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Tom and Bex

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Everything posted by Tom and Bex

  1. Similarly with us, only had the weed hatch up about 3 or 4 times on last year's challenge, despite doing the Walsall twice! Only weed hatch trip on our recent 10 days away which included a lot of the BCN was coming up Wolverhampton 21, a well used route. I do think a lot of problems are down to rushing and not slowing down at bridge holes. Like you, I doubt I'll ever get to cruise the Lichfield (and hopefully have even more boating time ahead than you😀). Hopefully our daughter may get to cruise it though, although I very much doubt even she'll ever cruise the Hatherton. As for the Lapal at the other side of the BCN..... I don't know why the need to wait for more connections to encourage use, after all people are happy to cruise dead end canals, and the W&E already has 3 connections and can be used as an alternative to other through routes. Despite agreeing with most of what has been said about the Walsall, there's something satisfying about cruising it, and it does have some interesting features along it. I would say the locks are easy and quick to work, but that would be bending the truth somewhat as there's nearly always one lock with some obstruction or other either stopping gates opening or closing fully. Generally found the locals friendly and willing to help though if you take the time to engage and talk to them.
  2. A lot of good information there and anyone considering a lithium install would do well to read and make sure they understand all the points @Dr Bob is making. Particularly the point that the emergency disconnect is just that - for emergency use. If it activates at any time then something in your system has already failed and needs urgent further investigation. I'd also just like to point out that in addition to MP we also control charging based on voltage and tail current when alternator charging, although our solar charging is purely voltage based and therefore set more conservatively. The Nordkyn site is certainly a good source of information about system design, and we did copy several aspects of our system from there. The advantage of separate charge and load disconnect is the batteries will still charge back up (on solar if away). That way they'll not sit at very low soc (with the parasitic monitoring current drawing them lower) if they're allowed to get too low such as if we're away and left stuff on, or don't hear and/or react to any of the low SOC/voltage/cell voltage alarms!
  3. Not really. That's the bit that wears first as you push the bow out and motor away from the bank, pushing that corner (start of swim) into the shallow water. Hire co said it's very very common on their Llangollen based boats for just that small section to wear and need work, sometimes after just 3 years or so.
  4. Our 2006 ex-hire boat will be needing shore plates in the not too distant future. Was advised by surveyor when we bought it 3 years ago to keep an eye on it as wear edge was getting close to the weld bead - still nearly 10mm to go though so think surveyor was being overly pessimistic! When speaking to hire co about it, they said not unusual to have to shoe their Llangollen based boats twice during their 10 years on the hire fleet!
  5. I think that's just standard ambulance speak. Still regarded as a patient even if no treatment given, and even if no 'patient' is found when we arrive on scene. Condolences to his family and friends.
  6. As has been touched on above, a survey is only required for fully comprehensive insurance - 3rd party insurance which is all that's needed to get a CRT licence does NOT require a survey. Depends on your view of risk, but I consider the risk of fire and sinking on our boat acceptably low not to bother with fully comprehensive insurance, and I'm happy that the condition and maintenance of our boat is sufficient to reduce that risk to an absolute minimum. Out of the 1000's of boats on the waterways, it's only a tiny tiny number that come to any harm. And yes, losing our boat would mean losing our home, and no we can't afford to do that, but I consider the risk to be so small that it's a risk I'm prepared to take. Good luck with your project. Boats don't generally make financial sense anyway, particularly project boats, but the satisfaction of rescuing one is worth the effort in my view.
  7. We need to know a finish point so I can plan how to get to work at Moreton in Marsh on Monday and Tuesday. I'd be surprised if the dates were to change, it's always on the late spring bank holiday weekend. I think it more likely to get cancelled than have a change of dates.
  8. I was wondering thre same. Been very quiet on this subject this year. I have the actual challenge dates off work, but currently working on the Monday so will need to try and swap some shifts, or find a mooring for a few days with parking.
  9. I understand the maths, but the OP just stated gates, and your post suggested a pair of mitre gates counted as 1 gate. I haven't bothered to read any CRT report or press release so can't comment on what they do or don't say.
  10. We needed something that could take external antennas and was good at picking up weak 4g! We have an expensive external aerial 10ft up in the air and just about struggle to pick up 0-1 bar of 4g signal on ee. On a (very!) good day we get up to 1.2mbps download, and 0.3mbps upload😥 Our previous mifi work worked well at our last mooring, but got nothing here, even with the external aerial. Our current router also has the option to plug handset in and make voice calls over standard mobile network which we make good use of considering the complete lack of mobile coverage here!
