Tuesday, 26 February 2013

On the buses……

No…. not the TV series from the 70’s!  Rather the return trip to Calcot which we made this morning.  After consulting the bus timetable we made it to the nearest bus stop with 5 minutes to spare.. Then we waited… and waited… and waited!  The timetable shows a service every 30 minutes but after 40 minutes no bus had arrived.  However during this period two buses passed in the opposite direction.  Jan was starting to get cold and threatening to call off the trip to the supermarket when the bus finally appeared…. with another one behind it!!!  The driver couldn’t tell us (or any passengers who subsequently boarded) what had gone wrong.  Fifteen minutes later we were at the supermarket and filling the trolley.  We were back at the bus stop just over 30 minutes later and waiting with some trepidation for a return bus.  However one arrived four minutes early! Smile But drove straight past the stop without collecting any of the waiting passengers? Sad smile  A second bus then arrived four minutes later!  I asked the driver were they playing leap frog?  He informed me the first bus had been despatched directly back to the other end of the route without stopping and was to recommence the cycle from that end.  Whilst I understand the logic, one wonders why the second driver hadn’t been told to stay at the other end of the route in the first place?

An apology to any readers who read our ramblings via the RSS feed.  You may recall I had a devil of a job fixing the “noreply@blogger.com” problem and eventually resorted to a “slash & burn” approach.  Apparently one side effect of this was the loss of the RSS feed and I hadn’t realised it had happened until Mark Zimmerman kindly let me know.  Unfortunately I’ve had to create a new RSS feed link to reinstate the feed.  This means you will probably have to resubscribe to the blog if you use a Reader such as Google Reader.  If your RSS feed previously sent our blog posts to your email inbox you will find I’ve installed a new wiget from Blogger.  All you have to do is enter your email address in the window under “Follow by email” header at the top left of the blog page and click the “Submit” button.  If any of this doesn’t work then please either email me or leave a comment on the blog and I’ll endeavour to rectify the problem.

One of the reasons for examining the feasibility of purchasing a small generator was to enable us to complete a periodic “equalising charge” of the domestic battery bank.  Doing this prolongs battery life and as the batteries cost us in the region of £1600 I like to keep them well maintained.  The Victron Inverter/Charger can do the equalizing charge using a 240v source (mains power or generator) hence the idea of a generator when continuously cruising.  Today I became rather excited when re-reading the manual for the Sterling Pro-Digital Advanced Regulator (PDAR).  It mentioned the software in the PDAR would monitor engine use and voltage before completing an equalizing charge when required.  This indicated to me the PDAR may already be doing something I thought I’d need to do with a generator.  However the manual isn’t that clear.  The PDAR raises the alternator voltage to 14.8V to complete a rapid “Bulk” stage in the re-charging cycle.  But my understanding is the “equalizing” voltage needs to be 15.2V.  I need to establish whether the PDAR actually forces the voltage to 15.2V for a short period.  I was reminded of one piece of information during all this reading.  Rapidly re-charging the battery bank will result in a need to top up the water in the batteries very regularly.   So we really need that automatic watering system we purchased from the suppliers Australia to arrive as soon as possible.

Oh…. one final thing I want to mention.  We had the engine running this morning prior to leaving for the bus and I decided to attempt to turn it off remotely using the Empirbus system and the immobilizer circuit I’ve fitted.  It worked! Smile

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