Well it’s Hogmanay and by the time most of you read this I guess it’ll be 2015. It’s 20:00 here in ‘number 3’ and I’m already onto the second glass of Bells that I’ve ruined with Coke, I know it’s sacrilege to put that sugary muck in the uisce beatha but I’m trying to dilute the ‘water of life’ so I don’t get wrecked this side of next year
I know I’ve been a little lax this year, only 116 measly posts but it’s been a rather chaotic couple of years here at the ‘end of the road’ and it’s about to get worse. Hopefully though, a little sanity will return in early 2015 and I can resume my normal opinionated, ranting and obnoxious witterings. Then with the aid of a virtually indestructible camera given me by mum for Christmas, I can show you all the pictures of our new house
So, where was I when I last posted? ‘Loosing pressure’ on the 28th apparently, well I failed to sort that unfortunately and have burdened my ‘back to back’ with a slight leak from the aft ‘converter cooler’. Luckily he’s an understanding chap and knows that I wouldn’t have done it intentionally. However, I had a wee snag with our LiFePO4 batteries to deal with and that somewhat distracted me.
The worlds first hybrid sea going ferry, our very own MV Hallaig has on board 216 lithium iron batteries that supply 20% of her energy needs throughout the day. In effect it is actually much more than that, for were she (or any other vessel) sailing on internal combustion engines only, she would need to have at least two (if diesel electric) or more likely three (like a regular ferry with main engines and generators) diesels running all day. The Hallaig only needs to have one generator running during a normal working day, any shortfall or instantaneous power requirement being met by her ‘static generator’, the 600kWh battery bank.
The total battery capacity is split fore and aft in two dedicated battery rooms that are air conditioned, locked and only entered after strict procedures are observed. There is enough energy in these two rooms to send an average sized cat to the moon, instantly. Well, probably not but it is a lot of energy and it could be delivered at the speed of light to a miss placed spanner or carelessly placed wedding ring.
Now, I’m no stranger to batteries, having lived ‘off grid’ for thirty years and having used all manner of them to power my house. Consequently I have great respect for them and have spent a good portion of my winter evenings researching them on the internet. Batteries come in all shapes and forms, lead acid being the most common in it’s many forms, NiCad, NiFe having been around for almost as long, and all manner of modern technologies in their infancy, from Vanadium Redox to molten metal. It is however the Lithium Iron with all its various chemistries that power everything from mobile phones to locomotives and busses these days.
With a high energy density, fantastic efficiency and light weight the lithium batteries are the ‘weapon of choice’ these days. They do however require careful charging and a complex ‘battery management system’ to function at their best. It is this BMS that caused a minor hiccup on our ferry over the last couple of days. Nothing that would be noticed by the casual observer but a certain unevenness in the charging values had been detected during routine monitoring.
Here you see the first four cells of module number 2 on Aft bank 1 reading 3.777v, a touch too high.
Consequently one of the modules had to be removed and the connections on the BMS cards checked. Though not before the observance of strict protocols and isolation f the 750v bank.
With all metallic objects removed from my person, wearing insulated gloves and using insulated tools I removed one of the modules.
This gave me access to the three BMS cards that bridge and control the 24 cells (six in parallel and four in series) that make up the EB 6P4S 12v module. The cards just required removing the connections squeezing together
and a little ‘contact paste’ adding to make sure of a good connection. Of course without the aid of a computer you could be weeks looking for the affected module.
The first time in thirty years!!!
That was what took up a great deal of my last day ‘on shift’,
a fine enough day it was too.
However, the best was yet to come, for a little ‘windfall’ had left the Hallaig’s two crews with enough cash to spend on s ‘works do’ and I haven’t been on one of those in thirty years!! Seriously, the ‘office party’ is something that has been regrettably missing in my life since 1984 Having said that, the first one I ever went to in 1972 had me so drunk that I never touched another drop of alcohol for 18 years. Hence I have much catching up to do in that department
Anyway, it was the spectacular setting of the newly refurbished Raasay House https://www.raasay-house.co.uk/ that we booked for both crews and their WAG’s. Foolishly I put on extra clothes, being as I was used to freezing there in times past, and ended up ‘stripping off’ as soon as I arrived in the bar at 20:15. A short while later we were led through to what was once the ‘Wooden Lounge’ the scene of many a great session in times past. The most memorable, for me at least, was my wedding there in 2001.
The service from Rosy and Alexis was first class and Linda’s meals and sweets were enjoyed by all.
Luckily wifey was working so ‘your truly’ got wrecked and got chauffeured home by the postie Sadly this left me with a sore head, dry mouth and extreme lethargy that had me stuck in bed until after 9:00 this morning.
Eventually however I did manage to get up and do some wood cutting with my son.
A task that will no longer be required once we move into the new house
However, if you are a regular wood cutter you could do much worse than to purchase one of these from Simon of http://www.raasayengineering.co.uk/
The ‘Loggit’ will hold just about any piece of timber that you can cut with a chainsaw.
Whether it’s 12’ long or 12” thick the Loggit will hold it firmly and not leave you with an aching back.
Anyway, https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2014/annual-report/ thanks to everyone who read and commented, over a third of a million by all accounts.