Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Can We Fix It? - Yes, Possibly!

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Approaching Marsworth top lock
So we had abandoned Flamingo temporarily whilst we contemplated the issue of the overcharging alternator.  By now the old external controller had been disabled, and the alternator's own regulator replaced, but it was still delivering too much voltage to the battery bank.  If it were easy, I would simply have swapped out the alternator with a more modern replacement, but the engine mountings were not suitable for this, and most cheaply available alternators come with a pulley suitable only for  smaller drive belt than that mandated by the pulley on our engine - so a swap wasn't going to be 100% straightforward.

Fortunately Canal World Discussion Forums are usually an excellent resource in matters like these, and the forum's expert on alternators and charging was on the case.  Jerry, (specialist guru in alternators and all things 12 or 24 volt), reckoned he had a fair idea what the problem might be, and offered to drive all the way up from Southampton to take a look.  This seemed generosity beyond belief, but he insisted on coming - unfortunately on what proved to be a miserably wet day, about which we felt rather guilty!  He quickly diagnosed the problem, but it was not what he had thought the most likely cause would be, as it was an internal intermittent short circuit on the rotor, (the moving part) of the alternator.  Although he had come with lots of bits, this is not something he could reasonably have been expected to have.

Approaching Marsworth bottom lock.
However we now knew the cause, and a bit of phoning around revealed that a nearby automotive electrical specialist could still source a rotor, even for this obsolete alternator.  It took a few days, but eventually we got back the whole unit ready to fit.

Once again we fired it up, and once again it seemed to be performing as it should - the batteries receiving some charge, but not too much.  It seemed we were finally there!

So once again we were ferried to the boat with dogs and supplies, and once again we set of North.  It was late in the day, so we would only go down the Marsworth flight, ready to put in much bigger mileages the next day, if all was OK.  Unexpectedly our friends Pete and Louise turned up, and helped us lock down the flight.

Cath was even able to get a lift to her regular practice dance session with New Moon Morris.  I however had to remain on board to dog sit!

Bulbourne to Marsworth 
Miles: 1.4, Locks:7
Total Trip Miles: 86.4, Locks: 113

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