Life at the end of the road

May 10, 2012

Water and power :-)

Filed under: boats, Croft house for sale, daily doings, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:10 pm

Well almost 🙂 there is water now running down to the site and there is electricity running up to it but we’ve still much to do. You will notice the ‘we’ because much of it is burying pipe, cable, and of course hauling around a ton of sand and gravel up to the tank. I think two tons was a little ambitious 🙂 even for my team, funnily enough I’ve not seen the ‘Three Amigos’ for a while, perhaps they’ve got sick of work on the croft 😦

Anyway I’d a great nights sleep but refused point blank to get out of bed until 6:00am as it was almost midnight when I turned in. I was desperate to get back on with connecting up my services but felt I should make an effort to try and get some rest. We’d both been out working until 21:00 and I know from experience that I can’t keep it up 🙂 So when my body arose at 4:00am wanting to start moving water tanks I told it where to go.

At 6:00am on the dot I was out of bed like a shot, and very shortly afterwards cleaning my water tank and getting it ready for taking up to the site.

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The power washer not only cleaning it but giving my dubious repairs on the bottom a good testing. Not that I’m rubbish at repairing fibre glass but the Isopon P40 I’d used was twenty years old 😦 Still I’m figuring that if it holds until it’s in position and full then it will sink into the peat and seal itself anyway 🙂

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That’s where it’s got to go right to the top of that gully, and that’s as near as I could get it on the quad 😦

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It was actually easier than I expected, just rolling it end over end, taking care to ease down and always checking for rocks before resting it on the base.

This is only going to be the tank that filters the water so it’ll only be half full of water, the rest of it being taken up by rocks and sand. Still it was very important to get it as high up the hill as possible as I don’t want to loose any ‘head’. Directly out of the well I’ve a touch under 2.4bar which is only slightly better than enough pressure to run my thermal store. Being ‘off grid’ I really do not want to be using a pump.

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So to get the tank as high as possible I cut the temporary water pipe that I’d installed a couple of years ago and dragged it back up the hill. As the other end was still in the well I just pulled it up until no more than a drip was coming out of the end.

Then finding a nice flattish spot I levelled it with a few turfs of peat and connected up still using my temporary pipes.

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The yellow one from the well is gas pipe, it may be identical in dimension to water pipe but the yellow lets sunlight through and the pipe fills with growth over time DO NOT USE for water 🙂 The blue pipe, all 200m of it is the right stuff but has been used for pumping diesel so is only fit for mixing concrete and testing the pressure and flow. Once the new pipes are in I’ll still leave the ‘oily’ one in place but on the overflow. I do this with my present system so can tell at a glance if the supply has dried up or frozen 🙂

The next job was to go and check eBay to see if I’d won the water tank I’d been bidding on.


The gods must have been in a good mood today for at 15:25 I became the proud owner of a 3600lt water tank and what’s more it’s on Skye and not in Southampton or Sussex 🙂 Less than half price, exactly what I wanted, exactly when I wanted it, and I’m going to Skye tomorrow anyway, the stars really must have been all lined up today 🙂

After that I started connecting up the armoured cable I jointed yesterday and made progress on getting a temporary power supply to the barn. The cable and all the hardware is permanent, it’s the supply that’s not, that will be going with the house when it’s sold. The trusty Trace SW4548e, 900ah 48v battery bank and Proven 2.5Kw will be going with as will Cyril.

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Though the ex standby set from Winchester police station with only 50 hours on the clock is now well and truly bolted down in his very own shed.

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Apart from helping the ‘hen lady’ make another nest box that was it really,

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though it was herself that did all the work,

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I just modified it slightly 🙂

So that’s it, I’ll just leave you with some excellent photos taken by some other CalMac employees.


An absolute cracker of Skrettings MV Valborg spoiling the view from Raasay house 🙂

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Those pesky boats that all turn up at the same time 🙂

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My place of work heading for Sconser with me on it for the last time this week 🙂

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And a ‘barn warming present’ that was much more use than a bottle of wine and does not give you headache 🙂

Cheers Sean


  1. Got any plans to what your installing in the way of power paul?

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — May 10, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

    • Morning Steve,

      2Kw of solar on a ground mount just above the house, I’m keeping the ‘Stream Engine’ and the ‘Powerspout’. There is also a mast just a few meters away above the solar panels for a wind turbine. I had one on it for a couple of winters and it’s a great spot, it never really worked for me though as it was a 24v turbine and 200 plus meters from the house. 800ah of Rolls batteries at 48v driving a Sunny Island 5Kw inverter with everything ‘AC coupled’ into my own ‘mini grid’ interesting explanation here and more in depth here

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 11, 2012 @ 5:21 am

      • sorted..

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — May 11, 2012 @ 7:54 am

      • Dear Paul,
        And how much is that battery bank going to cost you if I may ask. ? Rolls Batteries are the best of the lead acid chemistry but they still sucks. A quick off the top of my head calculation says that that is about 40KW/H and seeing as you can’t deplete them by more than 20% then you have about 8KW/H effective. Cycle them about 500 times and you have to buy a new battery bank as they are knackered. Now what popped its head over the Radar here on the continent a couple of weeks ago is this.

