Tech­ni­cal Con­sul­tant

Canal Boat - - Contents -

Wiring up a so­lar panel cor­rectly; get­ing the right length of rope; re­plac­ing a tra­di­tional en­gine with a mod­ern one; and what on earth is this big square-ended base­ball bat-like thing for?

In the ma­rina re­cently, a me­chanic turned up at the next door boat. When he started and revved the en­gine a loud squeal was emit­ted. This told me that the boat had very flat do­mes­tic bat­ter­ies or a faulty al­ter­na­tor drive belt. Later, I saw the me­chanic chang­ing the bat­ter­ies. They looked large and ex­pen­sive. I think it’s been a year or more since I saw the boat with a shore­line and the in­evitable re­sult was the bat­ter­ies had self-dis­charged un­til they were ru­ined. The dis­charge rate is around 5 per­cent to 8 per­cent of ca­pac­ity a month but more when old or hot. Now the point of this; my Ex­ide leisure bat­ter­ies are six years old and work well enough de­spite not us­ing a shore­line charger. The re­placed bat­ter­ies looked newer than that so why a dif­fer­ence in bat­tery life? The an­swer is that I have had 60 watts of so­lar charg­ing for years so when we leave the boat, the bat­ter­ies get fully charged. If you have no ac­cess to shore power it is cost-ef­fec­tive to fit so­lar charg­ing.

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