6.2 miles, no locks, 2hrs 30mins.
Overnight the canal had dropped in level and we were slightly aground, but I soon had us on the move. We soon came across patches of ice on the canal.
Crunching through the ice approaching Crick.
5.5 miles, 1 lock, 1hr 55mins.
With the overnight rain and warmer temperatures the ice and nearly all the snow had disappeared so we were ready to set off after breakfast. However due to the rain and the thaw the River Avon was in flood.
This is the entrance to Welford Marina.
The River Avon road bridge.
The river has flooded the road near the bridge.
The overspill above Welford lock.
These 5 of 11 wind turbines have appeared alongside the canal since we came through here last October.
For anyone who regularly follows this blog will know we have for been having a few problems with the electrics on-board Hadar. A quick summary follows.
For many reasons since we set off I have had suspicions that our electrics have not been performing correctly, in particular our Victron Multiplus Invertor/Charger. Things deteriorated rapidly towards the end of last year, resulting in our buying 5 new batteries. Now I rightly assumed that by replacing our batteries which we had doubts about especially the 2 which had originally been on the boat when the 3rd battery blew it’s top off. However all indications since then pointed towards the batteries not holding a charge, in that considering the amount of energy consumed between recharging, and the voltage readings indicated, before charging, as low as 11.1volts, the rapidity of the charge voltage raising to the Absorption level of 14.4volts, and having run the generator for an hour to charge the batteries, the battery voltage was only going to 12.5volts and not the expected 13.1-13.2volts.
For the best part of our stay here at Welford, I have been trying to work out what was going on, all the indicators were saying a bad battery, all the characteristics of, for example, one cell in one battery being down. Yet surely brand new batteries could not be failing? One of the reasons for fitting them was to eliminate the possibility that our problems were due to the batteries. Even with a 24 hour charge on a land-line didn’t seem to improve things.
To say I was having sleepless nights is an understatement, it is very difficult to get to sleep when volts, amps, batteries, chargers, etc. are buzzing around in your brain! For the past few days I have been monitoring and noting down much data, well not much else to do whilst frozen in.
Thursday I decided to reset some of the values I had changed within the Invertor/Charger just to eliminate the possibility that they were causing the problems. Usually when I take the front panel off it is easy enough to see most of the panel, but the lower part, especially the section below where all the connections are, are a bit obscured. Usually I move our spare toilet cassette and animal water bowl to give me better access, but this time we actually removed the steps by the engine room door, so I could get right down to floor level. I had the manual in my hand, and was referring to the diagram showing where everything of importance was located. With this I noticed that the set of 3 connectors which are used for connecting the Voltage sense, Temperature sensor and starter battery trickle charge, had only one pair of wires connected, the trickle charge pair. Now I know I had removed the temperature sensor some time back as it was this that caused the charger to overvoltage and damaged the battery. However I was surprised to see no connection for the Voltage sense.
Now the Voltage sense is a pair of wires connected across a battery so the Invertor/ Charger can more accurately measure the voltage across the battery, rather than relying on the voltage it sees at the main cables that go between the battery bank and the Invertor/Charger. Now thinking deeply about this, during last year I fitted the Victron BMV, which, to be able to measure Current, has a Shunt which goes between the battery bank and everything else. Any electrical meter is a voltmeter, so to be able to measure Current a voltmeter us used to measure the voltage across the Shunt, which is basically a resistor, and by measuring this voltage the meter just needs to be calibrated in Amps or Milliamps accordingly. Hence without the voltage sense connected the Invertor/Charger was not actually measuring the voltage across the batteries. Could it be as simple as this? Surely not.
Fortunately I still had the temperature sensor and it’s cables on the boat, so used the cable for this to connect across one of the batteries and then to the Voltage sense connector in the Invertor/Charger. I still reset one of the setting within before refitting the front panel.
We reconnected to the shoreline for another 24 hours charge. Well what a difference. For the first time ever the Charger stayed in Absorption mode for the full 4 hours maximum setting, this looked promising.
Friday morning we got up, did all our morning stuff, breakfast, dog walked, cat and dog fed, fires made up, and then I turned off the shore line, hey presto, after 10 minutes 13.1volts! Throughout the day things just looked more promising, the voltage stabilized and by the time it got to running the generator for it’s evening run I measured 12.33volts!
Amazing. Truly amazing in fact.
Even overnight last night the voltage had only dropped to 12.1volts, far better than the 10.5volts we had been experiencing.
The new batteries are perfectly fine and working well. Even during the day yesterday, with some energy being supplied by the solar panel.
Now I realise for the non-technically minded this may all seem gobble-dee gook, but basically all our electrics are now performing correctly, and in more ways than I have mentioned here.
