Lived onboard Hadar

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Dinner

Jo and I treated ourselves to Christmas Dinner out at “The Sugar Loaf” in Market Harborough today. A glass of champagne each, and soup and granary bread to start things off, then this arrived.

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A real plateful, it beat me, but only just, and there was Christmas pudding and cheese & biscuits to follow!!

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Jo preparing to attack her dinner. The whole meal was excellent, and we look forward to doing it again, next year, possibly.

Keith.

Merry Christmas Everyone

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From Keith, Jo, Paddy & Marmite.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Engine Strip Down

Yesterday I ran the engine which I do once a week when moored for prolonged periods, to ensure it runs on both cylinders. We have found in the past that if we do not run the engine for a length of time it has a tendency to run on only one cylinder for about 10 minutes before the 2nd cylinders comes to life. by running the engine once a week this stops this from happening. Unfortunately yesterday after running for about 20 minutes there was no sign of life from the 2nd cylinder.

This morning we stripped the engine down, well, took the rocker covers off! My first port of call was to discover which cylinder was not firing, which is easy to do, by running the engine and using one of our large screwdrivers, stuffing it in place of the decompressor, but only decompressing one cylinder at a time, if the engine carries on running then the selected cylinder is the faulty one. In this case it was the sternward cylinder which was not firing.

Next step was to bleed the injector pumps to ensure that fuel was feeding through to them. I started with the sternward pump, and having loosened it some air bubbled out along with some fuel, so here was the problem. I checked the other pump and that bled perfectly. I restarted the engine and hey presto, both cylinders were firing, success.

Now recently I had tried starting the engine and forgot to open the fuel stopcock, which resulted in my having the bleed the pumps, and I think when I did this I must have not tightened the bleed screw properly. Especially as clear access to this bleed screw is restricted by one of the posts which accepts the rocker cover retaining bolts. So this time I removed this post and then tightened down the bleed screw properly this time. With everything refitted I restarted the engine to ensure all was well, which it was, Phewwww, I had been expecting the worse overnight.

Ever since we moved onto Hadar I have not been able to use my CB radio, which I installed. Today I finally discovered the problem in the form of a faulty antenna mount, which was giving a resistance reading between the antenna and ground, not good, and no wonder I could never adjust the antenna to the set. I had thought it was the cable, which was installed during the boat’s construction, and is behind the timber walls and ceiling, and I was not looking forward to having to fit a new cable but having it run around the inside of the cabin, very unsightly. I have placed an order for a replacement mount from Thunderpole, who are based not far from us, they are in Northampton, and hopefully upon it’s arrival and installation I should be able to finally get my CB radio working, after 5 years!

All I have to do i decide which of my 2 CB’s to use, either the Maycom EM-27.

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or the Midland Alan 78 Plus Multi.

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Decisions, decisions! But I have always liked Midland sets ever since my very first AM set back in the early 1980’s.

Keith.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Batteries

Saturday we called into a local firm, The Battery Store” to buy 5 new domestic batteries for Hadar. We had heard them advertise on our local radio station Hfm. We selected the appropriate batteries and not only did they deliver them to Union Wharf for us, but even gave us a lift back, excellent service.

However, we soon discovered that these new batteries were too wide to fit in the trays. A quick phone call and a new set of different batteries were soon delivered and we soon had them installed.

This morning whilst cleaning up the old batteries to be collected by the same company, we discovered that the original 2 batteries, which were installed at the time that one of our batteries blew it’s tops off due to overvoltage charging 2 years ago, had both got splits in the cases, so as I had thought, that all 3 had been damaged. Hence the need to replace all of our batteries now.

These new batteries are traction batteries, usually fitted to such things as fork lift trucks, so it will be interesting to see how well these perform. Talking to the Dave the engineer who maintains the hire boats here at Union Wharf, he fits only traction batteries and finds them excellent for boating purposes. So far they are performing really well, in fact so good that this morning we did not run the generator, and when we ran it last night it was for a far shorter period of time, compared to the old batteries. This will definitely reduce our use of diesel quite dramatically.

Keith

Night Time Visitor

Friday we discovered we have had a visitor in our hold. A multipack of crisps had been nibbled into, along with various of the packets of crisps inside. So this afternoon Jo popped down the town to Wilkinson’s and bought a pair of mouse traps.

Mouse Trap

 

Marmite has been sacked and needs a new home!!

Sacked Cat

Keith.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Fancy a Flutter?

Just had to take this photo yesterday whilst walking into town.

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Hope the Mascara is waterproof!

Keith.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

First Ice

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First ice on the canal here at market Harborough this morning, but not very thick, the swans have managed with a struggle to break through it.

