1st year: Electric Power, Domestic, and Entertainment

These are my comments after the first year on Electric Power, Domestic, and Entertainment
= good; = good, but… ; = not satisfactory; = not sure yet;

Electrical Power Initially I took advantage of the weight saved by using an electric outboard to install two leisure batteries each with it’s own Ctek M100 charger and NASA compact battery monitor. Now I have a petrol outboard I have reduced to one of each! I am experimenting with a way for Seatern to be independent from shore power for periods of a few days or so. Since this is work in progress please contact me through the Swallow Boats forum if you want information. (also see note on electrics, 30 October 2014)
Origo 1500 Spirit Stove The stove and gimballs are ridiculously expensive compared to the portable butane stoves you can buy and I’m disappointed that the spirit stove does not work well with the PAN2000 cabin heater. However it does give me a way of cooking and heating in very cold (sub-zero) weather when a butane stove would fail. The low-odour bio-ethanol is really good, far superior to using meths. However I get the impression that the stove gives off more CO (sometimes triggering the alarm) than a portable butane stove would.
Pan-2000 heater Now I am using this with a portable butane stove it is excellent. It provides a way of quickly heating the cabin to a comfortable temperature. It did not work so well with the spirit stove because running the stove at the recommended level to prevent sooting up of the heat exchanger did not provide enough heat in the chimney. [Comments on using the PAN2000]
Dometic 972 portable toilet Too heavy if the water tank is filled for flushing, but otherwise works OK. Situated in the starboard V-berth locker recess, it provides a seat when getting things from the fridge!
Waeco Tropicool TC21FL cool box Did not cool to the level claimed and power hungry, I would not recommend it. Comments on the cool box and fridge
Waeco Coolfreeze CDF25 fridge This compressor fridge is heavier than the cool box which it replaced – but it works and uses less power. I once nudged the thermostat setting accidentally and everything froze! I have now taped it to maintain a fridge temperature of <5C. Comments on the cool box and fridge
Firehawk CO78 CO Alarm Went off almost as soon as I lit the spirit stove, partly because I installed it too close. An alarm with a digital display is much better. [Comment on CO and smoke alarms]
First Alert CO410 CO Alarm Has a digital display of CO concentration. Sometimes goes off due to outboard exhaust but generally keeps quiet. Reassuring to have when using the PAN2000 stove to heat the cabin. [Comment on CO and smoke alarms]
AM/FM radio, Fusion speakers I use the JVC KDX250BT “Digital Media Receiver” to play music off my iPhone which plugs into the front panel. It is specifically designed to interact with the iPhone (or iPad/iPod) displaying the song title etc. on it’s front display. It also provides an amplifier for my laptop when the latter is being used as a TV. The sound from the Fusion 4″ speakers is so good that I bought a second pair to replace the Force 4 speakers I originally had.[Comment on radio/music system]
TV Apart from entertainment, this gives the chance to view met chart sequences during some weather forecasts. I use an EyeTV tuner with my Apple MacBook Air laptop. The Banten 331/1 aerial on the aft gallows incorporates a 26db amplifier powered off the 12v supply and taking 50mA. It has given good reception so far when I have tried it despite the low position.
iPhone/web access I’m including the iPhone because it has proved far more useful than I expected – it can serve as a sighting compass, spirit level, wifi hub, alarm clock, shipping forecast access, music centre, GPS receiver, and may also work as a phone! I’m with EE and pay £3 per month for 100Mb data which is ample for receiving weather charts etc. Because my home internet provider is BT, the iPhone can access the web through other peoples BT connections as well as through free wifi sites.