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Tom and Bex

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About Tom and Bex

  • Birthday 10/31/1975

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  • Occupation
    Emergency Care Assistant
  • Boat Name
    Diesel & Dust
  • Boat Location

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  1. https://www.sofabedbarn.co.uk/home/74-banbury-corner-sofa-bed.html
  2. Another vote for sofa bed barn! We've recently bought one of their corner sofas after being so impressed with how comfy our neighbours was.
  3. That's the difference a few years make. 3 years ago I paid £600 for 320ah of used cells! These new ones are still in the original boxes as shipped from China. Calb so not a cheap unheard of brand either.
  4. You can get the bare cells for that, but would need a bms to go with them. That's already in place with the existing cells in our setup. Minium would be ability to monitor individual cell voltages, and ideally control systems (or loud alarm) based on those.
  5. Sorry about the length of this post, didn't realise it would end up so long! Thought I'd provide an update, and my plans going forward after living with these for 3 years and just going into our 4th winter. Nothing wrong with our setup, it's just having lithium batteries has transformed our usage patterns, and we're beginning to notice the limitations of the original install. I've just completed a full charge/discharge cycle until low cell voltage cut off to check capacity. Batteries are still showing exactly the same capacity as when installed 3 years ago which is great news and such a welcome change from lead acid, particularly for full time family liveaboard! BMV reads between 12-13% when the BMS low cell voltage disconnects, same as it always has on these tests. After 3 years I've just about adjusted my thinking on charging and managing batteries. We now tend to run them between 85% and 20%, with only an occasional 100% charge to sync the BMV. I'm now beginning to wish I'd installed more capacity though, so have just bought four new 200ah cells from Facebook marketplace for £287.50 which I thought was a good price. He still has some available if anyone is looking for bare cells. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/342945427217664/ I know they're a different make and capacity from what I have, but from reading around that shouldn't cause any problems. My plan is just to add an extra cell onto each existing parallel set to make a 3p4s battery instead of the existing 2p4s. They might take a few weeks to install though, as need to rebuild cupboard to fit the extra cells in, and new baby taking up lots of my free time! I'm also looking to increase charging rate. With our increased usage, we're now having to charge daily (until I install the extra cells), but would like to reduce charging time (and therefore engine running!) as much as practical. Initially we were charging at around 100A between the 2 alternators, but soon discovered this burnt out the domestic alternator! Since tweaking the settings on our alternator controller, we've settled on around 70A as being a good compromise, and not had any further failures since (around 2.5 years). That's with twin 70A A127 alternators, with the domestic one controlled from advanced controller, and standard engine alternator just paralleled until voltage rises to 14v. Engine alternator runs on a smaller engine pulley though. Plan is to change these to a pair of 90A Ford Mondeo alternators from ebay for around £25ea. I think this is probably the max I can expect to reliably run from single v belts, and changing to poly v jis ust going to cost too much. One is already installed as domestic alternator, and controlled from same controller as previously with same settings. This has already seen the charge increase to a consistent 90A+ and was a direct swap after changing the alternator pulley over. Just need to install the second one as the engine alternator now. Hoping when both are installed, to see reliable charging around the 120-140A which would be a very useful increase if it is! Will let you know how the upgrades go if anyone's interested. The rest of the system just seems to work with no intervention or maintenance, and has performed faultlessly for the past 3 years (other than initial alternator problems).
  6. There is a commercially available option here: https://www.solar4rvs.com.au/rec-bi-stable-relay-driver-bslrd-for-low-side-swit Only site I've been able to find it though. This is what I've used with the Tyco relays, not cheap for what it is though. There's also a circuit design on (I think) the Nordik design website.
  7. We had the same shower pump setup on our current boat. It lasted all of 6-8 weeks before we got sick of cleaning it out every week or 2 and replaced it with a gulper! That was over 4 years ago and not touched it since.
