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Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble


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  1. We made our pram hood and cratch cover around 11 years ago and while it is looking a bit tatty now. It is up at least 8 months of the year and I've only bothered to clean the fabric a couple of times, despite that we live under two big Ash trees and all their residents (with assorted bowel problems!). Only now am I considering replacing the cratch as the plywood triangle is shot and is an opportunity to increase the height a little. We also made a "Sports canopy" a couple of years back - a cover for the back deck that doesnt use poles that we can take away when we're cruising - not so good for storage etc, but keeps the rain off the deck and out the engine bay (old cruiser stern, rubbish drainage arrangement). I don't think it cost more than £300 - 400 for both Acorn Canvas were really helpful - not sure if he is still trading though? Bought the canvas and folding edge-binding from him and I think also the plastic window material. You can also get the eyelets, turnbuckles, etc Stainless steel tube can be bought from any decent steel stockholder / fabricator. I bought appropriate stainless fittings online, yacht places etc have them - they slot onto the steel tubes and can be affixed with a screw or I just used a rivet. There are various arrangements using quick-release pins to slot the tube socket ends into, screwed to the boat permanently. I measured and drew out the tube shapes onto a plywood guide and used an industrial conduit pipe bender to get them to shape - stainless is HARD so have your Weetabix. I made three slightly different sized "n" shapes, each leg has a a socket fitting, they go into a fitting secured permanently on the roof handrail and the seat structure around the sterndeck. Small hoop on roof, largest hoop in the middle, slightly smaller hoop at the back to create the tent-like ridge. I bought black webbing tape with hooks and fittings off eBay - two lengths run from the seat up and over the tops of the hoops - they have quick-snap poppers on, with the corresponding riveted onto the top of the tubes. It allows me to "raise" and "lower" the two large hoops and the webbing extends forward down the line of the boat and hooks into an eyelet further down the handrail. Sewing machine - we went through i guess 6 layers of canvas. I used a good quality brand (Husquavarna - i mean, they make chainsaws!) but it is just a domestic machine - no problems at all. Don't worry about being told you need an industrial machine - I didn't find it an issue. Man-handling all the material around and through the machine body can be a pain, but even on a domestic that is doable. Be wary of the canvas capacity to stretch - particularly if you use long, continuous runs - ours is constructed of probably 4m single length - but that stretched over the first few months and created sagging. That's where the professionals really come into their own: A high quality tight fit - no sags, no puddles, no leaks. . I had to remedy this by using an additional support rib made of ply that just slots in on top of the tubes and takes out that slack in the fabric. It has served the test of time - over 10 years, still serviceable and no leaks. Totally changed the cruiser-stern from a water-logged liability into a place to store things and hang coats, shoes etc. It can look a little "saggy" in places, but I take that over the cost. We used the window material and while a rear screen on the back deck cover does mean that it is always light in there, i'm not sure i'd bother with the cratch again. The two large windows i sewed in just look dirty all the time and it's a faff to make. A professional will get you a high quality finish, no sags, it won't leak - but there is a reason they cost as much as they do, not only the skills and experience, but it is a seriously time-consuming job!
  2. oh god..i can't believe I'm going to continue this on... so what would be the easiest way to obtain an accurate state of charge meter?? Just seems if one is going to the effort of maximising the solar charge capacity, I should probably try and have a way of knowing how it is performing and when our demands are outstripping supply. Ideally something that can be read from a panel, rather than requiring a phone app etc.....?
  3. This is great - thank you all so much for the advice. I can now work out the cabling and connector arrangements and get things sorted. Will report back once it's up and running.
  4. I didn't think it was that straightforward when you mix panels of different sizes.... lots of web content explaining why it introduces losses... hence me starting this whole sorry saga in the first place...!
