Well, it’s been a while that’s for sure and much has ‘gone down’ this last six or so weeks. Truth is there’s just been far too much going on and I’ve been working 15 hour days whilst on holiday. Now I’m back at work for a rest, who knows I may even start regular posting again, though don’t hold your breath. Life is sweeping the Camilli’s along at the moment and we’re trying to get to grips with the hard work and trauma of moving house. Almost thirty years of carp, or treasure, depending on your perspective, needs moved, burned, buried, packed, stored, sold or given away.
The new ‘power station’
An ‘Indian summer’ and a months holiday has helped get some of it done but we’ve still barely scratched the surface. The first major task, which took me almost a whole week was securing a new ‘off grid’ power supply for the new house. Hugh Piggott of Scoraig Wind Electric http://scoraigwind.co.uk/ supplied most of the kit which arrived a couple of weeks before my holiday so my son and I got on with installing it.
The 2.5kW of REC solar panels from Wind and Sun http://www.windandsun.co.uk/ were mounted just below the 10 x 220w Yingli’s we fitted earlier. This would give the hen shed roof 4.7kW of solar panels, ten of them ‘AC coupled’ through a 2.5kW ‘Sunny Boy’ inverter and ten of them wired directly to the 48v battery bank or ‘DC coupled’. The ‘AC coupled’ ones all wired in one series ‘string’ so their combined DC voltage would be fed into the inverter at around 300v. The other ten wired as five series pairs of around 60v and connected straight to the battery bank.
AC or DC
Much has been written, argued and discussed about the advantage of each method and both have their supporters who devoutly swear that ‘their’ method is the best. The truth is that each has advantages and disadvantages so often a combination of both methods is best. If you are using the power as you harvest it then AC is best, if you’re storing it then DC is the winner, as I plan to use most of my power as I produce it then store it as hot water I’ve chosen a mixture.
I guess that’s just about a full year since I started building the ‘solar powered hen house’ How time flies, one thing for sure, the weather has been far, far kinder this autumn, it’s been the best September/October I can ever remember.
The ‘Sunny Island’
No, I’m not talking about Grian a Sgier or even Raasay but my new ‘off grid’ inverter from SMA,
that would be converting the 48vdc of my batteries into 230vac for the new barn and house. The SI6.0H inverter
is a serious piece of kit and far more complex than my trusty old Trace SW4548e that powers ‘number 3’. To be honest I prefer the Trace’s simplicity, idiot proof menu and built in generator starting relays. However nobody imports the American inverters these days and the SMA kit works better with its own grid tied inverters if you are ‘AC coupling’ at all. The SMA kit can be configured to ‘throttle back’ the PV output thus negating the need for dump loads but we’ll not go into that just now Before I bore you all to death with two weeks worth of installing and wiring this lot I’ll move on.
It was a nice idea
Of course it’s all over now, but for a ‘wee while’ it looked like we might even have been a different country since I last posted. Seems like a lifetime ago but it was not that long since the entire country was caught up in ‘referendum fever’.
Goat island, my lunches and even driveway were all on the receiving end of ‘the message’ and I have to admit to putting a tick in that box myself For long enough I was all in favour of the ‘status quo’, better the devil you know and all that but I was so appalled at all the carp that the ‘no campaign’ came out with and their contempt for the Scottish people as whole that I changed my mind. Sure we were going to get shafted, sure it was going to cost more money but ‘what the feck’ we’d have got rid of Trident and still used the pound And it was great to be a part of it all, even now I kind of get emotional thinking about it, I’m not really into politics but it was amazing to see the whole country so engaged and have an opinion, whatever it was. When the ‘yes’ campaign got ahead a point or two in the polls it was a pure joy to watch the Tories running around like headless chickens. The ‘cavalry’ flew up to Scotland in a blind panic and I really felt sorry for Alistair Darling on TV having to defend the policies he arbores. I guess we are ‘better together’ but it was great thinking we might not have been
After my son’s ‘air experience’ flight with http://www.skyemicrolighttraining.co.uk/ Mike Westman during the summer holidays.
No, that will be Mike and not the Dude Anyway, he enjoyed it so much that I bought my darling wife a gift voucher for a trip in Mike’s Ikarus C42
The Cullins, what can I say, only £90 and guess what I want for my birthday
The highlight of Raasay’s yearly calendar, the ‘School Coffee Day’ raised a staggering amount of money thanks to the hard work of pupils, staff, parent council and of course the local business’s that gave so generously.
Photograph lifted from the ‘Broadford Beano’ another west coast institution http://www.whfp.com/2014/10/17/record-breaking-amount-raised-at-raasay-coffee-morning/
The annual Raasay Primary School coffee day has raised an amazing £3,321.70 for school funds.
Pupils and staff extended a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped make the recent coffee day a success, with the total amount raised a new record.
Thanks also go to the parent council for organising and running their usual cafe with tasty lunches and snacks; all the businesses, near and far, who donated prizes; friends and family who helped to organise, man the stalls and tidy up afterwards; all those involved in the school’s social enterprise project; and, in particular, thanks for the generosity and support from the local businesses and community groups in sponsoring the venture.
Wilma Duncan, head teacher at Raasay Primary School, said: “The staff and pupils all put in a great effort, and the response and generosity of the Rassay community has been overwhelming. The final fundraising total was terrific, and reflects once again the support the island has for its school.”
Now that is over £3K from a school with 11pupils on an island of less the 200 people!!! And whilst this is a record, in the 25 years I’ve lived here it’s never been less than £1k. Most comprehensives with rolls in the hundreds would struggle to make that amount of money. The Raasay primary school is indeed a unique institution
Any normal person who had a months holiday at this time of year would be thinking of Malta, Grand Canarias or Greece, not me, no I chose to spend a week on road repairs.
Yup, with a couple of diggers courtesy of ‘Hugh Mackay Plant’ and Lachie Gillies and a 3 ton dumper from DDK design we set about some serious repairs to the Torran path.
After which the Dude and I set about work up at the new house and hen shed.
He spent a full three days working the 2.5ton Takeuchi and made a fantastic job on the road up to the house.
I was ‘well impressed’ with his patience and the quality of his work, mind you, I was paying him £80 a day
Heading for dock
All too soon the holiday was over and I was straight back into the thick of it with MV Loch Bhrusda relieving and Hallaig off to dry dock in Troon.
I joined the ship on Wednesday morning and with a ‘weather window’ on Thursday we headed south for Craignure on Mull.
Not the nicest of days but after the Skye bridge and with the tide with us we made 15knots through the Kylerhea narrows!!
Our first stop being Fishnish on Mull for ‘berthing trials’ on the slip there, closely followed by a visit to Lochaline on the mainland.
We’ll be relieving the MV Loch Fyne here in February whilst she goes to dry dock so best to make sure we fit first
After a night in Craignure we headed south past the ‘Slate Isles’ of Easdale, Luing, Lunga, Belnahua then by the ‘Grey dogs’ and Corryverckan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Corryvreckan
On the way we met MV Loch Linnhe and the veteran MV Hebridean isles before ‘hammering’ around the Mull of Kintyre.
Finally tying up in Campbeltown around 17:30
Sure there was much, much more than that but it’s now almost 22:20 and I’m ready for bed.