Life at the end of the road

August 18, 2013

We never made it :-(

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, shed/house, stonework, wind turbine — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:36 pm

I bet you thought there’d been lack of activity on the blog front due to a serious night stompin’ to Sheepshank Redemption at the Raasay village hall. ‘Fraid not, we never made it Sad smile we wanted to right enough but it just never happened.

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Friday turned into a long hot summers day and yours truly spent all of it up at the new house site moving rocks, filling in puddles and working on my new generator shed. I say new but it’s been up for over a year now, I just never got around to finishing it due to all this training lark.

 

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I am just so pleased with this 8’ x 12’ lean to’ shed that has cost me virtually nothing to build, it’s going to be home to Harry the HR2 Lister, all my inverters and the new Rolls battery bank. It got a second coat of paint on Friday in between barrow loads of rock and I made a start at scraping up the paint of the concrete floor that never ‘took’. It was Teamac deck paint and I’m not sure if the concrete wasn’t cured enough, the paint too old (twenty years at least) or just plain not suitable, either way it’s a nightmare to remove with a scraper Sad smile

 

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These pictures of the three tractors ‘resting’ after have made silage

 

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and SSE wiring up the ‘extension lead’ Smile  to plug in the new ferry were taken on Thursday but I forgot to post them.

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I did have a look on Davie’s photo stream  http://www.flickr.com/photos/raasayweb/ for pictures of the dance but they’re not on yet, I’m sure they will be soon. Well worth a look though even if they aren’t, lots of lovely images of Raasay, its flora, fauna and folk.

Saturday

After retiring to my bed before 21:00 I arose to a proper miserable day, all the more shocking as Friday had been such a peach. Still the gale force wind and heavy showers were interspersed with sunshine and it certainly boosted the batteries up.

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I actually turned off the first of the sequential oil heaters to give the batteries a good ‘equalizing’. Normally the first 1kW heater comes on at 56.5v and then switches off at 51v or there abouts, the next one coming on at 57v and the third at 59v. leaving the first one off allowed the voltage to rise higher than normal and start the batteries gassing enthusiastically, this has the effect of equalising the cell voltages and cleaning the plates. It’s recommended to do it about once a month with Flooded Lead Acid cells but it’s not so easy to do with a wind turbine as it is with solar and hydro.

 

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Saturday was also the third anniversary of the opening of our wonderful new ferry terminal on Raasay, only three years, it feels like we’ve been operating out of there forever. The days of hammering on the slip in a breeze of south wind or stuck alongside the old pier being bashed senseless long gone. Some things never change though, it’s still the same people who are always late for the ferry despite being a mile nearer to it Smile Smile

 

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The pishing rain meant that ‘rock moving’ was out and ‘door making’ was in, and what a joy it was to be working in a large well let and dry shed as the rain hammered down on the roof. The north facing sliding door on my barn may mean that access is a little trickier but you can leave the door open most weather without getting swept off your feet or wet.

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The door is 4’ x 6’ with a large air vent at the base to keep Harry cool if he fires up, though I’m hoping that will be vary rarely and I’m thinking of making it open and close as he starts and stops. The shed will be home to 16 Rolls S530 http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=798&catID=157 batteries too. One thing I regret about my current system is not putting the batteries into some kind of insulated enclosure as lead acid cells perform pretty poorly below minus five, not that we get temperatures that low here very often, but when we do you certainly notice it. With this in mind the shed, which is made from 6” framing is well insulated and lined and I’m putting my new cells on a shelf to keep them off the ground.

 

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The Dude came to help, and after fitting the hinges, trying it for size and fitting the jamb inside the frame we removed it once more and he gave it a coat of Zinnser 123 http://www.zinsseruk.com/product/bulls-eye-1-2-3-plus/ which is supposed to be ‘the dogs danglies’ of primers.

With nothing left to do until the paint dried I turned my attention to the 200w Yangzhou Shenzhou 24v wind turbine that I’d got in the Navitron sale  http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20688.0.html 

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The blades on this ‘little baby’ are huge, almost 7’ in diameter, which is no doubt why they perform so well in low winds, it is also their downfall because they are seldom in balance so prone to ‘over speed’ then self destruction. First thing that I noticed was that six of the twelve bolts are too short so I replaced all twelve of the mild steel ‘sets’ with stainless ‘socket caps’.

 

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I then had a go at balancing the assembly with my Futurenergy balancing tool, an accurately machined aluminium cone with a wire though the middle.

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However, it was deserving far more patience and time than I had available so I gave up after less than an hour and got on with pig and hen related stuff. The Dude and I both managing a pigeon each before dinner time, he really is getting good Smile

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Abandoning any work on here due to two things, one my son has managed to use all but the last 4% of my 15gB internet allowance, and two, we went over to Torran to visit the neighbours. 

Sunday

Well, I was up early and headed up to the shed before 8:00 to get a coat of undercoat on the door prior to feeding the pigs and myself. After breakfast it was back up there, this time with ‘Lightning MacLennan to do some more work on the shed.

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The first thing being a sturdy frame to hold almost a ton of batteries off the floor. I’m building to so high for several reasons, firstly, I’m sick of bending down when I top them up, secondly they’ll be right below the window and thirdly I’ll have storage space under them.

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Lots of screws and some 9” X 3” timbers should do the trick Smile Lightning also got a coat of gloss on the door, we fitted a facia board for the guttering then all went up the hill for a wander.

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It never turned into the dry sunny day we were promised, there were in fact quite few showers and we got a little damp on our way back from North Arnish.

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Not that that would bother anyone on this cruise ship departing Portree around 17:00 on Sunday evening.

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I can’t for the life in me remember the name of that cut in the rocks near Manish Point but it’s so long and narrow that you can rarely see right through it like this.

 

Map picture

Well, not unless you’re in an aeroplane that is, quite spectacular hey.

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There are some nice ruins up there too, but it was a roast beef dinner at 18:00 so we had to run back home Smile

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5 Comments »

  1. That air vent in the new door looks to be a right good size…. how much battery power does it take to fry a chicken?

    Comment by George Leddick — August 18, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    • Definitely needs a cat and chicken guard on there George 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 19, 2013 @ 6:28 am

  2. Hi Paul

    Young Davie is a seriously good photographer as well as all the other things he does. Wonderful gallery – thanks for posting the link.

    What happens to powering up the batteries if there’s a power cut, or is that a daft question? I assume the other means of power would be used.

    Cheers

    Sue

    Comment by Sue — August 19, 2013 @ 7:52 am

    • There is a problem if we have a power cut during the night Sue, but it’s not with the batteries, they can just be charged from the diesel generators. The problem is with all the UPS systems that control everything, they power up in the event of grid failure and if their batteries go flat then it’s chaos. Nothing that would stop us sailing but just a nightmare to sort out. You can’t beat rods and cables for controlling systems 🙂 This isn’t a problem peculiar to Hallaig, all modern ships are the same 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 19, 2013 @ 8:01 am

  3. What a weird bit of geology that cut is, how did it occur, anybody any idea? Doesn’t look like softer rock eroding was it it movement??

    Comment by ron — August 19, 2013 @ 7:54 am


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