  5. Okay - these are good points, and now I appreciate then that if running two controllers at the same time, if one goes into float then it really doesn't matter a great deal. However.... Practically - I would prefer to run just the single 40amp controller for a variety of reasons (space and temperatures in the cupboard, not needing to install more cabling for the extra controller to the batteries, not having two remote screens, I can liberate the spare 20amp controller to a neighbour/other project) - , if what Jen has suggested is an acceptable approach as that sounds like a winner... but I can't work out how to compare the two outputs. The choice remains - use two controllers, and obtain the maximum possible charge current from 520watts. Or use one controller, with the pair of 100ws wired in series, then paralleled with the 320 into a single controller.... but I can't work out in my head how to then compare that output.... does it create significant losses that would outweigh all those practical reasons, when the whole point of doing this is to get a decent uplift in charging capacity...? I've tried to find the formula to work it out, using the information on the technical specification labels, but am not grasping it! Oh dear. I am a bear of very little brain
  6. That sounds hopeful and starts to make sense to my small brain .... just checked the panels now im on the boat - the 320w is open circuit voltage (VOC) 41.55v and the 100w panels are 22.8v.... so yes, if the two 100w are in series that is very close to be equal voltage. Will that work without too much loss ? If that will run through the 40amp charger, that saves me messing about with the settings and having that faff.... means just one LCD display which is way more sensible/useful.... and means I have a spare 20amp controller/remote which I can repurpose for another project or keep as a spare. Even if there are some small inefficiencies due to the slight difference in the voltages, it's worth it for all of these reasons. If the general view is that this is the most efficient/sensible way to approach it using this rather random selection of equipment, then that's what I;ll do. (and I need to sort out the terminal arrangements too by the sound of things) Thanks so much
  7. 12v set up, not 24v. The 320w panel just goes straight into the controller (currently the 20amp, but it will be swapped to go into the 40amp controller. The two 100w panels I was going to wire together in parallel, into the 20amp controller. My basic understanding was that you cannot put the 320w and the two 100w all in together as the mismatched voltages on the different panels creates big inefficiencies so it would make more sense to use the two controllers. (i think).
  8. Hmmm... dang it. I knew it'd be more complicated! Noted comments on optimum terminal points etc - trhat needs some attention then, which is easy enough to rectify. But sticking with the panels/controllers etc: Jen-in-Wellies: - if there is a way of running all through the 40amp controller that would be amazing... but not sure it's doable without major losses that make it a bit of a waste of time/money. The open circuit voltage on the 320w Perlight is 41.55v and the max open circuit voltage on the 100w panels is 22.8v (and there are two of them, being wired in parallel together). Then there is a 20amp EP Solar Tracer (not sure of its model number without digging around in the cupboard), and the 40amp EPEVER Tracer - 4210EN is the model number. I believe EP Solar changed the name... they're both from China and the instructions are terrible/I struggle. Each one has its own LCD remote display... and I have never messed with the settings aside from I think I may have set up the battery bank size and type on the 20amp when I first installed it. At only 45ft long, if the bow is in the shade more often than not so is the stern, so I wasn't really hoping to gain from different locations - it was more the increase of another 200w of charge power that I was pursuing - it's cost about £300 so far to buy the two 100w panels and the 40amp controller, so I hope that's not proved a massive mistake... With regard the issue of one reaching float first.... obvs i want that to be the two 100ws going into the 20amp controller, so that the 320w is still able to go at it as long as it can/needs. Is there a way of achieving that?
  9. What ho. Another solar question please.... basically, any views on running two arrays through two MPPT controllers into the same leisure bank? Long story short - we're upgrading solar capacity due to the need to work from home more. We already had a solar installation but we can't easily upgrade that, so figure it is easier/as cheap to just install an additional set of solar panels with their own controller. Current set up is 440a/hr sealed battery bank, plus separate starter. Mechanical split charge relay (needs to be swapped to VSR at some point ... next job...). 1000w sterling inverter. Original solar set up is a 320w Perlight mono panel into a 20amp EP Solar Tracer MPPT controller - this has been fine for our usage to date, summer cruising - few days stationary at a time, usually in good weather spells - rest of the time on hook-up. Batteries have always remained well charged (albeit, we only have the monitor that comes with the solar charger, which never feels particularly accurate for indicating stage of charge...). Can't fit another of those big 320w panels on the roof, so got a pair of 100w Perlight monos. Upgraded the controller to a 40amp Tracer... However, now realise we can't just run all these panels through that one 40amp controller as the panels are mismatched.... (lesson: do more research before buying things on eBay after wine!). So - figured the easiest thing is to install both the controllers, run the 320w panel through the 40amp controller - and the two 100ws run in parallel into the 20amp controller - and both outputs go to the leisure bank. Each of the controllers have separate LCD remote monitors. I think that's okay to do? Any thoughts.... Very specific query - do I need to connect both solar controller outputs onto the same battery terminals in the bank? Or, does it not matter and I can put the charge cables onto different terminals within the leisure bank... (just thinking that I already have a few things on the terminal post so it may be a pain to put both controllers onto the same terminals). Is there anything I have to do to make the controllers "talk to each other"? Or is it fine to have these running as described...? There's probably more queries to come! Thanks in advance.