        They have been in; I think the in word for it is stealth mode since they rebuilt an Audi stuck there batteries under the back seat and in the boot and drove from Munich to Berlin in October 2010. a distance of about 375 miles. Nobody would believe them and they took a hell of a lot of flack. Small start up firm of about 15 students for 15,000,000 Euro built a battery that was a least 3 times better than anything on the market. Muchos egg on faces of the large Car companies. you can imagine the fun that went on when a few days after the car was burnt. in a mysterious fire in Berlin, the accusations came thick a fast. Idealistic students retire with hurt pride. A few months later the battery was sent to a Government test institute and passed all the tests with flying colours. The firm built three more Audis and sent them too Oldenburg energy firm for testing pass with flying colours. 27 year old Mirko Hannemann who is the owner of the firm, mentions in passing that he has turned down an offer from Samsung of 600,000,000 Euro for the firm the reason he gave was that he was not interested in knitting for the rest of his life. Also mentioned in the interview he gave on Berlin TV that they were not so interested in batteries for Electric cars but were now concentrating on grid storage and batteries for forklift trucks. They had been testing there batteries with a logistic firm in the Eiffel ( which is just south of where I live) for a couple of years prior too the trip from Munich too Berlin. The firm said a few months ago that they were very satisfied with the tests and that they had now swapped out there lead/acid forklift batteries for the new Lithium metal polymer Kolibri battery. in there forklift fleet. It has been very interesting I have been following this saga for the last couple of years the website from the firm literally closed down, and all that you heard was rumour. Best German patent lawyer joins firm CEO from BMW joins firm are opening two battery factories. Last month refurbished website pops up with a list of there products. I don’t know what they cost a KW/hr rumour has it that it is 30% above Lead acid, but even then it doesn’t seem such a bad deal they are reputed to have a cycle life of 5,000 instead of 500 which would put it in the region of 20 years of normal use maintenance free. no checking specific gravity or adding distilled water, temperature independent no degradation between -40degrees and +100degrees 97% efficient. and all in a cabinet the size of a decent size fridge complete with electronics. which should fit nicely into your new barn, where if I am correct you are going to have too install your new electrical distribution centre. Hopefully after you have given the floor a nice coat of floor paint nothing f**ks up a concrete floor than oil from a leaking land rover.

        Now being a tyke, I find that I have a tendency to express myself in a way that irritates most people especially those born the wrong side of the Pennines, and I wouldn’t want that too happen, so a couple of suggestions fill in the form on the website and get all the guff downloaded too you. Start a new thread on the Naviton site with all the information you have gained and let that lot kick it about for a few weeks, they on the whole seem to be clued up. Notify Hugh Piggot and see what he thinks, for me it ticks all the boxes, it could save you a lot of money in the long run.

        Very Deep Regards


        Comment by Yorkshire Miner — May 11, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

      • Morning Dave, it’s 4:30 am and I really can’t cope with all this battery guff, sorry I’ve not even read it, I AM GETTING LEAD ACID BATTERIES I have done lots of research and that’s what I’m getting. All these other batteries may be the dogs bollox but if your inverter and charger cannot cope with there charge and discharge curves then they are about as much use as chocolate fire guard.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 12, 2012 @ 3:59 am

  2. It’s great to see the pier being put to good use! Maybe the Hebridean Princess will try and tie up next time too!

    Comment by Seumas — May 11, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    • Morning Seaumus,

      Maybe the Hebridean Princess will try and tie up next time too!

      There’s some issue with that Seamus, can’t remember what it is but it’s not going to happen 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 12, 2012 @ 4:01 am

  3. Good to see Pot O`Bal the great god of water tanks is sending you some positive vibes :-). As Seumas says, the MV Valborg certainly sets the pier off well.


    Comment by Andy — May 11, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  4. along the lines of daves comment, have you ever looked into vanadium-reddox battery technology.

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — May 11, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

    • Don’t get me wrong but Vanadium -reddox batteries are not quiet good enough for a small installation, its horses for courses, you have to have pumps and don’t know what else and that tend to put up the price plus the fact that they are more liable to breakdown. They are extremely good for large storage systems such as wind farms etc. The Irish have installed a few mega watt devices in a trial I think a couple of years ago. Surprisingly enough Vanadium is quiet cheap as a lot of it is extracted from crude oil. There has also been a lot of speculation that the cathode in this device is made of vanadium but this German firm reveals very little about its chemistry. My own opinion for what it is worth is that this firm has hit the floor running. The Chemistry is solid state no liquid electrolyte, so not leakages there is no cooling system which reduces cost even more. You might want to look at this U-tube video of it going through its tests there are English subtitles so you don’t have to know krautenese.

      Then there is this video, unfortunately it is only in German but it is from an interview with Mirko Hannermann the inventor of the battery you might not understand the man but at least you can get a feel of what he is like. I can assure you he is very very sharp indeed and comes across as very pleasant and quiet funny and bullshit free. He has just turned down an offer for his company from Samsung for 600 million euros. enjoy



      Comment by Yorkshire Miner — May 11, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    • Morning Steve,
      yup, I’ve looked at all the battery technologies from potato, gravel, liquid metal, and vanadium reddox to the more conventional NiFe, NiCad and Lion. It is all really really interesting but until someone comes up with a mainstream inverter charger that will deal with all the odd voltages and charging anomalies then it’s about as much use to me as all the other storage methods. Pumped hydro, compressed air and massive flywheels. All very good all boodly marvelous and deserving of more research grants to help solve the problems of ‘intermittency’ created by sun, wind and tide.

      However for a dude living ‘off grid’ in the real world there is nothing quite like deep cycle FLA and Rolls are without doubt the best without going down the expensive military/submarine/cruise missile route. They have a seven year guarantee and with my pattern of usage should see me out till I retire, by which time the new hybrid ferry should be due a new seven ton Lion pack 🙂

      The humble lead acid battery brought this country almost to its knees in two world wars in the bottom of German U boats , it’s cheap relatively, safe relatively, easily maintained, easily charged, well understood and on the market NOW not ‘on the radar’. My own FLA bank is now seven years old and is doing just fine and when it is fecked I’ll get just as much money for it scrap as what I paid for it 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 13, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      • with you there paul,,

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — May 13, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

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