Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Freyja is finally running again

After all of the problems with diesel bug and water in the diesel, I decided to fit an MLS centrifugal filter to remove water, dieselbug and impurities, Mark from Nene Marine sorted out some BSC standard piping. So after finishing putting missing bits back on the engine  I bled it and she finally burst into life, with her newly skimmed head and new head gasket. The exhaust flexi is still broken, hence the smoke! It will be replaced with a stainless steel flexi and a new roof collar. Apologies for the loss of commentary due to the 'mechanical commotion' ;o)
Unfortunately, I forgot to tighten the drain cock on the bottom of the new filter, so when we ran the engine it vibrated off, while we were asleep about thirty gallons of diesel siphoned down into the bilge! Luckily, it did not activate the bilge pump or it would have all pumped out into the lake, with distrastrous consequences!
I then had to waste best part of two very long and hard days pumping it out, de-greasing, washing, pumping out, de-greasing, washing.............. ;o(
We now have a very clean bilge (comparatively!) We also took out the engineering bricks which were filthy and greasy and seemingly only contributing to a negative level. I will give it one more thorough de-grease and clean before I paint it all and fix an LED strip around under the cockpit.
We were about to dump the old gas / 12v / 240v fridge as it didn't work on gas but plugged it into the mains and it is now working, haven't tried the 12v yet. So it will do us while we are in the marina.

Monday, 21 April 2014

WooHoo! Christina has a new safety certificate.

Julian (Loddon) re-wired Christina, our butty, as the electrics were dodgy in places, also I wanted to be able to use 16amp C-form (blue) type sockets at each end of the boat and to have 12v and 240v sockets in our boatman's cabin.
Mark from Nene Marine fitted a gas bubble tester and Ian Jennings did our safety survey.

The main feed coming into the consumer unit had a wire twisted and taped to another wire which was attached to this tiny crocodile clip by a choccie block! Just one example of the dodgy wiring before the re-wire

3 ways to convert fluorescent tubes to LED

I wanted to improve the lighting in the butty's workshop and in doing so get rid of the power-hungry fluorescent tubes.
I knew of three methods and decided to try all three.

The first, and by far the most expensive method was to replace the fluorescent tubes in my workshop with a pair of Beddazzled's brilliant daylight LED tubes, but at £30 each they were too expensive to use in all five of our lamps. The LED tube is quite heavy as it has an aluminium reflector that runs down the back of it.
Before and after, in the foreground is an original fluorescent tube, behind it is the daylight LED tube (there is a large skylight above them that stops the photo from showing just how much better the LED is). The small inverter in the lamp must be disconnected, but that was a simple enough procedure, following the instructions that came with the tubes.
 The second and third methods involve using a self-adhesive roll of LEDs that can be cut every three LEDS and used as three or groups of three.

As we rarely use the bathroom in the butty I converted the fluorescent tube to LED by cutting off seven sets of three LEDs and then, with a sharp knife, carefully cut back the clear rubber coating away from the two dot contacts (they are marked with + and -) I then used a little dab of flux on each contact and then tinned each dot (solder each one but don't let the dots join up!) then I fluxed the wire tips and tinned them (flux just makes the solder stick easier, many solders have flux already in them). Then carefully solder the red wire's tip to the positive dot and the black one to the negative.
This is how the LED strip looks complete with the positive and negative wires attached to one end. The 5 metre roll can be bought on ebay for about £6.99 (link here)
Cut the strip on any of these lines (between the + and - dots)
Carefully cut through the rubber coating but not the contacts and peel the piece away

Here, I've 'tinned' the negative (-) dot after cutting back the rubber coating.

After tinning the wire tips solder them to the dots.
One red wire (+) will come into the lamp and be connected to the switch, there will be another red wire coming out of the switch, cut this one and join to the positive tail (+) the white wire (-) that comes in through the back of the lamp needs to be cut and joined to the negative tail (-).
I also cut the wires to the inverter, just to be on the safe side.
Let there be light!
The finished lamp ;o)
If you intend to use the self adhesive LED option a lot then it's advisable to get one of these voltage converters to stop them from overheating, they come with a 2amp fuse & holder and cost about £12.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Chatterbox's day out!

After we had our 'Gentleman's weekend' with the guys from the Brewery Tap, Glenda decided it was time to balance things by taking her friends Lynette and Carol to our boats.

Glenda and Lynette braving our precarious-looking picnic bench on the end of our pontoon.

Carol in 'Me, Me, Me mode' they are all mine, and you're not having any! (actually it's because the very end of the pontoon wobbles like crazy whenever anyone walks down it)
The girls with their, very healthy looking, picnic. Lynette with her camera, she takes amazing and beautiful pics of wildlife etc. but a lot of our usual visiting birds of prey, water birds etc. came over very shy on that day.