Friday, 24 October 2008

Feeling flat...

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been settling into our new way of life in Cambridge- moving around, semi-continuous cruising, really.

Or, rather, we would have if the boat hadn't kept breaking. On Sunday, we planned to move the boat up to Clayhithe and then on to Upware for the first part of the week. Unfortunately, the batteries had other ideas.

The starter battery was flat; I couldn't start the engine, even by using it and the domestic battery bank; there just wasn't the power to turn the engine over.

This was somewhat confusing, as we had made sure that we charged the starter battery first before switching over to the domestics when running the engine; we checked the electrolyte often and made sure that the battery wasn't flat.

The solution, however, wasn't too hard; we carried the battery over to Queens' boathouse, where- thanks to boatman Paul- we left the battery to charge overnight from the mains.

After work on Monday, we retrieved the battery and started the engine- finally!- and, after filling up on water, made a quick trip to Clayhithe in the wind, rain and darkness- nice... On Tuesday, we planned to go on to Upware; I returned back from work first, and turned the key to fire up the BMC.

Again, there was no power to start it- despite having had about three hours of running the engine, charging both battery banks at the same time. Something was draining the power from the starter battery; and, removing one of the terminals from the starter battery and seeing the lights dim appreciably, I realised that the selector switch between the two battery banks was, seemingly, faulty- draining both battery banks, rather than just one and preserving the starter. It seems that, looking back, there have been a number of hints towards this; in the past when travelling the Grand Union and Nene, the starter has seemed surprisingly flat on occasion whenever the domestic bank has been very depleted.

It's not a huge problem; all we have to do is to remove a terminal from the starter battery whenever we finish running the engine, so as to fully isolate the starter, until we can sort out the selector switch.

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