Drill baby Drill, or is it jetlag

Another sunny dry day.  so 5 am coffee, grab the paint, a few old towels to dry of the top deck and the day starts.   Rolling Yellow paint with a smallis roller, kneeling on a soft pad, so it is semi comfy.  yes the back is hurting.   Today Amsterdam…well….JETLAG reared its head again.

The second coat of paint applied, time for more coffee.  MY dentist appointment was at 12:30 so also some varnishing, Peggy and Megan got up around 9:30 – 10 and made it clear they wanted to shower!.  So I cleared the shower area, turned on the Kabola and started to do the dishes, but the water was not getting hot…..I opened the hatch, and saw the Kabola display indicating warm water requested and the current temp is 27C. BUT no warm water.   Gosh it had worked correctly after Jochem connected it to the new large tank.  IMG_3162.JPGSO I called Ron, the installer, local service man.  After explaining what was going on, he indicated that the burner was not getting any diesel, so I had to turn the pump on and bleed the system.  Meaning I had to use an allen key on the P screw and open it up till there was some diesel coming out.



Well I did so quite a few times BUT no success.  Megan announced loudly she would be happy to take a cold shower today in this heat, since she knew Peggy would be a tad upset about NO hot shower

. (it is called JetLag).  He as an old fart I know it all too well.  I suggested they could take a hot shower at the marina station, unfortunately Peter the marina Boss was out grocery shopping so he would not  be back till 30 minutes. At the same time I kept trying, and then realized it was nearly Drill Baby Drill time.

So quickly washed up and cycled to the Dentist office.  I arrived 3 minutes early and was told to “take a seat” . I used the wait time to get my noise canceling ear blasters ready to play Queen “Live at Wembly”  5 minutes past, 10 minutes past and the receptionist came in apologizing for delaying my appointment and offered something to drink.  To which I flipped out..Any alcohol.  Her eyes became wide, and said No we cant serve that,  my replay was Cola?  The receptionist declared it was bad for the teeth…..I shaked my head and said “Do you think I care ???? I am going to be tortured….”  She offered coffee, which was also bad for the teeth and the dentist would notice.  Off she went…and 2 minutes later the door opens . and the dentists greets me.   She is ready for me…But I had not had my coffee !!!  PURE torture.  ok head phones on, Vapor Rub slathered under my nose I laid down on the chair,  and while Queen was showing of in Wembly the torture started.  The suction was hooked in me like a fish, and I reminded her it was NOT Christmas and I am NOT a carp , as they serve traditionally in Poland.  It did produce a chuckle, again she was very easy, proceeding at what seemed a good pace, and each time I jerked or move making sure I was ok.  There were even a few moment where I felt my feet moving with the tune and twice it seemed I dozed of for a second or so, since I kept my eyes closed.  The routine was the same, and at the end it was all fun.

On my way out I saw Ron called me twice, so I called back and found out that he could come on his way home, around 4 or 5.

Back at the boat I suggested to change plans and go to the Kringloop winkel ( thrift store), and after Ron fixed it , we would go to the beach.   Took Peggy and Megen to the two nice Kringloop winkels Deb likes and entered parked the van on the big parking lot, where we were told to park by the residents.   I was not out of the van or ANOTHER I  have NO life resident started moaning about why can’t you park your car anywhere else.  So I replied, because I don’t want to.


Back at the barge, the girls went into town for some drink and shopping.  I started back in the belly working on the battery fuse, when Ron and Jochem showed up in their cycling clothes.  They cycle about 15 miles each day to work on their mountain bikes.  Ron went in, kept muttering that the tank was not full enough, but in the end decided to come back the next morning with his tools and a different filter.  Hey he does give good service !!





