start a thread "Power Saving Tips" and pin it.

After we've argued about each one for 29 pages and reached an agreement, delete all the arguments so it just leaves the final tips?

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#2 Gibbo

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 09:13 AM

Some of these are trivial but they all add up. Some are so obvious they shouldn't need mentioning but some people really don't know.

Charge mobile phones, laptops, iPods etc, only when the engine/genny is running or when on shorepower.

Make sure inverters go into idle/sleep mode when not being used. Better still, actually switch them off when not using them.

12 volt fridges, whilst more expensive than 230 volt fridges use about 30% less power all other things being equal.

Fill the ice box of the fridge with ice packs, turn the thermostat up full and only power it up when on shorepower or the engine/genny is running. They seem to stay cool for about 48 hours without using any battery power. Note: You must turn the thermostat up full.

Keep the fridge as full as possible and open the door as little as possible.

Never leave electrical equipment on standby. Actually switch it off completely.

Use LED or flourescent lighting instead of incandescent.

Use 12/24 volt instead of 230 volt wherever possible.

Whilst cruising, take turns at the tiller and have showers whilst actually moving. This saves electrical power and hot water. In fact, do as much as possible whilst the engine is actually running.

There are your starters.

Gibbo

Edited by Gibbo, 22 August 2009 - 09:19 AM.

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#3 gaggle

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 09:23 AM

Dont have a pic of connections but genny has connection to 12 v and 240 v system of boat , does the genny put any charge to batteries , or how would i find out if it does.
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Another site concerned with narrowboats used something i sent in AM A WRITER?

#4 alan_fincher

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 09:34 AM

Whilst cruising, take turns at the tiller and have showers whilst actually moving. This saves electrical power and hot water. In fact, do as much as possible whilst the engine is actually running.

That would be our top money saving tip, as well as being an obvious power saver too, (assuming you have a water cooled engine and calorifier).

We try to aim to have as much washing up, clothes washing, showering, etc, as possible completed at least half an hour before we tie up for the night. This gives time for the hot water to replenish, and usually means we still have piping hot water available before we head off again the next day.

Given that this heat is otherwise only warming the canal, if you are cruising the hot water is then "free". In three weeks we did not once heat domestic water by another means, a big saving over costs of running the LPG Morco, (still available if we ever have "non cruising" days).

Another idea....

We picked up a mains driven "slow cooker" pot at a recent boater's auction. I was cynical with it's 100W power rating that it would cook anything, but it will actually produce a delicious stew, (or other dishes), in maybe 5 or 6 hours, (a bit longer is even better). OK it means having an inverter turned on all day, (our inverter is 300W, as we meet most power needs directly from 12 volts), but it can be run when the alternator is on, so no additional battery drain. You can get bigger, more powerful versions of these, and have subsequently bought a 200 watt model for home, which cooks a bit faster and takes a bigger payload. This would be fine on our inverter too, but the 100W model suffices for our boat needs.

Another plus point with the "slow cooker" is that the preparation is already done, and the cooking complete - no further work in the evening - meal ready to serve.
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Does anybody have pictures of "Sickle" in action at the Stoke Bruerne "Village at War" event, please. We would love to see some, if you do.
 
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#5 Gibbo

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 10:27 AM

We picked up a mains driven "slow cooker" pot at a recent boater's auction. I was cynical with it's 100W power rating that it would cook anything, but it will actually produce a delicious stew, (or other dishes), in maybe 5 or 6 hours, (a bit longer is even better). OK it means having an inverter turned on all day, (our inverter is 300W, as we meet most power needs directly from 12 volts), but it can be run when the alternator is on, so no additional battery drain. You can get bigger, more powerful versions of these, and have subsequently bought a 200 watt model for home, which cooks a bit faster and takes a bigger payload. This would be fine on our inverter too, but the 100W model suffices for our boat needs.

Another plus point with the "slow cooker" is that the preparation is already done, and the cooking complete - no further work in the evening - meal ready to serve.


Couldn't agree more. We've been using a slow cooker for years on board. Brilliant piece of kit and as you say, they hardly use any power.

Gibbo
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#6 cloggy

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 10:34 AM

We use the top of the solid fuel stove in the winter instead of a slow cooker
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#7 Lady Muck

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 12:43 PM

We use the top of the solid fuel stove in the winter instead of a slow cooker


A copper kettle on the stove for hot water for washing up.

One thing I plan to do is to buy a netbook for surfing rather than using the super power draining laptop. Some of these have a nine hour battery life, so you could charge them up when the engine is on.

#8 NB Alnwick

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 01:15 PM

A copper kettle on the stove for hot water for washing up.


