Friday, 7 April 2017

Solar Power and other stuff

It has been a lovely sunny day and yet the solar panels aren’t sending any thing to the lead-acid (flooded) domestic battery bank.  The Kipor generator is also running and feeding power into the battery bank via the Victron Inverter/Charger. 

Initially I wondered why the solar wasn’t contributing and then I realised the MPPT solar controller probably had a lower ‘cut-off’ voltage setting than the Victron.

The batteries are currently on ‘Absorption’ with a voltage reading off 14.6V.  The Smartbank states the batteries are 100% charged.  The Victron BMV shows 2.16 amps going into the batteries.  We are also consuming power for the laptop, iPad and slow cooker.

I dusted off the solar controller manual and looked at the specification.  For flooded lead-acid batteries the controller will operate at 13.8V during the ‘Absorption’ stage of re-charging the batteries.  But the combination Kipor/Victron charger is simultaneously charging at 14.6V.  So the higher charge from the Victron has resulted in the MPPT solar controller cutting out.  To confirm this I turned off the Kipor/Victron and the solar controller immediately started sending 3.2 amps to the batteries from the panels.

The Bilge

Because it’s such a warm and sunny day I decided to scour the cabin bilge.  Waiouru has a dry bilge but a good airing will remove the mustiness.  I need a flow of air through the bilge and we know that hot air rises.  So I’ve removed the 6” round inspection cap in the stern cabin floor in the storage locker under the spare bed.  This will allow air to enter the bilge at the lower end.

IMG_1549Yes, that’s the pipe from the toilet to the tank on the right. 

Then I removed the water pump hatch cover below the cabin front doors.  Like most boats, Waiouru is bow high and this hatch is also higher than the bilge inspection hatch in the stern.

IMG_1550Theoretically we should get an airflow through the length of the boat that will remove the musty winter smell from the bilge.

I have a photo from a walk yesterday evening which suggests Spring has arrived.


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