Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Out with the old…

…in with the new.

We spent a bit of time examining options for getting our mains circuit operational again.
  1. Mastervolt operate a repair service, I could drop the unit off in Shardlow to be collected and shipped to Holland. The unit may not be repairable, if it is the cost would be minimum £550. Return in 2-3 weeks.
  2. Bite the bullet and replace the unit, like for like. The advantage would be that the MICC (Mastervolt’s optional extra battery monitor) would still be useable.
  3. Replace with a new unit from a different manufacturer.
Both 1. and 2. would require the purchase of a temporary solution, a quasi sine-wave 100W unit, for around £50. But there would be no guarantee that the LCD TVs and chargers for laptop and phones would work OK from such a cheap unit. It would also be taking up space and collecting dust as soon as we were sorted. Another issue is that the repair of the old combi would be guaranteed, but we’d still have a seven year old unit…. and a new one, with as much discount as I could squeeze out of the supplier, would still be in the region of £1300.

We looked at option 3, the other two main providers of this kit are Victron and Sterling. Both offer a combi of the same sort of rating, and both were available locally. The Victron is slightly dearer, and I’ve used Sterling kit before, we’ve an alternator-to-battery charge controller fitted. So we decided to go for the Sterling.
A quick solution, another full 2 year warranty, £400 less than the Mastervolt and £200 less than the Victron. And I got a 15% discount so it was just less than £1000. Still a hefty lump of money, especially as we hadn’t budgeted for it. Contingency funds….

Yesterday we had a lovely cruise down from Branston, with a stop in Burton for some bits from Shobnall Wharf, and ended up mooring about 1½ miles short of Willington.

Heading towards Branston LockSAM_6223

Shobnall Wharf, the original entrance to the Bond End CanalSAM_6224
The canal linked the Trent and Mersey to the then-navigable River Trent, but all that remains now is the basin at this end.

Dallow Lock is the last of the narrow locks heading in this direction.

Dallow LockSAM_6227
When Brindley surveyed the route he recognised that the canal would have to compete with the river navigation as far as Burton on Trent. So, against opposition from the river traders, he had the final locks on the downhill slope to Shardlow built broad to take river craft. With the canal not prone to flood and drought like the river, traffic soon switched to the new route and the the river wharves and docks withered and died, the river locks deteriorated and the navigation closed.

We were certainly heading in the right direction, there seems to be a lot more traffic going uphill. Most locks have had a queue of 4 or 5 boats waiting to go up.

Beyond Burton the canal crosses the River Dove, nearly finished with it’s 45 mile trip from near Buxton in the Peak District.

Crossing the Dove aqueductSAM_6230
The Dove loses itself in the Trent just a mile downstream. The stone bridge used to carry the A38, but the new dual carriageway now carries the heavy traffic just a little further north.

We pulled ion near Bridge 25, within earshot of the road but with clear line of sight to the spot in the sky for the TV.

Lesley and Joe on NB Yarwood had been in touch; we knew they were heading this way and that our paths would cross, so we arranged to meet in Willington this morning.

Into Willington, there’s Yarwood in the distance.SAM_6233

A handy gap for us was right astern

Lesley had the kettle on so we went aboard for tea and cake, and to have a look around their fine boat. We’ve not seen them for some time, since when they’ve had Yarwood built, selling their previous Caxton

They’ve incorporated some interesting ideas into the design, experience of living aboard Caxton has helped here.

Joe, Lesley and Mags, and of course Meg in the cornerSAM_6242

Mags and I don’t often get a picture together, Lesley kindly obliged…SAM_6244
The dog behind is one of Yarwood’s, Floyd or Fletcher, not sure which.

We could have stayed and talked all day, but my bank card had a reluctant appointment with Midland Chandlers at Mercia Marina.

Into MerciaSAM_6246

Midland Chandlers, just inside the marina entranceSAM_6247

I was pleased to see that someone has spent more than me today… launch day!SAM_6250

We pulled back out of the marina and moored just along the canal, just in case I needed anything else.

Then the Mastervolt came out….

SAM_6252…and the Sterling went in.

Everything connected up and working now, I‘ve just got the remote control cable to run through to the galley and the remote itself to fit.

It would have been a doddle, but I had to rewire the mains input and output connections as the previous cables weren’t long enough. The connections on this unit are on the top, the Mastervolt’s are on the bottom. Still, it was all done and dusted in 2 hours.
And the good news is that the MICC still works! It still shows domestic and starter voltages, amps in and out, hours remaining and percentage charged. The only thing it doesn’t do is remotely switch the combi on and off, which it’s not wired to do anyway.

Mass Inverter Charger Control, call me MICC.SAM_6254
It’d have gone on ebay otherwise, these are £500 new!

Locks 0, miles 2¼

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