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Tony Brooks

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Everything posted by Tony Brooks

  1. How can an A frame sticking up give more air daft that little brackets mounting the panel horizontally on the roof? I know of few experienced boaters who advise stick on panels for canal boats. Yachts where there are ropes, sheets and lines waving about that could easily get trapped under a bracketed panel yes, but not narrow boats or even cruisers.
  2. I can't recall seeing any thin sense type wires on the engine battery when I measured the voltage so the OP had better have a good look around the engine battery area but that does not mean that the sense wire has not been incorrectly connected elsewhere. The way there seems to be no charge spitting makes me wonder if the alternator is charging the engine battery while the regulator is sensing the domestic bank. Very close to the main starter feed terminal there is a well deformed double choc block connection for what I have no idea. As you said the boat needs some TLC before CCing.
  3. Both the cables that look like Sterling related cables seem to be connected to something away from the laternator - there may even be a third. This opens up a can of worms in that if one wire is at B+ it may cause a constant discharge and may explain the flat engine battery. Further investigation is probably needed but I still can't see how properly fitted Sterling regulator cause a low charging current.
  4. With two wires appearing from out of the case I wonder if the internal regulator has been totally bypassed or disconnected. Don't know if its possible to do though or why you would want to do it.
  5. But these controllers should default to the alternator's regulator if the wire comes off yes/no? There were two wires coming from a hole in the case and seemed to be connected. There was a brown wire with an insulated female 6mm connector at the end of it hanging free close to the back of the alternator but there was no obvious place for it to fit. It looked to me like some redundant wiring. The present alternator wiring looks a bit iffy to me (very thin D+ wire) and as if it may have been an after fitment so the brown wire could be related to a different engine/alternator or even the starter.
  6. Just back from Iver and the problem is sort of sorted for now. There was enough fuel in the tank but the OP had been told the Mikuni take off was T'd from the engine feed but unless there was a T hidden somewhere and the upper fuel take off was blanked off this is not the case. The Mikuni take off is about 4" above the engine take off. Showed OP how to setup and use his multimeter. Engine battery rested voltage about 11.7, starting voltage 2.3 volts - no wonder it would not start. Took OP through the bleeding process for future reference and then changed the engine battery for a new one. Engine started first time and easily. New engine battery at about 12.57 volts before starting (rested I assume). but when started and revved the alternator output was only about 6 amps. I fear the alternator (A127) is faulty and the Sterling advanced regulator was flashing all its LEDs. I advised the OP to check what the flashing LEDs mean and suggested that he get the alternator off and Tested because the ways things are set up I could not load it to try to push the output up. Also showed how to pull the lever out to allow revving out of gear and advised on optimum revs for charging. I could find no evidence of charge splitting but that does not mean it is not present. Not possible to check with meters because of the mains battery charger and low alternator output. The OP said the boat had been a livabor5d in a marine so I suspect the domestic bank is only charged by the mains charger. I feel a 13V float on the Xantrek is rather low and suspect its absorption charge voltage may be lower than optimum nowadays. Found the Mikuni fuse laying on top of the batteries had a bad connection on one blade so cleaned the blade and squashed its female half and refitted. Mikuni now running as it should but did notice gurgling from its header tank so advised to top up and suggest a leak (i think a leak was supposed to have been fixed but that water went some where. Demoed hydrometer used and readings on domestic bank (two cells both about 2/3 charged and clear) and advised on doing a full hydrometer check - left hydrometer with the OP. Advised on power audit, the unsuitability of ammeter and voltmeter for assessing battery state of charge. Advised the engine will need several hours run once a week to keep engine bank fully charged and explained sulphation. Suggested that apart from getting the alternator tested some form of charge splitting is needed for CCing away from the mains and suggested a VSR would do the job as long as the charging system is suitably rewired. This woudl also allow the mains charger to charge the engine battery and solar if/when its fitted. I did not tell the OP for fear of memory overload but The alternator main lead wiring suggests a moving iron ammeter and it looks too thin for my liking.I fear that when CCing this may give problems apart from the fact the Sterling controller should convert the alternator to battery sensing and thus hide any voltdrop. The boat should now remain liveable until after the holidays.
