Sunday, 21 November 2010

I have the power

It seems like it was an age away now but back in the summer I bought the battery from an electric fork lift truck.
It was 48volt, made up from 24, 2 volt cells wired in series like this one

The steel box they were in was split and rusted and the first job I had was to cut the copper links joining them together and lift them out. Easier said than done as they weigh 28kg each and were packed in like sardines. When they were first installed in the box, they were dry, then the water was added. That weight of that water causes the casings to spread and makes it almost impossible to pull them out. Once out, they spread and the water level drops inside causing the lead plates to be exposed, so they cant be left in that state. I made a plywood box in the new sixe and shape needed to fit the space in the engine compartment where they will need to go.

So, I made up temporary handles from insulated wire, twisted round the two poles and lifted them very carefully using an electric hoist. They stand 28'' high and I couldnt lift them manually over the sides of the steel box. I cut off the remainder of the copper links, removed the auto top up tubes and drilled down into the top of each post to accept a threaded insert which has a 6mm thread inside.

For almost 4 months they have been patiently waiting for a new home, not quite dormant, occasionally belching and bubbling hydrogen gas as they slowly discharge. Getting them installed in the new configuration and back on charge has been the priority goal but ive had to delay untill the engine room was weatherproof.

By last monday, things were finally ready and I took them out of the ply box, took the box apart so I could fit it through the wheelhouse floor framework and put it back together. Then I started the painful task of carrying them out of the shed, into the wheelhouse and lowering them into the box.
Its bad enough having to do it once as they weigh almost three quarters of a ton, but once they were all in, I noticed the base of the box was sagging and there was nothing for it but to take them all out, strengthen it and replace them again.
It was an all day job and when it was done, so was I.

It agrevated an old back injury and I needed two days off to recover.
I bought a length of copper bar, 5mm x 19mm, measured the distances between the poles, drilled holes and cut to length to make the links which go between the cells so I can make up 4 strings of 12v batteries comprising of 6 cells each.

Today ive bolted all the links up and sealed round the tops of all the cells to prevent overspill of water from the cell tops. This is what caused all the corrosion and mess in the old steel box, and I certainly dont want acid swilling around the engine room bilges.
Nest step is to get them on charge.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Its an ill wind........

Its been a terrible week, weather wise. Worst storms of Autumn so far, and ive been kept busy for most of the week trying to keep the hatches battened down and the pumps running.
OK, I exagerate but on Monday I had to pump 50 ish of our UK gallons (count them)out of the engine room and fix the roof with a thicker plastic sheet to try and prevent anymore rain getting in.
Mission imposssible in these gales, so I resorted to desperation and secured it with battens nailed through into my beloved gorgeous timber. What else could I do? I hope a liberal coating of teak oil will sooth the damage.
Even the planks on the roof were being thrown off by the violent gusts, so I upped the anti and weighed it down with a few pallets.

I had a guy come and measure for the glass last week, but in typical provincial fashion, no one seems to be in a rush to get the job done and ive been phoning the guy all week to see where the glass is. Land line was set to fax and mobile went to answerphone. I must have got him out of bed at 08.30 uk time when he finally answered his phone, the bloody Dominican republic. Surprise surprise, hes on vacation.
So I had to go and collect the glass myself from another guy who was contracted to actually cut the glass. Grrrrrr

Despite the horrendous gales, ive risked life and limb to get 10 of the 15 fitted. It was so scary in the gusts and I couldnt but help think of the photographer in 'The Omen' whos time was cut short when he lost his head over some glass. It must have been a real pane.

Another break through with the wheel house roof. Ive been phoning round to find anyone who can make a canvas type roof cover. It seems a fair few makers cant quite get their heads round a 9'1''x 10'3'' cover with 3 inch sides. They want to make it so complicated beyond all logic and then charge the earth for doing so. Grrrrrr

So I eventually found a tarpaulin maker who also makes boat covers and gave me an over the phone rough quotation. But as usual, the course of life cannot run to plan. His man failed to turn up and measure at the designated time. No doubt, hes on a provincial timetable that has a large element of 'Manyana' allocated to it. Not even a phone call to tell me why. Grrrrr

Im a peak of temper, I took the angle grinder up on deck and cut a 6.5'' hole for the stove flue. Job done. Who says you cant cut a round hole with a cutting disc?

Im tired now.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Miss Marple stabbed me

Its been a tough week, what with the wind and rain, and all the up and down, up and down in the engine room and wheelhouse

Its been my intention for some time to get weather proof so I can get the batteries installed in the final resting place. It was too wet on monday to get the covers off to sand and oil the woodwork, so I concentrated on batteries. I soon realised that other jobs needed doing first like get the holding tank and water tank in place because I cant manover them in after the batteries block the access.

One job becomes ten, and before that, I want to clean out and paint. So there was rusty water to empty from the bilges, welding to finish, lumpy paint to scrape off, etc etc.
I have an old Marples chisel which I affectionately call Miss Marple. Its used as a scraper, pry bar, lever, gouge, punch etc, and an all round usefull tool.

So there I was, levering the lid off the paint tin when Dear Miss marple slipped and bit me in the palm of my left hand. A first glance showed a scratch but 10 seconds later, the blood issued forth.
I had fits of laughter as I recalled the Al Wilson song, 'The Snake'. google it and listen to the lyrics, its very poinient.
Then it occured to me that I had been attacked in the wheelhouse by Miss Marple using a chisel. Some people wouldnt have a Cluedo what im talking about but it was kinda funny at the time.

By Thursday, I had done finished welding, sanded and oiled the front half of the woodwork, fitted the bolts and draft strip to the front doors, been down the Forest and brought back 4 more of the 205 lt drums im using for water tanks, and applied one coat of red oxide and one coat of white to the engine room.

By yesterday morning the first coat had dried and I just had time to get the second coat done when it started to rain. And it rained, and the sheets leaked and the paint got wet and it kept raining and leaking and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
So now the engine room has 3'' of water in it again and when I look at the weeks work, it all seems a little pathetic. Im dog tired, the cold I had last week is still bugging me, my hands are sore, my legs are bruised and I need a break.