Busy Busy Busy

We have been non-stop working today but it'll soon pay off!

On a slightly sadder note, we were unable to go forth with engine repairs this weekend as we realised that Dad no longer owns the tools we need in order to strip our starboard engine in Bandit. Dad used to be a mechanic so he knows what he is doing and knows what tools he needs but since that time, we no longer own any of the tools needed. So, this morning, we've been searching the internet and have ordered our tools. Soon to be arriving is a torque wrench to tighten the bolts in/on the engine to the correct torque, a valve spring compressor as we will be replacing at least one set of valves from our engine and finally, a valve grinding tool and lapping paste. According to eBay, we should receive all these tools before the upcoming weekend so we will crack on with things shortly.

Today, we've completed a couple of mini-tasks and one rather large task.

Task one was to fit two new digital volt meters to the main control panel on Bandit. We have linked these up to our domestic batteries so we have a clear indication of how well the batteries are charged for when we are out on the river with no access to mains electricity. We are now able to tell if they are being charged, if they need charging up and generally to see what voltage they are providing at that moment in time. All very helpful but the main reason we put them in is to ensure they have enough charge to keep the fridge running and to ensure they provide the thruster with enough power when we come to need it (when we finally get it fitted, hopefully fairly soon). This took us quite a while as I did not realise how thick the wooden bulkhead was. Our drill needed several charges just to cut through the wood. Wiring them up was simple.
Our new voltage gauges (and yes, the right one does needs some straightening up)

Next, comes the large, time-consuming task of the day; fitting a new 12v, 110amp/h leisure battery into the domestic side of the boat. On our previous boat, Bliss, we had two domestic batteries; one for general appliances such as lighting and the other one was primarily for the large Waeco fridge we had installed. This 12v fridge consumed a tonne of power. We figured that we would wire in another one to Bandit to ensure we have enough power to last us while we are away from the marina. All we had time to do today was purchase all the stuff needed from our marina chandlery, fit the battery box and battery, wire it up in parallel to the other battery, connect up a battery charger and then run the cabling around the boat and up behind the main bulkhead to eventually power whatever we need powering. Annoyingly, the cabling behind the main bulkhead can only be described as a bird's nest. There are wires here, there and everywhere. It's impossible to wire anything new as there is just too much clutter.
Wires literally everywhere!

During the week after college, I plan to come down and sort out this cabling. We've purchased three 'power distribution panels'. One of them I will connect the live wire coming from the new battery which means that anything we then add to this panel will be powered by the domestic battery. The second one will be the same but for the other domestic battery and the final one will be for the negative, black wires. This means that there won't be wires all connected together randomly behind this bulkhead. We can simply run cables straight from these pre-powered panels, depending on whether they need to come from one domestic battery or the other, or from a negative. And more importantly, when we've put these in, it will make it far clearer to trace wires.
Something similar to this

Finally, we had to add another battery isolator switch so we could quickly isolate each and every appliance taking power from this new domestic battery if there was ever an emergency. Sealine has a dedicated 'box' for these isolators but sadly this space has been taken up by the port and starboard isolators and there was no room to add our new one. What we have done instead, which I was reluctant to do, was to add a new one somewhere in the cockpit, separate from the others. As much as I didn't want to add one randomly placed, we needed to as it was very important that we could always isolate the feed from the battery in case there was an electrical fire, for example. I then used our label maker print a sticker to ensure sure everyone knew what this knob did.

Finally, it was time to give Bandit a quick wash over to ensure she stays looking nice and clean. It's amazing how quickly the boat deteriorates if you don't clean them.

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