  11. We're not obsessed with 80%. I consider we have fairly robust protection, and just charge as and when. On our recent 10 days cruise, we switched our alternator controller off every other day, so ended up charging to 100% every 2 days or so. From what I've read, charging to 100% is ok, so long as it's not held there which on a boat in constant use it won't be. Our charging is set to 14.0v, but batteries seem to not get there until over 80% so not seen the need to go any higher anyway. I wish we had a base load as low as that! Ours seems to be about 1-1.2A, and that's without the back boiler pump that draws about that on its own! And that base load does not include our monitoring and protection (BMV, BMM8v2, ISDT BC-8S, battery balancer, motorised switch, and bi-stable relay driver), all of which are connected prior to the shunt, but I suspect (hope!) are quite low. We find our BMV gives fairly accurate soc even after 3 months. Last time when I watched it approach 100% after 3 months of not being near, the BMV reached 100% and I estimate the batteries took another 20-25Ah, so well within 10%. I did have to slightly tweak the settings the first couple times to get that though, but still worth it for reliable, easy to understand soc. Mostly I don't really get hung up on what the batteries are doing, and just charge for 2-3 hrs every 2 days in winter. Not had any recent alarms so must be doing something right! The soc % on the isdt facing me as I go into the bedroom is a good general guide, if it's down in the 30's I know I need to charge soon, if in the 70's the batteries are fairly well charged! That's about all I need to know!
  12. We've got a Huawei router which we've done just that on. Usually takes a fairly standard size 12v plug on the power lead anyway, most of our 12v stuff uses the same size so no problem finding a lead to charge stuff, plug router in etc. All our 12v stuff runs direct from the batteries (via appropriate fuse) including router, blue ray DVD player etc. No problems so far in 10+ years, 2 boats and an array of different charging solutions and voltages. Have been known to look at back of stuff in currys etc to see what input voltage is, as usually only info available from manufacturer website is 230v adaptor. We' even tend to try any appliance with a fixed input voltage in the 9-15v irange direct fron the boats 12v supply. So far only issue was our tv (15v input) switching off when (old lead acid) batteries were getting low, and high power use such as macerater toilet was used. Probably could afford to replace the odd item with amount saved not buying 12v to 12v adaptors! As to cheap 12v led lbulbs though.....
  13. If this is correct and CRT count a set of mitre gates as one 'gate', then taking the figures fron the op I make it an average of 26.8 years which sounds about right. Makes sense as you wouldn't plan to replace a single gate on a pair of mitre gates, surely they'd always be replaced as a pair?
  14. Apologies about this long post, but just catching up and wanted to reply to a few points. Didn't realise when I started this post it would end up so long though! My Arduino based alternator controller handles thiis by operating in float if battery temp is 0c or below. Battery remains connected to boat loads, and alternator. In float mode, alternator supplies loads, but aims to keep amps in/out battery as close to 0A as possible. It does this by taking info from existing shunt. Just to clarify, I don't have a LA in parallel. Alternator controller and other charge sources are set so overcharge should not occur. High voltage disconnect is purely a last ditch safety system and has so far never activated. Wouldn't say it's overly complicated though. I haven't provided any protection to charge sources if disconnected due to HV event, but consider a fault would have already occurred by that point. Only difference really is my use of alternator controller to solve alternator charging problems Having read your later posts as well, I think you should just connect then up in parallel to your existing LA bank, set your max charge voltage to 13.9 (or 13.8 if you want ti be conservative) and just start using them and benefiting from your investment If you used an automatic switch such as motorised BEP switch already discussed, or even a simple relay, you could use the above device to set an over voltage protection of 13.9, and under voltage protection of 12.2. Then just use and forget about them. With the low charge currents you talk about you'd be extremely unlikely to overcharge them just charging to 13.9v and terminating at that voltage (which the over voltage protection would do if your charge sources didn't). You can over think these things sometimes (I know I did when installing mine!). Surely the ability to charge at high rates is one