Ghosts with Victron? Sanding, visitors, and movies

So the first thing I checked this morning was emails from Victron, if they knew anything new what to do with the Venus.  At the same time I logged onto the Venus own wifi and saw the Multi visible…..what …I emailed to Victron and asked of they could see it also ….. we are blaming it on ghosts!

Since we were getting guests I had to clean up everything, make the visible part of the boat presentable.  And before the guest were coming we had to get more milk and treats, especially for Timmy and his crew.  At the grocery we found out they were out of  celery salt ( for the cheese) so we bought celery and salt to make our own mixture.

I found out it was only Bep and Jesse ( who after 20 + years living in Holland stil does not speak Dutch, he understands it perfectly, but he keeps replying in English . “everybody speaks English in Holland” is his typical reply).   With some spare time available I started to tackle the sanding of the wheel house, and after sanding applying  ‘ontwerings water” . ( dewatering agent) . to get the water stains out.

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Finally got a text from Bep, that they were lost but at the local Praxis, so jumped in the car and brought them to the boat.

A nice afternoon with coffee and coffee and coffee, and Bep & Jesse had to go back home.
While we were having coffee, a nice 40 feet ‘yacht’ came in and I noticed the name “miles Ahead”,  reminding me of the movie Miles Ahead, about Miles Davis, which starred Mike Dennis our waiter from the Pacific Kitchen in Cincinnati.   ( Or as he is known in the restaurant “mike dentist”.  Mike plays the racist downtown cop.   So I had to get their attention, yes they named their boat after Mike Davis, but NO they did not knew about the movie, and would go get it.  So Mike D thank us for making you earn  royalties !

We decided it was time for Pannekoeken,  so we walked to the Wilhelmina sluis ( lock), which just opened and a big sailing scooner with a gaggle of holiday kids motered by.  I stopped in to ask the water height and it was on 2.75 Meters.  TOOOO low for Jan-Kees.

Deb decided a Mexican Pannekoek and I had a Shoarma Pannekoek


Bottom is the shoarma Pannekoek, right top is the Mexican pannekoek


travel and work

Tuesday July 25

So we decided that we needed more life preservers, since we were expecting Wilma and Timmy and a school load of his friends. Timmy wanted to show off, who can blame a teenager, that he had friends with a big boat, or any boat actually.

We drove off to the second hand boat place in Vinkeveen and were quickly frelled up by  a NO go sign.  The A10 was being worked on till Sunday August 13.  So no biggy for our departure date, but of course Homer our trusty voice on the TomTom kept directing us the wrong way,  with “make a U-turn” . or ” go right on the round about 3rddddd exittt”
When we finally got onto the road to Utrecht, he was able to guide us there.  We got 2 more life preservers and a throwing horseshoe shaped floater, some grease for the gland (totally illegal in the USA, but so much cleaner bilge). I also was able to find 2 led 24 V bulbs for the navigation side lights and we grabbed a pole to use with mooring lines).   Cost E 95.90

Since we were close to Vinkeveen, I decided that we should grab coffee and watch some of the boats on the water.


When we took the Vinkeveen exit, the sign read “pannekoeken” so yes we were ready, even though it was only 11:15.  When we walked up, it seemed closed/deserted. and yes they don’t open till 12:00, but the door was open. So we were able to get coffee, with a chocolate chip cookie. The waitress forgot the magnifying glass.  The cookie fit in the one open filling I have !!


By the time we finished that it still too early for service, so off we went to IKEA.

At Ikea I needed some food, but Deb was not that hungry.  I got the entrecote, and deb got tomato soup and a panini.  We went to Ikea to get a step stool to climb the boat, because of the batteries and the new fuel tank the bow has come out of the water a few cm’s.  We also looked for bungee cords, to mount the Horse shoe floater on the railing, but no success.

After Ikea Deb put on her ‘honey-do’ voice and got me to drive her to one of the thrift stores in Zaandam . ” then you can go to McDonalds and download the movies you wanted” . ( since we only have 20 GB cell data, we have to watch what we do, compared to home) .  Well McDonalds wifi was slower than frozen molasses, jumped in the car and drove to the boat to start working drilling a hole in the metal under the pilot house top, so I could mount a 220V outlet on the port top corner, and run the conduit from there to the top starboard corner.  Halfway through the hole Deb was done with the first Thrift store, and texted me.  Unfortunately the traffic lights had a long wait, so by the time I got there . I saw a new text,”started walking to the boat” . a few text later and she was on her way back.   yes the Dutch geography of shopping centers is dictated by canals, not logic.  We drove to the next Thrifts store and I just went to the little snackbar, run by the Chinese guy who described us last year as the foreigners.  I reminded him I was “ham Sap Lo” and needed a beer and a Kroket. Deb’s treasures today, a  summer beachy ice cube form, a blue plate and a little more plastic wares


Once Deb was done it was back to the boat and drilling the conduit hole and the outlet hole.

Because the venus control unit was not showing the inverter, I tested the CCGX and it showed the inverter, so some emails back and forth and now they want to send a new unit.  I told them to wait and see if there were others things I could do to check.

