She’s electric

(Bet you can’t guess which song will be accompanying this blog post.)

My first couple of weeks at Castle Marina were punctuated with intermittent loss of mains electricity. Being no stranger to having a part-time fridge and limited ability to charge devices, I did not leap into action. But when the battery charger started flashing red, I thought I had better do something. I took to the Internet forums.

This was not the positive, empowering experience I had hoped for. I described the problems as clearly as I could (and fully disclosed my novice status), but was met by more than one sniffy reply asking questions I thought I had already addressed, and then complaining that I did not reply quickly enough. (I was on night shifts. I was asleep. Sure, they weren’t to know that and only wanted to help in a timely fashion, but I felt righteous indignation all the same.)

I also talked to the marina chaps – I suspected my mains problem was due to a faulty connection at the post. After all, I had never had a problem with electrics at Sawley, but the day I move to my new home it all started playing up. We tried plugging into another post, but the mains was not magically restored. I unplugged the galvanic isolator and that seemed to fix things. Alas, it transpired this was not a long-term solution. The marina manager then replaced the socket on the mains post, and this also had a short-lived effect. But ultimately, I was still left with unreliable electricity and a mini disco in the engine room courtesy of the battery charger warning lights.

Back on the forums, it was suggested I might have a loose wire connection in the plugs. After a bit of web-based coaching I managed to remove the plug casings and check the wire connections. They were fine in the galvanic isolator. It was time to get in the pros.

Happily, there was someone on site with know-how and an available time slot to look at my electrical conundrum. Warren took a multimeter to every battery-related object and they all seemed in reasonable working order. He too was a little stumped. He methodically worked through the connections, including the plugs for the main electrical cable. Which I had neglected to check. One loose wire adjusted, and the low buzz of the fridge could be heard again. And the disco lights had disappeared. The party was over but the batteries were being charged.

What is the moral of this story? It could be ‘call the experts as soon as you have a problem’. (If so, I have not learnt from this – my diesel heater has been broken for at least two months now.) It could also be ‘if you ask for advice on the internet, then you should follow it properly and not get annoyed by a stranger’s lack of knowledge about your shift pattern’. (It may seem like quite specific advice, but I fear it may be transferable to many areas of my life.) But for now I’m taking it to be ‘appreciate a fully functioning fridge as you never know when your beer might get warm.’

This blog post was brought to you by ‘She’s electric‘ by Oasis. Predictability is one of my better traits.

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