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Got a technical question or a boating query? Post your quandaries here and pick the brains of the WW team. You can also add your answers to others' questions, or browse through previous answers.

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Candlebridge Carrying Company

Trying to get in touch with Candlebridge Carrying Company, I had some coal off them last year, Have tried the mobile phone number on the card they gave me (07973 915146)which appears permanently engaged. Anyone know if they are still trading, changed their phone number etc???. They did a good job last year.

Asked by: Paul Jones  | Tuesday 22 July, 12.53pm | 2 answers

generator problem

I have an unusual but not unknown problem with a 230 volt generator.
The system consists of a Vetus 6.5kW generator coupled into a shore power / off / generator switch and then into a Victron inverter / charger / controller. There is also DC battery charging from the main engine via its own charger controller.
The system is 24 volts and the batteries (which were replaced a few months ago) charge fully from both the main engine and the generator.
The problem is that when the generator that when the generator is started there is the usual delay whilst the controller allows for the generator coming up to speed then as soon as the generator is connected the 30mA RCD trips but the batteries still charge. When the generator is stopped the trip can be reset.
I spoke to a local boat yard and they said they had seen the same problem but put the fault down to the control board in the controller. This board was sent to Holland for repair but was returned three weeks later as not being faulty. By this time the customer was not happy and took the repair to another boatyard. The first boatyard therefore did not know the resolution to the fault.
I contacted Vetus in the UK but never received a reply to my email.
I then contacted Merlin who was the supplier and designer of the electrical system. They were extremely pleasant and helpful. I spoke a few times to a young lady called Vicky who was one of the system engineers. She gave me a number of ideas to try one of them being to connect to a shore supply or to a pure sine wave external generator fed in as shore supply. Neither of these were available so we connected to another boat which had a pure sine wave inverter. The trip did not 'blow'. The conclusion was that the control board was working correctly and the fault was definitely in the generator.
When we bought the boat the generator only had 37 hours on the clock because the boat had been mainly used on shore power. The problems started around the 100 hours mark.
I brought in a local boat electrician who was very good but in some thirty odd years of working on boats had not come across. The generator was checked for earth connections, shorts and speed. The speed was out by 16%. This was corrected with difficulty because his test equipment was giving erratic readings. This did not cure the fault.
On the electricians next visit I had set up an oscilloscope with an inductive pickup. The results were unexpected. The speed was exactly 50 Hz and the output was a sine wave but the sine wave consisted of spikes and troughs up to about 40 volts all along the sine wave.

Asked by: pat addy  | Thursday 17 July, 11.37am | 5 answers

Travel pack

I've been told that fitting a travel power generator to an Isuzu 34 hp engine is difficult and will cost around £4000 although there is plenty of room in the engine bay?

Asked by: Kevin Cracknell  | Thursday 10 July, 3.49pm | 1 answer

LED Down lighters

I am looking for a supplier for the lights. Can anybody recommend a company. I will need 35. Look forward to your comments

Asked by: Chris Tidy  | Thursday 10 July, 2.02pm | 2 answers

Engine power

Does a 34hp engine have enough spare power to run a travel pack generator of say 3.5 kva?

Asked by: Kevin Cracknell  | Thursday 10 July, 10.33am | 3 answers

Finding Alan Firth's relatives

I am sorry but I realise this doesn't exactly meet the brief for questions - I have some papers.emphera resulting from meeting the canal artist Alan Firth in the 80's I thought his next of kin might like these but don't how to find them. Also I used to teach Roses and Castles painting and have a collection of very helpful books etc.,
I can't find a copy of the Waterways world magazine here in St.Ives Cornwall! so don't know about scrap book page? Many thanks Angela

Asked by: Angela J Diggle  | Saturday 28 June, 12.58pm | 1 answer

Boat occasionally doesn't start

9 out of 10 times my nb starts first time but when she won't start it can take many attempts sometimes over 2 or 3 hours before she'll start. When I turn the key, heat the coil and then complete the turn it just clicks and doesn't start. My engine is a BMC 1.8 which was rebuilt when I bought my nb just over a year ago. Could it be the starting motor? There's no pattern as to why it won't start on the occasions it doesn't. It can happen whether I've not turned the engine on for a week or even if I've run it daily. I can even stop for 20 minutes and when I go to start up again it won't. At first I thought I wasn't heating the coil long enough but 50 seconds normally works. Any advice would be appreciated.

