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Systems

Engine

 

There is a complete engine manual in the saloon, on the dashboard.  Unfortunately it is written in Dutch, but the diagrams are familiar to any experienced marine-engine mechanic.  The engine itself is a DAF 575, built in about 1965.  If normal maintenance procedures are carried out – as described in 'Maintenance' - it functions without hesitation.  The only unusual feature of the engine is that its keel cooling system is coupled to the hot water calorifier (responsible for heating domestic water whenever the engine is running): there are therefore a couple of extra pipes, and a diverter valve, located coming out of the engine block at the front on the port side of the engine, and running across the engine room into the hot water heater.  For best efficiency of hot domestic water heating, the diverter valve should be left at two turns towards closed.

 

The engine generates sufficient power and is geared so that under normal conditions you can expect to travel at approximately 1 km/hour for every 100 rpm showing on the tachometer on the dashboard.  Therefore, on a canal with a speed limit of 6 km/hour, the engine should run at no more than 600 rpm.  On a river with a higher speed limit, you might wish to run the engine at 1000 rpm, but be aware that there is a strong correlation between engine speed and fuel consumption.  On canals, we can usually count on a diesel consumption rate of a bit less than 3 litres per hour:  on rivers, especially going against a current, the consumption rate can easily jump to more than 5 litres per hour.


The engine is started by a key turned in an ignition switch, just the same as a car.  But the engine is turned off by pulling up an isolation handle located on the port side of the dashboard: only after the engine has stopped should the ignition key be disengaged.

 

Throttle and gear control

 

There are two throttle and gear controls, one at each steering position.  The control at each steering position is of the same design, and works in the same way.  It is important to note that the same lever controls both throttle and gear-direction.

 

In the upright position, the gear is in neutral and the engine speed is set to idle.

 

As the lever is pushed forwards, forward gear is engaged and the engine speed increases.

 

As the lever is pushed backwards (beyond the upright position), reverse gear is engaged and the engine speed increases.

 

Always pause in neutral before moving between forward and reverse functions.

 

Below the lever is a round knob.  When this knob is pushed in, the gear and throttle functions work as described above.  When this knob is pulled out, the gear is disengaged, enabling you to add some revolutions to the engine speed with the throttle lever without engaging either gear.

 
 

Steering

 

There are two steering positions on the vessel: an interior position in the saloon, and an external position on the aft sun deck.  One OR the other position must be selected manually while the vessel is moving.  Selection is made with a 3-point black lever located behind the wheel in the saloon.  When the lever is in the middle (pointing straight down) position, both steering positions are locked.

 

The steering system is hydraulic.  Sufficient hydraulic fluid must always remain in the system.  The hydraulic fluid level should be checked regularly, and be topped up whenever necessary with hydraulic fluid (NOT brake fluid), poured into the hydraulic reservoir which is a hard plastic container located on the coach-roof next to the external sun deck steering position.

 

The propeller shaft must be greased twice yearly, at the beginning and end of the cruising season.  There is one grease nipple on the shaft where it meets the transmission, two further grease nipples at a joint in the shaft under the bed in the aft cabin, and one grease nipple on the joint leading into the stern gland.

 

 

Fuel

 

Diesel for the engine is stored in a 400+ litre metal tank situated on the port side in the engine room.  The tank is filled through a tube located flush on the port side deck, midships: the threaded brass cap is stamped with the word FUEL.  The cap is opened and closed using a “T” handled tool which is stored in the saloon low on the wall just forward of the starboard door.  The tank is vented through a small opening on the superstructure near to the filler cap.

 

Spare diesel fuel can be carried in up to 7 20-litre metal jerry cans which are stored in the engine room just forward of the fuel tank.  It is a wise idea to keep at least 2 jerry cans filled with diesel for emergency use: however, these should be emptied and rotated whenever the main tank is filled.

 

Measurement of remaining fuel in the tank is best done with a dipstick through the filler tube, or by calculating fuel used on an hourly basis.  If in doubt, fill the tank up: there are few things more embarrassing than running out of fuel in the middle of a river!

 

The red-handled shut-off valve for the flow of diesel to the engine is located on the fuel line aft of the fuel tank, before the primary fuel filter.

 

There is a second shut-off valve nearby, which controls the flow of diesel fuel to the Webasto hot-water heater.

 

 

Heating

 

The interior of the vessel can be heated by hot-water radiators which are positioned throughout the boat.  The Webasto hot-water heater is located behind the wall at the rear of the aft cabin next to the stairs leading to the aft deck.

 

There is 1 radiator in the aft cabin, 1 in the saloon, 1 in the galley under the dinette table, and a heated towel rack/radiator in the bathroom.  Each radiator can be adjusted to taste, and the thermostat/timer/master control panel is on the dashboard.

 

The heater works on diesel, also supplied from the main fuel tank in the engine room.  There is a red-handled fuel shut-off valve near to the fuel tank.

 

The heater exhaust is located on the starboard side near to the stern.

 

When the heater is first switched On, a pre-heat sequence will take some seconds to complete before the burner starts.  When the heater is turned Off, it will continue to run for some seconds.

 

In emergency, there is also a 220v. portable electric heater stored in the locker under the stairs in the galley.