Peggy was exhausted (JETLAG), and needed a rest, boy was I happy I did not took them into Amsterdam !!!  So I took Megan in the van to the beach….wijk aan zee, she was not sure why we would go to the beach at 19:00 ( 7 pm for the 12 hour users).  But she trusted Gruncle Jan.  Arriving at the parking lot I first walked her to the big seashell, which acts as amplifier for the sea sounds.  Getting closer to the beach she was a tad surprised to see many restaurants and bars.  So we had to try some beers on the beach.   I opted to have her try a Straffe Hendrik. IMG_3166.JPG

Back at the barge we did chit chatted a bit until the sun was down around 22:40


Tomorrow Delft !

How many females can he keep up with ….

Yes the other boaters in the marina are starting to ask..Last week your wife and 2 other females, This week a mother and her daughter.  Poor guy ..will this be the 583th time to the Rijks Museum, 293th time to the Anne Frank House, and 1,001st time you explaining Panne Koeken ( Pan cakes)

Yes it is fun to have a deluge of guests.  The sofa on the pilot house has been a great bed for me. ( it wil be a total of 24 days this trip ) .  We stil have the Murchland’s to come after this group.  And yes I am starting to feel a bit like the head steward on the “below decks series”.  I even adapted the “my pleasure” when a guests ask for something.

Today July 3rd, Peggy and Megan were still dead asleep at my normal waking up time of 5 am.  Hey, it is LIGHT outside so why be sleeping.  The sun starts pouring energy in the solar panels, so coffee is great.  Did work for Vetport, and ignored the usual verbal explosions of some of the people there.

The yellow part of the deck was covered with light pearls of condensation.  The part with was covered in primer was dry.  Yes the energy absorption is really noticeable.  During the day you can touch the Yellow without fear of being burned, but the part covered in grey primer, is hot enough to fry an egg.   So I grabbed the paint and roller as quiet as a mouse and snuck out, and started putting a first coat of yellow over the primer.    Now the top deck is nearly all repainted.  We still have to apply the 2nd and 3rd coat on some parts and some parts only need a 3rd.  Then when the sides are done I can apply a 4th and probably 5th coat.  When we bought Jan-Kees, the previous owner had not done much paint upkeep for a few years, so it was really needed.

Megan woke up, and I had to show her how you really slice Old Gouda. By the time Peggy woke up, it was time for me to go to the dentist, 2nd and final root canal this trip.  While cycling halfway I realized I forgot my big Iphone with music.  I NEED my noise canceling head phones and music to drown out any noise the dentist made.  Luckily I could download some music while cycling.  Yes I rather to to Iraq, Iran orLebanon, in high heels, lingerie and NO weapons, than to the dentist, and I would still feel more comfortable there than at the dentist.  But the dentist who is from Poland is good, and I am slowly loosing some of my apprehension.
IMG_3149.JPGComing back the girls were ready to go to town, explore, and say “wow that is cute’ at nearly every house.   At the shoe store, which had a sale, they just vanished, to come out 30 minutes later with a lot of new shoes.
Megan had to try the FeBo.  it is like one of these 1950’s automatic.   You put your 2 Euro’s in, look to the window and open it to get your snack out.  Great for midnight hangover snacks.  Megan grabbed a Sateh Croquette  ( spicy grilled chicken with peanut sauce in a croquette form), and I got her a Bami Ball ( deep fried Indonesian Noodles, so a VERY Dutch dish ).  She preferred the Bami Ball.




After that I had to dash to the town hall to pickup some papers,  Peggy found a coffee machine and grabbed some free coffee, and was surprised she did not had to pay 50 Euro cents to go to the bathroom.  At the same time Megan was making sounds like delighted squirell who found its nuts in the middle of the snow, because there was free WiFi



Since Monet lived and painted in Zaandam Peggy had to make a picture from the same spot Monet was sitting when painting his Blue House, which si 1 minute walking from the barge.

We did stopped at Albert Heyn, a nice grocery store ( Just in case you did not know they also own Red Lion, Piggly Wiggle and a bunch more US based grocery chains) . In AH ( Albert Heyn)  Megan was like a 4 yr old in a candy store, grabbing anything and anything in my shopping basket, until she grabbed some French cheese and I had to threaten her with arrest by the dutch police since we are very tolerant, BUT some things are NOT allowed.  Peggy was told a few time “MOM we are NOT at home so DON’T buy the same stuff you are used to at home” .  In the housekeeping department I did had to show them GLASSEX.

