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Everything posted by nicknorman

  1. The relevant visual difference would be that the small PCB for the latter would contain several components including an inductor (coil). But whether these are visible or hidden, I can’t say. The former would just have a resistor.
  2. Most likely the flickering ones use resistors to limit the current, not electronics. The former are typically specced for 12v, the latter usually something like 9 - 30v. You need the latter type so that the voltage fluctuations are controlled by the electronics.
  3. We have the TravelPower so if we need to run the engine just to heat water /charge the batteries, I turn the immersion heater on. No impact on battery charging rate since the 100A Mastervolt Combi charger takes about 1.5kw, another 1kw for the immersion heater is still well within the 3.5kw capability of the Travelpower. Plus of course the 175A alternator is unaffected, and can put out about 120A continuous without getting too hot, ie 220A into the batteries. That is a fair mechanical load on the engine which I’m sure makes it coolant heat up quicker & thus heat the calorifier quicker. And course the Mikuni can always be used to heat the water if no engine running is needed.
  4. I realise that your system “evolved” but you’ve spent £300 x 2 on B2Bs (or maybe x3). For that money yes you could have had one of the fancy alternator controllers, the Mastervolt or Wakespeed ones for example. Yes they do need to be connected to the internals of the alternator and I think that is the stumbling block for many, but the reality is it isn’t hard to get rid of the built in regulator and connect the alternator brushes to the controller plus a phase (W) wire. So to be brutally honest and with the benefit of hindsight I think that would have been your better tactic, but of course it’s easy to be wise after the event! And not just you, you’ll recall that Dr Bob declined one of my home made alternator controllers in favour of the B2B approach because he didn’t fancy invasive surgery on his shiny new 240A alternator. But eventually I think the alternator controller method will prevail and of course Ed is leading the charge on doing that commercially.
  5. Although it seems to be, the concept isn’t really any different in principle. When we leave our boat it’s on shore power via the Combi. When we had LA batteries the float voltage (to which the charger switched after the batteries reached 100% SoC) was 13.25v. On returning a week/month later, the indicated current into the batteries would be zero within the accuracy of measurement. Now the float voltage is 13.15v and on arriving back at the boat, the indicated current into the batteries is zero, but of course the SoC is around 50% rather than the 100% for LA. So a similar voltage, same current, different SoC. Really the only major difference is the time it takes for the current to settle at zero. Probably several days for LA, just a very short time for Li Incidentally ive set the Combi to “forced float” so that the charge voltage is fixed (at whatever I’ve set it to) and there are no longer the bulk and absorb phases on the charger display, it is always in float mode even if it happens to be charging at 100A.
  6. It depends on the float voltage. If the float voltage is the same as the rested voltage of the batteries at their present SoC, they don’t realise they are on float and no current flows into them, but it means that any loads from the boat are supplied by the alternator/solar/mains charger, not by the batteries.
  7. The MPPT controller gives battery voltage. It gives current into the batteries from the solar panel, but I very much doubt it gives current out of the batteries into the boat, or current into the batteries from the alternator. The iconography showing battery state of charge is meaningless because it’s only based on voltage and solar current. If your batteries are above 12.1 first thing in the morning then the batteries are adequate for your needs. But probably still quite a lot less than the badged 420Ah. Of course things might change in the winter when there is much less solar and longer darker nights.
  8. It’s not easy to measure battery capacity, and virtually impossible without adequate monitoring equipment that measures current and counts Ah. So yes you have to work it out from how quickly the voltage drops vs how much current is being used (difficult without current measuring equipment!) Cheap leisure batteries may well only last 2 years especially if you have a boat with a lot of electrical demands. You can expect to pay a little over £100 per battery for the cheapest, going up to £250 or more for the most expensive. But expensive batteries can be damaged as easily as cheap ones, so I suggest sticking with cheap ones for now until you get a full grasp of all the issues. And bear in mind that managing electrical/battery issues is one of the hardest things in modern boating!
  9. Since battery power is what keeps the lights on at night /fridge working etc, it always amazes me how many boats don’t have any means of monitoring their batteries. So it’s not just you! To measure the current you ideally need some sort of battery monitor, such as a Victron BMV 700 series, NASA equivalent. However these really need to be installed by someone competent at electrics. An alternative for occasional use is to get a Clampmeter with DC current range of such as a UNI-T UT203. You have to access the battery wires and attach the meter, take a reading. So quite inconvenient for regular usage. The best long term option is therefore to have a proper battery monitor installed. As to the voltage dropping, it is inevitable that voltage when not under charge will be quite a bit less than when under charge. A fully charged battery with no significant loads connected will be at about 12.7v once it has discharged slightly. A battery at 50% State of Charge will be at around 12.1v. So depending on whether the voltage decrease is worse than the above or not, you can make a call as to the health of your batteries. But as I said, my best guess is that they are quite unhealthy / way down on capacity. Although I don’t think you have mentioned what the badged capacity of the batteries is?
