That’s a hectic couple of days coming to a close as I sit with my feet up in mums conservatory, watching the sun pour its dying rays over the two peaks of Boc Beag and Boc Mor.
And in the two minutes that it’s just taken me to find them on the map it’s started pishing down, one thing about this time of year and today in particular is the ‘changeability’. The way that you can get all four seasons in one day, nay, one hour, we’ve had everything poured upon us today, well everything bar snow that is. It is for me at any rate a time of ‘max power’, what between the burn being in spate, the wind being almost gale force and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds occasionally we’ve been positively ‘awash’ with power. I’ve been leaving the house lit up like a Christmas tree, wifey has been baking bread (actually she bakes every other day) cooking pies and roasting things just to try and use some of it up. Not that any goes to waste,it’s just the house has been getting too hot and the wind has been too strong to leave the windows open more than an inch or two.
The 1kw of solar panels from http://www.navitron.org.uk/ that we fitted in June have made a huge difference and it’s on days like this when they’re cool that they really do excel. They’re actually rated at 940w but when the sun pokes it’s head out from behind a cloud and hits a cool damp panel they regularly go over the 1kw mark. Much as I love my wind and hydro turbines you can’t beat the simplicity and reliability of solar PV, well not at today’s prices that is. They are almost a tenth of the price now than they were when I priced up my wind turbine, these days if I lived ‘on grid’ I wouldn’t even consider a wind turbine. Off grid however is a completely different ‘kettle of fish’ a turbine of some description becomes essential to see you through the winter months.
Looking at the first graph (top left) you can see the difference in output over the year between 2kw of solar PV (yellow) and the output from our current 2.5kw wind turbine (purple). The wind and solar complement each other nicely if you don’t have the grid to use as a battery
Sorry ladies, got distracted there, I’ve been a little obsessed with electrickary this last ‘week off’, what between laying cables, wiring up my shed and now repairing a wind turbine. However, I’ll try and get the last couple of days in order before I get too carried away on that front.
Harry’s a goer
Up early on Monday morning and off to school with the Dude, or down to the ferry with him at any rate.
With wind and lashing rain being the order of the morning at least I spent a few hours in the shed stripping down and cleaning the outlet valve, filter and sight gauge for the new diesel tank for Harry.
In between the frequent showers I got the 1250lt tank piped up to Harry, rushing inside every time the rain ‘came on’ to tidily route and secure the piping.
Another break in the rain had me siphoning the 120lts of ‘Vimto’ out of Harry’s old tank down at the house. Something that I managed to do with swallowing a single drop of diesel
With all this wind and rain we’d been thinking of things to bake and the word mushroom sprung to mind, so in another lull it was off into the woods.
This year has just been spectacular for mushrooms in general and chanterelles in particular.
Less than ten minutes into the enchanted wood I’d more than enough for a pie so returned back to my generator and diesel tank.
After pouring the six cans of diesel into the tank, which was barely enough to get to up to the outlet valve I bled the fuel lines. Not having any batteries up there I swung on the starting handle and off he went I was very impressed, not with the ease of which he started but by the lack of noise outside the shed and the lack of vibration through the building. I wasn’t quite sure if the exhaust would need rubber mounting but that flexible coupling seems to do the job nicely.
With Harry running sweetly I got on with wiring up some circuit breakers for the AC output, one for the inverter one for supplying loads directly and one to run a charger and hour counter.
That done I called it a day and went home to feed the pigs and sample the wonderful cheese, mushroom and red pepper pie that darling wife had made. I also received the news from work that I’d not be required on the Hallaig this week and would be going to the Finlaggan for a change.
This morning I was once more greeted by showers and sunshine, though the showers were definitely in the majority at first so I spent a couple of hours in my workshop working on my Chinese wind turbine.
The Chinese may be good at making solar panels but their wind turbines are pure carp, I mean a joke, the build quality of this little 200w Yangzhou Shenzhou http://www.f-n.cn/xin/index.asp is atrocious.
Look at that shoulder on the shaft and hole through the yaw shaft, they’re not even central ‘by eye’ never mind machined properly.
Not only that but the top yaw bearing was so loose when I fitted it that it fell off when I turned the shaft upside down Consequently I ‘centre popped’ the shaft then fitted the bearing with ‘Loctite’, OK, it’s the wrong kind of stuff but it was all I had
Still, I got it built up, measured the resistance across the windings and ‘spun it up’ to check the voltage and all seamed peachy. It may be a piece of carp but it was cheap and I’m working on it
That done, and with the weather improving by the minute I went out with the ‘wee dug’ for a wander over the hill.
Loch Beag was our first stop and I noticed for the first time water lilies!
now I’ve been to this wee lochan many times throughout the year and never seen a water lily before.
Not sure what this mushroom on the dead birch is, dryads saddle I thought at first but now I think its one of those leathery ‘barbers strop mushrooms’ apparently in days gone by they were used for sharpening razors.
All the rain had caused a minor landslip at Tarbert which resulted in the drain getting blocked and water running onto the road.
I’ll phone the council up tomorrow but won’t hold my breath whilst they come and repair it
After all that it was a mad rush to finish clearing up, packing bags and leaving the house in a fit state for the wife before I headed south on the 15:30 ferry. Then getting spoiled rotten at my mums and going for a walk with my dad along the shores of Loch Duich.