Yesterday Jo put the Christmas tree and decorations up inside Hadar.

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Of course Marmite had to check out the decorations box for size!

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Having been down the shops to buy some vegetables she had to make sure they were OK.

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No boxes or bags to get into though!

Keith.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Can be as Ill as I Like!

I went to a local pharmacy today to get my prescription which I was given by a doctor last night. I patiently waited as they prepared it for me. When it was ready they gave it to me, and didn’t ask for any payment, of course, now I am 60 I get my prescriptions for free!

Now I can be as ill as I want and never have to pay for any prescriptions!

Grow old certainly has some advantages.

Keith.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Tree Light Switch-on

We went down into the town tonight for the Christmas tree light switch-on. It was hosted by the Hfm team and sponsored by the Market Harborough Building Society.

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Things kicked off with some carols sung by children from 2 local primary schools.

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And then the Christmas tree lights were switched on.

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Keith.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Harborough’s Christmas Tree.

Yesterday we popped down the town to do some shopping and on our way we followed this road sweeper nicely sweeping the leaves on the footpath into the centre of the path!

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Down in the square they were putting up the Christmas tree.

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This morning Jo was sorting out some material to make some curtains and other things as it is a rainy day today, and Marmite decided to investigate the bag of material.

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I know there must be a mouse in here somewhere! I am sure something moved.

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Keith.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Latest Rag Rug

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My latest rag rug has started to take shape. The black border is 3 rows deep and needed 858 pieces of rag, the centre section requires 3626 pieces, which had all to be cut by hand with scissors. Hopefully if I can crack on with it I may actually get 2 made this winter.

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Marmite hiding in Paddy’s bed, or so she thinks, but just hiding your head doesn’t constitute hiding! She hides in here now and again, only trouble is Paddy gets brave and stands and sits on her, as he knows she cannot bite or scratch him whilst in his bed, despite this she never learns and still does it.

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Peacefully snoozing in front of the coal stove which is about 12” in front of her, she knows all the warm spots on Hadar.

Keith.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Generator Cooling

As mentioned last Tuesday, for some time now I have been contemplating changing how our diesel generator is cooled. As with most projects I like to take my time working out the pros and cons, before proceeding. Having chewed the cud over this for most of this year, and having discussed it with fellow boaters, I finally bit the bullet and went ahead with the changes yesterday.

Further reference to “engine” in this blog is the engine part of the generator, which is actually a 3 cylinder Yanmar.

As supplied, our generator comes complete with a closed water cooling circuit, using a heat exchanger, to transfer the heat to another source of cooling. As marine generators are designed to draw cooling water from outside a boat, and in most cases this is salt water, it is not a good idea to have salt water passing directly through an engine, hence the heat exchanger. To this purpose as well as the water pump which is an integral part of the engine which is used for the closed circuit, a second water pump is fitted and driven from a second fan belt which is for the raw water circuit.

Now Hadar has 2 separate cooling tanks built into the hull, one for our National engine and one for the generator engine. When we installed the generator we connected the appropriate skin tank to the raw water circuit, as supplied, thus resulting in having 2 completely separate cooling circuits. The one through the engine is pressurised the same as with a car engine, with a pressure cap on a small tank on top of the engine, same as found on the top of a car’s radiator. Now unless I strip down the shelf unit which surrounds the generator, and remove all the toolboxes on the top, I cannot get to this tank to check the water level easily. The raw water circuit though has an external header tank which is easy to get to for checking and topping up.

Directly cooling the engine has quite a few advantages as listed in my previous entry in this blog on Tuesday. During the week I picked up the parts I needed to complete the task from Homebase down in the town, and yesterday we set about changing it.

It was quite a simple task really. Fortunately the 2 pipes from the skin tank come very close to both of the sections of pipe of the closed circuit which I had to connect to. This was achieved fairly easily without much effort, which makes a nice change for us! Having changed the piping, I then removed the fan belt which drives the raw water pump. With all the changes completed we topped the water up, and ran the generator to check for any water leaks, amazing, no leaks! With the simplified water piping we were able to rearrange the sound proofing, to reduce the generator noise within the boat.

The real test was running the generator last night fully for the first time. It was definitely quieter with the rearranged sound proofing, and ran successfully without stopping due to over heating for a full battery charge session, result. Only time as to how much effect removing the raw water pump from the system has on fuel consumption. I know from my car rallying days, that getting more power from an engine hinges very much on reducing what an engine has to drive. For example, back when I was rallying, car engine radiators were cooled by a mechanical fan fitted to the front of the engine. these fans could use as much as 5bhp from the engine. these mechanical fans were removed and replaced with electric fans (which are fitted as standard to cars these days I believe). As the fan usually only needs to work when the vehicle is not moving and getting natural air flow, these electric fans only work when a car is stationary, when it is most needed, thus they do not operate when the car is in motion, saving at least 5bhp.

