Life at the end of the road

February 8, 2008

Windy weather dead shots and suicidal sheep

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

Most of today has been a 40amp day!

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The kind of day when the washing machine and tumble dryer are going flat out and the house is roasting with all the spare electricity generated by our wind turbine. The down side with this kind of day is it’s usually way too windy to actually do anything and it’s usually raining. Although it wasn’t actually raining it did seem like a good excuse to stay inside and do the dreaded VAT return, so after feeding the animals that’s what I did. I don’t know why I have such a hang up about the vat return because it only takes me a couple of hours and I’m usually a couple of hundred quid better off, in fact it’s probably the best hourly rate I’ve ever had since i gave up diving commercially and far safer but I still hate it! Having got that out of the way I just had to get out wind or no wind so off I went and did some work on my road.

As the ferry wasn’t running and the dude was expecting friends over from Skye I thought I’d take him out to do some target practice. He and mrs C had been stuck in the house for days sorting through stuff and tidying up for the arrival of mrs Cs parents and said friends. He’d been trying to get out but mrs C said he wasn’t going anywhere until he could walk across his bedroom without standing on something. The obstacle course had now been removed, he was feeling a bit flat because the ferry wasn’t sailing so I felt he deserved a treat. It was far too windy for accurate shooting but it was good for him to improve his technique and speed.

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Looking at that top photo it does not look windy but as it was south wind Loch Arnish is quite sheltered from that direction. Whilst the dude was busy peppering a quality street tin and a malteaser bucket I was busy assessing the potential of my own ‘mini hydro’ scheme. This involved making a wee dam with a pipe in it and timing how long it took to get to the 10lt mark, a touch under 10secs, this was a bit less than I was expecting but as you can see from the top photo there’s a good head as the turbine could be almost at sea level, giving at least 30m poss 40m.

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The formula is- FLOW X HEAD X 9.81 = power in watts so 1 x 3o x 9.81 = 294w, allowing for frictional losses in the pipe of say 5% a conversion rate of the available power in the water to what the altenator actually produces of 70% and cable losses of 5% now according to my sums that’s around 185watts but judging by the time it takes me to do my VAT I wouldn’t take that as gospel. After I’d checked out a site lower down with less head and more flow and the dude had demolished the tin and bucket. We set off to Torran on the quad to do a wee job at the schoolhouse there and on the way back at dusk we spotted 5 barmy sheep up a cliff!

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Meanwhile the ferry had done the 15:10/16:15 run and we returned home to a full house of relatives and friends.

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