Asked by: Dave Snarey  | Tuesday 24 June, 7.39am | 2 answers

Toilet flush problem.

Sunday evening my Thetford cassette toilet would not flush.
I checked the fuse box in the engine room start cupboard and one of the fuses had tripped out so I re-engaged it.
Then followed a loud "whiring noise" and the toilet would flush but then the fuse quickly tripped out again and I was back to square one with no flush.
Everything else works ok and the water system to the taps and shower are fine along with the lighting and landline powered socket points.
Thanks in advance.

Asked by: Trevor Smith  | Sunday 22 June, 7.58pm | 3 answers

Q2! Two part epoxy colour integrity

Some of my co-owners feel that Two-part epoxy blacking fades with age. What is your experience of this?
Many Thanks
Robin Gulliver

Asked by: Robin Gulliver  | Wednesday 11 June, 9.44am | 3 answers

Blacking Preparation

Once the hull has been blacked using Two Pack Epoxy, what would be the preparation required to recoat it again, say, after 5 years, with the same material?

Asked by: Robin Gulliver  | Monday 9 June, 12.53pm | 3 answers

first boat trip

Hi everyone,
I've booked a trip from Penton hook,between London and Reading I have 6 days should I go towards Oxford or Bath I want a slow paced 6 days

Asked by: Mike Hean  | Sunday 8 June, 4.14pm | 3 answers


Regarding the above safety device.
Would you recommend fitting one?

Asked by: colinblake  | Wednesday 28 May, 11.45am | 1 answer

engine won't turn off

My Lister Petter engine won't turn off: it has a solenoid arrangement, which I can turn off manually but not from the ignition key. I cleaned the solenoid contacts, which did thE trick yesterday but hasn't worked today. Any ideas?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Sunday 25 May, 9.22am | 2 answers

Lock etiquette and waiting your turn.

Hiya, I'm marina based after purchasing my narrowboat last November and so far have only cruised down the lock free part of the canal here from Whilton Locks to Gayton junction and back. I would like some info or comments on who keeps control of queues and passage through lock flights such as the Watford staircase (near here) or the Audlem flight. What I mean is if there are many boats waiting at lock flights and the boats coming down the canal have priority who decides when the upward coming boats can take their turn without causing bad feelings otherwise they could be waiting hours whilst downward boats could queue jump. Thanks in advance.

Asked by: Trevor Smith  | Saturday 24 May, 8.08am | 2 answers

pump out toilet odour

Not sure if you can recommend a product that will eliminate pump out toilet odours (I haven't found one yet!) - but do you have a suggestion for an effective product?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Thursday 22 May, 4.26pm | 4 answers

prop wash

I have a 45 foot canal boat which is producing excessive prop wash mainly to stbd. How can I reduce it?

Asked by: ian  | Tuesday 20 May, 10.13am | 3 answers

maximum voltage of appliances

What max wattage vacuum cleaner can I use with my inverter which is 1600va, 70amp? Our 1000w one is on its last legs and I can't find a similar low wattage one.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Friday 16 May, 4.46pm | 2 answers

90 Degree Tiller Attachment

Hi all.....
stupid question time. I have a traditional back to my boat and wish to sit on the side whilst sailing but have trouble reaching the tiller in comfort and just thought someone a little brighter than myself may have an idea where to get an easily removable 90 degree tiller attachment.
kind regards

Asked by: shaun ohare  | Tuesday 13 May, 3.30pm | 3 answers

Boat wiring

I wish to rewire my 70ft narrow boat but cutout alot of the wire used. Can I run + & - 12 volt lines the full length of the boat & have fuse boxes in each area. The main line would be fused back at the battery for the largest output which would be a bowthruster. Would this pass the boat saftey or not?

Asked by: Trevor James Lewinton  | Tuesday 13 May, 11.33am | 2 answers


can you tell me how to work out how much ballast I will need for a 50 by 10 wide beam narrow boat

Asked by: Chris  | Saturday 10 May, 2.09pm | 1 answer

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