Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Right.....time to update this blog :) (sorry again). I know a blog without pics isn't that great, so I'll do a quick update and then come back with pics in due course. Having bought a sailaway, the initial surge of activity was to make it liveable, within a marina, on shorepower. This soon changed to....making it warm in winter, which we managed to do by installing a coal stove. This then changed to....making it ready to cruise without shorepower......which we managed to do by adding 6 x 110AH batteries, and wiring up the leisure alternator (175AH) Keeping the batteries charged, was done by running the boat engine, but I soon realised that on a widebeam, it's about £2 per hour running, and it's a bit loud at I looked at adding some solar. I eventually bought 4 x 230W panels from, and 2 seperate 30A MPPT controllers, which were wired up about a week ago. Since installing it, I then decided to cut the 6 batteries into 2 seperate banks, and connect each solar controller to a different bank. This means that we can liveaboard in the day, most living off free sun power, while storing power for the teen to run his desktop PC and do college homework at night, (using his own dedicated set of batteries which he manages himself, without me having to worry about it.) If he runs out of power, he cant come running to me for more, which is wonderful :) Since splitting the banks, I've been concerned that His bank (even using 5hrs of desktop PC each night) is doing well, and retaining a charge, and recharging well. The other bank however, seems to show fully charged in the daytime but as soon as the sun goes away, it shows quite a low voltage on the small digital display I installed on the wall. I'm convinced it's the fridge sucking all the power, but as part of testing things, I've removed 2 batteries which are full, leaving a remaining 2 batteries to carry the load for the night. I want to see if the two batteries I've removed from the circuit, still show a high voltage in the morning. This will prove those 2 batts are ok, and my focus will move to the remaining two...the digital display might be showing me a low voltage simply because of the load from the huge 3000W invertor I'm using and the 220V fridge. More on this little adventure later :) At the moment the sun is shining brightly and the wall is showing 13 V. I'm planning on putting a fan to blow cold air from the bilge up through the back of the fridge, to stop the compressor kicking in all day...and I need to put a back on the cupboard so the fridge doesnt feel all the hot air from the coal stove...which we use to dry clothes at times. Overall we are loving the boat life, and have been cruising the Bridgewater canal, and then back to Manchester where we have a mooring, but....we're only revisiting our mooring in Nov 2013. I'll post some pics soon. :)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Right...due to popular demand I'm going to try and fill in the blanks from the last time I posted to now :) The reason the blogging stopped, was that the family moved on board, so where previous photos would show empty bed bases, those now have mattresses, sheets, duvets. Floors which had carpets, now have computers, waste baskets, kids toys. Walls have picture frames. Empty cupboards have plates, cups, cutlery. Empty floors, have sofas, tv tables, rugs. The point's very easy to live in a boat, and furnish it, without everythings being "ready for cruising". My initial goal was to make the boat functional to live in. We've achieved that with flying colours. The coal/stove went in...cutting a hole in the roof with a jigsaw was simple...much simpler than I thought it would be...and "anyone can do it". I decided to install the coal stove in the centre of the boat, so the flue went straight up, and didnt need any bends to accommodate the curvature of the roof. Pics will follow. We've put up curtain rails on the windows, and the curtains are being sewn by a friend. The shower cubicle has been tiled with ceramic tiles. I've running the toilet flush, the shower waste pump, and the boat water pump (the only 12V circuits currently running), using a battery stored near the bathroom, and permanently on charge using a 220V battery charger. Before Feb, to turn the boat into a cruising boat, I'm going to have to: 1. Connect up the 3 leisure batteries I've got lying in the engine bay. 2. Connect up the leisure alternator. 3. Install a 12V fusebox. 4. Install the 12V drop lights and wiring. 5. Buy/install an invertor. You dont need any of those things if you are on elec hookup. Right now the challenge has been to keep the boat warm as the temps begin to drop. We're using coal in the fire permanently, with a small elec fan blowing the warm air down the boat passage. We have 2 elec heaters which we use very occassionally on cold mornings. The kids cabins are warm enough because their pcs generate quite a bit of heat. The boat shower is wonderful. Instant hot water from a gas heater. We have no need to run the boat engine for the next 3 months. Hopefully it'll start in Feb/March when we need it to. Even a new boat has condensation. Every morning the windows have droplits. Where I cut away insulation under the gunnel to run gas piping, condensation forms. (I'll use some sprayfoam soon to stop it.) I'll try and keep the blog up to date and add some pics soon. :)

Friday, 7 September 2012

I havent posted anything, because since my last post, the family all came on board :) I'm using a battery under the bed to power the shower pump, water pump and toilet flush temporarily, 1 spot light in each room, and temp elec cabling. Other than that, everything is working. Gas appliances are in, hot water to the shower, etc etc. Main problems have been water own fault. We have a sink with 3 sinks...all needing the outlets to be joined and sent out of a 1 and a half inch skin fitting. I used a hole saw and cut a hole for the sink, one for the basin and washing machine, and one for the shower pump outlet (3/4 inch skin fittings.) I promise to take pics once the boat is cleaned up a little...dont want to go sticking up photos with clutter in the photo.... We received the sailaway on the 10th Aug ago, and began living onboard, with all the basic services intact, from the 23rd...about 2 weeks....a great accomplishment.:) Since then I've added a cupboard in the main bedroom, a desk, connected a dishwasher, washing machine, shower. Still need to do the following: 1. install coal stove. 2. fit flooring in bathroom 3. properly fit the electrics 4. fit the 12v lights 5. fit the batteries properly, with isolator, fuse box etc. Currently on shoreline so have no need for 12V system. 6. Carpet main bedroom. 7. etc... :)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

I think it's about Day 10 now:) The boat flooring has been laid, plus carpeting in the kids cabins. I've fitted the Morco gas heater, and drilled/hacksawed through the roof. It wasnt the nightmare job I thought it might be....drilled 1 starter hole, and jigsawed my way around using cutting spray......great! Connected up a few gas compression glands. Last night we retrieved the last of our appliances in storage (fridge,freezer,cooker etc), so I get to wire them up/pipe them in today. This weeks tasks are: 1. drill and fit skin fittings for basin, shower, washer, sink,dishwasher. 2. connect up/assemble the shower. 3. connect up the cooker gas supply. 4. assemble a sofa. 5. cut kitchen tops to size and fit sink 6. make a plan to connect 3 sink outlets into 1. 7. cut bathroom wall to size 8. move toilet into boat. 9. connect temporary battery to water pump/shower pump ...all before Satureday, which is when we move ourselves off our old boat onto the widebeam, so we can start preparing the old boat for it's new owner, who picks it up a few days later.:) Not a minute to lose....busy drinking a cuppa, and then I'm getting started. Pics will follow :)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Day 8 :) Yesterday we got to grips with putting down the flooring in the kitchen, saloon and passage...which was a great success, but really much harder than I thought it would be. Beware starting in the wrong corner:)
Late last night we added underfoam for the kids cabins and put in one carpet. Doing the other today, and getting started on the kitchen cabinets (I think). Water pump is also semi installed.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Day 7...installed some of the gas piping under the gunnel/gunwhale.. It's 1/2" Imperial. Single run all along the boat to feed a cooker and water heater in the galley.
day 7....we brought the mattresses in to see if they fit :)

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