Back at the boat, after unpacking the groceries, we were met with the quack quack of the duck with her 5 ducklings.   Deb, Sarah and Cathy were well trained by mother duck to feed her and her offspring, so Megan took up that task,  she even climbed down on the construction floater, next to the barge.

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After some rest and RUDE interruptions by the constant ‘ping ping ping ping’ of Vetport, we walked to the lock for pancakes.  We decided on 2 large ones, a Mexican one and a Boeren Pannekoek ( Farmers  pancake)   Nicely filled with smoked bacon, ham, caramelized onions etc.  They were split amongst us 3 and vanished like snow for the sun. Too quickly gone to make a picture.
Megan chatted a bit with the waitress about differences in work.  We also put in an order for poffertjes with fresh strawberries and chocolate syrup.  It took  a while, Peggy did asked me a few times if I had put the order in, to which Megan corrected her with “Chill we are not at home eating quickly, enjoy it”.  the waitress must have overheard that because she came out feeling embarrassed …., because the owner just took a walk to his sons restaurant on the other side of the lock.


They were NEARLY devoured when Megan realized she had to take a picture.

Fuel 86 %

Wow a nearly full fuel tank….well NO.  When Lars installed the fuel sensor he mounted the float on the wrong end.  It was kinda puzzling, since the Venus showed 100% full when first connected. So after discussing it with Daniel I fired off an email to Matthijs, who responded with the note that he nearly got a heart attack after his security officers told him they needed to reset servers for an update.  But when Matthijs googled that update he found out it was already out for the last 2 months.   So we exchanged some other incidents typical of working with Indians.  Most fun was Matthijs telling me that even after the one Indian company has worked with them for over 20 + years they still do not follow up on what they promised to do.  So an European setting  is 1-180 ohm. I switched the reading to a US sensor (240 – 30 Ohm) and yes is showed a 135 liter value . (28%).  So Lars had mounted the sensor in reverse.
Yesterday Ron and Jochem connected the Kabola to the main tank, so I have been busy with hoses to try to empty the antique fuel tank and dump all in the big one

A bridge too far ……….. ( plane trains and automobiles and a station too far )

So it started as a leisurely morning, peaceful breakfast, long hot shower for Sara.  At 9:30 it was time to say bye bye, hear the click click click click of the luggage wheels on the dock towards the car.   I picked up the upgraded car and met the girls at the end of the pedestrian bridge.  A smooth ride to Schiphol, even though Deb STILL had to remind me to take the Schiphol exit.  I seem to block that one out, because of the reconstruction or because ” I don’t wanna go home “.  Arriving at the car renall return place, we were greeted by the Hertz employees with the familiair “ws anything wrong” this solicited the …”YES the darn whiskey dispenser did not worked” . The one employee looked a bit “Whaatttt”, the second one smiled and replied . “well atleast the ice cube dispenser was working I Assume Sir?”   We all had a chuckle while a few other renters looked like “wait you can get a whiskey dispenser in the car?”   At the elevator there was a big line and Deb threw out ” Can we get a wine dispenser next rental?’   Finally we were able to get in and at the last moment another traveller jumped in and pressed a button..so the door close and opens, on the same level.  The last traveller peeks his head out and looks to the buttons and remarks “is this 0?” .  Then mentions “I need to go to departures” . Since I was on a roll with the whiskey comment I flip out ” then why did you pressed rental cars?” .    And everybody got a chuckle.  Now it is 10 AM…we take the walk way and see we have to go to location 1A.   We reprint the boarding passes and I have to “take command” since sara sees a sign, passengers only, so she worries we should have dropped of the luggage somewhere else.  Finally we arrive at 1A, and we see a line, longer than the waiting line at the Anne Frank house on a sunny day.   ( btw if you do NOT reserve for the Anne Frank house be prepared to wait 3 – 4 hours in line then ) . I kiss Deb a safe trip and leave.     Well later I get a text ….\



In the mean time I was doing laundry and putting up some more primer on the barge.  The sheets dried in a few minutes with the sun shining down and the wind quite fiercely blowing.   Once the dry sheets were on the bed I could put up the last primer on the top, but it was so warm and sunny and windy , that the primer dried nearly as fast as I could put it on.