Both Jo and I cannot believe how such a simple thing could cause so many problems. It is nice that we can relax quite considerably now all this has been sorted, for me it is a heavy load off my mind.
I am definitely now looking forward to this coming year, more than I have since we have been on the boat.
A few days ago I had accidentally knocked the tiny bucket, we have hanging under the engine governor to catch the oil drips, off of the spindle and it disappeared below the engine, so yesterday I took the guard off which protects the alternators to recover it, to discover one of the pair of fan belts for the domestic alternator looked a bit thin at one point.
Having removed it and it’s partner, and replaced them both with two new belts, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to last much longer. I will keep the other belt as a reserve spare. I checked the starter motor alternator and water pump belts, but they were both ok.
This morning the predicted snow started.
And this afternoon (1:00pm) it has really started to come down.
We are snug and warm and enjoying our extended stay at Welford Wharf.
This morning Jo and I took a brisk walk up to Welford Reservoir.
We have never seen it this full before.
Plenty of water.
Plenty flowing over the overflow.
Looking back at the Wharf Inn from the reservoir dam.
Further along we came across this live Badger sett.
Looking towards the village of Welford across the reservoir.
The junction of the overflow and the main outlet, loadsa water. There is a real chill in the air today, and the clouds have that look about them that says snow!
1.7 miles, 1 lock, 55 mins.
Jo wanted to do a wash in the washing machine this morning, and as we had problems the last time we used it I wanted to watch what was going on. Things didn’t go well, and we decided we needed to get it looked at, so I rang Ian at Appliance Corner in Market Harborough and he arranged to pick it up from as at Welford Wharf, so we pulled stakes and returned back up the arm. It was a tad foggy!
The sun was trying to burn through.
The fog was clearing as we approached Welford lock.
We moored up at the wharf, and got the washing machine out of the galley and into the hold ready for Ian to pick it up from us.
Ian and his wife Liz arrived and we soon had the machine installed in the van, and after a short chat and catch-up, they were on their way to discover what is wrong with it.
1.7 miles, 1 lock, 55 mins.
We took a delivery of 2.5tonnes of coal yesterday, Jo had cleared a space in the hold ready for the delivery.
When it arrived it was a bit late to move out from the wharf so we stayed there last night. We delivered ½ tonne to the marina this morning before setting off. A pleasant dry and only just cold run out to the junction.
Recently we discovered we had a mouse on-board in the hold, so mousetraps were set, they were supposed to be prebaited, whatever that means, I thought they didn’t need baiting and assumed there must have been some sort of odour already built into the trap. Well after a number of days without any sign of said mouse I decided to bait the traps. We had been told that chocolate was a good bait, so I bought some Cadbury’s chocolate buttons.
The reason for this is they are small, small enough to sit on the trap trigger plate, and because of their shape, with a curve to the upper edge very difficult to pick up, as anyone who has tried to pick one up off a table, for example, has discovered.
Traps set overnight, and the next morning low and behold both chocolate buttons had gone! How this mouse managed to pick both buttons off the trap trigger plate without triggering either of them is beyond me, a very resourceful mouse. This obviously needed another approach. Now the trap trigger plates are made of yellow plastic with small holes of different shapes and sizes in each as can be seen below.
My next ploy was to cut up a chocolate button and force these pieces into the holes in the trigger plate, some actually started to melt with my finger temperature which helped to shape the chocolate either side of the plate.
Success, one mouse safely dispensed this morning. Mind you it had managed to remove every piece of chocolate from both traps before succumbing! Incredible, but at the end of the day not as devious as me!
12.2 miles, 11 locks, 5 hrs 10 mins.
A beautiful winters day for travelling. First off we headed for Debdale Wharf to take on 445litres of diesel. We met up with Caroline and John who were waiting for a pump out and we chatted whilst we waited. We then headed back to Foxton junction and up through the locks with the assistance of John, one of the volunteer lock keepers. We pressed on and took the Welford arm at Welford junction and have moored up at the wharf for the weekend, with a coal delivery here Monday morning. I have had to keep this entry brief as we only have GPRS signal here.
5.15 miles, 1 swingbridge, 1hr 50mins.
At last we have set off from our winter mooring at Market Harborough. We did some final shopping at Tescos in the town, so we are well stocked for setting off. We also popped into Gildings Auctioneers, but the item I was interested in went for way more than I was prepared to pay for it. Never mind, might be luckier the next time.
A very pleasant cruise to just before Foxton junction. Although we like spending winter at Market Harborough it is nice to be on the move again. We popped into Bridge 61 for a coffee whilst our washing was in the large machine at Bridge 61.