Saturday, 6 June 2015

Getting sorted

Yesterday was a truly epic bit of boating, Streethay to Mercia, seven hours on the move and a total of nine hours boating. We're still pretty weary today, not least because it's not been a recovery day (that will be tomorrow – I hope) but a day for sorting things out. We'd seen odd behaviour from the batteries again as the day wore on. Having dropped back to a charge current of about 7.5 amps as usual, the value started rising again.

When it reached 16 amps, we stopped long enough to lift the engine boards and make sure there was still no sign of one battery seriously overheating and boiling, which there wasn't. We carried on whilst I gave our supplier, Pb Batteries, a ring. The service manager was reassuring but suggested that I check the individual cells with a hydrometer and that I watch what happened with the Mastervolt charger when we got onto a shoreline. I left putting this last on until this morning, to be sure that the bank had cooled down, and we popped into Midland Chandlers today to get a hydrometer.

The batteries spent a lot of time on the absorption phase of charging, but eventually the charger switched over to float as it should and they've seemed fine ever since. Checking the cells will involve removing the batteries, so that will keep until next week; Sheila needs the engine room this weekend to catch up with the washing. Reading up the manual for the Mastervolt reminded me that temperature affects battery charging. There's not a lot of ventilation under those boards – enough for the engine to breathe properly, of course, and for the hydrogen generated to disperse, but a long cruise on a hot day probably means that things are around 45 or 50ÂșC by the end of the day.

I suspect that this leads to the increased charge current. When I've got my head together a bit more, I'll try that thought out on CWDF.

So, what else has happened today? A lot of washing has been done and Sheila and I got a walk round the marina this morning, collecting post, buying milk and some Scotch eggs for tonight, generally having a mooch. Elanor and Sally came over this afternoon bringing some chicken in Madeira and wild mushroom sauce and the post she's been looking after for us.

Sal had a run in field two which she greatly enjoyed but began to overheat after a bit. We then had a pleasant and relaxed family catch up, part of the reason why this blog post is late. Tomorrow, as I say, we'll take things easy apart from yet more laundry...

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