  7. Would it help if I drove to you tomorrow A.M. FOC and tried to help? I will need to know if you have a jump lead or a pair of them aboard. Ring 01189874285 today if you want to accept.
  8. What's a digital battery charger? Are you talking about a mains driven charger or some form of advanced alternator controller or a Sterling A to B? From the moment a charger starts to charge it can not sense the at rest voltage, only the charging voltage so its no different from any other charge source. Mains chargers or alternator add ons may use a digital system to do funny things with voltage control but they will be measuring the charging voltage and possibly the rate of voltage change to decide when to drop into float. If any charge source increases the voltage on the battery terminals it MUST put charge in although on a dull day the batteries may want more charge than the solar can provide and this will depress the solar charging voltage. As stated so often before during the first stage of charging, often referred to as bulk, the battery demand will probably be above the charge source's capabilities. During this phase the current will be at the charge source's maximum with the voltage depressed. As the batteries charge up the current they demand will gradually fall and thus the charging voltage rises to the point at which voltage regulation takes place (often called absorption). In your scenario at first (during bulk) all charge sources will provide their maximum output. As the charging moves to absorption one of the sources' will start regulating the voltage and at that point the source with the lowest set regulator might just shut down. However the batteries will by that time have a fair degree of charge so loosing one source will not make any difference to the charging current because its the batteries that are controlling the charging current, not the charge source. A mains charger will also supply pour domestic loads up to its maximum output so it makes sense to leave it connected and running. Alternator charging costs fuel and engine wear so its best to do engine charging early in the day and leave the solar to complete the job when you only need a very long, low current charge. Just leave the solar connected, it may make no difference to the charging at this time of year but it will not degrade it.
  9. Almost certainly not on an indirect injection engine like a Beta because both the glow plug and injector go into the small spherical pre-combustion chamber. With good light and a lot of patience & luck you just might be able to fed the rope through the throat into the cylinder but I very much doubt it. That should work on a direct injection engine but, as I said, the piston is so close to the valves at TDC I doubt its necessary.
  10. Well, on a diesel I don't think you need one as long as the piston is at TDC and the spring compressor can compress the spring enough to allow it to drop a little. On the Lister LR and SR series of engines the bump clearance (between piston & cylinder head) is between 0.025" and 0.0.038" so the valve can't drop far. I have no data for the Beta/Kubota but it won't be that much different. Be aware there may be valve recesses in the pistons so the valve may drop a little further. As an aside you don't need it on most petrol engines as long as you stuff the combustion chamber full of hairy string/light rope via the plug hole but make sure you leave a tail hanging out so you can remove it. Don't try that on a Beta (indirect injection) because it won't work, you just fill the pre-combustion chamber.
  11. Before you go too far down that route please spend time studying so you REALLY understand the requirements of over and under charge control, over and under voltage control, the maximum and minimum operating temperatures, cell balancing, and the optimum percentage of charge range. These tend to alter for each user and if you get it wrong is likely to have afar more disastrous effect on the batteries than it will with lead acids.
  12. Personally I can't see how a spring compressor will stop the valve dropping once the collets are out, it will just make getting the collets off easier. On my Bukh I simply set each piston to TDC so the valve could only drop a few thou but I did use a suitable spring compressor, I think it was usually used for some Ford engines. However with modern light valve springs manual compression using a ring spanner and a helper to lift the collets out with pin nosed pliers may well be fairly easy.
  13. Also note what Brian said about fitting and external pressure switch. Once fitted they will outlast several/many pumps and both the cut in and cut out pressures can be adjusted (D Square type switch). It sounds to em as if your system is over-pressurising and if so I would definately advise an external switch.