  10. You can’t determine the state of charge of batteries under charge by looking at the voltage. The voltage will get to 14.7v or whatever whilst there is still a lot of current going into the batteries, so if you terminate the charge at that point they will be much less than fully charged. The annoying thing about lead acid batteries is that the charge current tapers off over several hours once the maximum voltage is reached. The only way to know when they are fully charged is to measure the current, and consider them fully charged once the current has decreased to perhaps 2% of the capacity. Failing to fully charge batteries regularly will cause them to lose capacity big-time. OK so you have solar as well, which of course helps a lot in summer, but based on what you’ve written I think your batteries are well down on capacity. Of course that only matters if the remaining capacity isn’t enough for your normal needs.
  11. With the alternators charging you can check the voltage difference (voltage drop) between the alternator positive and battery positive, and then between the alternator casing/negative and battery negative. This will tell you whether the problem is in the negative line or positive line. Then you can work along the circuit looking for where the voltage drop is. Battery isolator switches are always a good place to start! As to the no charge - 1/2 charge - full charge thing, bear in mind that big alternator is a 9 diode machine and therefore can’t be switched on and off like the 6 diode smaller alternator can. Yes you can disconnect the warning light wire and this will probably stop the alternator from starting, but it won’t stop it once the engine is running. And residual magnetism in the rotor might cause it to start working anyway, at high rpm.
  12. Just to clarify, there are impact drivers and then there are impact drivers. In my yoof I used to use an impact driver on Japanese bikes to remove the screws. Big screwdriver kind of thing you whacked with a hammer.. So I suspect that’s where you’re coming from. But one can also get cordless (electrical) impact drivers, same sort of thing they use in a garage to get wheel nuts on and off, but those are air powered of course. No hitting or axial force required.
  13. There is legitimate process, under the bylaws. But CRT choose not to use it because it’s too much hassle.
  14. You can do up and undo these things with an impact driver, the inertia of the rotor means that a very short pulse of torque tightens/loosens before the spindle turns much. Something I learnt from Ed!
  15. It’s a “does the end justify the means?” question. Yes I do want CRT to keep inconsiderate boaters under control. But I want them to do it within the law. Once we want them to operate specifically outside the law, where does it stop? I suspect in any other field, you would expect a large QUANGO-type organisation to operate within the law and would be up in arms if it didn’t. Is your opinion that CRT should do whatever necessary to keep inconsiderate boaters under control, regardless of the legality of it? Masked dead of night towpath gangs with baseball bats to scare the shit out of generator runners would perhaps be a good start.
  16. I doubt it, they don’t want their scam exposed! Anyway i don’t think you have to. Our boat licence autorenews each year without me having to do anything. I certainly have never “ticked a box” since the new Ts&Cs were published.
  17. People would only need to do it if CRT declined to comply with the 1995 act. So far I don’t think they have much. They decline to issue licences to CCers because “the board isn’t satisfied…” but not for those with home moorings - as far as I know.
  18. I suspect the threat of it should suffice. CRT don’t like having their practices exposed in court knowing they will lose, they would rather concede quietly and live to fight another day.
  19. From our washing machine manual: Of course if it was a washer-dryer all bets are off!
  20. No I think 1kwh including heating the water. Depends on the size of the washer and wash temperature I guess but our compact one is 1.6kw and the heating cycle takes about 20 minutes for a 40c wash
  21. A washing machine doesn’t use much power apart from to heat the water. Probably less than 1kwh which is about 100Ah from a 12v system. If this has taken your batteries from pretty much fully charged, to flat, it tells us that either you have a very small battery bank, or they are way down on capacity.
  22. Judicial review. I seem to recall Onion Bargee had this problem, after having his licence revoked due to failing to CC adequately, he got a home mooring. But CRT didn’t want to give him a licence due to his history of CMing. In the end, he took it to court (or threatened to) and CRT issued his licence. Or something like that.
  23. You are correct, but it’s not really a defensible position - refusal to use extant bylaws, and instead invent extra-legal means to deal with problems.
  24. Possibly but it will depend on the detail of the alternator internals (above my pay grade to know that specific alternator). It might be that the IG terminal is merely on/off according to whether the voltage is above or below a threshold. Or maybe as you suggest it remotely senses voltage.
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