Having completed some major jobs recently, I can now concentrate on finishing my latest rag rug.

Keith.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Panic Stations

Last night, as I normally do, I started up the generator on my way out to take Paddy for his walk, this was at about 6:00pm. As I walked back I heard it was not running. Jo said it had just stopped whilst I was out. Bearing in mind Paddy’s walks only take five minutes!

It could only be one of three things, fuel, water or oil. The generator has built in sensors to shut the generator down should it overheat or lose oil pressure. However in my haste to get it sorted and up and running before 7:00pm to give us an hour’s running to recharge the batteries, I missed the obvious. First I changed the fuel filter, which by the looks of it did need changing. This didn’t fix it. I checked the oil level which was ok, so it could only be the water cooling. I suspected it could be the impellor on the water pump for the skin tank circuit, which upon inspection did look well chewed up, especially when I got it out, it certainly wouldn’t have lasted much longer. It was a struggle to get the new impellor in, a really tight fit, and in an awkward place to get to. However this did not cure the problem, and time was getting on, 7:30pm to be precise, so we decided to pole the boat into the basin and onto the sanitary station mooring to connect our landline overnight, and to carry on fixing the generator in the morning. I couldn’t drive the boat in with the engine because the gearbox is in bits at the moment.

This morning we were both up early, and set about stripping everything down to get to the generator again. This time though we did it properly and removed the shelf over the generator, which now meant I could get to the header tank for the engine cooling circuit. It was a bit short of water, so I topped it up, and we then moved back onto our winter mooring on the towpath before restarting the generator, problem solved.

The only time I get to check this header tank is when I do an oil change, simply because I need to remove the shelf and all its contents to get to it. Whilst we had everything removed I did an oil change, which I had thought was overdue, but it wasn’t. the next oil change should have been at 1300 hours of use, but for whatever reason, last night I had misread the gauge as being 1400 hours! This morning having changed the oil and filter, I discovered that the gauge was showing 1200 hours, so not overdue, but never mind it is done now, better too early than too late.

For some time now I have been thinking of changing the cooling circuit for the generator for a number of reasons. At present the generator has 2 cooling circuits. Because it is supplied to be used mostly for boats that do not have skin tank cooling which is used in narrow boats (a skin tank is a tank welded to the inside of the hull and is equivalent to a radiator in a car, but uses the cooling of the canal water on the outside to remove the heat) and use what is called “raw water” drawn from outside the boat, and because this could be salt water which it would be in most applications for marine generators, it is not passed through the engine directly, but uses a heat exchanger, so the water passing through the engine is not salt water. So I have water circulating through the engine and heat exchanger as one circuit, and the other side of the exchanger to the skin tank is the second circuit.

My thought has been to cut out the heat exchanger and have the engine directly cooled from the skin tank. After all this is how the main engine is cooled, directly. This would have a number of advantages for us as follows:-

  1. It would remove the heat exchanger from the circuit, so the cooling would be more efficient as it would be directly cooled, especially during the stifling hot summers we have!
  2. The existing external header tank for the skin tank circuit, which is easy to get to, to check and top up, would now be used for just the one circuit, thus it will be easier to keep a check on the one water level, without having to remove all the shelf and everything on it to check the engines separate header tank. This header tank would still be in circuit, but would become redundant in its use, being superseded by the external header tank. As it is a sealed tank with a pressure cap, same as on a car radiator, and with an external header tank removing any pressure from the circuit, it would no longer take any part in the cooling circuit, other than just having water pass through it.
  3. It would make the “raw water” pump redundant, and by removing the fan belt for this pump, it would reduce the power drain from the engine to drive this pump , which could be between 5-10bhp, thus saving fuel in the long run.
  4. By removing this pump, it would also negate the weak link of the impellor failing in it, something less to worry about, and to have replacements for, along with the spare fans belts for this pump.

Fortunately changing the cooling circuits will be easy to do, as in the past when we attempted unsuccessfully to use the cooling water to heat the calorifier ( for non-boating people, the hot water tank), we had already broken into the existing pipework on the generator, and this break is very close to the 2 pipes from the skin tank, so all I have to do is break the engine circuit at this point and connect the skin tank pipes coming from either side of the skin tank. I just have to make sure the direction of flow through the skin tank is correct. All I need is 2 right angle bends in HEP2O (easy connect plastic piping system used in boats), and a hose clip to be able to change it. Another job for another day soon.