That's what we do - a full kettle on the stove all through the Winter or whenever the stove is lit. It doesn't boil away but gets plenty hot enough for coffee washing-up etc. We also use the top of the Squirrel stove for steamed puddings, stews and soups - and, cooking welsh cakes!

One thing I plan to do is to buy a netbook for surfing rather than using the super power draining laptop. Some of these have a nine hour battery life, so you could charge them up when the engine is on.


This is an interesting point - the laptop, when running off the mains/inverter, does seem to run the batteries down quite quickly.

One money-saving tip that we enjoy is a Prestige two tier steamer - it was expensive to buy but it means that we can steam all our potatoes and veg. on the stove or over a single gas ring. The flavour of steamed veg. is better than boiled and it cooks a lot quicker - so where we once may have had three saucepans boiling away, we now just have the one steamer. Apparantly it also makes less washing-up!

That would be our top money saving tip, as well as being an obvious power saver too, (assuming you have a water cooled engine and calorifier).

We try to aim to have as much washing up, clothes washing, showering, etc, as possible completed at least half an hour before we tie up for the night. This gives time for the hot water to replenish, and usually means we still have piping hot water available before we head off again the next day.

Given that this heat is otherwise only warming the canal, if you are cruising the hot water is then "free". In three weeks we did not once heat domestic water by another means, a big saving over costs of running the LPG Morco, (still available if we ever have "non cruising" days).


We haven't found a way of fitting a calorifier yet - perhaps we should? In the meantime we save energy by squeezing into the shower together - much more fun than separate showers and it saves gas and water :lol:

Edited by NB Alnwick, 22 August 2009 - 01:11 PM.


#9 alan_fincher

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 01:19 PM

We haven't found a way of fitting a calorifier yet - perhaps we should? In the meantime we save energy by squeezing into the shower together - much more fun than separate showers and it saves gas and water :lol:

Good principle, but.......

You have seen the size of us, so have clearly not seen the rather miniscule size of the shower on Chalice!

It's OK for one, unless you drop some item of toileteries - there really isn't space to crouch down to retrieve lost items!

Two in it simultaneously would probably result in structural damage. :lol:
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Does anybody have pictures of "Sickle" in action at the Stoke Bruerne "Village at War" event, please. We would love to see some, if you do.
 
Narrow boats SICKLE and CHALICE blog

#10 colin stone

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 01:37 PM

Switch off inverter when not in use. I've fitted a timer, based on a Tesco digital timer, made by Neil at REUK
It only draws mA and allows me to programme times for inverter switch on eg switch on to run heating in the morning.
Run laptop off a 12/24v converter rather than via 240v inverter.
Concur slow cooker - Hi setting 90w for first couple of hours, Lo setting 40w for next 3 - 4 hours.
Run WM and TD when engine is running and generating wigglies.
Adapt cold fill WM to use hot water from calorifier rather than use elec to heat water.
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#11 AjW

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 07:28 AM

Use a 12v freezer with a custom thermostat instead of a fridge...
http://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html
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#12 tomandsophie

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 06:28 PM

We run everything off 124w of solar panels - this is down to matching our power usage to the panels rather than vice versa. Brilliant. Last year we used less than 80 worth of diesel and all of that was used on cruising, none for power. Our electricity is therefore free and so is our hot water (solar too), although that isn't quite working exactly right yet...

The secret of running purely from solar power in the winter lies (for us) in the joys of running the laptop (we don't have a tv) off an external battery pack (70 or so off t'internet) which I charge up at work during the day and it gives around 6 hours of laptop time in the evening, not that we ever need that much.

Twin-tub washing machine saves the need for a generator - runs off the solar panels and therefore cost 0 per wash. Nice.

Wood for heating and hot water in the colder months. Free from skips and friendly tree surgeons. Also, no need to keep the stove in all night - I simply get up at 5, light a quick pallet-wood fire, go back to bed, and it's lovely and warm when I get up at 6.30. Saves loads on coal.
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#13 Nickhlx

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 06:39 PM

We run everything off 124w of solar panels - this is down to matching our power usage to the panels rather than vice versa. Brilliant. Last year we used less than 80 worth of diesel and all of that was used on cruising, none for power. Our electricity is therefore free and so is our hot water (solar too), although that isn't quite working exactly right yet...

The secret of running purely from solar power in the winter lies (for us) in the joys of running the laptop (we don't have a tv) off an external battery pack (70 or so off t'internet) which I charge up at work during the day and it gives around 6 hours of laptop time in the evening, not that we ever need that much.

Twin-tub washing machine saves the need for a generator - runs off the solar panels and therefore cost 0 per wash. Nice.

