Sunday, 2 December 2018

Winter Maintenance in London #1

Hi everyone,
We've have now settled in at St Katharine Docks Marina in London.  Loving being back aboard Zen Again.  Also loving being in the centre of London - in the shadow of Tower Bridge.

Zen Again in the shadow of Tower Bridge
We have a lengthy list of maintenance work for this winter.  At the top was upgrading our AC mains and gas systems to meet local regulations.

Previously we attached an AC mains extension cord from the marina berth outlet to a power board which gave us several socket points and powered the battery charger.  Now we're spending so much time aboard - in winter - we need a "proper" AC mains system.  Early this year we had the boat surveyed.  One of the shortcomings noted was the lack of mains RCD and circuit breakers.  That's now fixed.

External mains power is now plugged-in just inside the companionway.  From there power is fed directly through a bulkhead into the back of the RCD/Breaker box.  The box provides one 16A and one 6A circuit.  We decided not to mount the connection outside since we wanted the box close to the inlet.

RCD and Circuit Breaker Box in companionway locker
Ready for Action
From the RCD/Breaker box the 16A circuit is fed back through the bulkhead to the galley.  The outlets there are specifically for high-current loads - kettle, hair drier and fan heater.

Mains Socket and 16A Circuit Outlets
The 6A circuit runs around the boat to all regular loads.  We have one dual outlet in the quarter berth and two at the pedestal (saloon table).  Also on this circuit are six permanently mounted and connected tube heaters. Each heater has a thermostat allowing it to be turned of locally.

The quarter berth outlet powers the dehumidifier which is on more-or-less 24/7 in winter.  Excellent in keeping the damp away.  Amazing how much water it produces!

Quarterberth Outlets
The pedestal outlets are used for various purposes including running the computer we brought aboard from our flat.  The top power board shown below has been held-over from the previous arrangement.
Pedestal (Saloon Table) 6A Outlets
The tube heaters keep the boat from getting too cold while we're not aboard.  We have two in the forepeak, two in the saloon and two in the engine bay.  The latter help ensure the engine doesn't freeze.
One of the 100W Tube Heaters in Saloon
Two 40W Tube Heaters in Forepeak
One of Two 40W Tube Heaters in Engine Bay

Another item on the to-do list was our gas system.  Our regulator was severely corroded and the solenoid valve was failing.  We've been battling US POL versus UK POL fitting issues ever since we arrived in the UK.  US hoses connect to UK bottles, but the reverse is not true.  Getting any type of gas bottle filled in the UK is difficult since everyone swaps them.

For the last 18 months we've been using local Calor Gas 3.9kg bottles.  Soon after arriving at SKD we decided to change to a much larger bottle.  We now have a 13kg bottle which should last at least a month given likely use of our Dickinson gas heater.  It fits in the bracket designed for our Australian 9kg bottles.

13kg Gas Bottle in pushpit bracket
UK Regulator
Sadly the UK gas fitter was unable to fit our spare solenoid.  So now our gas detector is only that - it used to control gas flow too.

Upcoming tasks on the to-do list include new upholstery, adding laminex panelling in various locations (including the instrument panel), relocating instruments and much, much more.  May need to be a long, cold winter to get it all done!

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