Hopefully this afternoon I can get the gearbox rebuilt and back to working order. Nothing major, just replacing a worn oil seal, but a job that I started a few days ago, but have had a few interruptions since which have prevented me from putting it all back together again.

Keith.

 

P.S.

I did get the gearbox rebuilt in the afternoon, we will find out if it is ok when we set off from here next year. I took advantage of having the floor up to top up the starter battery, which didn’t need a lot.

Keith

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Leicester

We had to go into Leicester yesterday morning. Being a Saturday it was very busy, and there was a continental street market, no specific country, just lots of different ones. The smells from the food stalls were mouth watering.

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Along with the Christmas decorations, which considering how many there are around the city, they must take ages to put up!

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We discovered a new street we had not been down before and found this building nestled between 2 others.

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We had lunch again at the Real China Chinese Buffet, which soon filled up with hungry shoppers.

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Keith.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Leaking Water Tap

Nearly 2 weeks ago, Jo reported the leaking water tap on the towpath here at Union Wharf. Today 3 workman arrived to fix it. First they dug the hole by the tap.

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Then they wandered off to find the stop cock, which they eventually did. Then they found that the pipe from the junction up to the pipe stand was the problem, so replaced it with a new bit of pipe, then filled the hole back in.

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No more leaky tap. Nice one.

Keith.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Shopping in Leicester

This morning we caught the bus into Leicester to do some shopping. The Christmas decorations are going up. These were the ones in the High Cross shopping centre.

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No Christmas tree in the city centre, but no doubt we will get to see it on our next visit.

Keith.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Golden Age of Canals

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The TV program “The Golden Age of Canals”, in which Hadar appeared, is being rerun tonight on BBC4 at 7:00pm. I have also created a page about the filming of Hadar for this program which can be seen at this link.

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Keith.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Jo’s New Laptop has Arrived

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Jo’s new Dell laptop has just been delivered and she is now busy going through the setup process. This could take a while. I hope she likes it. At least she will be able to see the letters on the keys, she has worn off the ones on her old laptop!

For the more technically minded it is a Dell Inspiron 15, Celeron B815 processor, 4Gb memory, 500Gb hard drive, woohoo!

Keith.

Night Time Delivery.

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A rather late, but very welcome delivery of 2 tonnes of smokeless fuel tonight, we soon had it safely stowed in the hold.

Keith.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gallows Hill to Union Wharf

5 miles, 1hr 50mins.

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Union Wharf a

Late this morning we upped stakes and winded at the winding hole before Foxton and returned to Union Wharf, where we have moored in the basin, ready for our coal delivery tomorrow morning. A very pleasant journey in the Autumnal sunshine.

Keith.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Solar Panel.

As we are going to be spending a few days moored at Gallows Hill I decided to experiment with our new solar panel. Whilst we are moving it lays flat on the cabin roof, but it is beneficial whilst stationary to tilt it towards the sun, especially during the winter when the sun is low in the sky. As a temporary fix to gauge what I need to do I have commandeered one of Jo’s logs to lean the panel against.

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Today was the first day since installing the panel that we have actually had some sunshine, yes you can blame us for that! At 1:00pm, when the sun was at it’s highest, it was giving an output of 6amps. One thing about installing our solar panel was that I wanted it easily removable without any form of bracket or fixing on the roof, for when we are at festivals, rallies, etc.. I fitted 4 rubber door stops to the corners of the panel  for it to sit on the roof. To stop it being stolen or from being blown away in a strong wind I have used chains and padlocks to secure it to the handrails. I have come up with a cunning plan to make a more permanent tilting mechanism than the log, I just need to find somewhere to buy the materials, watch this space. But in the meantime it will do for now.

Keith

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Union Wharf to Gallows Hill

2.8 miles, 1hr 10mins

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Gallows Hill (3a)

With brief visits to the dentist and doctors, we headed back out to Gallows Hill until we return to Union Wharf on Tuesday ready for a coal delivery Wednesday morning, then we will be taking up our winter mooring on the towpath.

Keith.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gallows Hill to Union Wharf Market Harborough

2.8 miles, 55mins.

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Harborough (2)

A foggy start again, but not as bad as yesterday. A short hop into Harborough, where we moored up on the towpath. Next stop the dentist for Jo as she has a suspected abscess under one of her teeth.

Keith.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yelvertoft to Gallows Hill

17.9 miles, 10 locks, 8hrs 35mins

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Gallows Hill (2)

A foggy day from start to finish.

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Pylons have an eerie look about them in the fog.

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Not that you can see it, but approaching Welford junction.

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Entering Bosworth Tunnel.

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Descending Foxton locks.

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Foxton swingbridge.

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Keith.