Sunday, 13 January 2013

Almost snow!

Some additional online research today.  First it was the charging regime for the domestic battery bank.  I had noticed the Smartgauge was reporting the bank was 100% charged after the engine had finished running but when the shore-power was immediately connected afterwards it went to “Absorption” (stage 2) for almost two hours before going to “Float” (stage 3).  The Float stage is 100% which leaves me with the impression the engine should be left running for some time after the Smartgauge reports 100%.  I’ve also read the engine shouldn’t be running at idle rpm’s (800) but rather 12-1500rpm.  I suspect 1500 is somewhat high but will do some experimenting.  Another option (summer only) is to let the solar panels complete the “absorption and float stages.

In anticipation of the forecast cold snap commencing tonight we emptied the toilet tank (it was only ¼ full) and filled the diesel and water tanks.  We’re moored beside a tap on the wharf however I anticipate it will freeze.  We’re also in reach of the diesel bowser but we might as well get used to planning for cold weather.

In the middle of the day I went for a local walk heading north and whilst out recorded another four footpaths to upload to the Open Street Map.  After climbing into all my wet-weather gear I realised i’d left the small camera in Waiouru and rather than undress I elected to use the 3.2mp camera built into the Garmin gps.  So today’s photos are poor because a poor camera and photographer were involved!  One objective on the walk was to check the volume of water in the local streams.  The ground was very muddy and quite slippery.

To my surprise the water levels and volumes in the local creeks appeared to be no greater than usual.  So the ground is saturated, but it’s not draining off as quickly as I had anticipated.

The was a bird of prey flying low above one of the farmer’s fields which was obviously keeping other birds away from his recently sown crop.

Except this bird was attached to a thin cord and thence to a tall flexible pole.  It was a bird scarer! Smile

The walk back to Waiouru took me past the Six Bells hotel in Beenham which looks more inviting on a summer’s day!

This thatched dwelling caught my eye.  However I don’t think I’d like to have to pay for the roof to be re-thatched!

The mercury fell during the last part of the walk back to Waiouru and the cold rain appeared to be blown sideways in the light breeze.  That’s when I realised it was snow!  However the ground is currently too warm and the snowdrops melted on impact.  Tomorrow morning may just see everything white!

Back at the boat there was time for a warming shower before scrubbing the boots, gaiters and pack (rucksack) on the stern deck in a bucket filled with very hot water from the stern shower hose.  We’ll see if they dry under the pram cover.  Then it was back to the internet to do more research for Beta 43 engine spares.  I’m looking for suppliers for the two alternator belts.


Peter and Margaret said...

Re the chargers. As you know I use C-teks to charge the batteries, and they are often left on for extended periods, particularly over the winter, when they cycle on float. If I switch them off, even for a few moments, and re-start, they always hover around absorption for about an hour before returning to the top tier float charge. These are new batteries, but it did exactly the same on the old ones.

One Thing After Another said...

Hi Tom /jan. Thanks for adding us! Yes our boat name is "One Thing After Another" :D We'd been on board around 6 months , all the time trying to figure out a name, when one day, that popped into my head with all the problems and set backs we'd had!

Glad you're enjoying the blog. Yes the Smartgauge definately isn't that accurate and I think it mentions in the manual anything over 90% isn't necessarily an accurate reading. We leave our engine charging for maybe an hour or two after Smartgauge has said the batts are at 100% - we're not on shoreline so its always an issue for us. There's plenty about our batteries/Smartgauge/charging issues on our blog!

I think we're always learning even now and every day something new happens which ends up puzzling us! Especially when it comes to the batteries and charging etc!

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Peter,
Yes... I recall that occurring on K-L and suspect something similar occurs with the Victron on Waiouru. But I've also read the Smartgauge might only charge to 90% yet show 100%! If we don't fully charge the batteries then they will start to degrade......

Tom and Jan said...

Well I'm glad I managed to get all the correct names :-)
We have an expensive battery bank so I want it to have a long life. However I don't want to unnecessarily run the engine as it's an expensive waste of diesel. After thinking about this I've decided to check the SG with the new hydrometer. I can then use this as a reference point when using the Smartgauge.

John/Waimaru said...


A set of belts can be ordered directly from Beta, and as I remember, the price was okay - no middleman to add a cut.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi John, So obvious I should be kicking myself!

John R said...

Tom, take note of the belt numbers as printed on the belt. This is the belt manufacturers sizing, which tells you the type of belt, pulley cut and length, etc. This then can be cross referenced with other manufacturers of belts, eg.Gates. Also, if belts run as a pair on the same pulleys, purchase them as a 'matched pair' otherwise you will have problems in tensioning the belts correctly.

Jenny and Robin said...

Hi Tom,
When we were in the UK one of our bus tours mentioned that home owners with thatched roofs had to allow approx 10000 pound for a re-roof. Not a cheap option.

Anonymous said...

you can get government help to pay for a new thatch i believe,