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Wednesday Sept 23rd - Stretham

Tuesday Sept 22nd - Stretham

It was bright and sunny when we awoke this morning.  What a relief, it would be no fun whatsoever trying to fit solar panels and do all the wiring if it was pouring with rain!


Clive couldn’t wait to get started but I persuaded him to have a cup of tea and a jam sandwich before he embarked on the big installation!  He had it all planned out and knew exactly what he was going to do. He started by laying the cable along the roof to ascertain just exactly what length was required to get from the solar panels, along the roof, down the side of the door and through into the engine room and through the hole into the rear cabin, then he cut the cable.  The other part of the cable had to run from the batteries in the engine room along to the same hole.  He then proceeded to fasten it all down neatly using cable ties and adhesive mounts. 


The next job was to connect the two pieces of cable to the control box which he had secured to the wall just above the hole in the rear cabin.  All this time the solar panels had been safely in their box inside where not a single ray of sunshine could get at them, however the time had now come to mount them on the roof and we had to be very, very careful!  So we wrapped each panel in a blanket and carefully carried them up to the roof and secured them.  Then Clive had to wire the two panels together using a waterproof junction box. 


Finally all the wiring was done and the time had come to remove the blankets and allow the sun to hit the panels! 

This done we rushed inside and stared at the control box waiting for the lights to come on! Well there was one green light which showed that the connection to the battery was ok but the light to show that the panels were working was not on –oh dear!  We waited and waited but it still didn’t come on so Clive went over all the wiring and it all seemed OK until he got back to the controller and he checked the cable from the panels and it was loose!  He gave it a bit of awiggle, tightened the screw and the light came on – hooray!


So there you have it – Lady Arwen is now solar powered!  It will be interesting to see just how much difference it will make to our battery power and will take a bit of getting used to but we are very pleased indeed to have it all installed and up and running.


Vicki came over to join us for dinner, which was lovely.  We don’t have much longer together now, only a few more days, then we will be heading out of East Anglia.  It could be several weeks before we get to see any of our family again and we will miss them.  However at the same time we are getting quite excited about our forthcoming trip up North. Just before we sat down for dinner there was a knock on the roof – it was Geoff.  He said he had been thinking about us during the day and he had managed to find some tubing for Clive to use to put around the cables from the engine room through to the control box – it was exactly what Clive had been looking for! Once again, thanks very much Geoff.


The sunset this evening was spectacular, it almostlooked like there was a huge fire in the distance!


Once the sun had gone down the indicator light from the panels went out and the “load” light came on (an orange one this time).   Clive decided to put the engine on for a little while to ensure we had enough battery power for the evening but the battery light started to flash.  This indicated that there was enough power in the battery and we were overloading it by using the engine so he turned it off again.  He was a bit surprised as we hadn't had the engine running for long during the day and the panels had only been functioning for about an hour or so before sunset!

Wednesday Sept 23rd - Stretham

I woke up around 3.00am and the battery light had turned yellow, which implied that the power was running down. I woke again around 5.00am and this time it had turned red! This meant that the battery power was almost gone, however when we both woke up around 8ish both the solar panel light and the battery light were green, which meant that the panels had already started charging the batteries but the load light was still red which implied there was more power being used than was being added to the battery so Clive put the engine on straight away and the load light went out immediately.  When all said and done we had been watch TV for a few hours last night and of course the fridge and the freezer are running all the time, plus we had lights on at times, though we mainly use candles at night.  The funny thing is that all this time we have had no indicator to tell us the state of the batteries - we knew they had run down when things didn't work!  Now we will always know - not sure whether that is a good thing or not - we'll see!


It is actually quite cloudy today so the panels won’t generate as much power as they would on a really sunny day.  Still we know they work, which is great.


We have decided to stay put for today.  We will head back up to Ely tomorrow and moor up for the night at the moorings near the station.  The boat is booked in for a service on Friday morning at a boatyard and once that is done we will head off up to the other moorings at the Public Quay to await Vicki who will come and collect us later to go and fetch the removal van.


So unless anything really exciting happens over the next couple of days there won’t be a blog until after moving day!


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