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Everything posted by nicknorman

  1. You mentioned 90C, are you sure the heater is not cutting out due to over-temperature? Which is what I'd expect if the coolant reached 90C. Is the coolant circulating with no air-locks in the heater?
  2. Unfortunately and definitely not! When our boat was new we had the problem I mentioned earlier. Warranty issue so Beta sent out a man with a van, from a boatyard (not a Beta employee). He was a complete numpty, left it worse than it was so that when we went out an hour later, the engine completely cut out. I phoned him, he said "maybe you have run out of diesel?" which we hadn't, it was nearly full. He wasn't interested in coming back, just left us engineless. Transpired he had fitted a "new" filter housing (with manual plunger pump thingy on top) - it was obviously second hand, heavily scratched and visibly leaking diesel from the pump plunger. Not impressed! I phoned Beta to complain and requested they send me a new filter housing, which they did. I fitted it myself and here we are 10 years later, it is still perfect. The moral, as usual, is if you want anything doing properly you have to do it yourself.
  3. When we had a slight air leak from the filter housing, it made the engine reluctant to start, needed several goes where it would fire and then stop. But once it was going, it was fine. So I’d be more inclined to think fuel blockage or tank vacuum, rather than air leak. If the engine has an electric lift pump it would be easy to check fuel flow by opening the bleed on the filter and checking for plenty of fuel flow with ignition on. Or even if it doesn’t one should be able to disconnect the fuel pipe after the lift pump or manual pump on top of the filter housing (if it has one) and check fuel is freely flowing. Is there a filter gauze on the inlet to the lift pump that could be blocked?
  4. To be fair surely it is the same with Mastervolt and Sterling?
  5. Definitely! Best of luck for your new venture.
  6. Perhaps your doctor simply doesn’t really understand what living on a narrowboat is like, and is saying “no” just as a default answer. Unless you have to go into hospital for a prolonged period I don’t really see what the problem is.
  7. I think your Combi doesn’t have a lithium mode, but you could still adjust the voltages to be suitable. The remaining problem is temperature compensation of charge voltage. Maybe you can set that to zero but I don’t think so. You can disconnect the temperature sensor but then you’d need another method of monitoring battery temperature and avoiding charging at low temperatures. Oh and also, 120A at say 14v is about 2kw allowing for charger efficiency. A Travelpower can supply this at idle, but running the engine slowly with that heavy load on the crank pulley and belt is a very bad idea, so you’d want to run the engine a bit faster maybe around 1200 rpm minimum.
  8. On the travel power question, the whole issue of alternator overheating disappears if you are charging by Travelpower and a charger (assuming the leisure 12v alternator is disconnected or otherwise disabled). What may not be so easily addressed is control over the charger. Depending on the model of charger it may have a lithium mode but if not you would need to disable voltage temperature compensation. You would probably want to be able to adjust the charging voltages to suit. Of course it depends on how long you intend to cruise for but it might be an issue that a long cruise would hold the batteries at a high voltage for longer than desirable. On the other hand you might be able to configure the charger to go into a suitable float voltage that doesn’t push any more current into the batteries once they are charged. So many variables! But overall yes I think you would be starting from a better place than someone who just has a 12v alternator.
  9. Ideally yes, but if you set the alternator voltage to about 14.3 it won’t over charge in the short term. What would be good is an ability to stop charging, ie an alternator field current disconnect switch - you’d have to do it manually but better than nothing. Sterling do an alternator load dump absorber (although I made my own with transient absorption diodes) and anyway the disconnect only happens if something has gone badly wrong. If you go for lithiums, you need to move to Ah counting. Smartgauge doesn’t play.
  10. Well you could have an isolation switch and manually disconnect the Li when you need to fully charge the LA. But why bother, why not just go for Li on its own? You have already overcome one problem IIRC, you have an alternator controller with temperature protection and adjustable voltage? I’ve always thought mixing Li with LA was for those faint of heart who lacked confidence and struggled to make decisions. A bit like people who drink rosé wine.
  11. Is it this one? There is mention of a 16 or 30A transfer relay. https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Manual - MultiPlus 3k 230V Ve.Bus enabled - rev 00 - EN NL.pdf or maybe this one if no VE.bus https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Installation Manual Multi and Phoenix Inverter (Non VE.Bus models).pdf
  12. There’s quite a lot of stuff on the internet about it. In summary it seems to help complete the combustion, reducing the amount of unburnt gasses leaving the stove. It creates a hot area that allows this secondary combustion. So I think to detect the difference you would have to strictly monitor heat output vs fuel put on the stove, something that isn’t really feasible other than in a laboratory. If you have to put 10% more fuel on to get the same amount of heat, I doubt you’d notice it what with the wide variations in outside temperature etc.
