Well, it’s been a midge and smidge free day today and that’s for sure, a day more reminiscent of the spring equinox than midsummer. A good blast of north west wind and rain from dawn until dusk, which at this time of year is around twenty hours. Not that that kept me inside the house, not a chance, I just donned my one piece ‘Andy Pandy’ suit and got out there in the vain hope that it would fine up. The forecast having convinced me that it might just brighten up for a wee while during the afternoon as I was optimistically wanting to see my new 940w solar array produce some power. Not that it’s such a great ‘spectator sport’ but watching an ammeter move after erecting a wind turbine or damming a stream to produce some electricity is immensely satisfying. I kid you not, you peeps who just plug things in and turn on lights whilst the electric meter spins around are missing out on a whole heap of fun
Anyways, after leaving you this morning it was on with the carrier bags and into the suit.
The plastic carrier bag trick being something that I picked up off Emby ( James Gillies) some years ago and it’s one of those simple little things, like having a shaving mirror away from the sink that makes life so much easier. Gone are the days of fighting with oilskins to get them on or having to resort to removing your boots first. Simply stick your foot in a carrier bag first and the over trousers, suit or whatever will just glide over your wellies, pure genius
Once in the rather bright and loud one piece it was round the herd feeding then over to Torran to turn on the hydro turbine there and check the batteries.
I’d turned off the ‘Harris turbine’ a couple of weeks ago knowing that the solar panels would cope just fine. However knowing that the electrics would be getting a hammering today I thought it wise to ‘crank it up’ for a few hours. Sure enough I arrived there to find the Studer inverter chucking out some 60amps (around 1.5kw) continuously and the ‘Tristar’ controllers indicating yellow/red. Not a problem but on a cloudy and driech day like today it would be silly not supplement the solar panels with some hydro to prevent the generator starting.
Cleaning a ‘bubble stove’ burner pot
To be honest I had an ulterior motive to visiting my mates at Torran, and that was to steal a shovel of coal. We have not burnt any coal here at home in years, probably ten at least. However the ‘burner pot’ in our oil stove needed cleaning and fifteen or more years of trying everything from chipping to phosphoric acid has taught me that there is only one way to clean the burner pot in a drip feed oil stove. The one and only way to do this and successfully remove all the carbon deposits is to chuck it on a bonfire, however two days of constant rain put paid to that plan so I decided to put it in the ‘Squirrel’.
The problem being that when full of wood the firebox isn’t large enough to fit the burner pot in, so I put a nice bed of coal down prior to putting it in the fire. Now I only mention this because I’ve scoured the internet in years gone by for the best way of cleaning a ‘burner pot’ and come up with zilch. It was my good friend ‘Willie Eyre’ that suggested doing this, and once more I’m indebted for his wisdom
An hour later, after glowing ‘cherry red’ and then having the crap power washed out of it, it was as good as new. A word of caution though, some of the fittings are brazed in so no hotter than ‘cherry red’.
A perfect power washing day
The pishing rain and me already in the ‘Andy Pandy’ suit had me spending a good deal of it washing things like the wife’s car and my Land Rover, for only the second time in ten months!!!!
Impending summer guests also had me giving the trusty ‘Thomson Glenelg’ a good wash,
our 1971 little gem is due visitors soon
The ‘power station’
Hanging about the workshop and house for most of the day also had me dashing in and out of the generator shed to see how all the renewables were doing.
The Proven 2.5kw wind turbine was doing well over 2kw in the gusts,
the solar panels were never less than 1 amp (around 50w) and often at 5 amps (around 250w) for middle of the day. The ‘Powerspout’ is turned off but the ‘Stream Engine’ was also putting out around 250w for the whole day, the net result of which is a very hot house and lots of washing done
Here’s the ‘power station’,
1 = 950ah 48v battery bank
2 = Trace SW4548e inverter
3 = Morningstar TS45 solar controller in ‘diversion mode’
4 = Solar controller, dump load, and array fuses
5 = Cyril the Lister SR2 6kw generator
6 = 3ohm 1.2kw DC dump load
Out of sight are the Proven wind turbine charge controller http://www.kingspanwind.com/
the GTI (grid tied inverter) for the ‘Powerspout’ http://www.powerspout.com/
and the transformer for the Stream Engine http://www.microhydropower.com/
A community to be proud of
Once more I’ve been distracted by my obsession of making electricity from wind, water and sun, for the last time I spoke to you I was going to tell you about my visit to the Raasay village hall. It was all a little last minute, and if I’m really honest I only went because it was pishing down, shame on me I know, for it was a fund raiser for http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/ cancer care. However, around 13:45 I collected my neighbour and we trundled down to the village hall for the 14:00 ‘coffee day’ for
and I was pure staggered by the turnout.
This is after all a small island with a population of well under 200 and it seemed like everyone was there, not only that but at least £930 was raised on the day!!!!! The hall was ‘mobbed’ with loads of home baking, stalls, raffles and a tombola, tea and coffee cups were kept topped up by hard working volunteers and a jolly good time was had by all. Seriously though you’d struggle to raise almost one thousand pounds in a day in a good sized city, let alone a tiny wee island, I am indeed proud to reside here