Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Washing Machine Saga (begins...)

We are slowly making our way to Berkhamstead in the hopes of arriving there before Sunday 11th, when we plan to see Jody and Gina again for the first time since arriving in the UK this year.

The weather has been dry, if not cold for the past few days travel, until yesterday. So after some discussion we decided to stay put so that Andrew can look at installing the washing machine. I have been on at him for a while to get this done as launderettes seem to be few and far between, within a walking distance of the canal that is.

This required a bit of work. We would use the porta-pottie cupboard. We thought that we would remove the basin in here and use that space for the washing machine. So after stopping early yesterday, Andrew proceeded to remove the cupboard. We already knew that the washing machine would have to stand on top of the 'poo' tank which sat under there, which Andrew and Mattie had discovered on previous excursions under the bonnet installing the solar power connections.  What Andrew discovered though, AFTER removing the cupboard, were some further pipes making the use of this space for the washing machine an impossibility. Never mind that getting washing in and out the machine WITH me in that small cupboard was going to be a bit of a squeeze!

So time to rethink...  the machine fits in the cupboard on the floor where the porta-pottie used to sit. It has been connected to the water and the outlet. For now an extension cord is used for power.  The dismantled cupboard will be replaced with a new base and backing, to cover up the electrics and pipes, and some shelving for storage. We then had a go at testing the machine. With the engine running to provide the necessary power, all looked good. We ran a rinse and spin cycle, no leaks and all water imported and exported as expected.  At this point I was getting rather excited, I could do some of the pile of washing that had been waiting for just this moment.  So, a small load to start with. All starts great UNTIL...the cold water needed heating! At that point the inverter (which converts engine, or battery, power to 240v) can't supply enough power to the washing machine and turns itself off, along with the washing machine. BUGGER. So we try a cold wash, still no luck, as the machine does not do a cold wash!

OK, we now have some very wet washing, luckily only a towel and the bath mat, but it is raining pretty heavily outside. Well the washing machine is also a dryer, maybe that will work? It works fine, but will take almost three hours to dry a load and for cottons 4 hours!

So now I have a very expensive ballast weight in the cupboard taking up lots of room and a lot of washing to be done!

Andrew is going back to the drawing board to try and figure out a solution. If we were connected to shore power Andrew is sure that it will work fine. We do however have a petrol generator, but no petrol. So that will be the next trial, find some petrol. Me, I just want the washing done.

After a bit of investigation using the canal handbooks and the internet, we are a couple of hours from a marina.  Now marina's have a supply of shore power, water and visitor moorings. So guess where we will be tomorrow. Washing and drying madly while Andrew takes a well earned rest :)

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