Then off to the railway station to pick up Megan and Peggy.  I had texted both of them a few times after they landed, but got no replies.   Caught the train and had to switch trains in Sloterdijk.  While waiting there I found out the train would have a 5 minute delay, making me arrive at the same time as Peggy & Megan ( but on another platform), so I called Peggy’s cell and get it answered by a somewhat sleepy voice and after asking Peggy?  Megan ? I hear it is Patty, who tells me to call Megan’s phone.  Ok………so I call…I get voice mail…   well we wil have to see then.  I arrive at Schiphol airpots train station, asked one of the NS ( Nationaal Spoor . = National Railway) what platform the Thalys arrives and she informs me of the platform and mentions it is 3 minutes late.  So I am perfect on time.  Rush down to that platform, stand there with my grocery bag with 2 bunches of flowers ( for the Hertz checkin gal who upgraded us) and look . and look and look and look…….then I walk the whole platform…no contact.  OK I Think, lets go to the meeting point, which I had texted Peggy and Megan earlier this week, JUST in case we would miss each other on the platform.


No luck there either, I walked the perimeter twice,   Back to the platform, again walked both sides, NO sign.   So I tried Megan’s phone and again voice mail.  I call Peggy’s phone..answered by Patty and leave instructions to have Megan call me when they call ‘home’.  I walk the whole arrival hall a few times, then go to the Hertz counter and drop of the flowers, to great smiles   ( yes ‘bribing’ works, we each time have gotten a upgrade.  PERHAPS we would have gotten these upgrades anyhow, but this is juist nicer).I walk the hal again a few times, NO sign of them two.  So I go to ‘le bistro’ grab a Radler since I am dried out’ and yes my phone starts ‘pinging’ .  yep you guessed it Vetport with an ’emergency’ . Since support does not immediately responds to Tom I get the familair “Are you there?” to which I reply …looking for the girls, but none of their phones are working and NO I can not help you with your vetport question.   Then I get thrown at my feet that ” you should have prepared them and JUST telling them what to do is not helping them” .
Finally I get a call from Megan, asking where I am…..and they could not find the meeting point, and that they are at the official taxi stand.  So I tell her to walk BACK inside and go to the meeting point ..you can not miss it.  I also see the official taxi stand and don’t see anybody from there waking towards the terminal building.   Waited a few minutes,  walked around the meeting point again…..NOBODY..so I call Megan back, and find out they are in Amsterdam Central, even though their tickets say Schiphol Airport..  Instruct them NOT to walk around , stay at the front of the building . ( NOT on the IJ side  ..this is the water side) and rush to the train platform to jump on a train.   The door closes, the conductor bumps into me and apologizes .   I fired of …” no problem just give me a pint, this IS a Belgian train right ?”   He replies “yes but we can only serve Pintjes in Belgium, sorry” .  The doors close and …nothing…nothing ..nothing …until we hear the Belgian voice….”we can not leave on sign is on alert, we have no idea how long this will take” . Finally a few minutes later the train leave anyhow.    Just before entering the Central station I was able to get Megan again and made sure she would be in the front in the center of the building.  I rush out get outside …and NOBODY…so I call and Megan is trying to tell where they are…they are at a Starbucks ….to which I asked …which ONE ? there ar 3 at the railway station.  I am miffed, can’t these girl follow ANY instructions, so I check in , walk through check out’ and walk from Starbuck’s to Starbuck’s as if I am a homeless man looking for change.  There I see them…..but…well you will see later…..what gave me a heart attack……

I give them their OV cards, and we are off to the trains again to go to Zaandam.   And since they have to do as I say all goes smooth

THIS nearly gave me a heart attack…they had enough space for 2 years of travel !!IMG_3139.JPG

After feeding them I took them for bitterballen since Megan had bitterballen at the “House of Orange’ in NKY, and she thought they were horrible.  ( Hans .  I did not wanted to say anything at Kings day, but the bitterballen you serve are NOT the ones you get at every cafe, restaurant and bar in Holland…)

Deb always cracks open the bitterballen to let them cool down….now we have an imitator…Peggy

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Yes dear the heat is on….what in June?