Wood for heating and hot water in the colder months. Free from skips and friendly tree surgeons. Also, no need to keep the stove in all night - I simply get up at 5, light a quick pallet-wood fire, go back to bed, and it's lovely and warm when I get up at 6.30. Saves loads on coal.



Interested about the washing machine running off the solar panels ! Do you rely on a couple of sunny days to charge up batteries and then use the inverter ?
Surely not able to run off them directly through the inverter on a sunny day ?

Impressed with the regime though :lol:

Nick
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#14 MoominPapa

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 06:39 PM

The secret of running purely from solar power in the winter lies (for us) in the joys of running the laptop (we don't have a tv) off an external battery pack (70 or so off t'internet) which I charge up at work during the day and it gives around 6 hours of laptop time in the evening, not that we ever need that much.

I think, strictly, that's cheating. Good idea though.


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#15 tomandsophie

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:57 AM

Interested about the washing machine running off the solar panels ! Do you rely on a couple of sunny days to charge up batteries and then use the inverter ?
Surely not able to run off them directly through the inverter on a sunny day ?

Impressed with the regime though :lol:

Nick


Sunny day not necessary! The washing machine uses so little power that we can do two washes in one cloudy day and still have power to watch a dvd on the laptop and run all the lights (LEDs) and pumps.

One thing I didn't mention...gas fridge makes a huge difference to electricity consumption.

Edited by tomandsophie, 30 August 2009 - 08:58 AM.

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#16 blackrose

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:47 AM

We run everything off 124w of solar panels - this is down to matching our power usage to the panels rather than vice versa. Brilliant. Last year we used less than 80 worth of diesel and all of that was used on cruising, none for power. .

So you don't charge your batteries with an alternator when you move your boat?

Also, no need to keep the stove in all night - I simply get up at 5, light a quick pallet-wood fire, go back to bed, and it's lovely and warm when I get up at 6.30. Saves loads on coal.

Sounds like the lifestyle of a monk! :lol:


I'm interested in the slow cookers mentioned earlier. Does anyone have any recommendations on brands or models. I'm on shore power most of the time and have 405 ah battery bank and and an 1800w semi sinewave inverter for when I'm cruising. Are there any small slow cookers for singletons?

Edited by blackrose, 30 August 2009 - 09:52 AM.

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#17 Gibbo

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:49 AM

Also, no need to keep the stove in all night - I simply get up at 5, light a quick pallet-wood fire, go back to bed, and it's lovely and warm when I get up at 6.30. Saves loads on coal.


This bit has me completely baffled. Let me get this right.........

Instead of getting up in the freezing cold at 6.30 AM to go to work you get up in the freezing cold at 5.00 AM (what's the difference?) then go back to bed and have to get up again later?

In one method you get up in the freezing cold once.

In the other method you get up in the freezing cold once, but still have to get up again later?

Gibbo

...gas fridge makes a huge difference to electricity consumption.


...gas fridge makes a huge difference to electricity gas consumption.

:lol:

Gibbo

Edited by Gibbo, 30 August 2009 - 09:50 AM.

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#18 blackrose

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:54 AM

...gas fridge makes a huge difference to electricity gas consumption.

:lol:

Gibbo

Yes, but gas is often much easier to replace than electricity.
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#19 tomandsophie

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 10:30 AM

This bit has me completely baffled. Let me get this right.........

Instead of getting up in the freezing cold at 6.30 AM to go to work you get up in the freezing cold at 5.00 AM (what's the difference?) then go back to bed and have to get up again later?

In one method you get up in the freezing cold once.

In the other method you get up in the freezing cold once, but still have to get up again later?

Gibbo


When I get up at the earlier time to light the fire it's just a case of stumbling out of bed, shoving some paper and wood in, and stumbling back into bed, barely even need to wake up. Then when I get up later on to get ready for work I can do it all in a nice toasty warm boat. Just my personal preference, not saying it's the right or wrong way. Of course each person likes to do things their own way.

...gas fridge makes a huge difference to electricity gas consumption.
:lol:
Gibbo


I only mentioned the gas fridge in case somebody thought that I also ran an electric fridge. Didn't want to be misleading regarding our electricity useage.

So you don't charge your batteries with an alternator when you move your boat?


Yes, but it is bonus power! What I mean is that we don't run the engine purely to charge the batteries. Or at least, only very rarely.
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#20 g-man

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 04:49 PM

For some low level *mood* lighting I use solar LED garden lights. I bought them for lighting up the mooring pins so I could see them when stumbling home from the pub but found they are really useful placed inside the boat to give some extra illumination rather than than use the main lights. Put them outside to charge during the day and they'll last well into the early hours. I bought the small stick style ones and place them in holders just like candles. You can pick them up 4 for a tenner from places like Wilkinsons.
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