Life at the end of the road

January 23, 2008

2 pigs and 3 Listers

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, listers — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:26 pm

2 pigs

It’s been a busy old day on the croft today and despite the days getting longer it was still pretty dark at 8:00. As this was my first day off work I’d not seen the pigs since sunday and was looking forward to seeing them. We had arranged for someone to come and collect 2 piglets at 9:00 so I kept the wains hungry so they’d be easier to catch. The customer arrived at 9:00 (well I say customer it was a mate and I’d swapped these 2 for a wind turbine) and off we went armed with a bucket of feed and whilst said piglets were distracted by breakfast we pulled 2 nice boys out. Apart from the mud and squealing it went like clockwork and we had them into the trailer and on their way in no time.


These two are just going down to the south of the island so hadn’t far to travel.

3 Listers

Feeling quite pleased with myself I went and filled up the diesel tank for ‘Harry’ my main stand by genny. Harry is a HR2, twin cylinder 12kw generator and is set up to autostart if the battery bank that supplies the house gets low (see wind turbine category) he does not run very often this time of year as we live in a very windy spot but on monday night due to washing machine and tumble drier working overtime Harry fired up. I can tell when he’s running because there are outside lights that are tapped straight into the altenator, there’s also a volt meter in the kitchen but apart from this unless it’s calm and you’ve a window open you’d never know he was running. I knew something was wrong a couple of hours later when I noticed it had gone dark outside so armed with a head torch and dressed in my pyjamas I went to investigate. Sure enough the red error light was flashing on the inverter and when i scrolled down the menu it told me the genny had stopped, well i knew that anyway but at least now I knew the inverter had not shut it down. A quick look in the tank confirmed my suspicions (no fuel) since we put the wind turbine up a couple of years ago we use so little fuel that i keep forgetting to check the tank.


Harry was a standby genny in a satellite tracking station and has done very little work, he’s also fitted with a sump heater so was kept warm for almost 20 years despite only running for 50 hours. Unlike most listers he has a dry sump, scavinge pump and extra large external sump (around 50lts!!!!) he’s got extra fuel filters, over temp and low oil pressure shutdown and came with a stack of spares and a ni cad battery bank. In short he’s the dogs b****ks and only cost me £1000 delivered to Sconser, he’s actually about 5kw bigger than I needed but at that price I couldn’t let him go. So after replenishing his bunkers, checking his oil and giving him a wee polish I set about the other 2.

‘Old faithful’ and ‘Twinny’ the SR1 and ST2 respectively live in a stone shed nearer the house and these two guys unlike Harry have worked hard ‘Old faithful’ being a 1969 and still not been re bored and ‘Twinny’ being 1974 and never even had the heads off!!! serviced regularly they will last forever. I changed the oil and filter on Twinny every 200h ( oil only on ‘Old faithful as it has no filter) The recomended schedule is 500h but I’ve been saving old engine oil for 18 years as part of my ‘peak oil’ plan though when I started saving it I wasn’t sure why.

Anyway as they’d not been run for a while thought it was time to clear out their shed and give them a whirl. Twinny was a bit slow and by the time I’d got her going with the starting handle I was pretty whacked. ‘Old faithful’ on the other hand barely turned over before she burst into life. I gave ‘Old faithful’ an oil change and a new fuel filter and left her chugging away at her steady 1500rpm with a couple of kilowatts of load on.


The worse thing you can do with one of these gennies is run them unloaded as it glazes the bores (though an hour or two’s not going to hurt) After an hour or so of load on ‘Twinny’ I spotted an oil leak which Turned out to be a rocker joint, luckily I had a spare in my dwindling stock and soon had it sorted.



After a very busy morning I stopped ‘Old faithful’ left ‘Twinny’ running and retired for lunch by which time mrs C had arrived home from a trip to Carbost on Skye with the school. Following a cheese sandwich and cup of tea we both went out in the pishing rain to clear some drains.


Though somebody thought it was feeding time!

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