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Battery voltage dropping rapidly!


RosieR
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Just now, RosieR said:

They were at the top of my list because of space saving so thank you so much for the tip off!!!

 

Lol, just don't do anything without asking the forum first, there is an absolute MOUNTAIN of knowledge here for the asking. Nobody knows it all! 

 

(Well, one or two here think they do!) 

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7 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

If you have a Morse or Teleflex single lever control, there is usually a button somewhere (often in the middle of the pivot) that you can press in whilst moving the lever forward to raise the engine speed.  Holding the button in prevents the gear from engaging, so the propeller does not rotate when you speed up the engine.

I can’t find any buttons on my gear but I’m sure I’ll find out how to adjust it with some investigatory research!

6 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

They last decades. They do degrade but it's really slowly.

Oh, except the flexible 'stick-on' solar panels. Keep well away from them. They have a terrible reputation for short life. 

They were at the top of my list because of space saving so thank you so much for the tip off!!!

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1 minute ago, RosieR said:

I can’t find any buttons on my gear but I’m sure I’ll find out how to adjust it with some investigatory research!

In which case the whole handle may pull out, grab round the pivot point and pull awayfrom the panel as you move the lever.

easier to do with the engine off 

  • Greenie 1
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4 minutes ago, RosieR said:

I can’t find any buttons on my gear but I’m sure I’ll find out how to adjust it with some investigatory research!

 

Post up a photo of yours and someone will recognise it. I've yet to see one without some sort of gear disengagement button, lever or whatever.

 

 

Edited by MtB
Speeling
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37 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

The batteries are definitely past useful life. At 6 years old this is not surprising. But when (or preferably before) you get new batteries, please read up about the issues with lead acid battery charging. It is easy to kill new batteries fairly quickly (months or even weeks) by undercharging them. Unfortunately lead acid batteries are very reluctant to fully charge, and yet failing to fully charge them regularly is the number one cause of battery damage.

Great thank you for that! I will use the last of their life to do lots of research before investing in new ones:)

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5 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

Post up a photo of yours and someone will recognise it. I've yet to see one without some sort of gear disengagement button, lever or whatever.

 

 

Here are some photos

4CC63458-EFC5-4A2D-94F7-80C2A2FD04A2.jpeg

4C0C0733-D15A-43B3-8B92-6291BF44D145.jpeg

80604EE9-6B6A-4A3E-8BD4-1F77F7974C39.jpeg

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41 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

The batteries are definitely past useful life. At 6 years old this is not surprising. But when (or preferably before) you get new batteries, please read up about the issues with lead acid battery charging. It is easy to kill new batteries fairly quickly (months or even weeks) by undercharging them. Unfortunately lead acid batteries are very reluctant to fully charge, and yet failing to fully charge them regularly is the number one cause of battery damage.

 

All true. The OP has solar though, and it looks as though the solar kept the batteries in a good state of charge all last summer (as well as prior to her ownership), so now we are well into March the panels will be working again, and there is probably all summer now for her to get up to speed with understanding the batteries. 

 

It may even turn out that the solar recharging for 12 hours every day that the existing set of batts will recover enough to last one more summer.

 

My own set of Yuasas wrecked yonks ago by that faulty SmartGauge are still in service, heavily sulphated at about 20% of badge capacity, yet still good enough to last overnight running the fridge until the sun wakes up next morning.

 

 

2 minutes ago, RosieR said:

Here are some photos

 

Excellent, thanks. 

 

Loddon was right on it! Pull the whole lever outwards using those recesses in the middle to grip it, then push the lever forward to rev the engine without engaging gear.

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14 minutes ago, Loddon said:

In which case the whole handle may pull out, grab round the pivot point and pull awayfrom the panel as you move the lever.

easier to do with the engine off 

Sounds like that’s it! Thank you!

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1 hour ago, RosieR said:

I can’t find any buttons on my gear but I’m sure I’ll find out how to adjust it with some investigatory research!

They were at the top of my list because of space saving so thank you so much for the tip off!!!

I have known a control where the whole lever pulled out rather than just pulling a knob

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Rigid solar panels are often advertised as being guaranteed for 20 or 25  years but on reading the small print it usually says that the guarantee is that they will still  deliver 80% of their rated output. I agree, their life is not an issue and they will pay dividends in less fuel used, less engine wear & servicing, and far longer battery life.

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@RosieR For general boating help can I suggest that you read the excellent set of documents on Tony Brooks web site. Before he retired he used to run training courses for numpty people like me so that we could understand a bit more about our boats. As said before there are people on this forum who have good sound knowledge of boats and are willing to pass it on.

