Life at the end of the road

August 24, 2016

Another inverter !!!

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:11 pm

A pure ‘peach’ of a day here ‘at the end of the road’ and if the truth be known I’ve not actually done a great deal really. Sure I’ve been making the most of the sunshine by doing a few wash loads of laundry and hanging it out to dry. I’ve been for a couple of walks with the ‘wee dug’ and I’ve wired up yet another inverter in my ‘power station’. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of mine but I’ve agreed to do some inverter testing for Hugh Piggott of and Michael Lawley, the inventor and owner of . I have been using one of his ‘Pelton’ turbines for a few years now, he’s based in New Zealand and Hugh is one of his UK dealers, probably the best in my book as his advice and after sales service is ‘second to none’. Hugh has supplied most of my renewable energy kit over the years and I really don’t know what I’d have done without him.

As I’ve acquired lots of data over the years from my turbine running various different SMA inverters it seemed like a good idea to try some more and compare them. The recent explosion in solar PV has brought the prices down, not just of panels but of inverters too. So, a couple of weeks ago Hugh posted me a nice little Solis Mini 1500 solar inverter made in China by Ginlong

Of course, being at work I never got around to doing anything about it, but today I did.

240816 010

As all my other inverters were still in place I had to mount this in a far from ideal spot low down. I don’t suppose the inverter was bothered but it made reading the display a little awkward.

The Solis also has a maximum input voltage of 450V so it meant I also had to wire in some protection in the form of a ‘Windy Boy Protection Box’. The inverter would only be working at around 300VDC but the ‘open circuit’ voltage could well rise to over 600V in the event of ‘grid failure’.

240816 001 240816 002 

240816 007

This involved a little ‘jiggery pockery’ as I was using the WBPB on my wind turbine so I had to swap it over with the ‘Aurora Wind Interface’ which does exactly the same job but at a higher voltage.

Once it was all wired up I turned it on and started a ‘spread sheet’ Smile


Sure, I’m going on an ‘Excel’ course in Glasgow on Friday so by the time I get back I’ll be full of this kinda stuff Smile

They Lied


230816 027

I was so excited at finishing work yesterday I forgot these, ‘wee dug’ at Jessie Nicolson’s, Raasay’s most senior citizen had been watching Molly for me yesterday. Miraculously I remembered to collect her on the way home! usually I’m on ‘auto pilot’ to and from work. It would not be the first time I’ve driven home and left wife, child, dog or all three in the village whilst the Land Rover takes me home Sad smile

I just cannot describe the disappointment that arrived with the view from the house on Sunday morning. For at least three days ‘XC Weather’ had been promising ‘wall to wall’ sunshine for the whole of Sunday.

They lied 1

We got the paint ready for the deck on account of what they’d promised, look, no cloud and dry from 7:00 until 16:00. That was the forecast at 21:00 as we left Sconser.


They lied 2

This is what we got, not a glimpse of the sun through the thick cloud cover, drizzle and little in the way of solar or wind power Sad smile They quite clearly lied!!

I have to buy one

I like to check the battery connections now and then and there’s no better way than an Infra red camera, sure, an IR hand held thermometer is quite good too. I have one of those myself and use it regularly but a camera is much better. Here you can see a dodgy connection on one of my neighbours cells on the left. This taken with one I borrowed and at £3.5K you can see why I’ve not got one myself.


IR000105 IR000107

Of course whilst I had it I checked the rest of the banks at the ‘north end’ Smile

IR000108 IR000110IR000111

An expensive puncture

As cars and motorcycles got more reliable we lost the starting handle, then the kick start, now the pull start on the quad. Sure there’s still a starting handle on the Range Rover but I wouldn’t like to try it out, it was built in 1984 and I don’t suppose many mourn the loss of that. However, this pish about not having a spare wheel is pure carp and we shouldn’t put up with it. Do these pricks and ‘bean counters’ in the motor industry not realize that not everybody lives within a few yards of a garage and has mobile phone reception? Of course the to55ers will tell you it’s to save weight, fuel and give you more room in the boot when it’s quite clearly a way of saving them ‘thirteen shillings and six pence’ on every ‘unit’ sold.


240816 005 240816 009

Well try telling that to this Dude who left his car ten miles from anywhere and had to get recovered by a garage in Portree some twenty odd miles and another island away!! The car had been sat there for several days so I hope their holiday wasn’t ruined due to the ***kers at Citroen.


