diesel bug – a layman’s guide

what is it? and how do we get rid of it?

what is it?

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Diesel bugs are microbes that live at the interface between water and diesel fuel.

In some places it’s also known as diesel fungus or the diesel virus.

The presence of Diesel bug in your fuel tank can be a potential risk to your engine’s fuel system, can cause serious damage and eventually lead to engine failure.

If the fuel stored in your tank has been subject to variations in weather and temperature or your fuel has been stored for long periods without usage, then there is a considerable danger that your fuel may be contaminated.

contamination from water

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The most common contaminant is WATER, usually building up from condensation.

Because biodiesel is hygroscopic (it attracts water molecules from atmospheric moisture). It is vital that the utmost care is taken to reduce, as far as possible, any contact which the fuel may have with water or water vapour.

Fuel containing any amount of water could seriously damage your equipment’s fuel injection system and would make it more prone to breaking down.

contamination from bacteria & the dreaded fuel bug

Sulphur free diesel containing biodiesel will also be more prone to bacterial contamination than normal mineral diesel or gas oil. This fuel has inherent bacteria and the presence of any water accelerates the growth of microbe colonies which are able to breed and multiply and will eventually completely plug and block a fuel system (see picture below).

This ‘bug’ will form a layer between the fuel and the water and as it breeds it produces waste which is usually  evident as black sludge and slimes or dark lumps. These eventually fall to the bottom of the tank and encourage further problems with the potential to cause severe damage through further blockage of fuel filters and increased corrosion.

symptoms, tests & cure

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Your engine will stop, will let you restart, will carry on for a very few miles, then stop again.

Some diesel tanks have a tap at the bottom, which will allow you to run out a little diesel, or run off any water present. (The water sits at the bottom of your tank as it is heavier than diesel). An easy way to check for water contamination.

There are many products to help you test for diesel bug, and many that will go some way towards eliminating it. We would have to recommend our own products, such as our Diesel bug Testing Kit, & Diesel bug Killer. We would also recommend having a Fuel decontaminator fitted (removes any trace of moisture) and a fuel polishing system which would clean and polish your fuel while the engine is idle.


Ian Currie is the owner of Fuel Guard, and has 25 years of experience  associated with heavy trucks, earth moving, plant hire, construction, marine and the agricultural market -specialising in fuel, lubrication and filtration systems.

Call: 01908 230 579 Write: Email Visit:  Website Link

co alarm testing

carbon monoxide alarm testing

since april 1st 2019 the BSS mandate is that all boats with an accommodation space must have a co alarm fitted

a step forward, but...

co alarm battery testing

test button test

the test button on a CO alarm only tests the battery, circuit and horn.

Detectagas® test

a Detectagas® test is sensor inclusive and the only way to fully ensure that your CO alarm is still sensing gas.

Detectagas co alarm testing
warning sign for carbon monoxide

silent killer

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill if you’re exposed to high levels. Every year there are around 25 deaths from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales.

how to test your CO alarm

Having a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home can help protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning, but only if it works properly. Checking your detector regularly will help make sure your family is safe. You should test the sensor on the unit annually with a calibrated test spray, and check the alarm circuitry once a month by pressing the test button.

carbon monoxide alarm testing
Detectagas Carbon Monoxide tester

Detectagas®

  • Simple to use

  • Entirely safe

  • Sensor Inclusive Test

  • Calibrated Test Gas

  • 11 Tests per can

  • Low cost per test

  • Sensor tests all CO alarms

  • manufactured to BS EN 5029

GasSafe Europe logoFor trade enquiries please contact:
Gas Safe Europe Limited, 1 Daniels Court, Gas Lane, Mold, Flintshire, CH7 1UR

Call: 01352 860 600 Write: Email Visit: Website Link

batteries – a brief encounter

batteries - a brief encounter

a guide to leisure batteries

size matters

When it comes to choosing leisure batteries for your narrowboat, you need to check the existing batteries for size and amperage rating. If you're living on the boat you will be reliant on the batteries, so it's very important to choose the right ones to power your everyday accessories. The physical size is crucial when choosing a battery. The bigger the battery, the bigger the ampere hour rating.

choose the right type of leisure battery

Narrowboats tend to use unsealed batteries as most designs have the batteries located near the engine bay. Excessive heat will cause evaporation and therefore unsealed batteries, even though most units are maintenance free, can be replenished with fluid to prolong their life. However, most leisure batteries are sealed units these days but are perfectly fine to use.