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12 minutes ago, Richard T said:

@RosieR For general boating help can I suggest that you read the excellent set of documents on Tony Brooks web site. Before he retired he used to run training courses for numpty people like me so that we could understand a bit more about our boats. As said before there are people on this forum who have good sound knowledge of boats and are willing to pass it on.

Hi Richard, thanks for the advice! Sounds great I’ll have a look.

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10 minutes ago, RosieR said:

Hi Richard, thanks for the advice! Sounds great I’ll have a look.

 

If there is anything in them that you need clarifying please feel free to email me.

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On 05/03/2022 at 21:54, Tony Brooks said:

You do not have t run at such high revs unless it is an old Lister SL/SR  engine. Between 1200 and 1500 rpm is usually enough, but in winter with no solar the run times are far too short, especially if you have no charging current monitoring. We usually suggest 3 to 4 hours a day and 8 hours or more each weekend. Less shoulf be OK when the solar is producing well.

 

I will just mention that my engine uses 1 litre per hour run, at 4 hours per day and 8 on the weekend that's 36 litres. You also need to consider the servicing cost: depending on your engine you might need to change oil and filters as often as every 250 hours (7 weeks).

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32 minutes ago, George and Dragon said:

I will just mention that my engine uses 1 litre per hour run, at 4 hours per day and 8 on the weekend that's 36 litres. You also need to consider the servicing cost: depending on your engine you might need to change oil and filters as often as every 250 hours (7 weeks).

 

Good point - my Lister LPWS4 is an oil change every 100 hours.

 

Some time ago, someone worked out the total cost of producing electricty on a boat, taking into account fuel,  wear and tear, oil changes, etc etc etc and It came out at something like £8 per Kwh (or 'unit') this compared to around 20p per unit when plugged into a shoreline in a marina.

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9 hours ago, George and Dragon said:

I will just mention that my engine uses 1 litre per hour run, at 4 hours per day and 8 on the weekend that's 36 litres. You also need to consider the servicing cost: depending on your engine you might need to change oil and filters as often as every 250 hours (7 weeks).

 

None of that is relevant in relation to keeping batteries fully charged. It is a good reason to fit solar or use shore line charging, but if a boater does not have these then unless they want to fit new batteries at short of very short periods these is no option other than to run the engine for long periods. The run time can be considerably If Lithium batteries are fitted but they and their charge control cost far more that solar.

 

It is a bit like costing the food you buy implying how much you could save by stopping eating.

 

I also question your consumption figures. That sounds like the cruising consumption but after a couple pf hours or less the load on the engine from the alternator(s) will be low so the consumption will also be lower than while cruising.

 

It is not helpful to new or inexperienced boaters to post in a  way that can be  read to suggest the engine run time for battery charging can be reduced, but it is helpful if you use your example to show solar becomes very cost effective for much of the year.

Edited by Tony Brooks
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1 hour ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

None of that is relevant in relation to keeping batteries fully charged. It is a good reason to fit solar or use shore line charging, but if a boater does not have these then unless they want to fit new batteries at short of very short periods these is no option other than to run the engine for long periods. The run time can be considerably If Lithium batteries are fitted but they and their charge control cost far more that solar.

 

It is a bit like costing the food you buy implying how much you could save by stopping eating.

 

I also question your consumption figures. That sounds like the cruising consumption but after a couple pf hours or less the load on the engine from the alternator(s) will be low so the consumption will also be lower than while cruising.

 

It is not helpful to new or inexperienced boaters to post in a  way that can be  read to suggest the engine run time for battery charging can be reduced, but it is helpful if you use your example to show solar becomes very cost effective for much of the year.

 

Just an example in terms of the costing issue (and apologies for stating what I know is already obvious to you, but for the sake of the wider readers):

 

My two rear solar panels cost about £300 (together rated at 760 watts); the MPPT was about £200; and I went for very expensive tilting mounts at about £100 each, so the big items cost £700 altogether in my case. 

The MPPT says it has delivered 98kWh to date (install finished on I think 3rd Sept last year), so that's 98kWh in about 6 months, or very roughly 17kWh per month?

And four of those months were the poor winter months, of course. 

If I extrapolate a bit (assuming much higher yields in the summer months) I would estimate that the panels will give at least 350kWh in a year. That means over say a ten year period the electrical yield will be 3500kWh for a cost of £700, thus about 20p per kWh. 

