Life at the end of the road

January 26, 2008

Water and wood

Filed under: daily doings, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:37 pm


Well we have had far too much of the first one I wasn’t too bothered at first cos it set me off doing water related things like sorting our water storage tank yesterday and doing some work on my mates ‘picco hydro’ scheme. I’m getting quite excited about this cos I want to do one myself to complement the ‘Proven’ wind turbine. The ‘hydro’ thing has been coming together nicely and today I made up the manifold for the turbine end and measured the flow. The manifold was quite straight forward I just followed ‘Hugh Piggot’s’ most excellent instuctions , I just love these quick release pipe fittings on the end so you can remove everything easily for servicing.


Once that was done I just had to try it out so set off armed with manifold, 200lt drum to measure the flow and my little helper (the dudes pal) After dragging everything through the under growth I placed the empty barrel under the pipe to catch the water whilst dudes pal timed it. 35 sec 200lt approx 6lts a min.


Then sent dudes pal up hill to remove the inlet pipe from the header tank ( to stop the water ) whilst I cut the pipe and fitted the manifold. We settled on 147 elephants time (1 elephant, 2 elephant, etc) and it was just perfect. Fitted the manifold, tested it and it registered 3bar, around 45psi which if my memory serves me correctly is around 90′ or 27m (I’m no expert) with no leaks. So with a big smile we headed home for egg and bacon.


After a well earned breakfast we all set off into the birch wood to do a bit of coppicing. Now I’m no expert on this but basically I just cut down the largest limbs off trees here and there and let the smaller ones grow. I’m sure there’s much more to it than that but as I have an awful lot of birch to go at I’m not too worried about the finer points.


The dude takes off the wee branches with the ‘bilhook’ I cut the limbs and dudes pall picks em up with the Quad.


Is it child labour or are we just having a great day with not a ‘playstation’ in sight??

Erecting the wind turbine

Filed under: life off grid, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:00 am

I did this over 2 years ago but just came across the pic’s so thought it may be of interest. Living in a very windy spot and being 8 miles from the nearest power cable it seemed like a good idea to invest in a large wind turbine as we’d had ha small one for about 15 years. After extensive research we decided to go for a ‘Proven’ 2.5kw which although very expensive is by all accounts bomb proof.

After picking a spot that met all the important criteria, good clean wind, not too far from house, accessable by landrover and actually on our land I set about leveling a spot for it. Normally a turbine of this size would require around a 4ton concrete base, fortunately for us the spot chosen was solid very stable lewisian gniess (the oldest rock on the planet) so we just put a thin screed of concrete over the rock to level it and cover the ducting for the power cable.


Using a template I then drilled a 22mm hole 300mm down into the rock (in retrospect 25 would have been better) to take the4 high tensile 20mm stud. After hoovering out all the dust I then filled the holes with resin. There are many available nowadays and I consulted a specialist who sold me the stuff and hired me the special gun to inject it. It was like a double barrel version of your standard sealer gun. After leaving it to cure for a day I bolted down the hinged base VERY tightly and we then set about getting the mast and turbine into position. Despite waiting for a long dry spell we still had to winch the landover and it’s load the last few feet up the hill, though I’d forseen this and drilled an anchor point for the landrovers winch whilst i had the drill and genny up there.


I also found a novel way of transporting the 6.5m mast. I strapped my wee trailer on the base and made a tow hitch that fitted on the top of the mast and this is how I got my very long load from the ferry, up ‘Calum’s road’ to the hill top.


That’s the dude just winching it the last few feet, the next stage being to fit the turbine and then the blades.


Once the blades are securely torqued and ‘ loctited ‘ the plastic cover is secured around it, being a downwind turbine this doubles as the ‘tail’ once all the bolts, nuts, cable ties and jubilee clip has been re checked it’s time to fit the ‘gin pole’ This allows you to pull the mast up from an anchor point on the ground or landrover in our case.



The 4 of us did this one sunny afternoon with very little effort and no experience. There had not been a breath of wind all day but within an hour of tightening up the base nuts it started to blow and didn’t stop for three days.


For the next few weeks I got hours o pleasure from just watching the ammeter and listening to the noise of those blades spinning round and saving me money.

The ‘Proven’ is not a cheap machine but it’s massively over engineered (it has to be because of it’s downwind design) and keeps on producing it’s full output even in storm force winds. I bought mine through Hugh Piggot of whom I cannot recommend highly enough. It has been up now for 2 1/2 years and has surpassed our wildest expectations. Though weather it would work quite as well in a less exposed spot I don’t know, if you live inland or down south on the grid then this is probably not the machine for you. If you live off grid in a salty enviorenment exposed to the fully fury of natures worst and want dependable trouble free power then this piece of kit is the dogs.

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