Sunday, 5 March 2017

Power to the People

We have power!
March 2017

After much anticipation this weekend was nothing short of electrifying.

A couple of weeks ago I bought four new 110 ah batteries to replace the two batteries which had been in place for 5.5 years, neatly filling the newly enlarged battery box, The problem was then how to wire them up in the post effective manner possible and a bit of guidance from Halfie came in handy.

A new 440ah battery bank

Then there was the small matter of sourcing the crimped wires of the correct thickness and length. Peter from Solar Kingfisher came to the rescue and quickly produced the positive and negative wiring I needed, and pointed out that as my new batteries come ready with M8 terminals there was no need for clamped attachments which can be areas of poor connection.

Friday was a day of biblical rain and I took the opportunity to sit on the engine and complete the battery wiring under the shelter of the canvas awning, connecting the whole bank together and, with the aid of a set of M8 nuts and a socket set. the task was soon complete.

Saturday saw me back at the boat, this time with my friend Mr G, who happens to be both an electrician and experienced in solar panel installation. Now admittedly his specialism is in the huge commercial arrays, but its all a matter of scale and he willingly offered to give me a hand. First we introduced a DC isolator switch at the fromntof the boat into which the wiring from the two panels was fed. Fortunately, there was already a 10mm hole in the bulkhead which used to carry a TV ariel, to this was recycled for our purposes.

The wiring through the boat has been in place for a couple of months so our next task was to install the regulator at the stern, as near the battery bank as possible. An extra hole was cut through the bulkhead into the engine room and the battery feeds were bolted onto the battery terminals. Then, finally, a remote monitoring display was cut into the instrument panel and hey presto - we had evidence of a supply from the panels, a steady feed into the batteries and proof that the battery condition was good. 

Ready to become a battery nerd

Put simply - the whole set up works.

But thats not the end of the story. If you remember we started on this electrical adventure to power a small isotherm freezer, which needed a new power supply and an enlarged electrical storage capability. So, Sunday saw me down at the boat again to complete the wiring to the freezer. Now it said, quite clearly, on the freezer delivery docket that the unit should be tested within 24 hours of receipt, and that would nave been in about November 2015..... so it was with huge relief that I flicked the new freezer switch was was rewarded with the sound of the compressor fan humming and the freezer cooling fast.

Not content with the freezer, I also discovered fixed the hot water pipe under the sink which appears to have caught the frost and resulted in a slow drip. The pipe was repositioned and the jubilee clip tightened and we now seem to have a leak free plumbing system too.

The new cruising season may still be a few weeks away but the boats are taking shape.

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