Equipment Reviewed

Thoughts on various items, many shown on the Plan & Equipment page
Multi fuel Stove Stovax Brunel 1A

Very happy with it.  Appears to be well made and is easy to take apart for cleaning.  Only reservation is that it is very sensitive to air flow and requires frequent & thorough ash emptying to maintain burning efficiency.
We have had problems with tar/fluids running down the outside of the chimney,
remedial action in 2012.

Double glazed Windows Channelglaze One of the best "extras" we specified.  Beautifully made and look superb from the outside.  Double glazing is very significant in the often humid atmosphere of a narrowboat !
Bow Thruster Vetus Much snobbery surrounds these valuable devices. Used whenever manoeuvring.  Fitted with 2 batteries, it can be used extensively without any problem (unlike what some people seem to say).  Makes a horrible noise however !!!
TV, DVD Samsung

Superb TV.  We had not realised that buying a top brand TV would not only have an excellent display, but that the tuner section would be so much better.  We have been several places where people with cheap TV's (& often with fancy aerials) cannot watch when we (with a v basic aerial) get a perfect picture.
Less enamoured with the DVD/surround amplifier. It is excellent when watching DVD's, both picture & audio. However it also has radio & ipod capability, significant to our choosing it. These features do not work satisfactorily, they require the TV to be on to control them and are so problematic we have given up trying.

Inverter etc Stirling

Works fine EXCEPT for the silly "power saver" mode. To oversimplify - inverters are around 95% efficient, but use the 5% whenever they are switched on (5% of 2.5kW = 125W just heating up the inverter).  To get round this the power saver mode turns the inverter off if NO output current is being used.  But just a tiny draw, eg microwave oven CLOCK is enough to turn it on.  What is needed, and would not be difficult to implement, is a small (around 100W, 5% = 5W) inverter as the "fall back", rather than all off.
As a work-around, we now have a small inverter (from Maplin) to use for charging mobile phones, walkie-talkies, the table light etc thus using the main inverter only for higher power uses.

Loo Vacuflush Anybody who says they have the perfect loo on their narrowboat is deluded.  Cassette vs pump-out, different designs etc all have advantages AND disadvantages. 
Firstly, we are VERY happy with the  actual vacuflush loo itself. It is just like a normal loo to sit on, is not smelly and uses little water. 
Whether we made the correct decision to go cassette vs pump-out however is less certain.  The vacuflush system requires a perfect seal of the cassette on its cradle, something with which we have had problems.  Having only known hire boats and now Augie, experience is limited.
Sofa, cratch, pram hood Wilsons The market leader for very good reasons.  No one else seems to make cratch & rear covers anywhere near so neat. The sofa is v comfortable, and of course comes to bits to get it in !
Engine Canaline What can be said?  It's a modern engine. Starts no probs, reasonably smooth & quiet (v quiet in use as we have a sound proofing panel under the engine cover).
Fridge & Freezer Shoreline

Good & bad.  The Fridge is excellent and the freezer, as installed, is bad.
As we were having a freezer, we decided to specify a "larder" (= no freezer box) fridge.  Good choice.  Much more internal volume and uses less electricity.
We have only used the freezer once, for our 2 week hol. It was v inconvenient to get at (under the dinette) and used a huge amount of electricity.  The electricity use must be due in large part to the location.  Sealed in the under-dinette space, the heat output has nowhere to go.  Needs thought on how to get it a supply of cool air !
Update March 2012 - modifications made, new fans etc installed - described here.

Washing machine Zanussi Not much used yet as we are still restricted to employment holidays!  When used it worked perfectly and is very compact.
Cooker Thetford The oven is Rubbish ! It is made for caravans where lowest possible weight is key.  For a narrowboat, the flimsy construction and near absence of insulating material make low weight the wrong trade-off.  BUT there is nothing else on the market !  Even £150k boats are frequently seen with this oven.
The hob is OK.  Too small to get large pans on adjacent rings, but very neat and the worktop-flush glass lid is good.