  8. The hot pipes run all along under the gunnells, the rads are generally easier to protect with rad covers, or just by being in a different room (our bedroom!) Full length pipes however just act like a grab rail for toddlers! And trying to fit into existing fitout and using existing central heating system😁
  9. We've had pumped systems for 10 years on both our last boat and this one. Although we've had pump failures, we've never had the dire consequences often warned about on here. Pumps don't generally suddenly fail, we found ours gradually got noisier and noisier before failing, to the extent you'd want to change it long before complete failure. I admit a 230v one adds additional failure points on a boat, that's why we went for 12v. Our last boat had a single gravity fed radiator near the stove so we could run without pump if necessary, but never did. This stove is installed without (just connected to existing central heating circuit for ease). We also didn't want very hot exposed pipework within toddler reach which all gravity systems seem to have! As to what to do if pump fails, why not just shut all fire vents down tight? This causes our morso squirrel to die down to virtually nothing in a matter of minutes, certainly not enough time to boil the back boiler and cause the problems predicted in this thread. We've changed the pump a couple times without letting the fire go out, but as emergency, during the few minutes to let fire die down, we could run the eberspacher which also circulates through the same system. Never needed to though. We've had very very expensive 12v pumps fail in less than a year, but the most reliable we've found is a used 12v auxiliary pump from a jag. Only £20, and still going strong after 3 winters.
  10. My choice would be hire from Alvechurch (easy access by train) and visit Birmingham and the BCN. Our 5 year old loves going to Birmingham by boat, and has done since she was a toddler. Plenty to entertain small children, sea life centre, legoland, science museum and plenty more. All next to or easy walking from canal. Then further on you've got Black Country Museum. You could head though Netherton tunnel and moor at a windmill end to let them run around, or carry on and stop at merryhill shopping centre with lots of kids entertainment. Our 5 year old likes to play guess which way to go at the many junctions on the BCN. Add in some loops to surprise them coming back out where you started! Another thing she likes to do in long tunnels is have a "tunnel rave " - some glow sticks and music and she's all set for the tunnels! Easy trip with as much or as little boating as you want, and just turn back after half your trip. No locks heading into Birmingham, then just an easy 3 locks to hop between the old and new mainline whenever you feel like it. Our 5 year old loves locks, but gets bored after 10 or so. She's just strong enough now to push the gates on her own, sometimes with a bit of help to get them started. Life jackets for the kids would be essential when outside on the boat and especially locking, but hire company should provide them. You would also avoid muddy towpaths in and around most of the BCN and it can feel surprisingly rural in places. It can be an interesting mix of urban and rural, new and old. Cruising under the elevated M5 and railway bridge on the old mainline, having just crossed the new mainline is one of my favourites!
  11. I think that boat design and engine/prop combo probably has a lot to do with it. I notice our current boat (ex- hire) seems to be much more prone to prop fouling severe enough to affect steering and forward power than our pervious boat with deep draft and slow revving prop.
  12. This really annoys me and there's no need at all for it. Feel it shows boaters in a really bad light. The piles of rubbish I'm talking about are clearly left by boaters clearing their weed hatch. They tend to be left in piles by bridge holes or narrows, and tend to consist of neat piles of chewed and twisted plastic and other rubbish that has clearly been pulled off a prop. The piles of rusty metalwork however, are almost certainly left by magnet fishers. I'd like to see this attempted on the Walsall canal🤣 There's miles of continuous floating rubbish to boat through! I agree that there's ways you can reduce your chance of collecting rubbish, but there's definitely no way of avoiding multiple weed hatch trips on parts of the BCN!
  13. This is my go to first action with any problems now! When you flush, can you hear the macerator pump working? Ours will quite happily keep flushing the toilet until the the tank overflows (and still keep flushing and overflowing into the canal even then if we wanted to!).
  14. Car auxiliary water pump from ebay or scrap yard. Much better quality and longer lasting than the cheap solar pumps.
  15. Friend has just used one to good result on very faded paintwork. Boat paint is generally thicker than car paintwork, with larger flat surfaces which help with electric polishing. On the other hand, the paint is a lot softer so care needed not to burn it! Also need to make sure you avoid sharp corners.
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