Next I phoned C&RT Norwich office and booked them to man the locks at Ellesmere Port and Marsh Lock (on the Weaver). At first they seemed confused referring me to Peel Ports who advised its definitely C&RT that man the locks. I phoned C&RT again and got someone else who knew exactly what I wanted so made the booking for me. Seems not all C&RT are aware they man these locks so persevere.
|Marsh Lock on the Weaver Navigation. The Shipping canal leads off to the left of the picture|
|Swing bridge over the Bottom lock at the museum. The Shipping canal is at the top of the picture.|
I think I mentioned a while ago that we were looking to have some solar panels installed? After much research we have placed an order for four 100 watt flexi panels, cables and MPPT controller etc . These will be fitted by the supplier just before we leave for Ellesmere Port as we can tie them into our VB.net display to monitor their charging. I did the calculations and reckon 400 watt of panel wired for our 24 volt system would amount to 200 Watts. This should give us about 6 amps charging on a good day and about 3.5 on a dull day. I've been monitoring our usage whilst off mains and it is roughly 4 amps peak so the panels should greatly increase the time between engine runs to charge batteries though not eliminate the need completely.
Two panels will be mounted directly on the roof just forward of the back hatch and on either side. The other pair I plan to mount on a top box that I have started to make. The box will have a pitch roof with double lids. One to keep the box closed and one to allow the solar panels to be tilted so as to maximise the sun's charge. I wanted to have two boxes but do not have enough room on the roof hence why two will be fixed to the roof directly.
My inspiration for the box material came from Barry on nb AreandAre (click). Barry has used 9mm plastic for his boxes. Solves the need to paint, does not rot, and is UV resistant all the while being robust enough to store things in. I'll post some build pictures when I make a start on the Box.