|Nuts, ring terminals, cable, heatshrink, important bits of string cut to length.|
I finally found a use for the quarter-sheet of 18 square mm ply that I bought several weeks ago. The purchase, from the timber merchant in a nearby village, was part of my half-baked plan to extend the battery storage area for my new bank of batteries. I had no real idea how I was going to make a box to fit the fourth battery that would not squeeze into the available battery space, specially one that needed un-right-angled corners to fit the sleek curves of the walls in the engine room. At the same time I bought another length of wood and thought that making some kind of frame would probably help. That piece has been lying out of sight under some very beautiful, very clever, very shallow cupboards in my cabin. I can't see it so it isn't really there. As I was contemplating the proposed structure of the box extension the man who did my BSS testing a few weeks ago suggested a specially manufactured plastic battery box. It cost six times as much as the timber, but the one I bought from the battery company that supplied my batteries did fit perfectly into another space in the engine room. That is, it managed to fit perfectly once I emptied the storage box of the spare fuel and oil filters, fan belts gasket paper and assortment of fixtures and fittings I remain convinced are bound to come in handy at some point, along with other assorted shizzle, all of which is now filling a red carrier bag that doesn't yet have a home of its own and contributes significantly to the general lack of tidiness. This, naturally causes me some anguish but, for now, the ply board makes a perfect workbench if I lay it on my bed. It certainly looks better there than standing up against the wall in the living area, where it has looked as though it might fall over and damage my computer or my drums at any moment. Of course, come bedtime, I'll have to move it again. This workbench, for now though, is a perfect surface for preparing my new battery inter-connects. I realise I am making a bit of a meal about this task that I have been find increasingly ingenious ways to avoid, but I still have only two of the four batteries connected (in parallel, naturally).
Today a nice courier called, Lee, delivered two reels (one red, one black) of the 40 square mm battery cabling, an overabundance of terminal ends in a variety of mostly inappropriate sizes and heatshrink that will become my new inter-connects. When I've completed the job I'll put the spares in the red plastic carrier bag that will find a tidier home later. All I have to obtain now is a crimping tool capable of crimping these huge terminals on to the destination leads and to find out how to apply the right kind of heat that will shrink the red and black sleeves into place without melting the cables' sheathing or setting fire to the boat. YouTube will be my friend again, no doubt - specially for the theoretical underpinning - although I may have to extend my search for the tools to do these jobs.
As it happens, Lee was the driver who brought me things a few weeks ago. He thought he knew the way this time, but he had entrusted his whereabouts to his satnav which, as you may know, has odd ideas of its own when it comes to the postcode at this farm. He only remembered there could be some kind of special instruction to the courier when he found himself and his VW Transporter being directed across the river where there was no bridge and being pointed at a final destination in the middle of an apparently empty field on the other side where there was, of course, no building (of either the in or out varieties) to which he might reasonably be expected to deliver his consignment. Still, each day brings a little measure of progress.
Having recently made a total pig's ear of trying to construct my inter-connects with chopped up lengths of brand new heavy-duty jump leads and somehow cutting some of them too short, I decided to adapt the "measure twice, cut once" rule to "measure four times and don't dare cut anything yet". Instead I remembered the huge ball of sisal string I have been carrying around in my junk percussion box and decided to measure the lengths I needed in string. That way, expensive mistakes might be avoided and I could make sure that each side of the circuit carried the same number of long and short lengths of cable thus equalising the resistance on the flow and return sides of the circuit and hopefully reducing the likelihood of unnecessary voltage drop ... unless, of course, I am making it worse because some of the lengths of cable will be longer than they would need to be simply to connect to the battery terminals. I don't know. I'm getting another headache thinking about it.
I just thought I'd let you know I am making progress. Now, where can I put the work bench?
Power Update: Today was the first cloudy day P.S. About 36w being generated by the panels and trickling about 3.5amps into the batteries keeping them nicely around the 13v mark.