The Night The Lights Went Out – Narrow Boat Technical Issues

The lights had been fading on and off like a scene from an American Horror movie since Monday, Fantine is tucked up in the Marina at the minute so we thought little of it, assuming there was a problem with the mains hook up. We are silly amateur boaty folk.


Last night we got home to pretty much pure darkness. I found James hidden down in the depths of the engine, looking at things … which can only mean it’s serious. Like Sherlock he tirelessly investigated the issue (And of course phoned the Dads for support!) until we had a sort of answer.

So it transpires that the lights, fridge and water pump on Fantine run off the 12 volt system, even when we are hooked up to mains power, which explains why our sockets were still working with no supply issues. The 12 volt system is supplied by batteries, these charge off the engine running and the solar panels but have no charger linked to the 240 volt (hooked up) system. Given that we have been in the marina for a few days without running the engine, and the December cloud isn’t a great solar generator the batteries are running out of light making juice! Apparently according to James, much like the rest of us, they don’t like the cold weather either.


Given that we got home at 1900 last night we didn’t fancy running our engine for a few hours, nor did we want the in vogue experience of eating in the dark, so we did what we always do in these adult situations … retreat to the pub. James has brought a battery charger home which should help our poor battery in the meantime, and has grand plans at the weekend to plumb a charger into the 240 volt system to prevent this happening again.

James & Kirsty

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