  13. I think it is just to do with extracting more heat from the flue gases - pass ‘em over (well, under of course) the plate to transfer more heat from the gasses to the stove
  14. I suppose you could get irreversible brain damage same as with anything else that cuts off oxygenated blood supply to the brain.
  15. I think the plate increases efficiency. Not sure by how much. Obviously they wouldn’t have bothered to put it there if it didn’t make any difference.
  16. Well done for helping. I seemed to recall quite a lot of forum friction between you and jo, but maybe things were better in the flesh (as they usually are!).
  17. I finally got around to writing the code for automatically top balancing the cells. The hardware only supports a maximum duration for any one cell of 37 minutes. I could of course repeatedly trigger it but since the discharge current is 1A or so, that is probably enough for routine small adjustments (ie a bit more than 1/2Ah) so I didn’t bother for the time being. I charge at 14.3v which is an average of 3.575v per cell. If any cell gets to 3.6v, the balancing process is started. 3 cells vs the lowest cell, a discharge duration proportional to the differences. The oled display gets a little asterisk next to the cell being balanced whilst the mosfet drive is on. One cell at a time for thermal reasons.
  18. The other thing about running a stove with the door open is that it’s massively inefficient because a lot of hot air goes up the chimney. A good stove is around 80-something % efficient with the door closed, and 25% efficient with it open. You might feel more radiant heat with the door open, but all that warm cabin air disappears and is replaced by cold outside air through the vents. I dislike cement for sealing flues etc. Dreadful stuff! It always cracks after a year or two. I used high temperature silicone (Envirograf) about 9 years ago and this year when I had to remove the flue, it was still in perfect condition, well bonded and in fact not that easy to get off.
  19. Yes that’s what we have too. Does the job well. It’s lasted 10 years so far, I can’t remember the price but over 10 years it’s insignificant.
  20. Don’t feel too bad about it - feel lucky! People have been killed by that mistake.
  21. Most likely the flue is partially blocked. My experience is that if burning smokeless coal a hard deposit forms inside the flue which is very difficult to remove and certainly not with a brush. The other thing to check is the top of the throat plate, stuff tends to fall down the flue and land on the plate, blocking the exit to the flue after a while.
  22. Below water line isn’t the same as below floor line. Generally the bilges of a narrowboat aren’t sprayfoamed and do suffer from a bit of condensation, but anything in the “habitable zone” ie floor level and above, is normally insulated. Certainly in the case of your picture, most or all of the visible hull is above floor level even if it’s below water level. Anyway the bottom line is to insulate as much of the sides as you can see. Going into a bit of detail, the reason why sides below the floor aren’t sprayfoamed is that typically bilges have steel cross members that support the floor, and these would present a barrier to any water from condensation, plumbing or window leaks from making its way to the back of the boat (lowest point) where it can be removed. Therefore there are gaps/drains in these cross members where they meet the sides, to allow any water to flow. If this area were sprayfoamed it would block these gaps and could lead to an invisible build up of water. In any case these is nothing much gained by sprayfoaming the bottom few inches of the sides below the floor, when the entire baseplate is not insulated. An accumulator is used to “store” water under pressure so the pump doesn’t cut in and out too much. If you can turn the cold tap on, have a fair bit of water come out before the pump cuts in, and or when you turn the tap off the pump continues to run for several seconds, you have an accumulator. If the pump starts as soon as you turn the tap on, turns on and off rapidly when the tap is partially open, and turns off as soon as you close the tap, you don’t have an accumulator. Some modern pumps claim to be good without an accumulator but I think the general view is that an accumulator is nevertheless a good idea.
  23. I would expect anything above floor level in the habitable part of the boat to be insulated / sprayfoamed. Looks like a bit of cutting corners went on! Yes I would insulate that area. I guess you could use insulation tiles but I think some Kingspan or equivalent would be better (thicker). I think it will need to be dry before you glue it, which could be difficult to achieve in the present weather conditions. A PRV just screws in so an easy DIY replacement. You might need some PTFE tape if it’s a taper thread. But of course the PRV might be activating because the pressure is too high, not necessarily because it’s faulty. Oh and make sure any replacement PRV has the same nominal pressure rating. The rating is determined by the strength of the calorifier.
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