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Patrick_C

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  • Gender
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    River Stort

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  • Boat Name
    Bumblebee
  • Boat Location
    River Stort

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  1. We looked at this thread when we were weighing up the options and decided that having no petrol on board outweighed the counter arguments. The other point that is mentioned in passing in the thread is that a generator with petrol in it needs to be stored outside or in a separate locker, while the LPG converted one can be stored more securely inside the boat.
  2. That isn't the original, which was like a larger version of the starter alternator. It looks pretty much like the replacement that Beta sent me which (at that time, about 4 years ago) was an Iskra 70A. It means no petrol on board, we can just hook it up to the gas bottles as and when needed. The generator is also mobile (ish) so can be used for jobs off the boat. We used this https://www.sailandtrail.co.uk/lpg-conversion-kit-for-kipor-and-honda-generators.html. We usually use the solar/engine/battery bank via an inverter (Sterling 1600) which is fine for most of the time and will run what we need when cruising (a bigger inverter would probably be pointless with 345Ah of domestic batteries anyway). Out of interest, the generator will manage a full wash cycle (although it gets pretty excited during the heating phase) rather than having to use hot water from the calorifier, which is our usual approach when on the move. Overall our experience of things going kaput or running out at the least convenient moment means that we go for having multiple ways of doing everything if possible - power from engine, solar, generator; water heating engine + eberspacher; space heating eberspacher + stove, etc etc. So the generator is there as a fallback as much as anything.
  3. I enquired about these options when we bought our boat and John Lusty at Beta said the same things as have been discussed here. I needed to replace the original alternator as it was cooked. The Beta 38 on the BP boats (which indeed has two alternators, a 70A for domestics and a 35A for the starter, as originally fitted) is not set up for either a much larger alternator or a travel pack without much additional work. We manage to run the washing machine OK while the engine is running via a Sterling inverter. Overall the impression I have is that the BP boat have a combination of engine/alternators/battery bank/skint tanks which are designed to play nicely together - increase the alternator, engine may need work to deal with stresses; replace the engine, the skin tanks may not be large enough ... and so on. I think there was another BP boat similar to ours which the owners 'upgraded' for all year round cruising and they found this caused additional work (NB No Problem? They had/have a blog). Our other option is that we have a Kipor 2.6 Petrol generator converted to run off LPG and that happily runs the washing machine too.
  4. On the combustion air inlet I now have the plastic silencer attached via a 20mm pipe of the kind @Flyboy referenced. On the exhaust I have a marine silencer like the one in the picture, which replaced the little non - gas tight one I 'inherited' - they are OK for road vehicles, but not for marine use/engine compartments etc. It's fully lagged.
  5. When my current Eberpacher (with the integrated pump) shuffles off this mortal coil I think I may replace it with one with an external pump - particularly as the most common job I seem to do on it is hoking gunge out of the little filter in the pump assembly and this involves unmounting and dismantling the unit. But it would also allow me to do this. For now I console myself that the clonking shows that the pump is working ...
  6. Thanks all for advice (comment about firing up at 5am duly noted!) - I'm going to give a silencer like this a try. There is a plate inside the engine compartment vent onto which it can easily be mounted, with a short length of inlet hose to the eberspacher. Will report back! Further update in this. With the silencer attached there is a significant improvement - much quieter, with the jet engine sound almost gone ... Thanks for advice.
  7. I saw it was up for sale, but hadn't realised it was so intact inside. I have found sections of that veneer and lino lurking in cupboards, and we still have the oval mirror intact. No mushroom vents, as in Butterfly - so maybe there was/is enough ventilation without if you don't have too many appliances and depend only on the Eberspacher for space heating (the stove in Holly Blue must be an addition, I think?). By the time we acquired Bumblebee a stove had been fitted, and removed, and there was a Refleks diesel stove and a gas hob fitted so our mushrooms probably accompanied their installation.
  8. There is a minimum requirement for BSS - based on size of space, number of unvented stoves/burners etc and from this is calculated a minimum high and low level vent area. Look at the 'appliances' section of your BSS certificate - it should break it down. This is not the same, of course as the level of ventilation needed to avoid condensation and draughts ... I got the two locker lids in the pic done for about £200 all in by the resident welder (Pete) at Willowbridge near Milton Keynes. He is very good at doing these kinds of jobs - where you are dealing with less than ideal surfaces and angles etc. They aren't waterproof, but that wasn't needed. If you wanted to have waterproof seals and/or locks you'd obvs. pay more.
