Wednesday 23 October 2013

Diesel electric

No – I haven't installed diesel-electric propulsion, yet! But we've been having fun and games with both the diesel and the electric.

As I blogged back on the 11th October, my calculations about Erin Mae's electrical usage have thrown up some oddities that I find hard to understand. In particular, using the inverter to power the fridge overnight seems to drain the batteries far more than it should. So I called in the services of a boat electrician to do some diagnostics, and so far he's stumped. The fridge appears fine, but I think he's agreed with me that the Victron Phoenix MultiPlus (grand name) is inexplicably taking too much juice when under load. He's got a piece of kit attached to another boat at the moment that he's going to bring across after the weekend which will provide some more data. If it really is the Victron then (a) that would be very unusual, and (b) unfortunately, if you want to run complete tests, it seems they have to go  back to Holland! So we shall wait and see.

It was when we lifted the engine cover to get at the batteries that I realised the floor of the engine compartment was flooded. That has never happened before. Then I realised that (tut-tut) I hadn't opened the compartment to do any routine checks since we had the engine service done in Middlewich at the start of the month (and fitted the charger gizmo), so it could have been there, or growing, for three weeks. But what had happened? Coolant / anti-freeze leak? No, that was OK. Water from the canal? No, wrong consistency. Ingress from the horrendous rain we've been getting? No, the drainage channels were clear. It was only when I reflected on why the flood was pink that I thought of diesel. Horrors! Leaking tank?

Anyway, I got onto Kings Lock Chandlers on the assumption that it had to have something to do with the service. Steve was very helpful, and today Keith drove down to sort it out. First he sucked out the diesel (20 litres, at a guess – ouch!).

Then it became apparent that this was the culprit:

It's a separator that allows any water in the fuel to sink to the bottom and be removed. The drain plug at the bottom was dripping fuel. So we sorted it out (that is, Keith sorted it out) and we shall keep an eye on it to check it remains sorted.

Some people buy a boat in order to have a project.


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