  14. The charts differ because they were produced for different designs of battery and probably at different temperatures. The so called 50% rule is no such thing, it is just a simple to understand way to optimise battery life so "time to recharge" is safely variable by a little, but in any case the best rule for maximum battery life is recharge to full every day but practically 80% or so every day and 100% once or twice a week will be good enough. Anyway you assess when fully charged by tail current at around 14.4 volts. If the charging current at about 14.4 volts has dropped to about 1 to 2% of bank capacity and it has stopped gradually falling the batteries are as fully charged as dam it is to swearing. This means you don't really have to worry about the fully charged rested voltage but 12.7 to 12.8 will be good enough. The recharge ASAP rested voltage s around 12.2 to 12.3 (all rested voltages with no load or charge being applied) but its not that critical, you could go down to 12.1 or even 12V occasionally without noticeable battery damage as long as you recharge promptly. That just leaves a " consider half charged" voltage so you can assess how fast the bank is discharging and again it is not that critical so around 125 volts will do for that. The important things to grasp is fully recharge every day if possible and try not to let the bank drop below around 12.2 volts. Charge until the ammeter stops dropping and is at around 1 to 2% of battery capacity @ around 14.4 volts
  15. Yes, that's the one. I mentioned it just in case you mistook it for a low pressure bleed point.
  16. Member Dr Bob was responsible for those articles. What you need to be wary of ref battery monitoring of lead acid batteries is any meter that fundamentally counts amp hours to estimate state of charge. The variations in battery efficiency, having some settings too high (tail current) and battery capacity all conspire to overestimate the state of charge so your batteries gradually become more and more discharged and sulphated. Such meter are very good at showing amps and volts and those can be used to infer state of charge.
  17. As long as the accumulator pressure is less than the pump cut out pressure then a car type pressure gauge on the accumulator valve with the taps closed and pump turned on will show the actual cut out pressure.
  18. Hybrid is perfectly possible but that would not do much for reducing pollution because you will still need to run some form of generator regularly when away from shore power. It is also likely to be far more expensive and I doubt the extra cost is worth the near silent cruising time, low pollution overall it will not be. If its noise & vibration that are an issue then an Aquadrive coupling, hospital silencer, exhaust exiting the back (not the side) and soundproofing is, in my view, likely to be more cst effective and far less problematic. As Peterboat has shown it is possible to run a solar powered electric boat if you accept a number of limitations and that includes demanding a sufficient roof area. Day boat use is perfectly possible, even with LA batteries as long as the shore power charging is sufficient. Some marinas have a limited shore line supply. You asked about battery monitoring and no single meter is likely to do the job reliably at any cost you are likely to be willing to pay. The common meters that are advertised as doing the job are very likely to cause you to ruin batteries unless you really understand it, get it properly set up, and regularly fully charge the batteries and re-sync it. for most people a decent ammeter and voltmeter plus a bit of knowledge or a Smartguage and an ammeter will do the job.Its more complicated for Lithium batteries.
  19. First thought - are the seals in the 296 filter correctly seated and not twisted, a very common cause of bleeding problems. Next, although I don't normally advise doing it after bleeding the cylindrical body (which is what I think you mean) try bleeding from the bleed screw in the idle damper (top of turret) but put a spanner on the damper to stop it twisting. Note - some 1.8s have a low pressure type bled screw in one of the high pressure injection pipe banjos on the pump, if loosening the injectors you should not have to touch this one. Final desperation - leave the injector pipes loose but tighten the other bleed point. Remove the injector pump return pipe from the filer end and direct it into a can. Spin in starter.
  20. Yes, as long as you can get the jack between the base plate and engine/gearbox. If I were going to do that sort of job I would be placing the cross bar between a brick etc. and the jack then strap the engine /gearbox to the bar. That way stuff the a boater will probably have access to can be used without the possibility the jack will prove to be too tall.
