Life at the end of the road

August 24, 2016

Another inverter !!!

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:11 pm

A pure ‘peach’ of a day here ‘at the end of the road’ and if the truth be known I’ve not actually done a great deal really. Sure I’ve been making the most of the sunshine by doing a few wash loads of laundry and hanging it out to dry. I’ve been for a couple of walks with the ‘wee dug’ and I’ve wired up yet another inverter in my ‘power station’. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of mine but I’ve agreed to do some inverter testing for Hugh Piggott of and Michael Lawley, the inventor and owner of . I have been using one of his ‘Pelton’ turbines for a few years now, he’s based in New Zealand and Hugh is one of his UK dealers, probably the best in my book as his advice and after sales service is ‘second to none’. Hugh has supplied most of my renewable energy kit over the years and I really don’t know what I’d have done without him.

As I’ve acquired lots of data over the years from my turbine running various different SMA inverters it seemed like a good idea to try some more and compare them. The recent explosion in solar PV has brought the prices down, not just of panels but of inverters too. So, a couple of weeks ago Hugh posted me a nice little Solis Mini 1500 solar inverter made in China by Ginlong

Of course, being at work I never got around to doing anything about it, but today I did.

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As all my other inverters were still in place I had to mount this in a far from ideal spot low down. I don’t suppose the inverter was bothered but it made reading the display a little awkward.

The Solis also has a maximum input voltage of 450V so it meant I also had to wire in some protection in the form of a ‘Windy Boy Protection Box’. The inverter would only be working at around 300VDC but the ‘open circuit’ voltage could well rise to over 600V in the event of ‘grid failure’.

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This involved a little ‘jiggery pockery’ as I was using the WBPB on my wind turbine so I had to swap it over with the ‘Aurora Wind Interface’ which does exactly the same job but at a higher voltage.

Once it was all wired up I turned it on and started a ‘spread sheet’ Smile


Sure, I’m going on an ‘Excel’ course in Glasgow on Friday so by the time I get back I’ll be full of this kinda stuff Smile

They Lied


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I was so excited at finishing work yesterday I forgot these, ‘wee dug’ at Jessie Nicolson’s, Raasay’s most senior citizen had been watching Molly for me yesterday. Miraculously I remembered to collect her on the way home! usually I’m on ‘auto pilot’ to and from work. It would not be the first time I’ve driven home and left wife, child, dog or all three in the village whilst the Land Rover takes me home Sad smile

I just cannot describe the disappointment that arrived with the view from the house on Sunday morning. For at least three days ‘XC Weather’ had been promising ‘wall to wall’ sunshine for the whole of Sunday.

They lied 1

We got the paint ready for the deck on account of what they’d promised, look, no cloud and dry from 7:00 until 16:00. That was the forecast at 21:00 as we left Sconser.


They lied 2

This is what we got, not a glimpse of the sun through the thick cloud cover, drizzle and little in the way of solar or wind power Sad smile They quite clearly lied!!

I have to buy one

I like to check the battery connections now and then and there’s no better way than an Infra red camera, sure, an IR hand held thermometer is quite good too. I have one of those myself and use it regularly but a camera is much better. Here you can see a dodgy connection on one of my neighbours cells on the left. This taken with one I borrowed and at £3.5K you can see why I’ve not got one myself.


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Of course whilst I had it I checked the rest of the banks at the ‘north end’ Smile

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An expensive puncture

As cars and motorcycles got more reliable we lost the starting handle, then the kick start, now the pull start on the quad. Sure there’s still a starting handle on the Range Rover but I wouldn’t like to try it out, it was built in 1984 and I don’t suppose many mourn the loss of that. However, this pish about not having a spare wheel is pure carp and we shouldn’t put up with it. Do these pricks and ‘bean counters’ in the motor industry not realize that not everybody lives within a few yards of a garage and has mobile phone reception? Of course the to55ers will tell you it’s to save weight, fuel and give you more room in the boot when it’s quite clearly a way of saving them ‘thirteen shillings and six pence’ on every ‘unit’ sold.


