Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Conundra

Continuing to wonder about the health of Erin Mae's batteries, two days ago I'd shone a torch down the magic eye of each, and three of them showed green. I didn't think the eye on the fourth one had the same healthy colour, so I decided to remove that one, and see whether three behaved better than four – apparently one duff battery can affect the performance of the whole bank. I flexed my muscles and got it out. But when I shone the torch again, the magic eye on this one was also green. I thought perhaps the amount of sloshing around as I removed the battery must have mixed up the electrolyte and done it some good. So I replaced it and did a bit more charging before the 8 p.m. deadline. When we got up yesterday the SmartGauge was showing 59% – a bit better than I'd been experiencing recently. Amazing what a bit of sloshing around could do.

Anyway, we ran the engine for just under 2 hours in the morning before setting out on our trip to Hebden Bridge. The sun came out and fed the solar panel, and when we got back the SmartGauge was indicating the batteries were fully charged. Even at bedtime, the gauge was showing about 98%, and the voltmeter reading also suggested they were in a good state. I was very happy.

But this morning the SmartGauge was again showing just 50%. I simply cannot understand how a bank of four batteries can have half their electrons sucked out by an hour of LED lighting, a little bit of iPad charging and a fridge running overnight – even if the fridge / inverter combination is not very efficient. After breakfast we pulled across to Pennine Cruisers to fill up with diesel. While Wayne was doing that I mentioned how baffled I was, and later he came over with a battery tester. It implied that all of them were showing some signs of not being new, and one was a bit worse than the others, but that all of them were basically OK.

So I feel I'm back at square one. I'd been thinking of writing off these batteries, but it looks as though that would be premature. I would be willing to write off the fridge, if that were definitely the problem, but there doesn't appear to be one on the market that (a) would fit in the 50 cm wide space, and (b) would continue to run when the ambient temperature is below 16˚C – as can happen on the boat overnight.

However, we did have another wonderful evening at Skipton Folk Club!

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