Herbie's batteries haven't been charging well for some time. Last year when the charging was particularly bad whilst we were cruising, we called in River Canal Rescue (RCR) with whom we are members, to help. The guy came out and muttered about the Sterling alternator controller. He obviously doesn't like them, so he disconnected it and we did notice an improvement.
However I still haven't been happy with the charging since and suspected that the alternator was really at fault and the demands of the Sterling had been too much for it. Anyway, while we were at Marsworth recently the alternator really packed in. The charge light wouldn't go out and we were getting no amps and hardly any volts. So we called in RCR again.
"Yup, it's the alternator alright. I've got a spare in the van that might fit, but before I swap it out I'll check if I can get the pulley off the old one (to swap onto the new one) because if I can't shift it I can't help you further." Big spanners were produced and there was much cursing and straining but the pulley nut wouldn't budge. "Sorry, nothing I can do here, you'll have to get it to somebody who can get it on a bench to budge the pulley". And off he went :-(
Luckily we were moored only a hundred yards from Ed Boden, professional canal boat engine fixer, so I called on him. "Yeah, I can fix that easy, but not till Monday afternoon" It was Saturday. "OK" I said, there are worse places to be marooned than Marsworth. So I had a nice weekend fishing off the boat and strolling to the pub. Ed turned up on Monday bearing a new alternator. With a battery powered hammer drill he had the pulley nut off in two seconds. Why RCR can't carry such a tool I can't imagine. Within an hour we had a new alternator installed, complete with a field tap wire should I decided to reinstate the Sterling. I commend him to you. My voltmeters are especially happy!
Our other technical problem was a leak from the freshwater pump, which we first noticed on seeing damp patches in the storage spaces under the front steps. Had I called in a professional, he may well have swapped out the pump which with labour would have cost around £100. I could see the water was dripping out of a joint between two parts of the pump, so I pulled it apart, put some jointing compound on it and screwed it together again and now its as dry as a bone :-). Cost - less than a quid for the tube of compound.
We're off camping now for a couple of weeks. More when I get back. Meanwhile I thought you might like this sign from a bridge by Hanwell top lock.
Must go, I'm off to load up my ponderous carriage.