Well it is after the summer solstice, so even though summer just started, the weather seems to want to jump towards the end of the year already, as if it does not want to have hollidays….

Yes it was a bit chilly this morning 15 C ( or 59 F for non metric readers) .   Outside it was 13C   (55F) so yes I did turn on the heat for a little to get the temperature to 19 C (66 F)




So yes it is nice to have heating in the boat, just to take the chill of in the morning



Can you park you car somewhere else…..or not having a life..

Last year when Marius drove over from Limburg to the boat and brought the sofa cushions, he parked his car.  The moment he opened the hatch to Jan-kees, Daniel popped a bottle of Hertog-Jan for him.  10 minutes later a knock on the door and a stranger peeked in, pointed to Marius and said ” you were going to move your car”.   Bewildered looks from all of us, and Marius explained that the spot he parked on was next to a disabled spot, and the guy who lived in front of it asked Marius to move his car.  So we did.  Fast forward to this year……Every year when we rent a car we rent a small one, and some people commented on that so this year we rented the extra van of Daniel, one reason si to give him some $ and just because it would be handy to move stuff.  Because there was construction on the spot where we normally can park, we had to park in the same street as Marius did last year…do I have to continue…?

So 3 days later we used the van to move some stuff and drive to Renata and Remy.  When we came back we started parking the car in a different spot, and the moment I steered that car onto the spot, a male walked to us qnd asked how long we were going to park there.   I looked bewildered and said one day….he replied it was blocking his mothers view….which view was smaller passenger cars and the other side of the street.  He did tell us there was a BIG parking lot at the end of the street.  But I was too tired to bother, besides the street is PUBLIC parking.  The old lady was quite agitated, because…”YOUR BIG VAN was parked 3 days over there blocking part of everybodies view” The next day we stepped in the truck and started backing up..  I was barely out of my spot and 2 cars stopped, the driver stepped out and were reminding us that there was a BIG parking lot 100 meters at the end of the street, and they don’t like seeing big vans parked here.

Wow I feel sorry for these people who have nothing better to do .

Update…so we parked the car on the BIG EMPTY car lot, and after being gone the weekend…I parked the car there again……while driving into the lot I saw a pair of eyes follow me.   Locked the doors and started to walk away when I heard . ” Can’t you park this van in front of your house” . lol  wow

wait…they are closed ….whatttttt

Yes.Action was closed by the time I get there. Oh they are a bunch of professionals ..NO they are retail, but like normal human beings they need life work balance.  Action is a great store to buy anything and everything cheap, especially if you want to use it only once.  Yes their products are not TOP quality, but if you need to use a tool only a few times why spend 40 Euro’s when you can get the action one for 9 Euro’s.  So why the they are closed…..well they close at 18:00 ( or 6 pm for the twice 12 hour people).   Except on Thursday’s, which is shopping evening, then they are open till 21:00.  Some cities have ‘koop avond’ on Friday’s.
Just as in France it is quite common for a grocery to be closed for an hour or longer for lunch.  The lock keepers have their ‘golden hour’ 12:00 – 13:00 and do NOT dare to drive your boat into the lock.  So yes many retail stores close at 6, most are closed Sunday’s and Monday’s.  I know you will ask “BUT what will I do when I can’t go to the mall on Sunday?”   you just have fun with the family or friends, walk to the park, cycle to the beach

It’s alive…or….. is 7 am and where is your elektrikitie?

well it really means..the boat is self sufficient with no shore power.   This morning I disconnected shore power, so we are solely running on solar now. And ate 6 am the sun peeked around and started providing free energy.   Now does this make the sun a socialist, or just a nice entity?   I wil post usage screen shots on this page over the coming weeks.    Jan-Kees was on shore power, just as extra precaution, since there was a period last year where there was not enough energy to keep up with standby demand.   the inverter uses 25 watts for standby, plus the batteries always consume some trickle charge.  The batteries always discharge a bit, and need to be charged to full at least once a month.

