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Hi all, 

 

I'm new to boating and am currently getting my ducks in a row before I buy my first one. My biggest hurdle is that I work from home and rely heavily on the use of wifi and my desktop and monitor set up. It's possible that I might be able to get work to replace these with a laptop, but there's no real way to tell. 

 

Due to cost concerns (and also the want of a bit of adventure) I'm unlikely to end up with mooring, and will almost definitely be a continuous cruiser. I don't really use any other electronics except for my phone - no toaster, electric kettle, hair stuff, etc. Can I do this? How should I go about setting myself up? I was planning on getting an uninterrupted power source for my computer to help function as an extra battery, but I really don't want to have to be running my engine non stop. 

 

Thoughts?

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13 minutes ago, EmCla said:

Hi all, 

 

I'm new to boating and am currently getting my ducks in a row before I buy my first one. My biggest hurdle is that I work from home and rely heavily on the use of wifi and my desktop and monitor set up. It's possible that I might be able to get work to replace these with a laptop, but there's no real way to tell. 

 

Due to cost concerns (and also the want of a bit of adventure) I'm unlikely to end up with mooring, and will almost definitely be a continuous cruiser. I don't really use any other electronics except for my phone - no toaster, electric kettle, hair stuff, etc. Can I do this? How should I go about setting myself up? I was planning on getting an uninterrupted power source for my computer to help function as an extra battery, but I really don't want to have to be running my engine non stop. 

 

Thoughts?

 

Welcome.

 

Have a trawl through these, it gets asked quite often.

 

https://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?/search/&q=Internet&search_and_or=and&search_in=titles&sortby=relevancy

 

Edited by The Happy Nomad
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34 minutes ago, EmCla said:

Hi all, 

 

I'm new to boating and am currently getting my ducks in a row before I buy my first one. My biggest hurdle is that I work from home and rely heavily on the use of wifi and my desktop and monitor set up. It's possible that I might be able to get work to replace these with a laptop, but there's no real way to tell. 

 

Due to cost concerns (and also the want of a bit of adventure) I'm unlikely to end up with mooring, and will almost definitely be a continuous cruiser. I don't really use any other electronics except for my phone - no toaster, electric kettle, hair stuff, etc. Can I do this? How should I go about setting myself up? I was planning on getting an uninterrupted power source for my computer to help function as an extra battery, but I really don't want to have to be running my engine non stop. 

 

Thoughts?

 

 

It can be done but the boat will need to be set-up to provide the power you need.

 

The 'problem' is not the supply of power, but the ability to recharge your batteries on a daily (or every 2 days) basis.

 

This is where the tricky stuff starts.

 

You can supplement your engine running during 4 or 5 months of Summer with Solar panels but presumably you will still be working from October to March so will need to either run a generator, or the boat engine for (probably) 4+ hours per day. If you are cruisng every day then this will be achieved whilst moving, if you intend to moor up and only move the minimum (once every 14 days) then you will struggle.

 

The first thing to do is to do a power audit of how much electricity your PC etc uses, that can then be worked back to how much you need to charge the batteries.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Another possibility for you is to get a marina berth with a shore power bollard for the winter months give it up and cruise over the warmer months when plenty of solar panels can keep your IT and other electrical needs going. Lots of people do this. Some keep and pay for the marina mooring all year, but cruise in the summer. Others pick a new over-winter spot each year, which saves money and provides novelty.

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Posted (edited)

Could the problem also be theoretically solved by running the engine with the props disengaged for a time while working, if I wasn't near anyone else/ connected to shore power? 

 

When do winter moorings go on sale/ do they tend to be very expensive? I saw some in band one were out of my budget a bit. I could try band 4/5 but I do need to be reasonably close to a train station as I don't drive. 

Edited by EmCla
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1 minute ago, EmCla said:

Could the problem also be theoretically solved by running the engine with the props disengaged for a while while working, if I wasn't near anyone else/ connected to shore power? 

 

When do winter moorings go on sale/ do they tend to be very expensive? I saw some in band one were out of my budget a bit. I could try band 4/5 but I do need to be reasonably close to a train station as I don't drive. 

 

Yes you can run your engine in nuetral to charge your batteries. Crt say this should only be done between certain hours though, I cant recall but from memory its 8 to 8.

 

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So as long as I'm willing to run the engine for 4+ hours a day when not hooked up to shore power, it's doable with a desktop? Yay! I'll get myself a wall meter to see what the power sink of my setup is. 

 

Any advice on what to look for in the electrical set ups of whatever boat I get to make it as easy as possible? 

