Life at the end of the road

February 7, 2008

Clearing drains and the past

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:41 pm

The drain

As I’ve said on many occasions the weather here never fails to amaze me, yesterday was beautiful and sunny with just a gentle breeze and during the night it was blowing a gale and lashing with rain. This caught me completely unaware and I’d left the workshop door open and a trailer load of bedding out, which is probably why I didn’t sleep very well. Although it was really wild early in the morning by the time I’d plucked up courage to go out and feed it had stopped raining. I was a bit apprehensive about going to feed the larger tamworths as Braken had been a bit off for the last couple of days and although she’d perked up a bit yesterday afternoon, yesterday was the kind of day that would brighten anything up. Today on the other hand was the kind of day that would depress the happiest of souls and mrs C and I had decided to call the vet if she was still off today, as it turned out she was on top form, even pushing Ginger the boar out of the trough. With all the rain of last night the woefully inadequate and over grown drain at the side of their enclosure was doing nothing to clear away the water off the hill so I set about clearing it. I hadn’t intended to, I’d just thought I’d clear a few twigs and leaves but as with so many things in my life I got distracted from my original task and before I Knew it I’d been in this ditch for 2 hours and the water was gushing down it. Feeling very pleased with myself I went in for breakfast and made mrs C and myself boiled egg and ‘soldiers’

All this water had been getting me revved up for doing some more work on the hydro turbine that I’m working on for a friend and I spent most of the rest of the day working on that though I’ve put it in a seperate post as it’s possibly quite boring if your not into that kind of stuff. Anyway I am and i had a most pleasurable day turning an old washing machine drum


a bit of a drain and some hose pipe into a base for the ‘Harris turbine’ anyway if your interested go check out the hydro category. Though I’m not so sure if one of the hens was too impressed with me nicking her nest. The rest of the day was taken up with a spot of road building and clearing some of the cr4p out of the ‘old girl’


Though I had a little help with the latter task. So once the animals had been fed I retired to the house and a most excellent rabbit curry. I’m not sure if I’d shot the rabbit or not but it was deeeelish!

The past

Mrs C and the dude have spent the entire day sorting through stuff ready for burning, taking to charity shop, giving away or just plain binning. I really have to admire her for not hanging onto the past. Me I seem to keep everything and it’s not just the ‘siege’ or remote island mentality, I just keep everything, which is really pointless because I can’t find anything and only ever know I’ve got things when I finally throw them out (reluctantly) I’ve the ticket stubs from all the gigs/festivals I’ve ever been to, diaries going back 20 years, workshop manuals for every car I’ve ever owned!! am I ever likely to own another Hillman Imp???. The only reason I know I have these is cos mrs C keeps telling me, so what is the point of keeping them, I don’t even want to put them on ebay. Mrs C and the dude on the other hand are happily chucking out all his old school work, pictures etc, etc, how I envy them.

The ‘Harris Hydro Turbine’

Filed under: hydro, life off grid — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:50 am

I’m seeing allot of referals via google for the ‘hydro turbine’ post, which is a shame because I did not go into any great detail because i posted the story so far here I’m doing the job for a

friend under the guidance of Hugh Piggot of Hugh Piggott – Scoraig Wind Electric Though I hope to fit one myself when funds (and time) allow, anyway the turbine arrived last week so for anyone interested here’s some pics.




As you can see it’s a ‘pelton wheel’ runner and it has got 4 nozzles, these spray high pressure water onto the wheel which is direct coupled to a 24v altenator. At over £1000 and being imported from the US it’s allot of money, not only is the unit expensive but being low voltage the cable will need to be much thicker than for a high voltage turbine. However in the reliability stakes these are streets ahead of anything else. These particular units are site specific, that is they are set up to your head and flow and under the right conditions can produce going on for 1kw though I think this is going to be delivering 200w. Although this doesn’t sound very much compared to say my 2.5kw ‘Proven’ wind turbine it is 24/7/365 so will produce around around 1500kwh per year which I think is around half what your average household uses.

As I have less head and money! I was thinking of going for one of ‘Navitrons’ Chinese made high head turbines.

The one I had in mind was XJ14-0.3DCT4-Z which at £310 inc vat has got to be worth a try. These units also generate at mains voltage so the cable is considerably cheaper

The base

The base/sump/ outflow or whatever you call it has been on my mind for a while now. The top end where the water enters the pipe is sorted (apart from a few tweaks) the penstock pipe is sorted and I’ve been mulling over the easiest way to make a base for the turbine and a cover for the electrics. The cover I think I’ve sourced ( the old hen house ) but the base has been taxing my brain for weeks. If it were near a track where i could get a Quad to I would just make a concrete one but as it’s quite a way from the track I want to minimise the amount of concrete i have to carry.  Today it just came to me in a flash, an old washing machine drum and the base of a manhole which I picked up off the beach about 10 years ago!


I know it doesn’t look very promising but trust me, first thing was to cut the drum to the correct height.


Next step was to split a length of 19mm rubber hose to put round the outside of the drain to act as a seal then push the drum into the drain then drill holes through plastic using holes in drum as a guide for the m5 stainless bolts and nylocs.


Next step was a bit of split 10mm rubber hose for the inner seal and 4 bolts and spacers for the turbine to sit on.


Then all that was required was to bolt it into position.


The valve block is held on by quick release couplings and the turbine by 4 nuts so it’s easy to dismantle and get to the site. The base will only require a little concrete and one of the 110mm outlets  will be utillised for run off (only 63mm going in).

Create a free website or blog at