 
 

Electrics

 

Almost all applications on-board require a 24v. DC supply of electricity, which is provided by the batteries.  Very few applications require a 12v. DC supply.

 

The 24v. and 12v. DC supplies are regulated through a circuit breaker panel located on the dashboard in the saloon.

 

Under normal running conditions, the engine recharges the batteries (as you would expect).


A 220v. AC shore-power supply is required to power the washing machine and the TV, and optionally the refrigerator (which also works on 12v. DC or propane gas), the domestic hot water heater (which also works from engine heat), and the battery charging system (when the engine is not running).

 

The 220v. AC shore-power supply is distributed through a circuit breaker panel which is located on the wall of the storage compartment underneath the stairs at the rear of the aft cabin.


If neither engine nor shore power are available/appropriate, there is a 3 kw. inverter/generator that runs on petrol, and is capable of both charging the batteries and supplying 220v. AC.  The generator is usually situated on the stern deck.

 

 

Batteries

 

House (domestic) and Engine Start batteries are located in vented and labelled boxes in the storage compartment located behind the stairs in the galley.

 

2 new 12v. heavy duty batteries were installed in 2015, to provide a 24v. DC supply for most house (domestic) applications on-board.  A 12v./24v. DC controller is connected so that the few 12v. applications on-board receive the correct 12v. supply.  These two batteries require regular inspections, and occasional topping-up with distilled water.

 

2 new 12v. heavy duty batteries were also installed in 2015 to provide a 24v. DC supply for engine starting.  These two batteries are classified as maintenance free, and while they require regular visual inspections, they are sealed units which cannot be topped up with water.


Each set of batteries is connected to separate alternators located on the engine block.  These alternators recharge the batteries while the engine is running.

 

A 220v. battery charging unit is located on the wall of the same compartment which houses the batteries.  It provides power to charge all the batteries when the boat is connected to shore power.

 

Displays on the dashboard indicate the current state of both sets of batteries.

 

Power from both sets of batteries is primarily controlled by two separate red switches which are located on the left of the wheel, below the dashboard in the saloon.  The two switches are labelled “House” and “Engine Start”, as well as their ON and OFF positions.



Communications


For those skilled enough to use them, there is a set of signal flags that can be run up the mast.  Otherwise, there is a full marine band VHF radio on the dashboard console, with the complete range of all worldwide wavebands for ship to ship and ship to shore communications.  This is particularly useful for communications with lock-keepers and marinas.  Of course, we note the steady switch to using mobile telephones for those communications.


 

Water

 

Fresh water is stored in a 400+ litre metal tank situated on the starboard side in the engine room.  The tank is filled through a tube located flush on the starboard side deck, midships: the threaded brass cap is stamped with the word WATER.  The cap is opened and closed using a “T” handled tool which is stored in the saloon low on the wall just aft of the starboard door.  The tank is vented through a small opening on the superstructure near to the filler cap.  There is a sight tube on the side of the tank which shows the level of water.

 

There is a shut-off gate valve aft of the water tank.

 

Water passes from the tank through a primary filter, a pressure tank, and an electric water pump.  The pump supplies water to the calorifier/electric hot water heater, and to outlets in the galley (hot and cold), bathroom shower (hot and cold), sink (hot and cold), and an outlet (cold) for the washing machine in the rear of the aft cabin.  The water pump circuit breaker is on the main control panel in the saloon.

 

Waste water is emptied mechanically by the washing machine, and by gravity from the galley and bathroom sinks.  A gate valve connected to the sinks’ drainpipe is located in the bathroom.

 

Waste water from the shower empties by gravity into a small metal holding tank situated on the starboard side in the locker under the stairs in the galley.  The holding tank also contains a bilge pump which must be turned ON to pump shower waste water from the holding tank into the shower drainpipe.  A switch high on the wall of the shower stall must be turned ON during showering and until all water has been evacuated.  There is also a circuit breaker on the main control panel which must be left ON for the shower bilge pump to operate.

 

Water accumulated in the bilge of the vessel is evacuated by 2 bilge pumps located in the bilges.  One pump is controlled by a circuit breaker on the main control panel plus a secondary control located next to the rear stairs in the aft cabin; and the other is connected to the emergency alarm system located behind the wheel in the saloon.

 

The audible emergency alarm system is activated if sufficient water has accumulated in the bilges of the vessel to cause the midships bilge pump to turn on.

 

Propane

 

Two propane cubes are stored in a wooden chest on the starboard side of the foredeck.  The chest is ventilated at the bottom, and is fastened to the boat’s railings.  The lid is fastened and locked with two separate locks and keys.  There is a single regulator inside the chest, enabling you to switch over cubes when one is empty and giving you time to replace the empty cube with a new full one.  Empty cubes and replacement full cubes are commonly exchanged at supermarkets and petrol stations.  Propane usage is obviously a matter of personal habits, but you might expect about 3 weeks’ usage from a cube if using propane both for cooking and for running the refrigerator.

 

Propane is fed through the regulator into a copper pipe which enters the galley area.  There are two separate shut-off valves behind the central cupboard door, beneath the stovetop.  One valve controls the flow of gas into the stovetop, the other controls the flow of gas into the refrigerator.


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