of the big advantages of Li over LA? Seems a shame not to be able to benefit fron thiis. The simple BMS @Dr Bob and I use (BMM8v2) activates low voltage disconnect at (from memory) 2.5v, and completely shuts itself down at 2.0v preventing any parasitic drain on completely flat battery. That's why we decided just to leave it permanently connected and let it do its own thing. If well balanced to start with, it really doesn't take very much to keep them balanced. Ours had drifted a bit after 3 months, but we often charged to 100%, and it's only in the top knee as you get above 95% that it really stays to show. We often charge our 320Ah bank at around 80-100A which is also higher than others here. Good to see it shouldn't be too difficult to modify. I thought most alternators could probably be modified without too much difficulty, our A127 certainly was (although we've already had to replace it due to burnt out rotor!). But surely comparing cell voltages at end of charge is all you need? As long as all cells reach the knee as closely as possible at your charging currents what more is needed? We probably charge at higher currents than others here, and haven't noticed any difference in which cell reaches the knee first whether charging at 90A via alternator, or 10-15A via solar (in summer!). I think the balancing is overplayed. If balancing every charge, it really should only be a very small amount so even with fast charge, time shouldn't be a problem. Our alternator controller had option of output to warning light, but I preferred to keep it as visual indication of excitation and controller actually working as it should. Have therefore kept ours wired to D+ (and one side of the brushes), with the reg connected to the other brush. Completely agree. On our 320Ah 20% just seemed to much capacity to waste. Having said that, we rarely seem to get above 70% at the moment, but that's through choice, at least we have the option to use the full amount. I'm also of the opinion charging to 100% doesn't do much harm, it's storing them at that long term that doesn't do them any good. Ours were up around 100% quite often in summer. As in my reply to Nick above, from reading around its time keept at 100% that does the long term damage vs charging to 100% as such. Agree you will get better life by only charging to 80%, but by how much? Even regular charging to 100% they should last many years. I tend to agree that cells seem to drift slightly quicker if pushed to 100% though, but that's not based on any actual evidence. Our alternator controller has CANbus interface for voltage, current, and SOC, but not having any CANbus devices no idea what information it would use or how it decides what data is relevant! Tom
  15. I wish we had a fuel boat operating in our area?
  16. Thanks for replies. Had to get one fron Cambrian house, Birmingham in the end! CRT customer service were useless, and just said they're aware of a backlog of cards and couldn't even give list of stockists. We do have a porta potty but prefer not to use it for various reasons. Thought we'd been organised by ordering cards in advance, and shop has always had them in when we've been there as well. We have used Copt Heath before when Lapworth is broken, but their pricing and the 5-6hr round trip puts us off, particularly in this weather. Anyway, all sorted now! And we're won't need to think about emptying our tanks for another 6 weeks or so..... Unfortunately it's just offices and they don't do pump out cards. That's what we were told when phoning them anyway! I believe 2 x 400L! Ex Black Prince boat. Only way we can do it at Lapworth is have an extension pipe screwed into offside fitting so we can quickly swap between tanks. Pumpout hose at Lapworth won't reach to far side otherwise. Only just enough time on one card, but certainly saves money! Best value is Hawne Basin though - £8 for both tanks, and thorough rinsing.
  17. Has anyone got a CRT pumpout card we can buy from them in Lapworth or surrounding area? Alternatively does anyone know where we can get one from? Shop on Lapworth locks has sold out and been waiting for a delivery for a while, and had ordered some ourselves online mid October, but still not here - is there a shortage? Really need to pumpout later today. Will ring CRT later but thought it worth asking on here just in case! Our alternative is to head up to Copt Heath Wharf, but as well as having to do Knowle locks (twice!) they charge £36 (£18 a side) whereas we can do both tanks with a single card usually. Tom
  18. Which fits very well with my observations, that just having a set voltage cutoff for alternator charging would work very well. Like you, we were quite cautious with voltage settings initially, but increased both alternator and solar voltage to 14.0v based on observation and experience.