The most common leisure / deepcycle batteries used are listed below and they range from 110ah - 230ah.

There are 3 different grades of Leisure Batteries, Wet Flooded Lead Acid (the most common and cheapest), AGM Leisure Batteries and GEL Batteries. The pro's & Con's are described below. The physical size is crucial when choosing a battery. The bigger the battery, the more ampere hours (capacity).

standard wet flooded lead acid leisure batteries

Pros: These are the most common and popular type of leisure battery, sealed or unsealed. They are reasonably priced and can be used on most applications.

Cons: You should really only drain these batteries down to 40% of their capacity, so for example, if you had a 110ah battery, you're only using 60% of its capacity. They also drain quickly and take longer to recharge.

agm leisure batteries

Pros: AGM batteries have come down a lot in price over the last few years. They are becoming more & more popular for use on Camper Vans & Motorhomes which is understandable as AGM batteries are sealed, non spill-able and emit minimal gases.
They drain at a slower rate, so will last longer between recharges.
You can also use 80% of its capacity and they will charge almost 3 times faster than a standard flooded type battery.
AGM batteries have high cranking ability, so can power Caravan Movers and Outboard Motors. AGM batteries can also perform more cycles.

Cons: There aren't really any cons regarding these battery types. They used to be expensive and were limited in size variations. Now, there are many different sizes to choose from.

gel deep cyclic batteries

Pros: Gel Leisure Batteries are pure deep cyclic. These can be drained almost completely flat and still recover.

Suitable for deep discharge applications such as catering equipment, security cameras etc.

Cons: Sadly Gel batteries are very expensive, we only supply the best product brand of Gel which is Sonnenschein. The leisure Gel range we supply are not really suitable for starting applications but you can buy Gel batteries products with starting use.

Starter Batteries

We also supply engine starter batteries. Again starter batteries do vary in size and amplitude.

A deep-cycle battery is a lead-acid battery designed to be regularly deeply discharged using most of its capacity. In contrast, starter batteries (e.g. most automotive batteries) are designed to deliver short, high-current bursts for cranking the engine, thus frequently discharging only a small part of their capacity.

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At Advanced Batteries, we sell all the top leisure brands like Numax, Lucas, Varta, ABS Leisure and Trojan. You can choose from sealed and non sealed units and we can supply a range of flooded lead acid, absorbed glass mat (AGM) and even Gel type batteries. We are always ready with battery advice, so do get in touch.

Call: 0800 195 9897 Visit our Website: Advanced Battery Supplies

electric boats

electric boats - the way forward

the history, challenges, and future of electric boats

Electric boats (EBs) are a lot more diverse, complicated and varied than cars, because they have to tackle some very tough conditions, but they share some common features. This brief introduction considers the history, challenges, and future of electric boats and shipping.

the history

Historically, both electric cars and ships date back to the invention of batteries and motors in the mid 19th Century. In those days, water transport - on rivers, canals, lakes and oceans - carried most of the world's passengers and cargoes. Muscle power, sails, and later coal/steam power, were the main energy sources, and all three had significant disadvantages, being highly labour intensive. The commercial development of electric boats included small and medium-sized passenger boats, small ferries, and even canal barges like streetcars that used overhead power lines.  But, just as with early electric cars, poor range, lack of charging facilities, and slow speeds were key disadvantages.

The high energy storage density of oil, and the internal combustion engine put an end to most Electric Boat development by the early 20th century. Nevertheless, throughout the last 100 years, the need to power silent hybrid submarines and undetectable torpedoes ensured that battery and motor development continued, culminating in nuclear-electric submarines capable of travelling under the frozen ice of the Arctic to meet the threats of the cold-war era. Meanwhile, using manned and unmanned electric submersibles, exploration continues of the mysterious depths of the oceans.

