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    Electrical & Electronic Engineer
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    St Pancras
  1. Lucien

    Ruggerini rm278

    Ant - how did you get on in the end? Did you replace the engine? I've never had hands on an RM278 but have had a PM105/2L, the larger water-cooled twin, for 30 years. It does have a tendency to smoke when cold and unloaded (e.g. after 15 mins idling) and soot up, but the smoke is not 'abnormal'. It's just what you would expect from a 3000 rpm DI unit running at 600 rpm much of the time, and the exhaust is completely clear under load once fully warm. At first, we had excessive exhaust valve seat wear, as the soot tended to cause leakage and wiredrawing. When the limitations of the plain cast iron seats became apparent, we put hardened seats in and never had any more leakage. But this brings me to a point; amongst your various tests, did you take compression readings and were they OK? Re. lack of timing marks: The bellhousing on our engine had no inspection hole, but once added, we were able to see the flywheel marks. Re. temperature, as I say I don't know your model but I am surprised there is no thermostat. Ours is under the outlet elbow on the manifold and holds the engine at a nice constant 82 degrees at all loads, although the engine has a tendency to drop below this during extended idling.
  2. Just a little update to this after many years, mainly as a bump in case any other owners have come along in the meantime. Earlier this year, I received a call from the owner of one of the other two of these engines that I knew about. They had recently overhauled their PM105/2 which was running fine, but after about 80 hours something naughty happened to the front overhang of the crankshaft with the aux pulley left flapping about. For various reasons, including a similar concern about lack of ready access to spares and the urgent need to get underway to avoid being marooned the wrong side of a stoppage, they elected to swap out the Ruggerini for a modern 4-cyl. They kindly donated the removed lump and stock of spares to the cause of keeping Helix's engine going for the future. I now have a complete spare engine, in good running order except for the crankshaft (and it may be repairable), plus an unused but surface-rusted IP (which might or might not be OK inside), starter, water pump and various other bits. It's tempting to look at fxing the damaged crank, except that I would then have two engines and no parts mule for either of them. I will buy half a dozen gasket sets and that should deal with all foreseable maintenance requirements for a decade or two, even if parts become unobtainable. Beyond that, if the hull is still viable I will have fitted my 4LK, or the whole lot will be baked bean cans. Based on past experience, we will have had 50 years trouble-free cruising with the Ruggerini and I will still have a spare engine in good running order except for the crankshaft. So, one more time, who has, or had, or saw, or tripped over in a junk yard, a Ruggerini PM105?
  3. It's square, approx 23" internal at the bottom, nearer 24" external at the top. The existing tray has plain (approximately) vertical sides with no rim or flange at the top. This marries with the wall cladding on two sides and inside the wooden plinth on the other two. The disadvantage of the Midland Chandlers trays which I looked at in the shop last week, is that the smaller one is significantly smaller internally, while the flange would need rails to support it in case any weight on it pulled it away from where it's sealed. I just had an idea though, to cut off two sides of the flange except for the corner and provide a support for that piece, I have to go and measure it,,,,
  4. Has anyone seen a suitable product that will 'drop-in' as a replacement for one of the old plain-sided 23/24" square GRP shower trays that Springer used to use in the '80s? Ours is chipped and damaged and needs replacing; I could do all manner of upgrades but time is short and I would be happy for the moment to just replace it like for like. Except, I can't see anything that will fit without modification. There are trays with a wide horizontal flange at the top e.g. from Midland Chandlers, but the radiused corner of the tray recess would be a headache where it meets the wall, so I would have to modify that and the woodwork. Then there's a 600mm ABS tray advertised for campers, ideal in shape but reviewers say it's too flimsy, and it looks it. I could get half a tank made by one of the custom water tank people, but was wondering first if someone had already solved this with an off-the-shelf item? TIA Lucien
  5. That Wilo Smartpump you linked goes down to about 40W at minimum (perhaps a bit lower if the flow is throttled) so maybe budget 50W from the battery. This is about the same as the total consumption of an MX60 so if you change the pump (which at the moment might account for 12W) you'll be slightly less than doubling the system's electrical consumption. I don't know if this would make any difference to you as I don't know your battery capacity etc. As with fridge compressors etc, mains variants have historically been designed for simplicity and low cost but not ultimate efficiency. More efficient mains pumps are now available such as the Wilo Stratos that goes down to 9W. Whichever you use, it should do much better than 2000 hours! Lucien
  6. It's difficult to know what to stockpile other than the gaskets and a few seals. The only parts I've had to fit were a fuel lift pump (bog-standard type available anywhere), water pump (Ruggerini special, that probably is something to keep on the shelf) and a set of valves (already got valves, springs and rings in store here). Injection is by OMAP (Bosch equivalent) and widely available, however there are a few Ruggerini parts around the governor that are starting to develop some play that I might like to replace, would be quicker to buy these if still available rather than having to make new bushes etc. At around 5000 hours, while the engine was out of the boat for some engine room mods, I checked the bottom end and it was all still just within original acceptance figures, so I expect another 25 years running before thinking about that again. Usage varies, some years 500 hours, others less. It does get the Italian Tune-Up occasionally when we're out on the tidal Thames and I was hoping it might have had a bit of a workout during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant but most of the time we were just chugging along as normal. Late in the evening when circling down at Blackwall Reach waiting for West India lock, I did manage to give it a blast for a few minutes closing the gap between our group and another. The only time I think the engine has ever really run at full rack for longer than that was going down to the Medway, working around container traffic in the estuary and generally having to keep it snappy. Anyhow it would be great to hear of any other experiences of this engine on the UK waterways, good or bad! Lucien
  7. Since she was built, Helix has been powered by a Ruggerini PM105/2L twin. Italian built as a marine unit although mechanically derived from a 40hp industrial, imported by Leverton, this one was sold to us by CT Marine. It has given pretty good service despite my initial misgivings (I was angling for a British engine but my father persuaded me of the merits of the Ruggerini), starts at the first turn in all weathers, no breakdowns in 23 years. The one issue it has always had is with carbon, a tendency to smoke heavily for a few minutes from cold and fill its heads up with soot, the latter from the age-old problem of chugging along at 800 rpm when the design was intended for more like 3,000. At first this caused valve leakage and rapid seat wear but we fitted hardened seats and had no further trouble with loss of compression. Nonetheless its heads have to come off every 750-1000 hours for a clean, at which point I usually ring up Diesel Power Ltd. and order a gasket set to replace the one I'm using up. Recently I was advised that parts had been discontinued; in fact it was just a change in the stock code so they rang back and said I could have my gasket set after all but it made me think about how long the stock or production of parts might last, especially since Ruggerini were taken over by Lombardini and the design must be 30+ years old by now. Which prompts the question - who else in the UK has (or had) a Ruggerini PM105? Lucien
  8. A typical 'traditional' mains powered heating circulator using an induction motor will take upwards of 35W on low speed, corresponding with about 4A battery consumption at 12V. This compares unfavourably with the 1-1.2A of (say) a typical Johnson or Jabsco 12V circulator but then the mains unit will probably offer a greater flow rate and head even on low speed. However the new generation of high-efficiency mains circulators with permanent-magnet motors can operate down to around 10W, which puts them on a fairly equal footing with the DC types. Of course with power this low one must also take into account the idling losses in the inverter if that would not otherwise have been switched on. Lucien
  9. We have two Shurflo 10.8s connected up all the time, with their pressure switches set to different pressures. When the demand is low only one pump runs, but if the accumulator pressure drops substantially such as when filling the sink right up, the second pump cuts in too. The advantage of this are that the 'spare' pump get regular test runs, no emergency work is required to get you going again if one pump fails, and you get 21 lpm flow rate when you need it. The pumps have internal check valves so that if a chamber valve or diaphragm fails the other pump can't force water back through it, however I have put isolating valves both sides of both pumps so that either can be shut off or removed without even turning the system off. The only snag I can see with this compared to having the spare in a box is that if you let the system freeze up, both pumps will have water in and likely both get frost cracked at the same time. Every few years I take the pumps out to inspect and clean them inside, and at the same time swap the pressures over to even out the rate of wear. The pumps are now about 14 and 16 years old respectively, I am not yet feeling the need to have a spare spare. Lucien
  10. Lucien

