Life at the end of the road

March 6, 2016

Flying again :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, wind turbine — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:52 pm

That’s a whole month since Henry that we’ve been without a wind turbine!!! Sure we’ve missed its regular swish, well more like a helicopter out the back door really. Funny how your perspective of things alter to suit hey, pretty sure if it was some one else who had a turnip out side my back door I’d be moaning about the racket Smile Seriously the more noise it makes the better as far as I’m concerned as it’s producing more juice. Not that we’ve actually been that short of power whilst it was out of action, the house is still warm, the washing machine running and ‘The Voice’ on TV Sad smile Luckily I know have an office I can retire to and shut the door.

Below is a table of the energy generated in kWh by each turbine and the solar panels. The wind turbine died during the night of the 1st. The total generation is the red column and the hours of diesel generator the last column, even without the wind turbine the Lister only ran for 10 hours during the whole month. OK, it wasn’t particularly cold and our son is at the hostel during the week but that’s pretty ‘damn fine splendid’ if you ask me.


Having said that, I think we were lucky and wind is a pretty essential piece of the mix, especially at this time of year when demand is normally high and solar pretty poor.

The Proven/Kingspan core

So, when the new stator, or core as Kingspan Wind prefer to call it did arrive I couldn’t wait to get it fitted, sadly it proved far from straight forward.

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The first thing I noticed was that the new core was 5mm thicker than the old one. This meant that if I fitted the rotor ‘as is’ then it would foul the stator. The ‘air gap’ between the rear rotor and stator was 4mm (that part of the stator/core being identical). Theory told me that I therefore needed to pack out the old rotor by 5mm to compensate, so I started searching around for some 5mm steel. Couldn’t find any 5mm, but I did find some just over 3mm and some just over 2mm.


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The thinner piece on the left being some Land Rover rear cross member and the 3mm plus bit part of a ‘wheelie bin stand.


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Having made two washers I then fitted the stator to the turbine head, or at least I tried to, the new one needs a deeper cut making into the head to allow the cable lug to fit in that slot. Now fitting this 40kg lump whilst stood on the back of a quad is hard enough to start with. You have to line up six long studs whilst all the while ensuring you do not trap your fingers between the core and EXTREMELY strong magnets!! Of course once it’s in position and you have to remove it without damaging the delicate core it becomes even trickier, especially perched on the back of a quad.


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The yellow marker indicating the metal that required removing for the core/stator to sit correctly into the head.

Once that was very carefully done with a 100mm grinder fitted with a 1mm cutting disc I refitted the core properly. Take heed of the oak wedges that I made, these proved invaluable during the whole process.

With the core nicely but not too tightly secured to the head I commenced what turned out to be the first of three trial fittings of the outer rotor.


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I had to remove the rotor, again whilst stood on the back of the quad and sand the washers down by 1mm on a belt sander.


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Once I’d got the rear ‘air gap’ the same as the forward ‘air gap’ I finally refitted the rotor with Loctite 638 on the shaft and Loctite 222 on the threads of the retaining bolt.


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That done, the next job was to fit some new ‘yaw rollers’, these are supplied in kit form by Kingspan Wind at half the price that the old Proven Energy used to charge. Again the oak wedges I made proved invaluable.


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By 15:00 on the second day she was up and ‘flying’,

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OK, more of a gentle ‘glide’ than actually making any meaningful amounts of power but ‘hey ho’ that’s the way it goes. Looks like we may get some wind on Wednesday.

Pigless :-(

Filed under: daily doings, food, pigs, wind turbine — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 12:11 am

Noticeably calmer, not the weather but me, seriously, apart from the odd alcohol fuelled rant I’ve been feeling considerably more chilled since we moved into Sonas. Even the wife says so, so it must be true Smile The new stator arrived last night, along with wife and son and I’ve not got the slightest bit ‘wound up’ when fitting it, as it has turned into a bit of an epic. However, I’ll not go into that just now, first I’ll try and catch up with what I’ve been doing on my own this last week.  Well, that’ll be me and the ‘wee dug’ of course.

Being ‘home alone’ has had me doing a great deal of pottering about around the house, mainly doing several trips to Sconser quarry for more ‘chuckies’ for around the house.

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The Lister ST2 service

The Lister 7kW generator that I’d replaced the starter solenoid on was due a service, just an annual ‘look over’ really as it does not do more than a 100h a year.

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That’s a full ten years since I installed it, how time flies, anyway, it got a nice simple oil and filter change, me having installed a tap into the sump some years ago. This allows the hot oil to be drained directly into a container, thus saving much mess.

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The primary fuel filter also got a change and the air filter a clean in diesel then a wash in oil.

These Lister diesel engines are pretty ‘bomb proof’, I think this one is around a 1979 vintage but with regular oil changes they’ll last forever. Just make sure you get one with a Brush alternator and bolt it solidly into two tons of concrete. The worst thing you can do with one of these 1500RPM babies is rubber mount them.