  19. I can't see that it's been mentioned yet, but it looks like that bms requires a minimum of 7 cells connected to it? Fine for 24v system but not 12v. Not liked any closer at it though. One of the biggest individual component costs is the actual remote isolator itself (either motorised switch, or bi-stable relay and control circuit). Completely agree, particularly if putting the system together yourself. But does it actually matter that much if they are 80% or 90% charged when you hit the voltage set-point? It also depends how discharged they are before charging commences. On our system, they seem to hit 14.0v anywhere between 80-95% charged. Actual value depends on how discharged they were, engine speed, and if charging from one or both alternators. When charging from just engine start battery alternator, which only puts out 30-40a, they would hit nearly 95% if starting from low soc. That was the point voltage had climbed to 14.0v, by which time current had dropped to 25a or so. From my observation of charging at varying currents ranging from 100a down to 30a, I still believe charging to a set voltage of 14.0v will not overcharge them, and will give a finishing charge of around 80-90% - more than adequate for most users. And this was one of the main driving factors for us. We're not really high power consumers, but still managed to kill a set of LA's in just over 12 months. I do find us using more power now we don't have to think about conserving batteries as much though. You might find your solar gives more than 6 months. One of the big surprises for us was just how much better our solar was with lithiums. We've managed over 12 months and not managed to kill our lithiums yet! Our last set of LA's were down to under 50% capacity after just 12 months. Very similar to our setup. Unfortunately the regulator we paid around $80 for has now gone commercial and retails for around $500! Main difference is ours also monitors current, so intelligently switches to float based on voltage and tail current. Also monitors current in float mode to keep it as close to 0a as possible instead of relying on a fixed float voltage. Not sure what we'd do if ours ever packs up! As above, thiis is very similar to what we use. Does require alternator modification though. Very easy to DIY on an a127 alternator, not sure on others though. Not really that many wires needed. Very easy mod on a127 alternator! Multiple small cells in parallel are considered better for high current applications. That's why all major ev manufacturers use this setup. Multiple C discharge rates are possible like this. Most alternators fitted to canal boats will have internal regulators. Some are easy to modify. Basically to disable internal regulation you need to connect directly onto the brushes, and remove any other connection to brushes. (Technically only the regulated brush, the other can remain connected to ground or +12v). Regarding the Valence batteries currently on Ebay, I'm seriously considering getting one of the higher cycle ones and putting it in our camper. Not sure if 1500 cycles is a bit high though, and even then I'd have trouble justifying the £250! @peterboat what do you think? And does the internal bms create any problems with self discharge if not in use?
  20. But energy generated centrally on a large scale is much cleaner than lots individual ice cars, and much easier to monitor and reduce emissions from than millions of private cars. I know several people who get their cars out to drive half a mile to school! Why????? Our 4 year old had been walking 1.3 miles to pre school since just over 2. Children need and enjoy the exercise and fresh air. The unnecessary congestion and traffic as a result of short school runs really annoys me. I've been hearing that for ages. I would think with the amount of money and time invested in research something would have come to light by now. I'm not saying any of the Li technologies are perfect, far from it - I just can't see any other technology replacing it within the next 20-30 years at least. I'm not sure that's actually the case. I suspect in 5-10 years most (if not all) new boats will have Li batteries (at least from the top builders). The additional cost of an integrated Li solution when designing from scratch is relatively low compared to the cost of a completed boat from one of the top builders. I suspect the reason it's not common now is the reluctance of the boat building industry to adopt new technology. But that's likely to improve dramatically when large numbers of Li batteries need recycling. I know there's quite a few small Li batteries from phones etc, but they're on a different scale to the larger capacity ev batteries that will need recycling in 10-15 years or so. I'm sure automated processes will be developed as and when demand increases.
  21. I was surprised how noisy our (ex-hire) boat was with an Isuzu 42 when we got it. Flexibly mounted with Aquadrive. At cruising speed difficulty to hold normal conversation on back deck, and very noisy inside. One of the first jobs was sound insulation (foil faced foam sandwich type with lead like layer in the middle), followed by hospital silencer. Whilst it's not silent by any means, you can easily hold normal conversation on back deck at cruising speeds without raising voices, and when idling can't hear it at all at front of boat (inside our out). There's been times I've accused the wife of turning it off, only to find it still running when I venture back there! Really surprised how much difference it made, and surprised all boats don't have this.
  22. Totally agree. On the a127 thiis is very easy to do and easily reversible. Not so sure on other alternators though, so need a simple fits all solution.
  23. We were only able to locate someone injured on a common the other day because a passing walker used what 3 words to pin point their location. Still needed local knowledge to get ambulance to nearest access point though!
  24. Exactly something like that, but envisaged sensing voltage from alternator side of relay. That way when it opens voltage would rise so avoiding relay chatter. Power supply could be taken from ignition switch or alternator side of warning light, so relay was only powered when engine running. You also need to get out of the lead acid way of thinking. It really doesn't matter if the batteries are supplying boat loads after they are charged. You don't want to keep the batteries at 100% and leave the alternator supplying all loads. Unless you have a really small bank, and high usage, there should be no problem leaving the alternator disconnected after voltage hits set point. If it was really going to be a problem, then manually restarting charging wouldn't be too onerous. Remember this was looking for solutions for a cheap basic install. Your more complex and costly installation could involve modified alternators, external regulators, sterling a to b etc.
  25. Wish I'd had that offer when doing my system! If you do make any of these, I'd be interested in at least 1 of them. For comparison, there's a commercial version here: https://www.solar4rvs.com.au/rec-bi-stable-relay-driver-bslrd-for-bottom-end-sw I'm sure I found the specs for this switch somewhere but can't now! Seem to remember it was in the region of 10-15ma but that might have been another component I was using!
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