Specialist solar racing boats may use foils to reduce friction, and can travel on pure solar power at speeds of up to 30 mph. There are annual student competitions in the USA and the Netherlands. One such craft, an experimental offshore trimaran, will attempt a cross-channel record in August 2019. Broadly speaking though, whether conventional or highly specialised, all these kind of smaller EBs are roughly equivalent to electric cars: they are designed to transport small numbers of people safely, and make use of widely available components and materials, batteries, chargers, controllers, motors, and so on.

the challenges

Like an electric car, a conventional modern electric boats can be either pure electric or hybrid.  The huge advantages to the boater on the water are the quiet motor and lack of smell from fumes, and there is no risk of fuel spillage either. What's more, unlike converting a car, a boat conversion can be as quick and easy as replacing an old petrol outboard engine with a modern electric alternative: simplicity itself. These light craft are ideal for fishing, leisure or exploring nature.

The most popular types of electric boats are small dinghies, canoes, rowboats, sailboats, speedboats, or inflatable ribs powered fully or partly by a simple outboard trolling motor or a more powerful outboard linked to a battery pack. They may also use wind or human-power as a main or supplementary power source as and when needed or available. The battery pack might be integral to the outboard (if it is lightweight like lithium) or separate if using heavy lead acid.

More sophisticated, specialised and larger EBs generally use a built-in (inboard) propeller and motor - and the electric motor itself may be built into a pod underwater to keep it cool, or placed inside the hull and cooled using some other means. Conversion to inboard electric of e.g. a heavy canal narrow boat or yacht is not cheap, and is still fairly rare, but is becoming more popular for environmental reasons.

Some more advanced larger electric boats and ships also combine wind power (conventional cloth or solar-impregnated sails and/or small wind turbines), solar panels, nuclear, hydrogen fuel cells, diesel, biofuel or petrol generators. Multiple power sources are not unusual, for example the yacht Electra, moored at Bute, uses sails as a primary power source, supplemented by a plug in 10 kWh l-ion battery and Lynch motor, solar panels, a small petrol generator for emergencies, and a regenerating propellor for use when the boat is under sail. Modern sailing and motor boats need a steady source of low-voltage electricity for navigation, radio and instrumentation, as well as for lighting and other functions, and they may be at sea for long periods of time without access to shore facilities, so every kWh gained or saved really counts. These small currents can be mission-critical on a yacht undertaking a long passage, or when the wind fails.

the future

As battery prices reduce, and if there were political support through e.g. diesel scrappage schemes and VAT incentives, it would be relatively easy to replace most small-boat inboard and outboard engines with electric power as and when existing fossil-fuel units wear out and need replacing. It will probably happen eventually anyway.

But the climate emergency we now face sees heavy marine oil as the major problem, and there are increasingly urgent international measures and directives to reduce reliance on dirty oil. One large cruise ship can produce as a much particulate matter as 1M cars, and according to Channel 4's Dispatches, the air quality on deck is as bad as our inner-cities. A wide number of measures are being developed to tackle this, including modern wind-assisted ships, conversion to gas turbines, sustainably generated hydrogen, hybrid-electric propulsion as used by some modern cruise ships and even plug-in ferries.  Iceland’s first electrified ferry, a 70-meter long vessel, will be powered by a massive 3,000kWh battery pack with a diesel generator that will serve only to supply backup power. Despite the considerable engineering and financial challenges, with good planning, much of Scotland's ageing ferry and marine offshore fleet could be replaced with hybrid-electric by 2035.

Robert Malcolm Kay, is General Secretary of the Electric Boats Association, 'connecting people with an interest in promoting electric boats and ships since 1982'
photos by kind permission of Torqueedo: inboard and outboard electric motors
Further reading: 'Electric Boats and Ships' by Kevin Desmond: published by McFarland, 2017: a definitive, lively and well-researched history of electric boats to the present day.