 

20p a unit sounds good initially, but of course it's poor or non-existent on many winter days, and so it will never totally replace the engine, unless you switch off the fridge during winter (and other similar measures), which I would guess most boaters don't do. 

 

I'm guessing that the costs for engine charging would not normally include the engine purchase cost, and would only include the proportion of servicing and maintenance costs that were attributable to the hours when the engine was running purely for charging. If the charging is a by-product of cruising, it doesnt seem fair to include that part of the engine maintenance costs?

 

Edited by Tony1
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1 minute ago, Tony1 said:

I'm guessing that the costs for engine charging would not normally include the engine purchase cost, and would only include the proportion of servicing and maintenance costs that were attributable to the hours when the engine was running purely for charging. If the charging is a by-product of cruising, it doesnt seem fair to include that part of the engine maintenance costs?

 

 

Very valid point, but it seems that the majority of liveaboards do not crusie for 4 hours per day, every day, and 8 hours at weekends, they tend to find a 'nice place' and moor up for 14 days, move a few miles, moor up for 14 days and repeat, repeat. Hence the vast majority of engine running time is actually non-cruising and simply whilst tied up and charging the batteries.

As we know Solar changes everything for 8 months of the year - but if you don't have solar, you run the engine or a generator.

 

Leisure boaters, on the other hand, generally tend to have limited 'boating time' available so need to 'move about' to see new areas - if you only have a week or two-week holiday I think most would tend cruise 'most days', rather than come out of the marina, cruise for a day, tie up for 12 days and then go back to the marina.

 

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18 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Very valid point, but it seems that the majority of liveaboards do not crusie for 4 hours per day, every day, and 8 hours at weekends, they tend to find a 'nice place' and moor up for 14 days, move a few miles, moor up for 14 days and repeat, repeat. Hence the vast majority of engine running time is actually non-cruising and simply whilst tied up and charging the batteries.

As we know Solar changes everything for 8 months of the year - but if you don't have solar, you run the engine or a generator.

 

Leisure boaters, on the other hand, generally tend to have limited 'boating time' available so need to 'move about' to see new areas - if you only have a week or two-week holiday I think most would tend cruise 'most days', rather than come out of the marina, cruise for a day, tie up for 12 days and then go back to the marina.

 

 

I'm sure you're right about lots of liveaboards not cruising more than one day per week or so, and that the great majority of their engine running will be done for charging. 

Its certainly true in my case, and I've been one of the few boats I've actually seen moving from Dec to mid Feb. 

As an aside, I have a suspicion that CRT relax the 14 day rule a little bit in those winter months, and that they are not so quick to send the reminder emails as they are in summer.

I spoke to one guy when I was in Chester basin who said he'd been there for about 3 months, and had had no email reminders. In summer, you would imagine CRT would be all over the guy asking him to move. 

But then, the Taylors Aboard vloggers mentioned a character who's reportedly been on the Montgomery canal for about 2 years, but surely the legal wheels will eventually turn and they'll take his boat?  

If I'm right, I can imagine many liveaboards have picked up on the winter relaxation of rules, and perhaps they will spend an extra week or so moored up if they're in a really good spot- by which I mean its not too busy with local footfall, there's a decent internet signal, its got a dry/smooth towpath, there is good solar access (not the top priority in winter as it does so little), its handy for some decent shops/transport links/roads, etc. 

My impression is that during winter, the liveaboards tend to spend more time in closer proximity to these kinds of amenities and locations. 

But of course the need for water and facilities does force at least a limited move anyway every 2 weeks at most, in my case. 

 

 

Edited by Tony1
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21 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

None of that is relevant in relation to keeping batteries fully charged. It is a good reason to fit solar or use shore line charging, but if a boater does not have these then unless they want to fit new batteries at short of very short periods these is no option other than to run the engine for long periods. The run time can be considerably If Lithium batteries are fitted but they and their charge control cost far more that solar.

 

It is a bit like costing the food you buy implying how much you could save by stopping eating.

 

I also question your consumption figures. That sounds like the cruising consumption but after a couple pf hours or less the load on the engine from the alternator(s) will be low so the consumption will also be lower than while cruising.

 

It is not helpful to new or inexperienced boaters to post in a  way that can be  read to suggest the engine run time for battery charging can be reduced, but it is helpful if you use your example to show solar becomes very cost effective for much of the year.

Indeed, but this is another factor that people moving onto a boat thinking they have found a cheap home may not have taken into account. 

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