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Well try telling that to this Dude who left his car ten miles from anywhere and had to get recovered by a garage in Portree some twenty odd miles and another island away!! The car had been sat there for several days so I hope their holiday wasn’t ruined due to the ***kers at Citroen.


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Being the ‘shroom season, wee dug and I went out for a wander to pick up a few chanterelles for an omelette.

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No, not that, that would be an early Fly Agaric, the most ‘magic’ of mushrooms Smile methinks it gets it’s name from it’s ability to stupefy flies and give people the impression the can fly. The Lapps used to feed them to reindeer then drink their pish, I kid you not!!!


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This will be what I was after and within a few minutes I’d enough for an omeltte.

August 23, 2016

It’s all over now :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:15 pm

Well that’s the fastest shift ever, ‘But it’s all over now’



Dunno where it went, but that’s it and a right mixed bag it’s been. Great weather, pish weather and just about everything in between.

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The ‘mixed bag’ ensuring a multitude of rainbows to keep the tourists cameras clicking.

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Not to mention the abundance of porpoises accompanying the ferry today.

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I really must get a better camera, there’s barely been a day I’ve not seen some in Loch Arnish. Even though they’re mere splodges through the binoculars, it’s good to watch them from the comfort of the living room and not be pestered by the multitude of midgies that swarm around the house  on these still and damp evenings.

I guess the reason the fortnight ‘flew by’ was the amount of traffic and people we’ve moved to and from Raasay. Some days we’ve transported double the islands population and 100 cars is not unusual these days. Not that long ago we’d have considered 60 a lot now, it’s 160!! and 163 being the record for cars.


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Despite all this and considering the, at times, inclement weather we’ve managed to get a good bit of paint splashed about the MV Hallaig.

It’s been a while

As well as the regular sailings we had a ‘wee jaunt’ on Sunday to run a few checks at full power. Had we had some fishing gear aboard we’d have tried for a few mackerel Smile but it was not to be. We had to satisfy ourselves with a blast down to Rubh na Cloiche just south of our old berth at the iron ore pier.


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For  nigh on 100 years this was where initially the ‘steamer’ called and latterly the car ferry lived, the pier that was built to ship Raasay’s low grade iron ore to the foundries of Scotland’s industrial heartland.

Exhibition Image One


The furnaces and steelwork long gone, leaving just roofless ruins, the bases of the furnaces and of course the pier itself. The sturdy reinforced concrete having been ‘sheet piled’ and infilled in the 1970’s to provided a degree of shelter to the six car ‘Island class’ vessel MV Raasay. The hardy ‘wee boat’ that was built in 1976 still ‘going strong’ some forty years later.

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Here she is in her prime discharging two ‘Dagenham dustbins’ onto the beach next to the pier. What looks like a 1.6XL MkIII Cortina followed by a ‘Table top’ Zephyr’, probably the best and worst cars that Ford ever made in that era. The ‘Z cars rust bucket bringing up the rear Smile

Couldn’t find a MkIV ‘Z car’ on YouTube, but trust me, it was there Smile I used to work at a Ford dealer then so I’m not ‘talking 5h1te’ Smile 

Many thanks to Stuart Brown for this gem of a picture.

As well as the ‘wee jaunt’, there was the usual maintenance, black out drill, and this week, checking the ‘Transitional UPS’ this has to provide full lighting to most of the vessel for 30 minutes in the event of total power failure.

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Even after half an hour the 436V bank was still reading 432V with some 10kW of lights burning!!! Pretty good I would say Smile

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Anchor away and anchor weighed was the next job, Hallaig has two and we deploy one every week, more times than required but it’s good to keep everything freed up and well greased.



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We had a visit from ‘Spindrift IV’ but I thought she’d moved to Orkney? Wonder if it’s on holiday Smile

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