Every morning on the way back from feeding the pigs I’ve been collecting a few rocks for around the house, just enough not to damage my back again.


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Only trouble being that I had a puncture the day before my mate arrived, that’ll be my mate that actually owns the trailer and these tiny little 20 x 10 x 8 tyres are a nightmare to repair.

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At least they are if you don’t have a two ton load of ‘chuckies’ on a hydraulic tipping trailer Smile I lifted the bed up jammed the tyre under it then dropped the load down on it Smile worked a treat.

Beefing up the turnip

Having been startled by just how much the 11m tall un guyed monopole turbine mast bends and flexes in the storms I decided to glue it some more to Scotland. By rights it should be just be just with the 8 x M24 stainless steel studs bonded into the Lewisian Gneiss with Hilti HIT RE 500 resin. However, knowing my luck of late with the turbine stator I decided to glue it some more. Having some spare 20mm A4 stainless rods and some Hilti resin it seemed a wise option.


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I borrowed my mate’s magnetic drill, this allowed me to cut eight 26mm hole through the 20mm thick steel base with ease. I then started to drill 24mm holes into the rock with my own Hitachi breaker, though I didn’t get very far as the bit was blunt Sad smile Luckily, eBay came to the rescue with a DeWalt 24mm ‘Extreme bit’ which should no be ‘winging its way’ here courtesy of Royal Mail.

Not for vegetarians or squeamish folk

I’ve also been preparing for the annual pilgrimage of the ‘English TV Director, Russian Art Dealer, and Swiss Surgeon’ . I know it sounds like a joke but it’s for a deadly serious business and this year they were accompanied by a photographer  and A.N. Other. Most of them took ‘trains, planes and automobiles’  but the man with the camera hitch hiked here with Lenny the spaniel. I guess if you can find your way to Iraq and back safely then getting a lift from London to Arnish with a manic spaniel is a breeze.

My two pigs had gone the the abattoir on Monday, their two got the chop here ‘on site’, a much kinder, and humane alternative to a three hour journey to Dingwall. Some of ours will be sold locally so they have to go through the ‘correct channels’. The two I reared for them can legally be killed at home and butchered, so long as they only feed them to their immediate family.

Preparations included getting the bath ready for them in the barn and firing up the 100lt water boiler. It is absolutely essential to have heaps of hot water available on site for ‘dehairing’ your pig. The temperature is crucial, it has to be 80 degrees to melt the fat in the follicles that retain the hair. Any cooler and it’s really hard work, any hotter and you cook the pig. You also have to take in account the cold cast iron bath so realistically the water needs to be around 90 degrees for the first one.

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Killing the ‘wee darlings’ is the easy bit, you just lead them to the appointed place with some grub and shoot them in the head with a .22 rifle. The pig has quite a small brain so it’s crucial to get the right orientation and angle, an imaginary cross between the eyes and top of the ears being perfect.


Anything with a larger calibre and you risk a ricochet and whilst a shotgun WILL guarantee a clean kill it will also make a terrible mess.

Once everything was in place I led the first one onto the croft and dispatched her cleanly with the Anschutz .22. The surgeon then took over with and extremely sharp knife to sever the jugular and pump the blood into a container for the black pudding.

Now if you think your food comes from Tesco’s and not something living, or if you’re vegetarian don’t click on these images!

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Grabbing one of the fore legs and ‘pumping’ it will assist in getting as much blood out as possible.

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Piggy then goes straight into the hot bath for the hair to be scraped off, a knife or scallop shell is good for this but the Swiss surgeon has some special ‘glocken’ that are even better.


That’ll be those things on the right, the chain I lost a couple of years ago but a coarse rope is just as good.

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Piggy is then hung up on a block and tackle whilst the surgeon removes his guts, taking care to keep the liver, kidneys, brain and intestine.

After all that and getting cleaned up I joined them all for a feast of brains, liver and Japanese whisky.

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The food was amazing courtesy of the Russian art dealer, the Swiss surgeon’s grog pretty good too and I don’t remember driving home on the quad Smile

However the ‘morning after’ brought fresh tasks!

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The intestine being washed out then turned ‘inside out’ to make sausage casings.

Luckily I managed to get all this cleared up before wife and child arrived home and got the shotgun repaired and off the kitchen table. I even got as far as cleaning the house and cooking a Lidl’s lasagne for dinner, OK, hardly charcuterie considering the previous couple of days but not a bad effort Smile

Changing a Proven/Kingspan stator

I’m pretty sure I was more pleased to see ‘wife and child’ than the new wind turbine stator, but it was close Smile


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That’s it on the right but midnight has just ‘tolled’ and I need my bed so I’ll tell you about it tomorrow Smile

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