240816 011

Being the ‘shroom season, wee dug and I went out for a wander to pick up a few chanterelles for an omelette.

 240816 012

No, not that, that would be an early Fly Agaric, the most ‘magic’ of mushrooms Smile methinks it gets it’s name from it’s ability to stupefy flies and give people the impression the can fly. The Lapps used to feed them to reindeer then drink their pish, I kid you not!!!


240816 013 240816 014

This will be what I was after and within a few minutes I’d enough for an omeltte.


  1. Impressed with the IR camera. Think my budget is still the handheld thermometer. And good to hear Hugh still doing his stuff. Many moons since I visited Scoraig.
    John on Bute.

    Comment by Panomphaean — August 25, 2016 @ 4:27 am

  2. That’s why you should always carry a tin of type slime and a foot pump.

    Comment by Steve — August 25, 2016 @ 6:21 am

    • Nice cut in the tyre Steve that needed far more than slime. Another problem with modern cars, ridiculous low profile tyres that have sidewalls like elastic bands and puncture at the slightest pothole and are impossible to repair.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 25, 2016 @ 7:24 am

  3. Couldn’t agree more about spare tyres, Paul, as you may remember. I am very lucky to have a full size on in my Freelander but even Land Rover has discontinued. As you say. not everyone lives near a garage that stocks the tyres or can mend punctures (if they are mendable) and the concept of the nearest garage being a ferry and a good few miles away is beyond their ken.



    Comment by Sue — August 25, 2016 @ 8:15 am

    • Don’t set me off on tyres and spare wheels again Sue 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 28, 2016 @ 7:45 pm

  4. Have you tried the Norwegians for your weather forecast?

    Comment by San — August 25, 2016 @ 8:57 am

    • Gosh San, I did look at that on Friday when I read your link and it gave a better result than XC which said ‘wall to wall sunshine’ when reality was pishing rain!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 28, 2016 @ 7:44 pm

  5. Hi Paul,

    It’s a small world. A couple of years ago I have tested the Ginlong Solis range of PV inverters for the company I worked for at the time and suggested several improvements to them before we started to use them in large PV projects for home owners in the Netherlands. In the process I had lots of contact with the CEO of Ginlong ‘Jimmy’ . He did his PhD Electrical Engineering (or similar) at Edinburgh BTW.
    So Ginlong is more Scottish and less Chinese than you would think 🙂 .
    It would be nice to hear more from you about what YOUR opinion is about the Solis mini you are using at the moment. I am sure you’ll have some insights that will also interest Jimmy and I have found that he doesn’t hesitate to make improvements to his products in a very time.
    I remember one of the impressive facts regarding the Solis Inverters was the low DC voltage at which they would/could start to work. At the time a problem with the lower end SMA range were starting DC voltages of around 150V or higher.
    SMA has recently improved on that with their new range including the SB2.5 I last year installed at my brothers home. That kicks in very early in the day and holds on until late in the evening, in contrast to for instance my “old” SB1200 and SB2000HF.

    Apart from the above, it is great to see you blogging again in such a nice frequency again!

    Please say hello from me to our mutual (amber nectar 😉 ) friends from Norfolk if you meet them one of these days. Unfortunately this year we could not come and meet them up north near you because of the timing of the school holidays over here. But we did visit them in Norfolk a couple of weeks ago and got some of that dangerous nectar to take home with us. Did some reach you too recently and, if it did, did you handle it more careful this time 😉 ?

    Best Regards,


    Comment by Leonard — August 25, 2016 @ 9:31 am

    • Hi Leonard,
      sorry we never saw you this year, and yes it was a great vintage cider, though I spilt almost half of it in the car 😦 I was almost wringing out the carpets and drinking the dregs 🙂 Car smelled great too!! Yes, that’s a big downside to the SMA inverters, the ones I have here, 3800, 2500 and 6000 all need at least 220V to get started which is pretty useless for wind. The Solis is far better at 50V? That’s one of the reasons I swapped out my WB6000 for an Aurora, it can connect to the grid at 80V. I don’t have mine set that low right enough as there’s very little energy to be harvested at that voltage with my turbine but the Aurora is far less prone to ‘dropping out’ in low winds. The SMA’s were quite frustrating in light winds.
      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 28, 2016 @ 7:42 pm

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