  10. I'd appreciate any advice on the actual question: What are the alternatives for a Morco 61B water heater on a liveaboard should it be necessary to replace it. At some point it needs replacing - as hundreds of boats have these, and hundreds still have these - some must of been replaced... is there anyone who has had this done and if so what model water heater have they used and is it reliable etc. Thanks Tim
  11. This is about the actual model - anyone got a Primo? Any good? What are the alternatives (considering that the space/hole isn't going to change)
  12. Hello all, I'm looking into the alternatives to the long-serving Morco 61B water heater we have onboard. It's now getting on for 15 years old and while it continues to serve us well, it does have a delayed ignition at times leading to a small "wooof" effect... not major, but I've been looking at what the alternatives would be if we needed to replace it. Obviously, the mounting location and hole in the roof need to be matched. As permanent liveaboards, it serves our domestic hot water for showers/washing up and gets a lot of use - which I think is probably why it has continued work so well, particularly as in Oxford we have hard water and the limescale can be a problem. So - with that in mind, anyone got any experience of swapping out for the newer Morco MP6 Prima? Basically the same by all accounts, just a bit newer. Or there's the Forcali 6lt model which can be made to fit, but i'm not convinced on that front. Grateful for any opinions on performance, robustness, availability of spares etc.
  13. Thanks all. I've simply taken the cylinder out of the equation by connecting the outlet and return on the engine to each other. Having refilled with fresh coolant and run it for 15mins, at first just that hose was getting hot. Then after 5mins or so the hose to the skin tank got hot so guessing the thermostat opened and it started to cool from the skin tank. Nothing went pop, although it was just idling. Need to take it for a test run for a bit and see how that holds up. It's a real dog's dinner - there are three sets of water pipes in the boat, nothing was ever removed just new plumbing installed over the top..... originally there were three radiators running off this hot water cylinder and I think a back boiler stove too. There is also a load of old diesel lines which look to have fed a Webasto diesel heater or some such..... Anyway I just wanted to know it's not going to cook the engine.l so thanks for the reassurance. The alternator has gone too so now waiting for a new one to arrive and hopefully she will be ready to limp up to Banbury. Fingers crossed!
  14. Ahhh sorry Tony. Being an air cooled man these new fangled engines are a mystery! It appears that the feed and return from the engine which must go into/back the coil inside the hot water cylinder are still intact and having just taken the jubilee clip off they were still wet with coolant. The hot water tank itself is dry and the only pipe that's been cut is one coming off the pressure release valve on the top. If I just leave it as it is currently, the coolant is going to cicrculate through the hot water cylinder coil as normal, although as that cylinder is dry, it's not going to exchange any heat and will return to the engine. Is that Okay? I am presuming that the cooling supplied by the skin tank provides enough cooling. Currently the little coolant expansion tank is empty. I've also lost coolant from the cylinder coil as a result of removing one of those pipes briefly. Where does the coolant running through the coil inside the hot water cylinder come from? Is that a separate closed system to the coolant in the skin tank? If I simply refill with fresh coolant through the small expansion tank, will that fill up the whole system - both topping up the coolant in the skin tank and that flowing through the hot water coil? Thanks again - noddy questions!
  15. Hello all. Any advice welcome - I'm looking at a friend's boat which is in a sorry state and they need to get to a boatyard. Simple question then the detail.... Can the hot water cylinder/ heat exchanger be removed from the circuit entirely, and simply connect the outlet and inlet pipes on the water pump together to allow the engine to be run safely? The engine is a Thornycroft, stamped on the block is MK140. Brass plate reads Bowman. 3997KC and date stamp is 4 87. There remains the connections to the skin tank - out and return. They are sound. However.... the boat hasn't used the heating system for years. There was a calorifier with hot water tank / exchanger fitted but it seems to have had some of the connections just cut.... On the side and at the bottom of the cylinder is a pipe running into the boat. I'm guessing this is the heating return? Or is that the feed? Just above that on the side of the cylinder is a hose to the water pump on the engine. Guessing this is the feed from the engine into the cylinder exchanger coil? Then again on the side of the cylinder but close to the top is another pipe leading to the engine- presume this is the coil returning to the engine? At the very top of the hot water cylinder is a pressure release valve. Two pipes - one has just been cut off. The other goes to the boat internal so I am guessing was a feed or the return for the boats heating. It all feels dry. I have no idea what's happened to the heating system inside the boat, whether it's a sealed but redundant system or what.... there is a solid fuel stove but it doesn't have a back boiler. Ultimately they need to cruise to Banbury from Oxford and back again so I just need to help them get the engine running safely without it overheating. Any thoughts? I can add more detail and pics as and when.... Thanks Tim
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