  21. I wonder if what you call a seal is in fact a filler strip that covers the securing screws. If so on its own will not allow any leaks. They can be put back in with careful use of a screwdriver abut a special tool is sometimes available. Any seals on a decent hopper design are usually non-critical leak wise and self adhesive neoprene strip will often suffice for the lower one and an inverted U shaped rubber section will do the upper. Look at Seals Plus Direct. https://www.sealsdirect.co.uk. As others have said moss in the drain channels on the inside is no problem and a routine job. As usual if you want best advice then photos please.
  22. We can't give any informed opinion unless you we can see exactly what you are talking about, hence the request for photos. I think it is fair to say at present most of us have doubts about what may be wrong.
  23. I am sure that you are correct about more pollution because neither the generation of the electricity nor the motor will be anywhere near 100% efficient. I doubt the OP has been reading the Beta bumph because he says money no object and presumably Beta can give him a price for the package. I have had an increasing number of this sort of question come in directly or via the magazine and all major on reducing pollution as the reason but none so far have provided any hint that they have even the merest idea about the practicalities. In this case the OP has added that he wants an all electric boat, that and electric propulsion in my view makes it a pie in the sky idea at present if a decent amount of cruising at a reasonable speed is to be practical.
  24. Lets have photos of the offending mount and some others. The only "running out of thread" I can imaging on the common type of mounts is of the rubber has collapsed to such and extent the bottom of the stud is sitting on the bed (which woudl prevent the stud getting any shorter) or id the shaft had dropped so far the nuts on the mount were tight against the actual base of the mount but then it woudl be two mounts not one plus the gland would be pouring water in. Something seems not right to me. Also lets have a photo of the shaft and gland.
  25. In case you think I was being negative some calculations. I am going to assume that you have the expertise (which I suspect you do not have) to set up and control a LiPo4 lithium battery bank. This is because the way lead acid batteries accept charge makes them unsuitable for daily recharging for prolonged high current work UNLESS you have mains supply each night. There are 746 Watts in a HP and it has been calculated that to drive a narrowboat at canal speed will take between 2 and 6 hp with the faster you go, the narrower and shallower the canal the more power you will need. Lets take 3hp as an example and you may need twice that or more. 746 x 3 = 2238 Watts. At a nominal 12V that equates to 2238/12 = 187 Amps. So for every hour run you will need to provide/store 187 Amp hours of electricity. For a modest 5 hour cruising day that is 187 x 5 = 933 Ah of electricity. This ignores the very high domestic demands for electric cooking etc. (Now with leads acid batteries that would indicate you would need to install 1866 Ah of capacity without allowing any overhead for inadequate charging and loss of capacity over time for sulphation. Even cheap LA batteries that are no really suitable would cost you around £1500 and maybe only least a year or two). It seem from what our members who are using lithium batteries that fro reasons of long life and ease they tend to run them between 20% charged and 80% charged so that 933 Ah equates to 60% of battery capacity so 933/60x100 = 1555 Ah of lithium capacity needed. Try to go for a day without any charging and that doubles. Now go on-line and look up the cost of that number of second hand lithium batteries and also the cost of new ones – remember this does not include any domestic load. Within reason LiPo4 batteries will accept just about all the charge you can throw at them so just considering solar charging because you specified the lack of pollution that 933 Ah of electricity will need 933x12 = 1.2 kW of solar charge but even in high summer angled solar panels are unlikely to produce much more than 50% of their rated out put so that means 2.4kW of panels to recharge the batteries in one hour, 1.2kW for two hour recharge and 600W for four hour recharges but that is on a very bright mid summer day. You need increasingly more as you move away from mid summer until October to April the solar charge is likely to be negligible on many days. The maximum charge will also be lower either side of mid day. None of this takes any account of the inefficiency of the motor and propeller so the real figures will be much worse. Use it as a day boat with overnight charging via a hefty mains charger and it becomes doable but as soon as you add an IC engine generator with its own inefficiency the whole thing at this time becomes a nonsense for typical canal boating. Especially the all electric domestic arrangements.
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