Balmoral has an electrical system that was installed in 1949 and
although perfectly suitable for her day, it now needs help from a modern
generator that is currently installed at the rear of the top deck.
Her original system was supplied by a pair of 6 cylinder diesel Lister
generating sets. Balmoral is an all electric ship and apart from
the actual propulsion, everything else depends on electricity, so the
generators are equally as important as her main engines. As built
she had two main generators and a small emergency and standby unit in
the steering flat at the stern. All the ancillary equipment such
as winches, capstans, ventilators and even the water pumps and sewage
system are driven by electricity.
As originally supplied the ship had two 35kw units - that's enough
to boil about 20 kettles or run 20 13 amp fan heaters.
In 1949 that was well sufficient, but today we take electricity for
granted and over the years a much greater load was installed in the ship
and while the generators can handle this, there isn't much spare
capacity. For this reason a third independent unit was installed
on the after deck. This is a large generator and is capable of
supplying the ship on its own, and in this way Balmoral can be sure the
lights won't go out.
In addition, the ship has the facility to connect to the shore supply in
the same way as a caravan can hook up to the mains, so when alongside it
is environmentally better to rely on the domestic electricity supply
than generate her own power.
For the technically minded, the main system for the original machinery
is DC ( direct current ) and there is an inverter and separate AC (
alternating current) circuit for modern equipment. The ship now
uses LED lighting wherever possible to reduce the load on the
generators. In harbour the security and some deck lights run on solar
power. The main switchboard is DC as originally installed but
the domestic AC circuits are operated through an inverter. When
connected to the shore supply, the power is converted to DC and then
back to AC for some circuits !
All this power is connected to a switchboard which is completely
original and fully functional. It is still used to operate the
ship's main systems and is a classic piece of marine engineering.
The main switchboard - it all works and is the main distribution centre
for the ships power.
On the left is the traditional switchboard. This isn't original
and was salvaged from another ship to replace Balmoral's as it was in
better condition. On the far left of the left hand photograph you can
see the more modern 'AC' switching that controls the other part of the
ships supply. There is another set of breakers not shown on the other
side of the DC board that isolate individual circuits, together with
shore power connectors and battery charging.
Meet 'Nellie' ... this is the modern generator on the rear of the main deck that can
supplement the ships original generators .... it has a Cummins 6
cylinder diesel and can produce more power than the two engine room
units and the emergency generator together!
..... and here is the emergency generator right at the stern of
the ship in the 'steering flat' that would power the emergency and
navigation lights and basic services when the ship was in port and off
service with no shore supply. A twin cylinder Lister diesel of 1970's