Life at the end of the road

February 1, 2016

Has Henry wrecked my turnip?

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:37 pm

Not actually sure what time Henry arrived at Arnish but I’m guessing it was earlier than forecast. Can’t really remember what happened last night as you don’t really hear much inside Sonas. However the wind turbine kWh meter had stopped only 2kWh after I recorded the data, so whatever caused the Proven wind turbine to stop generating, it was early on.

Never even noticed this morning either, as by that time it was pretty wild, dark and i was trying to get my son to school. It looked pretty certain that the ferry would be disrupted but there was a chance the 7:55 would run before the worst of ‘Storm Henry’ arrived. I had to go down to collect pig feed anyway so nothing was lost, well apart from dragging my son out of bed needlessly.

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It was when we got back that I noticed something was seriously wrong with the Proven/Kingspan, it was barely turning despite the gale and the blades had ‘coned’ to ‘shed the wind’. This was not good, after some 149kWh in three days the turnip had stopped Sad smile Of course it was way too wild to do anything about it so I just put the brake on and left it until the weather improves. Not that there’s much hope of that before Wednesday.

Long overdue

With no prospect of the parts arriving anytime soon for wifey’s car I took the opportunity alter some of the wiring on my SI6.OH ‘off grid’ inverter. My good mate, guru and expert in all things renewable, Hugh Piggott of had spotted a mistake in my installation. Nothing serious but I’d wired my Stream Engine and some solar panels to the wrong side of a shunt.

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That’s the shunt bottom right and it measures DC current in and out of the batteries so the Sunny Island can calculate the SOC (state of charge) accurately. Normally you’d have to shut the power down to the house to work on this but when I installed this system I fitted a Generator ‘change over switch’, that thing in the middle. This allowed me to start the generator then throw the switch so that all loads were fed from it and the SI became isolated allowing me to shut it down and alter the wiring.

Phoebe’s brakes

Next task was to fix Phoebe as it looks like the Subaru won’t be ready anytime soon and the ‘Post Lady’ will need to get to work soon.

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One of the brake callipers was sticking and causing the brakes to bind, no doubt through lack of use and the salt laden air. Of course it turned into a bit of an epic and not just the usual squirt of WD40 and some ‘Coppaslip’ that usually fixes these issues. No, this time I had to remove calliper and its piston and polish it on a wire wheel.

The sun is here

Being our first winter here we’ve still not got a grasp of when and where the sun first hits,


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well, both the solar hot water and solar PV where in full sun today for the first time this year. Just as well with the Proven ‘resting’ Smile The sun too was pouring into the south western windows in the afternoon for the first time that I’d noticed.


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The days are most definitely stretching too, these picture of Loch Arnish being taken on the way to feed the pigs at 17:00.

More insulation

Next job was to do some insulating in ‘The Bunker’. The bunker being the ‘lean too’ plant room on the back of Sonas, a nice larch clad shed with a slate roof where the MVHR, heat pump and thermal store live. Sensible thing may well have been to put the TS in the ‘envelope’ of the house so that any escaping heat would contribute to its heating. However the thing is about the size of a small submarine so I reckoned it was better outside. Not only that but the big freezer is going in there as well as a heat pump and these things perform much better if kept above the 10 degree mark. I figured that keeping the store in there and insulating it very well would be a better option. However, whilst Lachie had made a fine job of the walls and slab it was left to me to do the roof.

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I had started it some months ago using 100mm ‘off cuts’ of Kingspan left over from under the concrete slab. Typically I got distracted and left the job unfinished, so today I did a little more.

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