I also filled the grease pot, which was delightfully messy and greasy, but we should be good for a few hundred km’s, plus I vacuumed the bilge and the little leak we made in April was popping in some drops of water, so I grabbed some liquid metal and pressed it in lets see how ling it will hold, just need to make sure the bilge pump wil be installed this time.  Now time for coffee and eierkoek . ( egg cake)

Saturday July 23

A fresh start of the day with a stroll to the Saturday morning market.  The fresh vegetables, fruit, the smell of cheese and fresh baked bread.  We are in heaven.  So after a first round we came around for the second time, got some nice cherries, great small strawberries,  aalbessen ( small tart berries, great on top of Yoghurt or Vla).  Then at the cheese stall we got 500 Grams of old cheese, and the final stop the baker, some great bread and some Cocos Cookies.

Picture of Aalbessen

Then just a few minutes after we stepped on the boat Daniel arrived, and we went over all the things that we stil want to accomplish and the trips we cn take these coming weeks.

He also brought the connectors for my Victron Venus control unit, which I forgot to bring from the USA.





PROBLEM – serenity: Low battery L1 on VE.Bus System

So I get this email around 23:00 Monday the 26th..  from the boat in the US ( Serenity ) who uses the Venus for Jan-kees.

Darn what is going on on this boat ?    So I quickly jump online and log into the VRM ( Victron) website and see that the BMV shows 12.3 V……so what the frell?  Ok I’ll drive there Tomorrow morning.

Tuesday morning I arrive at the boat and find out, no 110V on any of the outlets, the fridge is dark.  OH dear Oh dear.  Open the hatch to the battery/ inverter bilge and the multiplus ( Victron 12/3000 inverter/ charger) is hiding all quiet and dark.  OH darn …an inverter on the blink.  I cycle the switch on/off and it starts humming and a led comes on….I see a charge current on the BMV and poof . …silence, the inverter goes back to the “You don’t see me mode”

Ok so I start testing……yes 110 v is there, yes, polarity is correct, yes 12V is there, so I have declare a code and pronounce the unit dead.

I call the US Victron rep, Justin, I get directed to voice mail jail. Fire off an email to him, and wait.    I get a call back and Justin tells me to try a few other things, like DC connections.  Well I already checked them, but to go with the flow, I disconnect them and reconnect……Same issue…Inverter turns on, a little bit later, a few seconds…..poof…”I go in hiding” the Inverter whispers.    I share another email with Justin with screen shots of the Venus, and go home.

The next morning I get an email to please make sure the DC connections are ok, and if they are, Justin will second my medical opinion and declare the Inverter dead, and it needs to be sent to an authorized repair center to be fixed.   Who says inverter can”t rise from the dead?   Now having guests coming over for the 4th, the chefs family of the Pacific Kitchen, I kinda complain gentle to Justin and putting American customer service he hints that he can get me a  temporary replacement unit, before that time.  Darn such a guy deserve a beer or more.   And an hour later, Justin calls…” I am trying to get it shipped today, so you have it Friday, worst case Monday. Plus you can either keep that unit, or you can get your original back”

Friday bright and early there is it a nice blue Victron box with the replacement, so Saturday morning we drive the hour to the marina, but via The Pacific Kitchen to have Dim Sum with Lam.

Arriving at the boat I decide to hook up the unit first temporarily with some longer cables.   I flip the switch and what happens, the same  !!!!!!   I get worried, check the correct connections….YES…I run out to get a plug and box, so we also have a 110 V load. But same issue.  Ok the only thing I have not changed is the 110V so I plug into another dock pedestal.  Same problem.  Well it means I have to schlep all home to see if the 110V at home is perhaps correct.   The vacuum cleaner works, the fridge works, so I have no clue.   Then it struck me, the only thing left is the cable to the Venus.  I quickly get one of our friends to take one with them.   I unplug the original RJ45 cabe and …the inverter comes alive…….ALIVE….it’s alive……I wait a bit and it runs perfectly. after 30 minutes I accept the unit is NOT dead.    So it might be the Venus..  I log in and reboot the Venus with the previous Firmware.   Inverter crawls starts playing dead again.   I look to the release date and it shows the previous version is from the time the trouble started.  So I make a setup with JUST the Multi, the Venus and a 12V battery and .a 110V lamp as load.  With the Venus plugged in the Multi plays dead.  Without the Venus the multi is alive and cheerful.   I made a few pics to sent to Matthijs, and requested to install an older version of the firmware.  Yes that will teach me to be one of the first ones.  More to come….

Well on July the 4th I got the official word…”There was indeed a bug in the communication with Multis, which we fixed and it will become available as v2.08~8. Thanks for reporting!”   So now we wait for the software upgrade and then see how it work, and take it to Holland.

On July the 6th Matthijs emailed the following :

Good evening all,
Today we have released v2.08~9 for testing. The change log:
v2.08~8 and ~9
– Add ModbusTCP parameter to read & write the ESS minimum SOC setting
– Fix a few bugs in the communication with VE.Bus devices (thank you Shannon and Jan for reporting). The main issue fixed is that it was impossible to switch the devices on or off, in certain configurations. These issues were introduced in one of the v2.08 test versions.
If you see any new issue, let me know.
Best regards, Matthijs

So now we have to insert the cable and see how or what, then we have to take it out and take it to Holland to install it in Jan-Kees.