Remix To Ignition

Golly gosh I haven’t blogged in absolutely ages! You might say it’s aBOAT time!

sickboat  Boat jokes: they never get old.

I suppose the reason I haven’t written in such a long time is that everything’s been going rather splendidly, and there’s not much interesting about: ‘Everything’s great, thanks!’

Our driving of the boat (Ed’s driving of the boat) is nigh on perfect now so we have no hilarious crash stories, we’ve learnt to tie her up securely so there’s been no more amusing/horrific nighttime floaty incidents and the toilet has disappointingly failed to overflow again even though we had two whole boat guests to stay the other day.

Thetford C200CS“For God’s sake, pee more! I’m going to have nothing to write about!”

We did nearly sink once but that was due to a (fairly easy to fix) leaky stern gland so we remained boringly afloat. YAWN.

leaky-boat_1442059iUgh, this looks like so much fun.

Thankfully, finally, the boat responded to my calls for it to just do something INTERESTING and BLOG-WORTHY for once by deciding to pack up the batteries, the engine and the ignition panel all in one go.


Except obviously ‘yay’ wasn’t our immediate reaction. Our immediate reaction had a lot more swearing than that.

We’d been having problems with our batteries for some time, they had been running themselves down to 0% overnight and weren’t allowing us to use our inverter properly.

We decided that maybe it was time to gently let the batteries know that we’d be replacing them with a younger model.

What we hadn’t anticipated was that the ignition panel and the engine would take offence at this decision and die too. One morning I noticed the batteries had drained overnight again and wearily went to start the engine only to be greeted with a deathly silence from the ignition panel. “Come on, ignition.” I pleaded, “You know the batteries have to go. They’re too old now, it’s not fair to make them keep working like this…”

But the ignition panel exercised it’s right to strike and stayed stubbornly silent.

After a fairly panicked phone call to Ed in which I informed him that I had ‘broken the whole boat’, we decided to seek a less hysterical opinion. It transpired that the ignition panel failure had nothing to do with the rundown batteries and that it was more likely to be due to a coincidental loose connection. We soon found that reaching into the engine and wiggling one of the wires caused the ignition to start working again, if not a little

urlThus teaching us a new rule of boating: when in doubt, wiggle stuff.

Obviously this was a less than perfect solution but, while we waited for a free boatspert (a boat expert) to come and have a proper look, it worked.

Until suddenly it didn’t.

One day, mid-wiggling, the engine began to make all sorts of outrageous noises as we tried to get it going. By this point we assumed that the loose connection had become too loose even for wiggling. Again, we anxiously sought advice.

“You haven’t just run out of diesel as well have you?” asked the advice.

We laughed and made Victorian noises like pish tosh! Running out of diesel! Unthinkable! Surely this latest engine failure problem was definitely to do with the faulty ignition, there can’t possibly be three things wrong with the boat all at once! Right!?


It turns out that, actually, there’s nothing more that boats love doing than going completely wrong all at once. We found ourselves stuck with no diesel, a wobbly ignition and imminently retiring batteries. Which is a bit tricksy when you work from home and need electrical equipment to work, and that equipment needs to charge, and charging needs the inverter, and the inverter needs working batteries, and batteries need a running engine and so on. 

TheresAHoleIt was all very ‘there’s a hole in my bucket’.

Thankfully, due to the efforts of a superhero named Mr. Amazing Boat Engineer Man (probably), our boat woes were solved in a mere couple of afternoons with the installation of beautiful new batteries and a new wire to fix the loose connection between the ignition panel and the engine. Mr. ABEM also discovered that our alternator was ‘a bit buggered’ too, potentially a huge contributing factor to the Murder of the Previous Batteries.

Cluedo                     “The alternator in the engine room with a dodgy connection!”

Now life is sweet again. Everything is perfect. I never thought I could love a thing as much as I love our new batteries. They are the strong men of the battery world, charging everything beautifully and for long periods at a time without a hint of draining. Instead of having to run the engine all day to keep things charged, we can now enjoy peaceful silence while we contemplate why the pump has decided to start sporadically emptying our water tank into the canal.



5 thoughts on “Remix To Ignition

  1. Just came across your blog, as a reluctant Narrowboater I am terrified of every beep, squeak & flickering light. We too have a battery situation but this post has cheered me up. Thanks : )

  2. Pingback: Fridgegate | A Narrow Escape

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