Boogie Nights

A sweary hyperactive maritime professional, really very keen on laughing a lot, doing their best to avoid all the trappings of societies' expectations by acting on impulse to any adventurous idea that wafts by. Let's go!

bienvenu, hola, ciao!

01 April 2009

Travel Power and electric toothbrushes

Honey Ryder is fitted with the best system I've ever known for supplying power. It's got electrical power coming out of its ears, not literally, but metaphorically.

2kw Inverter, Charger, shore power, comprehensive battery management, small suit case gennie for just in case, solar panel awaiting fitment, ELECTROLUX TRAVEL POWER...

When I bought the boat I didn't know what IT was or how it worked.
after asking the questions on the canal forum I got answers for how to make it work,

The travel power gives us the power to charge our batteries with our 240v charger, with stage charging. it lets me run a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner and a hair dryer that can strip vinyl off of name panels at 10 paces.
Yes it's got the power!

I've lived with (and without) it for just over two years, so heres my travel power story

It works from the engine, so start er up, flick the switch and see a green light come on. Or NOT. a few more engine revs, and there is the lovely green light followed by a nice audible >CLICK< all the boat is beaming with 240 volts running through the inverter/charger box.
But soon follows another >CLICK<, followed by a frown, the engine is switched off, the floor boards are lifted, belt tension is checked, tools are made handy , the large belt is tensioned within an hairs bredth of its life, engine switched back on, revs applied, the green illuminates , cross your fingers.... hurray! we have POWER.
The light on my electric toothbrush comes on in the distant corner of the bedroom where it is always left plugged, just in case, to catch any stray 240v that might wander through the boats circuits. All is well, the boat vibrates with the engines rythmic humming...
But then, while the engine boards are up, there's a distant squeeking. You cock your head on one side and listen intently for a moment. Nothing to worry about, especially if you put the engine boards back on, it's hardly noticable.

Then >CLICK<... it all goes off again, apart from the engine that carries on regardless and my toothbrush sits dimly in the corner. This is probably because the charger has been left on at the same time as the washing machine trying to run its heat cycle. A simple case of overloading, switch off the charger and >CLICK< we are back in action.
However, if you forget to switch off the charger when running a large appliance too many times, you will blow a small fuse, located in the engine room.

It will take two days to locate this fuse.

New fuse applied and a jug full of spares in the kitchen cupboard, we are back in electrical action. This time with slightly louder squeek. After ignoring the gradually increasing crescendo of squeek turning to sqeal, it all turns nasty when it goes clunkety grindy clunk under the engine boards. Inspection reveals a tensioner has chucked its bearings out of the pram. The rubber belt has melted and its all a rather hot and sticky mess. [url=""]new pulley[/url]

one week later, new "ventilated" pully applied and my toothbrush is happily charging in the corner.
Until, there's another splintering sound. Engine rapidly switched off, boards are lifted once again in a hurry, to reveal a shredded belt. At £20 a throw, this is the 5th belt it's munched its way through in as many months. Careful application of another new belt shows the critical prescision fitting of the belt and the alternator pully sides.

Weeks pass, everything seems to running nicely, then >BANG< the inverter blows up.
[url=""]new inverter[/url]

three weeks later, new inverter plumbed in, the travel power is humming along beautifully, new belt, new tensioner pulley, new inverter charger and my toothbrush has never been happier.

Its freezing cold outside, the washing machine is humming its way through is fortnightly wash when >CLICK<>CLICK< washing machine whirs back into action. We dismiss it as the water being so cold it is making the heater work more than usual...
until gradually without us really noticing the decline in performance, the travel power refuses to co-operate with the washing machine. >CLICK<>CLICK<>CLICK<>CLICK<>CLICK<>CLICK< off

the fuse blows again.

a call to Beta Marine, new brushes ordered. one day later, new brushes fitted.

still no travel power. still no electric toothbrush.

a call to Beta Marine, followed by a call to Cox Automotives in Warwickshire...

one day booked off work to take the complete Electrolux travel power system for checking in Warwickshire.
I've put my electric toothbrush away now and gone back to a manual.


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