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6 minutes ago, EmCla said:

 

When do winter moorings go on sale/ do they tend to be very expensive? I saw some in band one were out of my budget a bit. I could try band 4/5 but I do need to be reasonably close to a train station as I don't drive. 

CRT winter moorings are on the towpath and don't provide electric hookup (or any other facilities). Jen's suggestion was that you take a few months mooring in a marina or boatyard which provides shore power.

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Just now, David Mack said:

CRT winter moorings are on the towpath and don't provide electric hookup (or any other facilities). Jen's suggestion was that you take a few months mooring in a marina or boatyard which provides shore power.

Thank you for clarifying. Would that be possible to do on a leisure basis or would it have to be residential? 

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Just now, EmCla said:

So as long as I'm willing to run the engine for 4+ hours a day when not hooked up to shore power, it's doable with a desktop?

You are not supposed to run your engine or generator outside the hours of 8am to 8pm whenever you are within earshot of anybody. And you won't make yourself very popular if you do it too close to others oor fir too long during the day.

The 8 till 8 thing can be a problem for those away from the boat during the daytime, less of an issue for those who work on board.

1 minute ago, EmCla said:

Thank you for clarifying. Would that be possible to do on a leisure basis or would it have to be residential? 

The lawyerly types have argued this endlessly, but if you are only going to be there for a few months, the question doesn't really arise. Plenty of people live full time on leisure moorings without a problem. Although some marinas do charge  'high intensity use' premium for those who spend a lot of time on their boat.

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I work from my boat, continuous cruise and use a desktop/monitor.  If you overspec your solar it will be enough for most of the year and offset the amount of time you have to run your engine or a generator in the winter.  It's arguably a false economy staying out on the cut during the winter as you will end up spending a lot on fuel and however good your generator is the noise can be a distraction... if you're not too picky about where you moor there are reasonable deals with unmetered electric, so long as you don't abuse it (no electric heaters etc.).

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2 hours ago, EmCla said:

 

  I don't really use any other electronics except for my phone - no toaster, electric kettle, hair stuff, etc. Can I do this? How should I go about setting myself up? I was planning on getting an uninterrupted power source for my computer to help function as an extra battery, but I really don't want to have to be running my engine non stop. 

 

Thoughts?

What about a FRIDGE, forget the uninterrupted power source its only a battery and inverter which you will already have and as others have said you are going to have to recharge them all. If its a new boat the Lithium batteries for a fast recharge for minimum engine or generator use.. It may be worth buying a power meter to see how much power your minimum set up uses now

image.png.119f3804a6ddfea488f7f8ebb39f56e9.png

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One potential issue no one seems to have addressed is the fact there are black spots all over the canal system for mobile internet reception. To a degree this can be addressed by having a Receiver that can take two companies SIMs so if one has no signal the other may well do.

 

As at example 3 reception around the Blue Lias (Stockton) I find iffy. It does not matter so much for leisure used but work may have a different view.

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1 minute ago, Tony Brooks said:

One potential issue no one seems to have addressed is the fact there are black spots all over the canal system for mobile internet reception. To a degree this can be addressed by having a Receiver that can take two companies SIMs so if one has no signal the other may well do.

 

As at example 3 reception around the Blue Lias (Stockton) I find iffy. It does not matter so much for leisure used but work may have a different view.

Where as EE goes like a steam train in that spot,( I was nicking Beeky's at the time moored next door)

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5 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Where as EE goes like a steam train in that spot,( I was nicking Beeky's at the time moored next door)

Yes but a boat length or so closer to the bridge and 3 was dire. Hence my mentioning twin SIMs. Around Braunston can also be fun. Orange dire  and Vodaphone OK but now Orange is part of EE it may have improved.

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Just make sure you have a different provider for your phone than the one you use in your router, so you can always swap them at a pinch.  The other benefit to being on a boat is if there is no/bad reception you can... move.  I've been using 3mobile for a year.  It's the cheapest unlimited option and has been fine in my experience, in the rare instances it has dropped I've used the EE sim in my phone.  It's important to have a good router and an external omnidirectional antenna to get the best signal.

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9 hours ago, EmCla said:

 

 I do need to be reasonably close to a train station as I don't drive. 

 

I can't help thinking that might make CCing difficult some of the time. It depends what you mean by "reasonably close" I suppose, but you can't always be near a train station if you're continually moving your boat.

Edited by blackrose
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One way to simplify the computer side of things is to get a 12v screen, which may end up being a 12v telly with HDMi input, to work with a laptop that is also powered by 12v.   

