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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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Toilet advice please

Hi, sorry about the summery I have just noticed that! Moveng swiflty.
We are looking to buy our first live aboard boat and amungst other things I'm not sire which would be the best type of toilet to go for, i.e. Casste, porta potty or pump out? In addithion I would add that we do have another problem to considder as my partner suffers from IBS and as such will be using the toilet more often than most.
Thankyou for any advice.

Asked by: Carole  | Saturday 10 November, 9.36pm | 1 answer

Isolation transformers

Dear Sir.
I have recently been revisiting an article in your December 2009 issue regarding earthing boats, and isolation transformers.
My boat has a domestic bank of two 110Ah batteries and uses an inverter for supplying onboard 240V. Could you please tell me if a mains operated battery charger (from shore power supply) to directly charge the domestic battery bank can be regarded as an isolation transformer, both from the safety point of view and also from the electrolytic corrosion point of view. I take it there would need to be a shield between primary and secondary windings. Is a standard automotive charger likely to have this or some special marine version required.
Many thanks for your help.
Kind regards
Paul Rawson

Asked by: paul rawson  | Thursday 8 November, 11.34pm | 1 answer

Stove Fan

I have tried to build the stove fan as per your article, but after waiting 3 mnths for a TEC1 12709 from China The unit saturates at a high temp. The TEC only ever achieves an output of approx. 1volt is this correct. I have tried several different motors but there seems to be insufficient airflow to maintain a temperature difference across the TEC.The device is thermally glued to a heat sink.

Asked by: Dave  | Wednesday 7 November, 9.48am | 1 answer


I have 4 leisure batteries and 1 starter battery all wet cell. They are all 4 yearys old and in good condition, will recharge within 5 hours when cruising.
I have a 4 stage victron 60 amp charger which is connected to 230volt mains when in the marina. I do not use my boat from November to April so should,I leave my batteries on charge throughtout this period or should I take them of charge now and then,I always visit the boat about three times during this period of none use and could alternate the charging periods.

Asked by: David Anderson  | Tuesday 6 November, 8.26pm | 1 answer

Vetus Electric Toilet

Any tips on how I winterise this. Antifreeze in the s-bend ( like the shower). Do I disconnect water hose?
Any advice appreciated.

Asked by: peter osullivan  | Tuesday 6 November, 8.15pm | 2 answers

Calorifier issue

I have a Kelvin J3 with an non-pressurised, skin tank cooling system. There's a header tank on the engine-room bulkhead, about a gallon capacity, with a removable lid. Normally the tank is about half full when cold and about three-quarters when hot. Recently the coolant level has been increasing when check cold on successive mornings during boating and after a few days eventually overflows when hot. The domestic water system has a twin coil calorifier, one fed from the engine and one from the Alde. The boat is 20 years old and the tank has a strap on jacket, not a foam-sprayed one. My suspicion is that the engine heating coil in the tank is failing and that domestic water in the tank is getting into the engine circuit when the domestic pump is operating. I can't think how else additional water is getting introduced into the engine cooling system. Would this concur with your view, or can you think of anything else that would cause this symptom. Regards Colin

Asked by: Colin Bigmore  | Monday 5 November, 9.51am | 3 answers

Electric shocks

I sometimes get an electic shock from my light switches and today from the brass door handle from my front door. I have a 12v system with inverter. Any ideas as to what mightbe wrong?

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | Sunday 4 November, 5.47pm | 2 answers

Isuzu panel - hour meter

The hour meter display on my Isuzu panel is unreliable but does sometimes show the hours run, especially after running for a few hours. I have heard that this is a common problem with Isuzu panels. Any ideas on a fix, apart from fitting a separate hour meter?

