Electrical Systems

It is always nice to see friends and you can read more about it in Pink and Fluffy but the arrival of spares and the ability to return faulty items is also welcome. So since completing the ARC a number of systems have needed maintenance or fixing. The RedBox wifi and router unit from Mailasail has been great until it went wrong and the wifi Bat systems (designed to extend your wifi range so you can pick up wifi in anchorages) have not lived up to their reputation. Getting the internet has been very important for us, not only for weather but to stay in touch with friends and family. As I installed two wifi Bats I thought I had it covered. One was at the top of the mast and failed after 2 months, water ingress into the USB connection. At great expense involving an engineer and a rigger the cable was replaced and a new wifi Bat installed. It lasted a year but has also failed. After the first failure I installed a back up on the SatCom pole at the stern. This would be easier to get to if it failed. And sure enough it has. To be fair it was a wifi Bat clone from Crucial wifi but as both wifi Bats proper have failed I am either unlucky or they are not up-to marine installation. I can’t be bothered to get another rigger and engineer up the mast but will have a look at the stern one later.  For the time being our friends brought another Crucial wifi system with a directional antenna and that connected directly to the Mac indoors seems to work. We can aim it at restaurants to pick up their free wifi. Other success are the mast head camera, videos currently being edited and will appear on the site soon, A65 small plotter and AIS under the spray hood, Sat Phone, water maker, washing machine, fans and galvanic isolator. Failures are the deck LED lights and the already mentioned WiFi Bat.  Another important system is the shower. The heater element in the water tank failed and the shower drain pump sounds like a coffee grinder. The element brought from the UK turned out to be the wrong size but the spare pump is at hand if the primary one fails. All this requires battery power and the 750Ah AGMs have proved their worth. So far we run the generator for 3 hours a day and the engine for 30 minutes, in reality for cruiseing the 140Ah solar panels are a bit superfluous with a generator.  Interestingly to monitor the batteries we installed the swishest battery monitor by BEP marine, nice colourful display and great readouts, however the cheap and easy to fit smart gague is far more accurate despite it only having simple connections monitoring voltage.  The other systems all seem to be working for the time being and now having spent many weeks away from marinas I cannot speak to highly of some of the electrical upgrades I made. The aircon sounded a luxury. It is essential. The generator is fantastic and keeps my Espresso Coffee machine at the ready. The upgraded alternator puts lots of juice into the batteries on passage and heats the water while we sort out the electrical heating element. The 32 inch smart TV is great, we can stream films from my Mac book directly to it. The water maker is a dream and keeps us in daily showers. The pure sine wave inverter keeps our phones, laptops and camera charged and powers the TVs. The keel cooler element for the fridge keeps the beers cold on very little energy. We are not slumming it!