Friday 31 October 2014

All fired up

When we were out cruising for an 11 week stretch in the summer of 2013, we came back to find that the car battery was flat, in spite of a 2.5 watt solar panel from the AA shop having been in place. In the autumn, after a six week cruise, it was just able to fire the engine. So during the winter I researched and then bought a 7.5 watt panel, of the folding suitcase sort.

The 11 weeks that have just ended have been its first serious test. When we arrived last night I tried the button on the key to see whether the car would unlock, but it just sat there and I feared the worst. But when I unlocked the door manually, the alarm began to sound and turning the key in the ignition brought the whole dashboard to light. The engine started fine. I turned it off after a few seconds and measured the battery voltage at the cigar lighter. It was reading 12.58v, which is about what it was when we left it, maybe a bit more. I used my new clamp meter to measure the current into the battery with the engine running, and it was was just over 20 amps, which I think indicates a battery charge well above danger levels. I conclude that the solar panel has done a great job, and that the failure of the doors to unlock from the key button was simply an indication of the depth of sleep into which the car had fallen. That's a bit of a result, after last year's experiences. Let's hope what I have planned for Erin Mae's batteries meets with the same success!

We met one of our new neighbours today – Scott on NB Thistle Patch. It's his first boat, a 2005 56 footer from Liverpool Boats, freshly painted. So here she is, looking a treat alongside Erin Mae on this quiet evening.

Nice to meet you, Scott! Hope we run into you again soon. And hope you have a lot of joy in your boat.


  1. Yet again. we just missed you! We arrived Saturday at about 3.30! We are having a trip down the Coventry dictated somewhat by the stoppages , which begin tomorrow! We will be ok as far as the Atherstone flight, then we will have to turn and retrace our steps. (Note to self:can one retrace steps in a boat?) Maybe, by the time we get back, you will be back for your winterisation!

    1. We saw your car as we were leaving, and had noted that The Great Escape was moored the other way round to normal. So we wondered if you were around, and I left a comment on the last post on your own blog. Hope your trip to the Coventry goes really well – that's one part we haven't got to yet.