Call:  08707 605 846  Write: Email  Visit: Website Link

protection matters

protection matters

the importance of having the right cover for your boat

Having the right insurance for your boat is so important as it will cover you for the unfortunate situations that could turn a great day out in the water, into a bad one. Buying a boat is a big investment, so you must protect it against damage or theft. Insurance for your boat is just as important as car insurance and regardless of how experienced you are, you should make sure you protect yourself against inexperienced or careless boaters. You do not want to be left with an inoperable boat and huge repair bills.

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pigs to plastics

pigs to plastics

a clever idea leads to a new way of life

pig1.jpgA long long time ago, almost as far back as I can remember, my father had a pig farm. While growing up on the farm my friends and I used to catch rides on the backs of the pigs. We used to get covered in muck - well you know what pigs are like for wallowing in it!

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lasting powers of attorney

lasting power of attorney

have you got one yet?

This is possibly the most important legal document that anyone should have in their life time; in fact the Office of the Public Guardian states that everyone over the age of 35 should have one!

why?

You may not think boating is a dangerous pastime – but when you consider the possible dangers that we face daily on the canals and inland waterways, ask yourself this question. If you lose mental capacity temporarily or permanently do you think that you could pay all your bills and ensure that the care you may receive, if unwell for an extended period would be what you want?

estate planning When someone (a donor) becomes mentally or physically unable to look after their own affairs, they generally wish someone they know and trust could legally handle these things for them in the way that they would do things for themselves. The only way this can happen is by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney thereby giving another person (an attorney) the legal right to act on behalf of the donor.

It is important to pre-arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst a person/donor still has the mental capacity to do so and therefore be able to choose their own attorney(s). People often assume (especially a spouse or next or kin) that it is their automatic right to take over the affairs of the incapacitated person. Sadly, this is not the case, even if they have savings or investments in joint names. We also recommend that replacement (or backup) attorneys be appointed in case the chosen attorney cannot act for some reason.

uses of an LPA

For example:

• The donor can still do things for themselves, under the financial power, even after the LPA has been registered.
• A financial LPA can be used if a person needs help on a temporary basis; e.g. in the case of a nervous breakdown.
• A single parent having difficulties and wanting someone to look after a minor (child/children?) on a temporary basis. A note could be made in the LPA document to this effect.
• The attorney must always act in the best interest of the donor at all times and if needed “fight battles” on the donor’s behalf. Otherwise the attorney could be found to be negligent in his/her duties under the MCA 2005 Act.

what happens if there is not a lasting power of attorney in place?

If a person cannot manage their affairs and they have lost mental capacity, the only way for someone to be able to look after that person’s affairs is by way of an application being made to The Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed. This can take many months to sort out and is costly. To give you an idea of costs LPAs cost approx. £500.00 whereas a Deputyship Order will cost approx. £3000.00. and after that there's an annual fee and other costs to pay as well (depending on circumstances and income of the incapacitated person). A deputy may be someone known to the family or could well be a local Solicitor or an officer of the Local Health Authority. In certain circumstances a family member may be appointed, but there are lot of restrictions and rules to follow and abide by.

legal-logo.jpgCall: 01283 566 133 Write: Email Visit:  Website Link

bilgeaway

bilgeaway

launched by river canal rescue

Inland waterway emergency assistance and breakdown firm, River Canal Rescue (RCR), has launched Bilgeaway – a product it describes as ‘the world’s first truly environmentally-friendly bilge discharge filter’.

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a brand new chapter

a brand new chapter

"more time for you"

2009 was an eventful year, Barack Obama became America's first black president, James Cameron’s “Avatar” was smashing all box office records to become the highest grossing film of all time and 155 passengers aboard an Airbus A320 flight experienced a miracle on the Hudson River. 2009 was also an exciting year for Aqueduct Marina, as this was the year we opened our doors for the very first time, following years of planning and hard work from the Parton family.

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how safe is your boat?

how safe is your boat?

a false sense of security

Boats are often seen as easy targets for theft, and break-ins can happen during off peak times when the canals are quiet, or at high season when they are at their busiest.

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