More freezer woes

We have struggled for the last few years with issues with both the fridge and freezer on Mariadz. The problem is made worse due to the fire damage, and poor quality repair, that happened before our ownership of the boat. The galley area has not been refitted with a view to maintenance and access to the freezer and the fridge mechanics is “difficult” to say the least. As part of the attempts to fix this we have had to cut out parts of the units in the galley area. This allowed us to change the couplings which are a common failure resulting in loss of gas. However, it is still a problem and after our last “emergency” lift-out, it seems that the water cooling has also stopped working. This would normally mean we would lift-out to check the hull part of the cooling system but at a cost of over £400 for a lift out, we are keen to leave this if possible.

old galleyWe are having to bite the bullet and come up with a better long term strategy for resolving the issue or we will be haunted with these problems for the rest of our lives. The first step is to perform a pressurisation test to try and see where the leak is located. By excluding parts of the system, such as the compressor, we can ensure that the rest of the pipework for the freezer (and fridge) are working as expected. If this proves that the pipework is in working order then we will change the compressor for a new one with air-cooling then when we come out in the summer for some other work, we can resolve the issues with the water cooling system. Fingers crossed this means that we will have finally solved the refrigeration problem!

Interior lighting

One of the issues with an older boat is that when things fail they need to be replaced and trying to find a like for like replacement can be difficult. This is particularly apparent with lights and switches or pretty soon the boat starts to look like a mish-mash of switches. We found this when we needed to add some switches into the stateroom and a double switch into the forepeak with our recent lighting changes. This was relatively easy with the double switch from the state room being moved and two new matching switches being fitted.

However, there have been a number of issues with the old downlighter lights which have springs to hold them in place. A number of these springs had broken in the past and electrical tape had been used to jam them in place. I discovered this when I changed all of the halogen bulbs to LED. With over twenty lights on the boat, this significantly reduced the electrical draw of the lights which could drain the batteries quite quickly if a lot were on. I wanted to find something that was as similar as possible to the existing light fitting and after scouring the internet and various chandleries came up with the Aquafax Arisaig img_5565as a halogen replacement from aquafax which I could order through fox’s chandlery in Ipswich.  I could then fit my 24V LED replacement bulbs.  By replacing all of the lights in our stateroom, I freed up enough spares to replace the faulty lights in other parts of the boat. We now have working lights everywhere which don’t fall out of the headlining and the new ones look pretty good too.  Maria seems to like them too….


Happy valentine’s day (or what does every girl need on Valentines!)

It’s that time of year again and time to work out what to get the girl who has everything she wants…or more precisely if she wants something, she goes out and gets it!

When we replaced the TV in the saloon, we moved the TV that was there into the bedroom which means maria gets to watch the omelette challenge on Saturday kitchen in bed. Unfortunately, the remote control on the old TV didn’t fully work and none of the universal controllers work with it so the TV has to be switched off on the box itself.

Now the boat may be quite large, but from my side of the bed it is one step to do this. If the cats have taken up residence and have me pinned down, it is a maximum of six steps for Maria to get there. However, this was considered unsatisfactory by her ladyship.

Therefore the valentine’s present was an upgraded TV, and by upgraded I mean one with a working remote! This is because I do not see the harm in one or even six steps so therefore this is a Maria focused present. 🙂

There are a number of options:
· Go for a small TV, which would normally have a transformer to reduce 240V AC to 12V DC, cut the transformer out and wire it into a 12V supply.
· Go for something slightly larger and plug it into the 240V circuit, since the inverter will provide the power from the batteries (not particularly efficient since you are converting 12V DC to 240V AC to 12V DC again!)
· Buy a cheap 12V/24V TV from a little known manufacturer (or even the smaller equivalent of the Cello that we have in the saloon)
· Go for a 12V/24V TV designed for use on-the-move (much more expensive option)

No prizes for guessing which way we went and I’m sure there are people who would have gone with a different decision. Our decision process was driven by the experience we have had with the motorhome which came with an Avtex TV fitted. The Avtex L218DRS 21.5-Inch Widescreen 1080p Full HD Super Slim LED TV with Freeview HD img_5563comes with a DVD, freeview HD tuning and satellite tuning (the later not quite as useful for us on a moving boat!). We decided to go for a similar size to the old TV but the new technology meant it was smaller overall and a lot slimmer. Since this TV supports 24V, which is the main voltage on Mariadz, it meant no need for any voltage adjustments. I was even able to do all of the wiring in to the existing setup. The alternative would have been to spend a lot less money on a TV that may only last a few years (assuming quality is meant to last longer!) and would then need replacing, if we chose to do so, when we were on our travels, which would have been more expensive and would reinforce the old adage of “buy cheap, buy twice”.

More toilet maintenance

We have had a few months without any major works on the boat so I should expect something to be needed….but it has to be one of the worst jobs on the boat, and is apparently classified as “blue” job by Maria….

When we first got the boat, the first thing we had to do was to refresh all of the toilet pipes because they were blocked. A few years later and we knew it was getting to the time when we would have to service everything. Unfortunately we decided this and then the fun and games happened.

Firstly the main toilet stopped emptying….oh dear. So we went to shut off the seacock so that we could do the required maintenance. Nothing…. The handle wouldn’t budge. We are due to come out in August to have some work done but there was no way that we could survive living aboard with no toilet for six months. So an emergency lift and hold was organised so that we could change the through hull and then get to work on the toilet. img_5566On inspection it seemed that the pipes were blocked with calcium and, erm, solids… not quite sure how these hadn’t been flushed away but it had jammed the diverter valve (that allows you to switch between tanks and outside. We decided that the safest recourse was to fully change the pipes and diverter valve although I decided to refurbish the diverter valve, by cleaning it up and keeping it as a spare.

That all worked fine for about a week before the pump that brings water to the toilet was pumping very little water. This pump comes with a filter, which I hadn’t cleaned previously (looking sheepish!), it was a mess. Cleaning this up worked a treat. However, then there was a leak from the filter unit. A quick visit to a shop to buy a new o-ring (50p! – cheapest thing I have ever bought for the boat) and now we are back to new 🙂

Boat jobs seem to go that way though. A blockage in the toilet has required us to do a lift out, change a through hull and valve, change all of the pipework, a new diverter valve and clean/maintain the pump filter. Always the way!