Since we arrived we have been floating all by ourselves. Not connected to the atom eating nuclear energy creators, or the coal from Limburg eating fossil fuel plants.  Mr or is it Mrs Sun ( because she is so fierce?) has been filling the batteries of Jan-kees with her cheerful bright energy.  At 7 am the batteries were ‘down’ to 97%.  We consumed 2.2 Kwh yesterday and the sun refilled it .


Wen I looked at the Venus this morning at 7:20 the sun peeking from just above the horizon and was providing more than we are using.  showing a small charge current of 3.7 A.   This reminds me that I need more coffee and I need to clean the panels today.  Btw today will be a ‘scorcher’ 28C . (which is 83F for the non-metic people) . After this 2 days 25 and then back to the 21 -19C . (71-68F)
For energy use we use about 5 hours/day for generation from about 10:00 – 15:00





And they keep ticking and running, ran the wetvac a few times,  did some power sanding.

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Nearly 18:00 and the solar still keeps the batteries up and fills al our other energy needs, like Coffee, vacuuming the top deck after part of it was sanded

So today it started with an overcast sky.   We are still on mainly battery at 07:45.  As you see the sun is providing some free energy, but the darn clouds act as a border wall patrol.  Yesterday, about the same time we had about 150 Watts of solar already.  BUT it is still early.

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now more drizzle @lunch time


But charging a little

Friday 8th, an overcast morning




The Sun is peeking around the corner









Can I see your Visa please….

So Deb and I prepared to go to Jan-Kees again.  This time for a longer period.  Luckily we were allowed each two suitcases.  So we packed our usual carry case and each of us packed also the new blue Jan-Kees duffelbag.  Mine was filled with spare parts, a nail gun, the usual dark chocolate M&M’s, pumps, electric and electronic parts.  And so we arrived at CVG as two pack mules loaded up in the high sierra’s.  A short wait and the passports and green card and boarding passed were handed to the Delta agent.  Some typing, some looking to the passports, and then ” May I see your Visa” .   A though like “is she NEW ? crossed my mind” , but I replied nicely…BUT I have handed you my green card!  Sir it is not for you it is Miss Richardson.  You are going to Europe for longer than 90 days so you need a long stay visa.  I nearly bursted out with laughing.  The reason the airline has to ask this, is because if entry would be denied to Deb, Delta would have to provide her a free return trip.  Now the Dutch immigration ( Koninklijke Marechaussee…Royal Military Police) do not use the same interrogation techniques as the INS uses when you return to the US.   They smile, they wish you a happy stay, make jokes.  Luckily I had enough papers with me to show the agent a dutch official letter and explained that Deb’s Visa was waiting for her in Amsterdam.  That was enough for the agent and all 4 suitcases vanished on the belt into the belly of the beast on tis way to the Planes.  The trip was uneventful, except when we arrived in Detroit and got calmed by the underground music and visuals we did felt it needed to grab a cocktail next to the departure gate.

So make sure you have your long term visa 🙂

Oh and just to share this …it is 10 pm and it is still light outside 🙂 . Love this long evenings.


No not DEMONS..daemons………are small processes running in the background of a computer, doing all kind of tasks, like the teenager mowing the grass, the mailman delivering your mail.  Well there are some of these running around in the Venus.  They keep an eye out many things, especially the digital inputs.  One of the nice items built into the Venus.  The Venus has 5 of these inputs, which can be used for a bunch of tasks.  The first ones which come to mind are bilge alarm (Ok/Alarm),  smoke alarm (Ok/Alarm),  fire alarm(Ok/Alarm), door alarm (Open/Closed), Pulse Meter (water volume pumped), generator (Running/Stopped), etc.   And these ‘states’ are all visible on the screen.

