Sunday, 2 September 2012

On Test

This morning the Victron combi inverter/charger was turned off as we are going to test the capacity of the domestic battery bank for the next 24 hours.  This will only be a partial test as the 240v system in the boat hasn’t been completed.  So we will only be testing the 12v systems as the charger part of the Victron is currently the only part being used.  At the end of 24 hours we want to check the remaining domestic battery bank capacity (using the Smartgauge) and also test the Victron’s ability (and time) to bring the batteries back to 100% charged.  Another thing we want to monitor is the amount of heat generated by the Victron.  We’re aware the measurements from the Smartgauge only becomes accurate after recharging the batteries through a number of cycles.

Last night I did some pondering about the automatic control system for the computer fans in the Victron cabinet.  They operate on 12v and could be directly connected to the 12v input terminals on the Victron.  However this would mean they run continuously, even when the Victron was turned off.  The amount of power used by the fans is insignificant and wouldn’t be an issue.  But the fans would eventually fail through continual use.  We are unlikely to spend much time on shore power so the charger side of the Victron will be used very infrequently.  Current thinking is to fit a 240v relay across the inverter 240v output terminals.  When the inverter is ON the relay would be activated.  A 12v supply would be connected on the secondary side of the relay and from there to the computer fans.  That way the fans would only run when the Victron was producing 240v.  All I now have to do is find a very cheap (and readily available) 240v relay (another walk to Maplin?).

It’s been three weeks since we first started using the macerating toilet and the tank gauge still hasn’t reached half full.  We were starting to wonder whether the tank was going to “pong”!  The air was very “ripe” this morning!  But then we realised it was hire boat change-over day and the marina staff were doing pump-outs (Waiouru is beside the pump-out point). I climbed up onto the gunwale and unscrewed the cap on the pump-out connection.  Then I stuck my nose over the hole and took a deep breath.  NOTHING…. No pong!  Everything appears to be working well.  We can only assume the design of the tank is aiding the breakdown of the effluent.  Although the tank is large it’s quite wide and shallow.  This means there is a large surface area for air to interact with the effluent.  There is also a breather connection with a carbon filter.  Despite this we have been researching possible tank additives.  The intention is to only use “blue” as a last resort.  There are specialist biological products available; but their cost is rather high.  The alternative is to try brewers yeast.  However before we take that route we are experimenting with Tesco Biological Laundry Liquid.  Apparently other boaters have had some success with it so Jan purchased a one litre container during her most recent shopping trip.  This morning I poured half down the toilet and the other half down the pump-out hose connection.  If it does nothing for the smell then at least we’ll have the cleanest effluent on the cut!


admach said...

Tom, I wouldn't worry too much about the fans running constantly, I've had plenty of servers running 24/7 for over 6 years and never had a fan fail yet.

Don McCoskrie said...

Why not use one of these (or similar)with the sensor attached to the Victron cooling out vent?

Don McCoskrie said...

Or at Maplin:

Tom and Jan said...

I was more concerned about the fan becoming noisy if run constantly.

Don, the temperature activation switch is an idea but may be more expensive than a relay. I'll check today.

I've now realised I could probably connect them to the fans inside the Victron (but it might void the warranty?)

Paul said...


We use an enzyme product, available at most chandlers. We use no more than 100mils per tank and it is fine, no smells at all and we leave pump outs for up to two months when only using during weekends

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Paul,
Do you have a name for the product? I've been into the local chandlers and they have a number of products.

Paul said...

Not at boat at present but

should be just as good.

When at boat next I will write details down. I will add that this treatment is, for us, better than blue by a country mile, we had terrible odour problems till we cleaned it out and started to use enzyme based products. As my wife is a bio-chemist, she chose the product. She reckons that this product is just as close
Quite cheap too