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31 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

I can't help thinking that might make CCing difficult some of the time. It depends what you mean by "reasonably close" I suppose, but you can't always be near a train station if you're continually moving your boat.

 I need to be able to take a train to work once every 3 weeks for a day. So as long as I can moor near a station once every three weeks, I'm golden on that front. I'm not hugely flexible timing wise though, so I think winter might be a bit more challenging. 

 

24 minutes ago, twbm said:

One way to simplify the computer side of things is to get a 12v screen, which may end up being a 12v telly with HDMi input, to work with a laptop that is also powered by 12v.   

I'd love to, but unfortunately I don't own any of my equipment. I'd need my managers go ahead before changing any of it out. 

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Worth looking at lithium - whilst it doesn't decrease your energy consumption and the amount of energy you need to produce to replace it, you can be a lot less regimented about your charging as it doesn't need to be charged to 100% every day/2 days like lead-acid. It also accepts charge at a much faster rate as noted above, so it takes less engine runtime to get a full charge - the alternator's 75a output is hardly being used towards the end of a lead-acid charging cycle.

 

I'm currently designing a lithium system to replace my lead before winter...I also work from home, albeit with a low power consumption laptop, and last winter wasn't easy to maintain a full charge.

 

As for the internet, you have one of two solutions with two SIMs - get ones on different networks. Most dual sim routers have only one modem, which means they can only use one at a time. It's usually configured to fail over to the other SIM if the current one loses connection or the ping time is too long. Works fine as long as one has good signal.

 

However, if both SIMs have poor signal - say they're both stuck on 3G mode - then your internet will be pants. Solution is to get a dual SIM, dual modem setup (called a dual WAN aggregation router) which can bond both connections together and use both at the same time to give you the most throughput possible. This only works with multiple endpoint connections though, say for web browsing where the packets can be transmitted/received over two seperate data connections and re-assembled by the router. Single endpoint connections like live streaming won't work like this though.

 

Dual WAN aggregation setups aren't cheap though, and do need a bit of fiddling to set up. I have a Draytek dual WAN ethernet router which takes in two wired connections, bonds them and pumps out the wifi. Two Proroute 4G routers, each with a different SIM in it feed the Draytek, and I have two omni-directional 4G antennas on the roof. The whole lot is powered off a regulated 12v supply from the batteries and surprisingly only consumes 1.5a when under full load. I've also set schedulers on the Proroutes so one shuts off outside my 9-6 working hours to save power, but it can be re awakened with an SMS.

 

Some people have a mix of directional and omnidirectional antennas to pick up the nearest tower, but I haven't gone to that extreme!

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It’s really not as scary and complicated as most here make out. Here’s my WFH set up. 
I have 3 110ah batteries and 525w of solar. This covers most of my power needs from March to October. Occasionally I run a genny in the morning to top up. 
 

In winter, Nov-Feb, genny running becomes about 2-3 hours each morning. Or go into a marina for a bit and hook up. 
 

A6DF7AB1-F703-4AF2-A431-BD6FE0364048.jpeg

On 29/04/2021 at 11:52, Tony Brooks said:

One potential issue no one seems to have addressed is the fact there are black spots all over the canal system for mobile internet reception. To a degree this can be addressed by having a Receiver that can take two companies SIMs so if one has no signal the other may well do.

 

As at example 3 reception around the Blue Lias (Stockton) I find iffy. It does not matter so much for leisure used but work may have a different view.

This sort of thing is a non issue for continuous cruisers.  When I'm about to moor up, i check my phone signal.  If it's poor, I carry on a bit further.

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On 29/04/2021 at 12:04, Tony Brooks said:

Yes but a boat length or so closer to the bridge and 3 was dire. Hence my mentioning twin SIMs. Around Braunston can also be fun. Orange dire  and Vodaphone OK but now Orange is part of EE it may have improved.

I'm on vodaphone and get nothing in Braunston between the tunnel and the puddlebanks.  So I know not to moor there.  I don't like how busy it is anyway.

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16 hours ago, EmCla said:

 

 I need to be able to take a train to work once every 3 weeks for a day. So as long as I can moor near a station once every three weeks, I'm golden on that front.

You'll be fine with that.  Lots of canals follow railway lines, and those which don't tend to cross them now and then.  On my usual cruising grounds the most problematic canal is the Shropshire Union with no stations between Bilbrook and Nantwich, which is 2-3 days cruising for me.

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The power use of a computer/router is tiny compared with the power use of running a fridge anyway, never mind starting a Webasto/Eberspacher heater

 

Laptop with a 12v power supply (easily bought offline for most laptops) is the most energy efficient way of doing things as you don't need your inverter to be on

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