Life at the end of the road

September 15, 2010

500 watts :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:53 pm

All four seasons in one day is what we had yesterday here on Raasay. An autumnal deluge on my velux window at around 5:00am had me feeling sorry for wifey who would be feeding the pigs shortly after I left for work in the grey half light of dawn. By the time I left however all that was left of the downpour was puddles in the many potholes on ‘Calum’s road’ and by the time I arrived at work it was positively pleasant,

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with the sun threatening to greet the early risers in Inverarish village.

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It was however short lived as another shower raced in from the west just as we were letting go at 7:45 😦

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However the shower and it’s attendant rainbow had disappeared eastwards past Eyre by the time we were half way to Sconser  and left us with sunshine that had been sadly lacking in July and August. Sunshine that was actually warm on my cropped head and had me breaking out the paint brush for the first time in days. All was rosy and I continued my day with an enthusiasm that can only be appreciated by one who works ‘week on week off’

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an enthusiasm that was not shared by the very un photogenic postie


🙂 🙂 🙂

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The driver of this fine old Foden Alpha 3000 truck that’s been our best customer this last week as he brings yet more stones to Raasay was far more obliging 🙂


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Regrettably the sunshine did not last and was at one point in the afternoon  replaced by hail showers that at one time  blotted out Ben Tianavaig on Skye. Not only did we have sun, wind, hail, and rain but there was also a bout of thunder and lightning for good measure.

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And it was not just the fact that it was my last ‘commute’ home for a full week that had me in good spirits driving home, the sun going down over Portree helped 🙂

Resting the back

A case of déjà vu had me in despair again at some ungodly hour as the rain once again beat down on the bedroom window, only this time it was my turn to feed everyone 😦 Like yesterday however it had vanished by daylight and unlike yesterday it remained fine all day, which was good because I had much to do. The first and most important job after feeding everyone, including the new alarm clock that had finally settled in and started crowing was to head over to Skye for feed. Two lactating sows plus four pigs for fattening as well as the boars and pregnant sows means that we’re fair going through the sow rolls at the moment, 26 pigs and piglets can demolish almost two bags a day 😦



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Then when I got back there was coal to be taken to Torran for the next group of visitors to though I was kind to my back and only took two 🙂 Once there I checked the Harris turbine, that remarkable little hydro turbine that supplies the power to this beautiful building. Then I topped up the batteries that store it until required by the Studer inverter that converts the 24vDC to 230vAC.

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It was the success of this installation that convinced to fit my own hydro turbine to supplement the Proven wind turbine that powers our house by a similar but larger battery/inverter set up. And it was  my own ‘Stream Engine’ that was my next port of call. The rain might not be great for feeding pigs, cutting bedding or generally working outside but it had done a fine job of filling the burn that supplies my generator.

My triple penstock, triple nozzle system is still in the fine tuning state at the moment, basically I have three different pipes at varying heights on my header tank. When the flow is low it feeds the first then as it increases the water level rises and fills the next pipe (penstock) etc On one nozzle it produces (at the moment) 120ish watts and then when the second comes into play around 340watts. The other day however with all three pipes full for the first time I was still only getting 340watts which was a little disappointing but as I was at work there was little I could do about it, so today I went to investigate.

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And this is what we found, no not the hen but a burst joint 😦 funnily enough it was not one of my home made ones

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  but one of the pukka Viking clamps, though in all fairness it looks like a case of contraction after fitting the joints in hot weather and then disturbance by rooting pigs, the pipe was a good foot too short, fortunately I’ve plenty of it so just turned off the flow


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using my bit of soil pipe removed the offending section and inserted a longer one. The result a good 500watts which I know I can improve on with a little more ‘tweaking’. Not today though because I had pigs to clean out and bedding to cut 🙂

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