    Correct RCD

    A couple of points here. First, as I understand it, the OP wants to fit residual current protection (i.e. protection against electric shock) where there currently is none. This is a good idea. However there will already be (or at least jolly well ought to be) an RCD fitted to the shore supply into which the boat is plugged. In which case, in the event of a leakage, e.g. you get one of your appliances wet, it's pure luck which breaker will trip, just as likely to be the one on the shore as the one in the boat as they will have the same characteristics. Secondly, when you come to look at the rating of an RCD, the tripping sensitivity for normal purposes is 30mA and that is the type you need. What this means is that if more than 30mA escapes from the circuit, it will trip in the specified time, making fatal shock unlikely. The current rating in amps is merely how heavy a load the breaker will carry, it has no effect on the tripping characteristics. If your shoreline is rated 16A then you need an RCD equal or greater, 63A is very common and may be cheapest. The smallest in general use is 25A and this would do equally well, as you will be unable to use its full capacity owing to your 16A shoreline limit. Regarding limiting the overall current with an MCB on the incoming circuit on the boat, again the shoreline should be protected at source by an MCB no greater than 20A if it is a 16A socket outlet, more commonly it will be a 16A MCB. In this case you will have the same situation as with the RCD, that the breaker on the boat has the same rating as the one on the shore and it will be down to luck as to which trips first. Although with identical MCBs it might well be whichever is in the warmer location. Moving on to the point about distinguishing what caused a trip on an RCBO, many modern RCBOs will be found to have an indicator that shows up only when a residual trip has occurred (i.e. one due to leakage) not when an overcurrent or short circuit has tripped the breaker. Hence there is no advantage of separate breakers on this score. Final thought for now; those plug-in socket testers vary widely in effectiveness, in fact there are different standards for the different grades, however most of the DIY store ones are the basic grade. What these all have in common is that they do not tell you whether your earthing is good. They will tell you if it is absolutely useless, for instance if you don't connect the cable in the back of the socket. But in a narrowboat installation, I bet if you disconnect the earth from your shoreline and plug one of those in, it will still show good. So please don't rely on them too much, they are a poor substitute for a proper electrical test. Much as a nose is a poor substitute for a manometer when testing for gas leaks! Lucien
  11. The one in the link looks like (but might not be the same as) the one in use now, will take a closer look. Unfotunately we haven't found anything like the original at caravan accessory shops either. L
  12. For about 15 years we had an excellent Tala brand rapid boil kettle aboard Helix, the type with a heat exchanger spiral around the base, that was much better than the basic flat-bottom kettles we had tried. Eventually it began to corrode and was replaced with a similar type of lighter construction as we could not get one the same. This has only lasted a few years and is corroding rapidly, so needs replacing again. Options now seem to be very limited, the few on sale seem to be no better made than the existing one and generally expensive too. Is there a source of solidly made kettles of this type or ones that have been found long lasting, or have I missed a new type of kettle that has replaced the heat-exchanger style. FWIW it's only ever used on the gas. TIA Lucien
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