Inverter/charger Update

We had a problem with the inverter/charger when plugged into the marina mains supply. It would not switch over to charging the batteries, we had reported this to Black Prince, and they said they would sort it.

The old inverter was replaced, and we still had the same problem, back at their base they tested the old inverter, and it worked without a problem.

One possible thing that could be causing this is an over voltage on the marina supply,  the Photonic Universal 3000W unit maxing out at approx. 263V. Normal UK supply used to be 240V, but I believe in 1987 we have harmonised with the rest of Europe at 230V +/- 10%  (which therefore includes our UK 240V) with a theoretical max of 253V.

Sterling ProCombi S
Sterling ProCombi S 3500W Inverter/Charger

The next step they replaced the Photonic Universal 3000W unit  with a Sterling PCS123500 unit, this gives us a slightly higher max output to 3500W but also accepts a higher shoreline input voltage of up to 270V.

All the work in now completed, and we will see in the next few days if this has been a success. We have only had excellent service from Black Prince on any problems we have had, there will always be problems, that is to be expected. It is how well they are dealt with that makes the difference.


Teething problems and quick response

Floydtilla in our mooring
Floydtilla in our mooring

When we dropped Floydtilla at Droitwich Spa Marina last week, we had a little problem with using the marina power to charge the batteries. We did not have time to investigate then, so we left it all plugged in and hoped for the best.

Mary (daughter) and I decided to take a quick trip up this weekend, so I could investigate and she could decorate her bedroom area with some pictures.

I emailed Black Prince when we arrived and found the leisure batteries to be flat. I did not expect such a fast response but within an hour I had an answer and a visit was planned for the next day.  In the meantime as we had not arrived that late, I charged the batteries with the engine.

The next day we had a phone call, and Black Prince agents arrived within 15 minutes to take a look. A quick diagnosis was made,  the inverter was working, but the part that charges the batteries was not, a replacement would be ordered and fitted as soon as possible (We are lucky we are relatively close to their base, I was worried it was an 1D10T operator error, so I was a little relieved).

We also had a couple of paint issues, on the side, where the boat had been lifted, we had a couple of holes in the paintwork.

Holes from boat lift
Holes from boat lift

We also noticed that when the hatch was closed a patch of the roof paint had started to flake off. We had not noticed this when we collected her, as most of the time the hatch was open and only closed when we were inside or leaving in the rain.

Rust and flaking paint on roof
Rust and flaking paint on roof

These paint problems have been referred to Black Prince, I will be interested to see how they fix these. I imagine there must have been some surface contamination under the hatch lid, as there are no other problems we could find on the roof.

UPDATE 14/05/2021

Very quick response from Black Prince, they will repair the paintwork, we hope to drop Floydtilla off at the end of the next trip on the boat.

Picking up Floydtilla

We were all very excited as we set off from Somerset to go and pick up Floydtilla from the Black Prince base in Stoke Prior. We aimed to get there for around 11:30 am so the rush of the hire customers getting underway would mostly be over.

Inspection and payment

When we arrived at Stoke Prior we could see Floydtilla in her new bright paint work, and we parked up in the yard. We had had the roof painted yellow and in the bright sun it will probably need sunglasses while we get used to it.  Hopefully this will keep the roof cooler, as the normal Black Prince dark blue can become a little hot to the touch.

They were all ready for us so we had a tour around and an in depth explanation of what we needed to know as an owner not a hire customer.

Black Prince Owners manual
Black Prince Owners manual

We got presented with what will become the Bible for Floydtilla which was a folder with all the manuals for the Engine, Gearbox, Heater etc, as well as 37 pages of general information and diagrams of all the systems. This was a gold mine of information and covered all the questions I had in my notes and I am sure many more to come.

In one of the cupboards they had also included two spare engine belts an air filter, fuel filter and oil filter, it is the little extras that make life simple.

Next came the fun with the bank: We had transferred all the money into our current account ready to make payment and informed the bank what was going to happen. They said that we would probably have to call to make such a large transfer as it could trigger the anti fraud limits. Once we were happy, Sonia tried to call the bank. The message on the automated response  let us know that “they have a high level of traffic at the moment” we did start to wonder when they didn’t! After 40 minutes hanging on we got to talk to a person and then a few minutes later we owned a boat.

Off to Droitwich Spa Marina

The Black Prince team had prepared everything, the diesel tank was full, all the beds made up, the boat had all it’s equipment just as we had used it in the summer.

I checked the engine hours (11,588) and then we asked them to help us turn her around and we set off down the Worcester and Birmingham canal towards Droitwich Spa Marina. What a great feeling, it was all finally ours.

We had a lot to learn as we found out a few hours later once we arrived at the marina. We had never moored in a marina before, and while we tried to find our allocated space the weather rained, hailed and blew us about.

Joining the queue at the Hanbury top lock

In a simple mistake we had been given the wrong berth number and when we found it, it was already in use, so we headed in to the next available berth. This took us many attempts and finally after a few four letter words we managed to get the bow in and finally tied up for the night. The office was now closed so we would sort out the correct berth in the morning.

Kitchen progress and our special cupboard

After the rush to get the hire boats boat out for the Covid-19 12 April release, our kitchen is now progressing nicely. A few parts are still needed, but it is looking good.

Kitchen surfaces and cupboards
Kitchen surfaces and cupboards

The splash backs and kick boards to go on and maybe a sink? Now you may have noticed that next to were the cooker is going there is a bit of unaccessible space under the work surface, we did not want a cupboard with rotating shelves, they always seem to be a pain and if we made the shelves extend into that space you just fill them with junk you cannot get out. So…

Special cupboard
Special cupboard

… in the dinning area, we have had a new door fitted it give us access to this space. I can see this being used for all the board games and maybe a few extra bottles of wine.

The next upgrade we wanted was a larger 32 inchTV, the old one being moved to the bedroom. The new TV is a Cello C3220 which is little more up to date. The wall mount means it can be stowed against the wall where not in use, and does not take up any space of the cupboard below.

New 32" TV Cello C3220
New 32″ TV Cello C3220

Kitchen Progress

The kitchen on Floydtilla is progressing with the washing machine being in place, still quite a bit of work to complete and with the upcomming hire season starting on the 12th April, there has been a slight delay in finishing our boat.

kitchen progress combined
Kitchen Progress, new cabinets and washing machine fitted

While disappointing, it is very understandable under the circumstances, we understand the need to get the hire boats out with paying customers while they can.