Life at the end of the road

September 1, 2010

The ‘Stream engine’ is online :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, hydro, life off grid, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:05 pm

Now if you don’t like Doctor Who or are bored by my incessant tinkering then you’d be as well to go and visit another blog tonight, perhaps in Aberdeenshire for some proper crofting tips or Neil in the Azores for some detailed west coast info and excellent pictures. For today I have at last got my ‘Stream engine’ commissioned and whilst I found the whole day exciting and was blown away by the results I can see it may be a little dull to many readers.

There was no posting last night because, A, I was very tired, B, wifey was going away for a few days and C, I was watching TV, which for me is rather unusual. I’m sure there are many wonderful programs on the telly but I can never sit still long enough to watch them and I’m not a fan of US imports or soaps which seem to be staple diet of others in our household. Last night however in a longing for a good festival I sat down with wifey to watch highlights from this years Glastonbury festival and was awestruck by this.



Matt Smith accompanying Orbital in their rendition of the Doctor Who theme, one of my favourite electronic bands playing one of my all time favourite electronic tunes. I’ve seen Phil and Paul Hartnol doing this live a couple of times but this is awesome, just check out those lasers 🙂 MEGA, Chemical Brothers eat your heart out 🙂

Microhydro power

Despite a much later night than I’d anticipated I was up early and full of enthusiasm for the ‘rest week’ ahead, actually I’d been full of enthusiasm for the week ahead ever since my last 100m of cable had arrived on Tuesday from . This final 100m of 6mm square SWA (steel wire armoured) cable would enable me at last to get my new hydro turbine online. I say new, I’d actually bought it in December from Hugh Piggot at . I had approached Paul Cunningham of direct but Hugh knows him personally and dealt with all the import and shipping at a very competitive price so I chose Hugh as he’s on the same time as me for advice 🙂

I should really have had this up and running months ago but it’s taken me this long to ‘acquire’ the 470m of armoured cable required, and as the final 100m (the only bit I’ve actually bought) cost me £261 so you can appreciate my reluctance. Anyway I finally parted with some cash for the required cable and the resin filled joints to couple it so that’s what I’ve been doing for most of the day.

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After of course feeding everyone 🙂

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An amusing task as Shona’s piglets are now squeezing under the gate and going out exploring 🙂

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With that done I set about laying and jointing my cable and I soon discovered why TLC’s cable was half the price of anyone else’s, it’s half the quality 😦 the wire armour is half the thickness, the insulation is hard and much thinner and the copper seems much stiffer (that’s their cable on the left) still it is CE marked and quite serviceable, as with most things in life you get what you pay for and their service is excellent.

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Once all the cables were laid out I set about dragging the last bit through a duct under my road,

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fortunately I’d left some green twine through the duct under the road some years ago so it was a simple mater of taping it onto the new cable and drawing it through to the generator shed.

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Then it was just a matter of joining the cables with the special resin filled joints and connecting the two ends, one at the turbine and one at the transformer end 470m away.

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As the water flow was now back to a more ‘summery’ .6lts per second, water was only flowing down the first and smallest penstock but even so it was producing a respectable 160w.




With that done and my batteries charging nicely despite a lack of wind for the 2.5kw wind turbine I set off south on the school run.

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Though I could not resist a trip down to the old ferry terminal to watch loading the ‘Red Duchess’ with timber.

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It’s always a pleasure to watch ‘professionals’ at work,


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and speaking of professionals or should I say ‘living legends’ was still busy working on his latest project which I just can’t wait to see on YouTube 🙂


The man is a true maestro 🙂

That was it really, I returned home to many hungry mouths,

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and then commenced on dinner for the boy and I, a simple affair of venison cooked in red wine rosemary and mushrooms with some fresh potatoes out of the garden.


  1. Dear Paul,

    really pleased to see that you have finally managed to get the turbine in use. It would have been completely impossible without skiponomics. Should be interesting to see how much heating oil is saved during the winter, if the Proven 2.5 kilowatts and the stream 1 kilowatt are going full out during a gale and your batteries are full will you have enough dump load in the house, just a thought. Molly amuses me of late she seems to be getting on every second photo, she seems a delightful curious lass, what I have noted though is that she seems to be a bit more careful with the pigs of late keeping her tail down which is normally a sign of submission. I was just wondering if she been given a bit of a nip by Ed or Eddy to get her to know her place in the pecking order.

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — September 2, 2010 @ 9:39 am

    • Hi Dave (YM)

      yes the ‘Stream Engine’ is long overdue, all I need now is some rain 🙂 only joking. The dump load capacity can be overcome with the DC ones in the shed but that’s a bit of a waste so I’m going to build a new house with underfloor heating and proper plumbing (not by me I might add 🙂 ) The pigs seem mildly amused by Molly but seldom react to her cavorting and nipping. I’m not too keen on sheep dogs myself as of today for one just pissed on my leg this morning 😦

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 3, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

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