Friday 24 August 2012

Electric Bike

I decided that to get about from moorings to local shops etc. a moped would be a good idea.  I have an old but nearly mint Puch Maxi

But weighing in at 48kg and that it requires tax, MOT, insurance and servicing and that it would mean having petrol on board it became clear pretty quickly it wasn't relay a sensible option.

So the search was on for an electric bike.  A good look around the market and a lot of research I came up with this little beauty.

I have to admit I wasn't expecting much when I ordered it but knowing I had the 7 day remote selling laws on my side I thought I have nothing to lose.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It's a very capable and sturdy bike and a very welcome addition to the boat kit.

The longest journey so far has been a shopping trip to a supermarket which was 4 miles each way.  On the way out I used pedal assist, on the way back I just used power only.  This I thought would cane the batteries and I would be peddling back too, but to my surprise this trip left the battery indicator still showing full.

Otherwise I've just used it to nip about instead of walking.  Weighing in at only 20kg it's easy to get on and off the boat too.

Conclusion.  Well pleased.

The gumph:-

Frame: Aluminum Alloy Folding Frame
Motor: 250 Watt Brushless Hub Motor
Gears & Speed: 7-Speed Shimano (Tourney) Gear System
Battery: 36V/10ah Lithium Ion Battery
Charger: Hi Power for Li-ion 36 volt Smart Charger with 5 - 6 Hours charging Time (depending on use)
Tyres: 20" x 1.95"
Speed: 15 mph (24 kph) (Motor Only) – UK Speed Limit
Distance: Up to 30 miles (48 km) range (depending on weather conditions and terrain)

Twist Throttle and Pedal Assistance System (PAS)
Braking System: Front V- Brake and Rear Servo Brake
Front Forks: ZOOM CH-650 DH, Alloy Double-Crown Adjustable Suspension
Saddle Post: Alloy and Zoom Suspension
Mudguards: Front and Rear
Storage: Rear Carrier Included
 Weight Capacity: 100 kg (220 lbs)

Bike Weight: 15kg Without Battery
Battery Pack: Removable (quick release) and Lockable
Battery Weight: 4 kg (9lbs)
Legalities: No road tax or driving licence required. Insurance or helmet also not required

Wednesday 15 August 2012

A Little Problem

We have spent the last few weeks exploring some of the tributaries of the Gt. Ouse, The River Wissey, The Lt. Ouse and The River Lark.  As lovely as these rivers are they are pretty weedy and so a couple of times the exhaust temperature light came on meaning the raw water intake filters were clogged.  Trouble with this is this starves the rubber impeller of water and it runs dry.

Once back on the deep and straight Gt. Ouse and the engine has nearly 100 hours I decided for the first time to open the engine up and let a good deal of the 114hp have its wicked way.  Top RPM is 2500 so I held back to 90% or 2250rpm  The main engine temperature remained at 85c which is normal.

After about 3 minutes the exhaust temperature warning came on.  I was a little concerned as I had cleared the filters before setting off about 20 minutes earlier and the Gt. Ouse is mostly weed free.

I cut the engine and drifted into the side to investigate.  I checked the filters and they were clear.  So after letting the engine cool down I restarted and saw nothing being drawn up from the river.  I removed the water uptake tube and felt inside the impeller housing and could feel damaged impeller blades.  As the system wouldn't self prime I filled the filter manually which was enough to get it primed. After which we were able to continue as before at about 1400rpm.

Once back at Ely I checked with Ely Chandlers to see if they had an impeller for my engine but they were unable to help but they kindly let me use their address for delivery when I found one in Leeds.  So many thanks for their help.

This afternoon it arrived and I swapped it out which took about 30 minutes.

Left buggered, right new

The new one has an 2 extra blades so I guess the original has been superseded.  Once changed and the system primed manually everything was back to normal, well at least on static tests.  A moving test will be done tomorrow.

Clearly the impeller is intolerant to running dry.  In the service book the impeller is a 1000 hour inspection so I think I have just been unlucky for now.  It's all a learning curve.

Sunday 5 August 2012

AVALON:- It's official now.

I spent all day yesterday, well that was available, between the regular and heavy rain showers cleaning and machine polishing and buffing the paintwork ready for the vinyl signs I had made last week.

This morning was dry and windless so after breakfast I marked out the area and positioned the letters.

I split the template into 3 x 2 letters to make application easier.

After a very long cruise, well about 45 minutes and 2 miles later we stopped on a very rural mooring on the River Wissey.  With the canopy down and a tretrious lean over the stern I applied the rear name. 

It's strange after all the work to this point how something like this seems so important to me.  I'll fit the starboard side whe we moor that side.

As we approached this mooring fellow boaters and bloggers Graham & Jill and Joe & Leslie 

called out to say a BBQ was planned for 2pm, so that settled it for us. A combined mash up of food from all boats stores and good weather resulted in a very pleasant afternoon for 6 boaters, 6 dogs and a cat.

High spot was Deb falling off her chair.

 Soft uneven ground apparently!

RESULTS for the sound insulation.

A few days ago I installed the under deck sound insulation.  Here are the reasults.

I've posted these at the end of the original post to keep it in context.

Friday 3 August 2012

Doing A Doughnut In My Boat

You may recall I decided to make a Shilling rudder.

This short video shows what it can do.

Enjoy. Sorry about the reflection

It works as you can see and I'm glad I went to the extra effort.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

A Kind Of Hush

I wouldn't say our engine is particularly noisy, indeed as its getting a few hours on it it seems to be getting a bit quieter.  We had no soundproofing under the 18mm deck floor.  We have a local firm  

who specialise in acoustic and thermal insulation.  I've know the owner for many years and contacted him for some advice.  He offered a 43mm laminated foam panel with 10kg man made lead type core wrapped in heat reflective foil as a solution.

The process started a few weeks ago with me making and supplying templates as TAP will make to exact size rather than just buying it in slabs as is the norm from chandlers.

 Starboard floorboard underside

Last week I got a call to say the panels were ready and today I fixed them under the floors.  The backing is self adhesive but I decided to add some mechanical fixing too.

Engine hatch before

Engine hatch after

I did some dB checks with the trusty iPhone db meter yesterday while we were on the move and will do some more tomorrow when we move again.  I have to say though just with the engine on tick over there is a noticeable difference.  Of course the engine is not the only noise source, a fair amount of prop against water is present too so a static test is not really valid.

On another noise note I've had an annoying metallic buzz at 1050rmp and again at 1900rpm which can be heard in this video.

I think I've now solved it.  There's a plate covering the turbo and I think this is the cause of the problem.

I have put it back with a few dollop's of high temperature silicone in the hope this will stop the vibration.


First off the vibration has stopped, so that's cured.

I wish I had done some more noise comparison tests at different RPM as the difference on general cruise RPM is measurably better:-

But this really isn't the whole story as I later found out.  The sound proofing actually works better the louder the engine gets, so as the RPM and prop noise builds, the sound insulation damps more of it out, so its much much quieter when the RPM is higher and the prop thrashing more.  Now its much quieter when its working harder something I didn't expect.

Another test I never considered measuring was the generator.  The genny is already cocooned but with the new under deck sound insulation the difference is very noticeable.  I will be going back to TAP to see if they can help with quieting then Mikuni CH boiler.

So in conclusion:-  Well worth installing.