And so I took the toilet apart. Not a pleasant job but nonetheless interesting to see how it worked. Separated from the toilet the motor worked just fine. Put it back together and it stopped working again. All the while I’m sending emails back and forward to Australia about this asking for advice.
One thing I had worked out early on in this journey, was that with the toilet connected to the Battleship’s main electric supply, it would run slowly. Connected directly to the battery it would run faster, but it would still more often than not require the screwdriver startup procedure.
Anyway it was a small nightmare and I actually got to the point where I thought fuck this, I’m going to send the pump back and reinstall the hand pump. I fitted that and then realised that I had lost a small – but crutial – plastic drain plug that fitted into the bottom pipe and it was now unusable. What a absolute pain toilets are; long live the shovel!!
So I sat in the boat and thought that the only thing I hadn’t tried yet was connecting a battery directly to the electric toilet as a separate power supply. So I took the thruster battery out of the Ronan and connected up. The toilet started up first time, every time and with more power than it’s ever run. And it runs perfectly even now, several weeks later.
Apparently, according to the Australian boat suppliers (nice guy by the way, but he only told me this afterwards), solar panels can interfere with the running of the toilet. WTF?? But yes, I have four truck batteries in the back of the Battleship all connected in parallel, with three solar panels on the roof connected through two charge controllers. And somehow, in the mysterious world of electronics, the toilet motor will not work properly when the battery is connected to a solar panel. Neither by day nor by night!
That was part 1 of the bizarre world of boat electronics that I am sharing with you. Part 2 is that I have a 12V electric drill/screwdriver. This has been incredibly useful on the boat because I’ve been drilling holes and fitting the boat with wood and bamboo. I’ve built 10 cupboard doors in the rear of the boat and a framework to keep water out and to store things out of sight. It looks like something I’ve built and it’s not something you would find in IKEA. Let’s just say it has character.
The charger for the battery drill was a wall transformer that dropped from 230/240V to 12V at the battery charger. Ah-ha!! Great I thought, I can strip off the plug, replace it with two crocodile clips and charge my drill battery in the boat. This way I can do more drilling and screwing without having to recharge the batteries at home.
Knowing what I now know about the interference of Solar Panels, I connected straight to the toilet battery. The battery would charge for a minute and then stop charging. Not enough charge to run the drill! So I connected to the large battery bank in the back (this was at night) and same thing; very small charging time and it would stop. However, connect up during the day, when the batteries are being charged by the solar panel and hey presto the drill batteries fully charge!!!! WTF???
And this is exactly like fly fishing of course. (Hang in there)
No sooner than you’ve got one piece of the puzzle sorted out and another piece comes along that upends it. 5 years ago I discovered that Giant Gourami ate algae off the stumps around the lake. If I found them (and I could find between four and six 4-5KG fish doing this in an exciting evening) then they could be enticed to eat a dry fly. I even figured out that I could work out where Gourami lived just by checking to see if the algae on the stumps had been nibbled. Fantastic!! A killer method for a difficult fish, a huge and exciting new piece to the puzzle. For three or four months of the year as the water level was dropping I now had an incredible method of fishing at my disposal. The problem is that for the last four years since then they haven’t done this and I haven’t found a single algae feeding fish in this time.
“Cracking the code” my arse! Actually I’m going to go out on a limb here; I suspect that an electrical engineer will be able to explain the above Battleship electric mysteries. He may be wrong of course, but he will give me an explanation. No one in this world can explain Giant Gourami.
Have a great day!