Life at the end of the road

May 29, 2012

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Filed under: Croft house for sale, daily doings, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 12:10 am

Sorry peeps, it’s 23:20 and I’ve only just managed to get my blogging software up and running again after reinstalling it 😦 ‘Window’s live writer’ went pear shaped on me last night halfway through a post and it’s taken me almost two hours to sort it. OK, perhaps not all the two hours was spent in fixing my editor, quite a bit of it was spent working out projected monthly power outputs for different wind turbines at the new house site.

Based on accurate data collected from my hydro turbine over two years and projected data from for an 1850w solar array we have a shortfall for heating in Jan, Feb, March, April, Nov and Dec. This we’d planned to overcome with a Perge biomass boilers biomass boiler from Alastair at However as the energy shortfall is in the windiest months I’ve been playing about with wind turbines, real and imaginary 🙂

I’d always planned to put a turbine up at the new house anyway but was thinking along the lines of a 1Kw whilst I got on with building one of Hugh Piggott’s ‘homebrew turbines’ in my shed Knowing how long it takes me to do anything I thought the Futurenergy would keep me ticking over for a while 🙂 However I’ve just rekindled an old love affair with my Proven (now ) after taking it down for a service yesterday.

Servicing a Proven wind turbine

It was whilst showing another potential neighbour around the croft and we walked up to the turbine that the stroke of genius hit me. I’ve always serviced the thing before the winter gales, mainly on account of installing it in September and just continuing the ‘annual theme’. Of course by then the ground is usually wet and the Land Rover generally gets bogged down.

Well on Friday when I wandered up there on foot in my sandals I realized that I’d been doing it wrong for years. Better to take it down when it’s not actually producing much power anyway then if it needs parts it’s not such an issue leaving it down as its not missing much so to speak. Not only that it would be good to be able to say to the next ‘viewer’ that “it’s just been serviced” 🙂

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It would also, perhaps, wear out the two wee boys that are staying with us just now 🙂

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After setting up the winch, gin pole and anchor point the Dude showed the boys how to remove the cover to access the brake and I ‘broke’ the M20 bolts so the wee people could undo them.

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With ever such a little bit of slack in the winch wire the turbine is then ‘tipped over centre’ by hand until strain is taken on the ‘Tirfor’ winch.

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I never lower it right the way down, preferring to rest it a good few feet off the ground with the mast at shoulder height and access the higher bits from the quad. It may seem bonkers but, A the blades don’t touch the ground and B it relieves the greatest strain on the winch, strops and anchor point and mine’s an old tree 😦

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Wouldn’t you just love to live here 🙂

The boys may have been a great help at the ‘exciting’ lowering but I could see that the tinkering with springs would be boring for them and distracting for me so we went off to Torran to cut the grass.

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Rather hastily as it happened without chance to chat with some visitors 🙂

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After dinner I pottered up there on my own and removed the three spring sets of triple springs that are a major part of the turbines furling system.

The rather rickety ‘jury rigged’ outer ones are some I knocked up ‘temporarily’ a couple of years ago when the originals cracked. You could have phoned up any other company and got them posted out that same day after paying by card. Not with Proven you couldn’t, you had to go through their resellers who never stocked any parts and rarely took plastic. Lets hope the new owners are better, having said that it’s been up for seven years now and I’ve not spent a penny on it 🙂

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With the springs off and the blades hanging limp I took them down to my workshop to overhaul them.

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It is good practice to change the four ‘yaw rollers’ and their washers every year but mine weren’t that old so I just measured them. They are supposed to be 28mm but mine were 27mm, not ideal but good enough for another few months whilst I get some made, begged or borrowed 🙂

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After checking all the bolts on the blades and roots I gave the hub a good chipping, wire brushing and coat of ‘Hammerite’

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That was about it for yesterday and I set about the springs this morning

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on what was a very different day indeed. The blue sky’s of late replaced by a cold mist and breeze of north wind that had jumpers and overalls back on for the first time in a week. As is quite usual though, the south end of Raasay was in sunshine and by 10:00am so were we 🙂

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The bolts, nylon inserts, washers and my home made brackets were all ‘shot’ but fortunately I had spares. The inserts are just 12mm airline hose with 10mm ID available from any motor factor. The washers can be had from RS

I had bought some new nylon pipe on eBay so I could replace these bushes. the washers come from RS product code 280-543

From Hugh’s much better description of servicing the larger 6Kw model

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All rebuilt with new bolts, washers and nylocs from

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Everything was refitted, the bearings greased, the slip rings checked and the covers replaced before raising it back up to great the welcoming breeze 🙂

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And after dinner I went up to our new barn and started on the back wall of the new generator shed.

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Spending just as much time removing the old nails as actually cutting and assembling it.

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One piece alone had more than 50 nails in it!!! but by 21:00 I’d had enough and called it a day 🙂


  1. Morning, knew I hung onto that set of blades I bought for a 1kw scoraig turbine for a good reason, for sale now. Magnets and windings for 12 v. Hub. Never installed. Contact me if your interested. Willie

    Comment by willie — May 29, 2012 @ 6:44 am

    • Morning Wilie,

      12v is a bit low but I am interested.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 30, 2012 @ 6:05 am

  2. Hi Paul
    Looks like every things fitting together free source labour, eager labourers and when they get a bit older you can make them apprentices and retire. Get them eager and young. Walter

    Comment by Polite Scouser — May 29, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  3. Ah, the joys of reusing timber, I know all too well about removing nails and screws as the caravan progresses, Just de-nailed some more and sent it through the bench saw to get the correct sizes for the side panels. Got the firstframe finished yesterday and opened up the front of the van before packing in at 8pm, late for me but wanted to get it done. Nothing like the feeling of satisfaction of getting the first frame together! Off back down to the van shortly to get on with removing old sealant, spars etc and hopefully getting the side frames in! Today is a lot cooler at the moment but the sun is trying to break through the mist. Looks like the afternoon may be blistering again! Good but not great for working inside a tin can!
    Have a good one Paul!

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — May 29, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  4. Just love the picture of the kids, especially the one making a fashion statement with one leg of his trousers tucked into his Wellingtons and the other outside. That Proven of yours is really a decent piece of kit built like the proverbial brick toilet simple robust few moving parts pity it will go with the house

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — May 29, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    • Morning Dave,

      pity it will go with the house

      just what I was thinking after doing all my energy calcs for the new house, or should I say studying the ones Alastair from did for me. I’m a few Kwh short in the winter months and the Proven would bridge the gap and make me totally boiler free 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 30, 2012 @ 6:04 am

  5. children really do like useful chores. these boys will be engaged and confident in their ability to figure stuff out. good father, good son, you should pat yourself on the back.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — May 30, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    • Morning Jeannette, these children are more of a handful than any actual use 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 3, 2012 @ 6:03 am

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