Asked by: David Fearns  | Friday 2 November, 10.07pm | 3 answers

Draining Down Water System

Can I add an anti freeze to my narrowboat water tank

Asked by: Peter Allan  | Thursday 1 November, 12.07pm | 1 answer

etiquette - Acknowledging boats in tunnels

We were going north through Saddington Tunnel the other day and as I was approaching the entrance with my tunnel light on I could see an approaching boat's tunnel light, although the boat looked like it was some way off actually entering the tunnel. The light appeared to go off for a while and then came back on. I wondered if this was down to a bend or moored boats at their end of the tunnel, or were they just testing their light?
We met about 200 yards from their end. There is plenty of room for two narrowboats to pass, but we both slowed down and I said hello as we did so. Their reply was to greet me pleasantly but also to complain mildly "but you didn't acknowledge us, and we weren't sure if you were a boat".
I said "oh sorry" automatically, but then thought what else they imagined I might have been.
Saddington has the narrow locks at Foxton plus the lock free Market Harborough arm to its south and the start of the wide locks to the north at Kibworth Top Lock. Since I would assume that a wide beam going through Saddington needs liaison with CRT to book a passage I'm not sure what they hoped to achieve by my flashing my tunnel light at them, which is presumably what they had expected me to do.
Any ideas?

Asked by: Colin Wilks  | Wednesday 31 October, 5.06pm | 2 answers

Replacing an exhaust silencer

I am replacing the silencer box on my BMC 1.8 engine with an identical 15 inch standard box from Midland Chandlers. Does it matter which way round the silencer is fitted? The new silencer can be fitted either way round,but at one end there appears to be holes in the internal pipework of the box. Many thanks

Asked by: Peter Heath  | Tuesday 30 October, 9.08pm | 1 answer

tiller shape

does the tiller have to angled I want to put a bike rack on the back of a cruiser, can the tiller be straightened without any compromising steering.

Asked by: Peter Wright  | Sunday 28 October, 9.51pm | 1 answer

What weight of anchor for river cruising

I have been looking for information, without much success, regarding the weight of anchor/length and weight of chain/length and size of warp for a 60ft narrowboat going from Worcester to Gloucester in November. Any practical guidance would be appreciated, especially tips for stowing such a heavy object. Would it affect the trim if kept in the cratch? Thanks in advance, Alan

Asked by: Alan Denney  | Monday 22 October, 8.22pm | 1 answer

Best boat fridge for livaboard

Can anyone recommend the best fridge for livaboard without shorepower so something economical. I dont have a huge budget but if i can find the name of the best models i may try to find a second hand one. Thanks.

Asked by: Jo  | Monday 22 October, 7.36pm | 3 answers


i am about to purchase a 55ft narrow boat and my mooring does not have a hook up i plan to live a board what is the best silent generator to use
would be grateful for any advise.

Asked by: tracie white  | Saturday 20 October, 2.39pm | 2 answers

canal boat to france

Has anybody written a guide to taking a canal boat to france?

Asked by: chris bones  | Wednesday 17 October, 11.55am | 2 answers

roof boxes

Where can i buy narrowboat top boxes from?

Asked by: maggie elliott  | Sunday 14 October, 6.48pm | 1 answer

hot water

i have a 57ft crusier and for the first time last night i had an electric hook up , on board i have an sterling pro combi inverter and a wabasto central heating motor, i switched the inverter to auto and plugged in the hook up i left this on all night so this morning i expected to have hot water but i didn't, am i doing somthing wrong, when i run the engine for an hour the water is red hot!!, can anyone tell me step by step about how to conect to the hook up and get hot water!! thanks

Asked by: andy wakler  | Thursday 11 October, 2.33pm | 2 answers

16 AMP Generators

I recently asked for advice about a Generator for my narrowboat as the electric had been cut off at my Marina. I have found a Generator I wish to purchase but, as with all i looked at, the output is 16AMP. Can i just connect it my boat in the same way I would a landline or do I need equipment to reduce to 13AMP. I am assuming standard hookup is 13AMP. Any info gratefully received.

Asked by: Paul Jones  | Tuesday 9 October, 12.03pm | 2 answers

Problems running the engine whilst moored up so as to charge the batteries.

Referring to Graham Booth's article "A Sunny Solution" (p.48 WW Nov 2012), he warns about glazing the cylinder bores if the engine is run to recharge the batteries.
I was concerned about this potential problem, which many people seek to minimise by running the engine with the prop engaged, so asked Beta Marine about my own 1994 BV2203, which is a 50hp four cylinder Kubota diesel. Their advice was to run the engine at about 1200 rpm without engaging the prop. Their technical guy stated that they had had no trouble with glazed bores.
Since this question seems to crop up quite often please could the sages at Waterways World provide a definitive answer?

Asked by: Colin Wilks  | Monday 8 October, 6.05pm | 4 answers

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