The good thing about the Venus, just these 5 digital input alerts wil pay for the unit by itself, if you compare them to other boat monitoring systems, who have the ‘get rich scheme’ of charging monthly fees.

Now how do we get these to work?
We need to get the different signals to the Venus input, which is a RJ12 input, which is also used in multi line phone system, and had 6 wires.  OHH you said 5 inputs, why 6 wires.  Well wire #5 is Ground.   (we will come to the why later)

The first thing we need to do is get access to these wires.  Now the McGiver way is to get a RJ12 .phone cord, grab a big hunting knife and strip all the wires.  A more ‘civilized’ way is to order a RJ12 Breakout board .  ($5.99 to $12 on Amazon and Ebay)

RJ12 Breakout


RJ12 connected to Venus







With this setup we can already trigger alerts.

The pin out is

Pin 1-4 and 6 Inputs
Pin 5 Ground.


So lets configure Pin 6 as High water alert and connect a float switch.  The float switch just makes a contact, thus to simulate that we just use a wire and connect pin 5 and 6 on and off and see the results.


Simple is it not?  Let’s walk through the set up steps.  Connect to the console, via smart phone, tables, or web browser when you are local through the Venus wifi.  Later you can always connect to the console via VRM.

Digital inputs > set up > show name change, show difference  inverted . on / off

These alerts can be triggered by just connecting the input to the ground.  BUT not all alerts can be done that way !!  Now Venus is kind of sensitive about the voltage it wil take. Yes I know the power input can be 8-70VDC, but that regulates it down to 5V and 3V3, the two voltages used with sensors and digital inputs.  So we need to protect the Venus.  We can do this 2 ways.  A relay, where the input is 12DC or 24DC or 110Ac or 220AC and then close a contact, which connects the Venus signal port to ground.  Most of these solid state relays are used to get a 110 or 220V connection triggered by a 5 – 12 or 24VDC input, so I have not tried these.
Otherwise an Optocoupler, one like this 4 channel one from Ebay for  $12.  This is a 24V DC Optocoupler, because Jan-kees runs on 24V DC.



Now one thing which worried me, was the voltage on the output side.  I know the Venus is built on a heavily modified Beagelbone, which is a version or a Raspberry Pi.  These units just like 3V3 DC as signals.  Putting a 5VDC signal on there, even though it says so in the manual of the Venus, it had me worried.  You are talking to person who in 1980 by sheer “mmmm I’ll show you how this works” blew up one of the first optical disk readers costing close to $10,000 by using the wrong input voltage.  The good old laserprinter research at OCE ( Now Canon).  But, since we are switching to GND only the input voltage matters.   As you see the Opticoupler has on the output side GND and VCC, which is 5VDC here.  BUT we ONLY connect the GND.  so when the input gets “high”  the Venus tells me there is an alert.    This optocoupler has a 5VDC output, but the Venus wil also work with the 3V3DC output optocoupler, because we are ONLY using GND.  NO I wil not make the Victron Engineers a compliment, they already know they are brilliant, selecting a very safe way.  (Now you know why line 5 of the RJ12 is GND)


The settings for this input are…so check it a bilge alarm


Then via the main screen go to the bilge alarm and go to the setup screen and click invert ( when there is a voltage on the input of the optocoupler, the alert will go on.   Because the normal ‘on’ state for the Venus is connect the signal to ground)

bilge2.pngbilge 3.png


Now when I put 24VDC on my optocoupler input, the Bilge alerts jumps immediately to ALERT and the next screen is the ALERT screen and the buzzer goes off.

Here the bilge alarm is OK Bilge OK  at 7.25.06 PM.png

The bilge pump goes on and 24VDC comes on the opticoupler input

bilge alert.png

And before I can blink twice the alert screen shows

Bilge alert screen 7.25.17 PM.png



More to come with the pulse counter


Do these alerts show in VRM…not yet, but they will, by Christmas…:)