You may remember a few weeks ago I’d everything in place for
Mags’ procedure at the Royal Shrewsbury, Frankton Locks booked and hire car
Then I had to cancel as I’d stupidly allowed my driving
licence to lapse. So I had to send for a renewal, without a current passport I couldn’t
do it online.
It arrived at the end of last week and the Endoscopy Unit at
the hospital offered us an appointment for this coming Friday, the 18th.
Coming back through the woods next to the meres.
We met up with Val and Johnny and topped up the cupboards
and fridge at Ellesmere at the weekend, then headed for Frankton Junction yesterday
and dropped down Frankton Locks today, mooring up at Queens Head.
Busier at the locks than it was in Ellesmere!
After the mixed weather we’ve had over the last couple of
weeks it was a joy to cruise in fine mild conditions in just a light jacket.
Graham Palmer Lock, named for the founder of the Waterways
Volunteers from the WRG did most of the work to restore this
canal back to navigation standards, and have worked on many projects on the
The lock only has a shallow fall, it was built to lower the
water levels from here to Aston Locks to reduce losses from this notoriously
Spring daffodils at Heath House Bridge.
Moored at Queens Head.
This afternoon I went off to pick up a hire car, so now we’re
all set for Mag’s pre-med and covid test tomorrow, then her ERCP on Friday. Don’t
you love it when a plan (finally) comes together!
On an entirely unrelated topic, I’m sure you remember I “went
lithium” last December, replacing our conventional lead-acid batteries with
lithium-iron. The installation used one lead-acid as an alternator-protecting
dump load and a DC-DC charger to control the voltage and current flowing to 3
80ah LiFePo4 drop-in batteries.
The set-up has proved to be worthwhile, with shorter charge
times and deeper discharge levels leading to a reduction in engine running and
the ever-increasing cost of the precious red stuff it drinks.
But I decided I could do better, but with a large investment.
I decided to bite the bullet and swap the 3x80ah’s for 2x150ah units, charged
from a 200 amp alternator managed by a sophisticated charge controller. This
involved modifications to the alternator mounting and the wiring, so I decided
to get a man in.
Enter the admirable Ed Shiers of Four Counties Marine
Services who offers a complete upgrade package, fitted, configured and working,
in around a day.
Still the pipework and wiring to clip up yet...
I was able to do some of the preliminary work myself,
leaving him with the technical stuff, so he’d finished by mid-afternoon.
It’s a slick job, a Bosch alternator and Mastervolt Alpha
Pro III controller which allows me to adjust the charge current, voltage and
bulk charge times. Even at considerably less than the alternator’s maximum capacity
the batteries are fully charged in an hour. Then I can just turn off the
I’m still tinkering with the settings to give the optimum
balance between charge rate, engine load and battery life but I’m just about where I
want to be.
I was looking at sticking just one 300ah LiFePo4 battery in
to simplify the wiring and ensure good cell balancing but I found that unless I
was prepared to pay for a high-end product the internal BMS (battery management
system that protects the battery) wasn’t man enough to drive a 2500 watt inverter.
Having two batteries in parallel, apart from being easier to handle, gives a higher
potential discharge capacity.
These KS Energy units should be good for 5000 charge/discharge
cycles which by my reckoning should last us around 15 years!
When Mags is sorted we’ll be off, so look forward to more regular
posts – maybe!
Miles and locks since last post – 26 and 5 respectively.