Tuesday, 16 June 2015

North Devon Redux

There really only was one thing for it after spending a manic week getting the van finished -  time to tour! With a good friend of mine living in Lynton the ideal opportunity made itself known as the four hour journey would be a good test for the van.

I got there in good time and with only one problem, the inverter didn't work when i hit the button, turns out the positive wire to the power button had snapped from its connector so a soldering iron and some solder later and the problem was solved - stand aside Tesla!

With the van fully loaded it does sit pretty low, no problem other than the fuel economy going out the window, got the awning out for the first time too, pleased to say the composite backing plates in the roof are doing their job as the whole thing can support its own weight although i did put the legs out not wanting to tempt fate.

Whilst there i went to one of my old hanuts, Ilfracombe. Very odd scupture on the quay and i don't understand what its about - never mind, the fish and chips are excellent so after sitting on a bench munching away playing spot the Westerly i moved on.
Incidentally theres quite a few Fulmar's in Ilfracombe as well as the older stuff which brings me to a certain sailing club up the road.

Some of you will remember a couple of years back when Dylan was looking for a Centaur that i came across a fairly knackered-looking one called Spindrift, well its still there rotting into the ground as it was two years previously, shame really. Also Centaur number one was there looking in very good fettle considering the boats age, just hope it doesn't stay in the yard too long and end up like the other one.  

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Behold, The Drawers of Destiny!

Well thats what i care to call them, damn impressive to look at anyway, seeing as the work contract i was supposed to start last Monday has been put back two weeks, i thought i'd push on finishing the van conversion

This last week has seen my debit card take a right hiding as i purchased all the necessary components to outfit the van with 240VAC and 12VDC, still after having calmed down from the initial financial hit i soon found myself engulfed in cables and shiny things.......mmm i like shiny things.

Have to admit this was one job on the Centaur i wasn't looking forward to not least of all because of the costs but also my complete lack of knowledge, and made all the more worse as i possess almost every book available on the subject of boat electrics and imho they all assume a level of knowledge.

The one that didn't was Don Casey' Sailboat Electrics Simplified, this book has such a great easy-to-read style that even a fool such as myself couldn't mess it up. What i like most is the illustrations and the way the information is broken down into simple concepts. So armed with my multimeter and a heap of parts i set about electrifying the van (and not myself).

In the end i went with a 190AH battery connected to a voltage sensitive relay with a Ctek MXS 10 charger permanently attached via the AC side, on the DC side i have scope for 10 loads via a Ripca fuse box switched through 10 corresponding 12VDC rocker switches. 

I looked at purchasing a ready-made panel, something i will do with the Centaur but looking at the costs for some of these aftermarket van panels.......well, i thought the marine world was steep but it would appear the campervan world isn't much different as to have the components i actually purchased but all fitted into a piece of brushed allie / stainless doubled the cost - no thanks - i'll do this myself, and so i did with no help from anyone.

Decided to - and it was frustrating to start with - sit in the shop and play around with the battery and wiring making basic circuits just to understand how it all works and now have quite a good basic grasp of electricity.

The cabinets meanwhile were all made from mdf, not the most durable but for this application fine, realised i needed a heap more drawers as i always seem to add a couple of plastic tubs on certain jobs full of fasteners and fittings so i decided to build the ultimate drawer unit and nextdoor to this somewhere to keep and heat food.

I'm glad i did this and yes i know the van has sod all to do with the boat but everything i've bought and installed is directly applicable to the Centaurs systems only now i have the confidence to do it all myself.