Monday, 28 January 2013

A nothing day

Overnight an email arrived from Brisbane with answers to the questions I’d asked of the supplier of the automatic battery watering system.  The major question was of the minimum ‘head’ the system required between the batteries and the tank.  The ‘head’ is the difference in height between the tank and the top of the batteries.  The greater the head the higher the water pressure (which is why there are water towers).  It wasn’t an optimistic reply as the “official” minimum head is 1.5 metres.  At that height I’d need to secure the tank to a mast! Smile  The supplied tank has a capacity of 20 litres which is probably fine in a static environment but is too big for the cockpit locker on Waiouru.  The supplier went on to explain that ‘unofficially’ the system had been known to work with a 6 inch head.  Moreover there is another option.  The system can be pressurized by connecting a bicycle pump to the sealed header tank.  A return email has now been sent with some additional questions.  However it’s likely we would only purchase the battery caps and look on eBay for a suitable automotive radiator header tank.  I’d try it as a gravity feed system with a natural 6-8” head and if that didn’t work then I’d make the header tank into a pressurized system.  We would probably only need to pressurize the system on a weekly basis.

Thoughts have also turned to what other cruising equipment is required.  In four hireboat holidays we’ve (me) only twice had to go down the weed hatch becoming the owners of a fishing net and a religious (holey) grey T-shirt.  But you only have to read other boaters blogs to realise we might just have been lucky.  Obviously we don’t want to buy something expensive; although I did research ‘cutters’ that can be fitted to the prop shaft.  It seems anything with ‘boat’ included in the name is expensive so the net has been cast wider.  Of course there is always Jan’s expensive bread knife but using that might also include subsequent gelding!  Current thinking is to purchase a patio paver weed cutter. 

Some modification would probably be required.  All the steel edges on the blade need to be sharpened and a longer handle to get down the weed hatch without having to immerse my beautiful soft pink hands in the dirty and freezing canal water.  The back of the blade could be used for cutting and the hook for pulling and ripping.  Of course this is all theory on my part and there may be far superior options!

The other tool is a small folding saw.  Probably useful for cutting any timber caught around the propeller but more likely to be used to trim back branches when attempting to moor up in some obscure and overgrown location.

I’ve even thought of purchasing a petrol powered whipper-snipper (strimmer) with a detachable mast and head.  It could be used to cut back long grass and vegetation adjacent to the towpath.  Perhaps Jan would like one for her birthday this year? NOT!! <last word added by Jan>


Peter and Margaret said...

Our women folk sometimes have very strange reactions to our gifts, which I can't understand. In the past these have included items such as new Hoovers and irons, which involved an amount of ducking and diving on my part. Today is Margaret's birthday, and this year's gift was a Remoska - useful both at home and afloat, see: So far it hasn't been thrown at me!

Bruce in Sanity said...

The other invaluable aid we have found is a pair of elbow length rubber gloves of the kind sold in garden centres for working in ornamental ponds.

Even after using the cunning device to get the worst of the stuff off the prop, you still want to get your hand down there to feel all round the boss and shaft to clear the bits and bobs.



Tom and Jan said...

I recall my father telling my brother and me "Never buy your wife something for the kitchen!"
I've tried to stick with his advice.
Happy Birthday Margaret.......

Tom and Jan said...

I have to start on the right foot..... Jan will need the gloves :-)

Adam said...

If it's cold when you get something round the prop, the first thing to do is put the kettle on. Make yourself tea, then pour the rest of the boiling water down the weedhatch. Then the water isn't so cold.

Tom and Jan said...

I'll remember to tell Jan this when she has to go down the weed hatch. I'll drink the tea and supervise :-)

Allan said...

With respect to topping-up your batteries, based on my experience you will not need to add water weekly. Mine only need topping-up a couple of times a year at most (and then less than a litre for the whole bank). On this basis if you need to pressurize the system it would be infrequently.

One Thing After Another said...

Haha brilliant although I couldn't imagine myself being so calm as to make time for tea first!

Tom and Jan said...

Can I ask if you live aboard? We are discharging the domestic bank by about 25% daily (225 amps).

Anonymous said...

You can probably find something similar to this:
Sorry for the non English language (=epoxy resin pumps).
With a pump like this, a simple connecting hose and the caps you can have your manual water pressurized system.
With about 200A a day you need 1 stroke a week. If the batteries are filled the pump becomes very hard and sometime the hose springs out.


Tom and Jan said...


That is a very good option. We must consider buying something similar in the UK.
My own idea was to glue the tube into a hole drilled into the screw cap of a 1.25l plastic (PET) soft drink bottle and create pressure by squeezing it.

Paul and Elaine said...

Hi Tom
Buy a commando saw for cutting crap off the prop, once you have fed the loop and wire through, you can work above the waterline of the weed hatch, really good and cheap bit of kit.

Allan said...

In answer to your query, I do not live aboard but do undertake some long trips (2 - 3 months at a time).
When out of the marina (whether moving or not) I tend to charge the batteries daily. A typical morning battery state will be 85% so I discharge less than you. My batteries are lead acid, wet cell "leisure" type (ie not deep cycle, traction type).

Anonymous said...

your option is definitely less expensive but less 'professional':
Hallberg Rassy uses that system for their bigger boats when the batteries have significant power consumption.
you can still use a PET for the pump