  9. Why did the Government fund narrowboat design? The Department of Trade and Industry as it then was introduced a bunch of initiatives to get Research and Development expertise into small and medium businesses, who didn't have the capacity to do it themselves and were losing out as a result. A lot of the beneficiaries were small firms with production processes which could be automated in some way (a lot of the them involved robotic devices for fabrication, for example). My guess is that someone savvy at BP saw the opportunity to tap into these funds, possibly to do things they already wanted to do with their fleets, and some of the processes have continued to be used. The roof join: Have a rootle around with a screwdriver and you'll probably find the original seal of caulked rope. Where this dries out, it needs resealing. I suspect the argument that it was supposed to ventilate is a bit of creative sales talk. Lack of mushrooms is surprising, we have a full run of them, but they might have been put in later. We do have to deal with condensation in the winter, but then again if these were built as summer cruisers then BP might have dispensed with the ventilation - there clearly wasn't much insulation put in either when built. I'd have a look at the cabin bilge to see what's in there, I'd either want a pump or the openings to the engine bilge unsealed. We did indeed replace the front locker 'covers' with hinged steel lids (see pic). Not the weed hatch one but that's a job to do. The manky bits of unsecured plywood didn't inspire confidence when jumping off the front of the boat. As for the engine hatch, I know it is probably overkill, but I usually sling a ratchet strap around it to secure it to the back rail when I'm working in there for any length of time. There are plenty of BP boats out there and while many of them have been renamed, rebuilt, or otherwise enhanced, you can't really do that much to disguise them!
  10. BP received SMART funding from the government to try and develop 'modular' shells using standard parts and as I understand it they made these themselves. After a couple of runs, including the 'Duchess 2000' models they went back to using Pinder shells. You can tell the SMART boats from the 'overlapped' roofs. NB ... after 20 years the seals between the overlapping roof and sides may need attention and a joosh of sealant!
  11. Hello. We are owners of another of the 'experimental' Duchess 2000 Black Prince boats - Bumblebee, from their 'insect' period :D. Ours was sold on and the interior completely changed (including removal of the giant waste tank) by two previous liveaboard owners before we bought it in 2012. There are certainly some idiosyncracies- the through bilge is a 'feature' as is the heavy engine hatch (presumably designed to stop holidaymakers getting in!). But also some very positive features not least the fact that it's built like a tank - the vertical plate in the bow appears to have been inspired by ancient Greek warships. Like you I have wondered about the water tank (I am not sure if you can access it through the front wall below the well deck, never dug around in there) but since it seems to be OK I've not (yet) explored below the deck. We are now on the Stort so may see you there!
  12. Hello. I have an Eberspacher D4 hydronic (see previous posts about my sometimes troubled relationship with it ). It's now working well. It is mounted in the engine compartment under the back deck (cruiser stern) and draws air in from within the compartment - it's close to a vent so there's plenty of air for it. However it is noisy, and I have tried to reduce the noise, and as I am now moved into a marina with other boats close by I want to quieten it further. I've already fitted a proper marine silencer on the exhaust (replacing the crappy little one I inherited) and that helped. Does anyone have experience of fitting the 'optional' air intake and silencer from a skin fitting to the air inlet on the unit? Specifically: - eberspacher silencer vs generic? - can i use airtronic silencer on hydronic - same part? - impact on noise reduction? Any advice or experience appreciated. Patrick
  13. Yes indeed, but I would be wanting to see *all* systems powered up *every way* on any boat I was going to buy. So 240V off a hookup and off inverter; 12V with charger connected and disconnected from hookup; batteries charging off hookup, alternator, solar panels etc etc I've heard a few stories about sellers and in one case even a broker telling potential buyers that that there was some reason they couldn't test all the power systems on a boat. In one particular case this led to them (ill-advisedly) handing over cash for a boat which they were shown everything working on hookup which they were told couldn't be disconnected for some reason, only to find after the event that the alternator was cooked and the inverter/charger was faulty too. I'm afraid that my view is, if you don't have evidence that all the components are working, assume they're banjaxed and expect to see that reflected in negotiations over price (see earlier post ^ on the subject of eberspachers!).
  14. Another one, which I wish I'd known at the time ... If there is DIY electrical work done and you can get a look at the wiring (not the obvious stuff like battery connections, I mean the 12v lighting circuits, pump wiring etc) see what the quality of the work is like. Are proper crimps, bus bars and block connectors used rather than just twiddle joints wrapped in tape? And watch for any domestic house cable especially solid core type (v. bad on boats). If you find these, then you may have to assume that there is more of the same out of sight behind panels, in the ceiling and so on, and that's going to need excavating and redoing at some point. And ... get a 240V socket tester plug (£5 -10or so). You stick these into the sockets and signal lights tell you if they are wired correctly, whether there are faults on the circuits and whether they are earthed. Again, they'll give you a quick insight into how well the electrics that are out of sight might be done.
  15. If fitted, check water heating (e.g. eberspacher/webasto) and try running them for a while; while running, look for any leaks in central heating, radiators, valves etc. These can be systems which have been out of action or unused for a significant amount of time, so may have deteriorated, particularly if there is another source of heating. A survey may just report the existence of a heater/rads etc but may not be based on anything other than 'visual inspection'. Our experience (which others have confirmed) was of water heaters and CH which looked OK but which in fact given up the ghost some time before due to internal corrosion, fans fused solid, etc etc. and these made for expensive repairs or replacements soon after moving aboard.
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