Life at the end of the road

April 14, 2017

She’s flying at last :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, wind turbine — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:37 am

Almost 22:30 and I’m yawning big style so the chances of actually finishing this tonight are pretty slim. Still, I’ll make start at describing the day’s events, though I’m sure most will find them quite dull. I was up early right enough but then started blogging and got distracted for a couple of hours. Truth is, every time I thought about going out a shower came along and dissuaded me, so it was 8:00 before I went out proper to do the pigs and hens.

The Proven/Kingspan 6kW

Sure the priority was to get the turbine up and as usual it ‘got complicated’.

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For a start the blades needed an extra hole drilling in the root to match the holes in the spring brackets.

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I had to do a little ‘reworking’ of the ‘top hat’, a plastic cap the fits over the slip rings and allows the brake cable and electrical cable to pass through without fouling each other.

When the turbine is fully assembled with the blades on, the blades hang downwards toward the ground. Prior to fitting the blades though, the alternator is the ‘heavy end’.


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To keep the thing orientated reasonably to fit the yaw cover we anchored the rotor end to the digger blade with a ratchet strap.


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Joining the cables at the bottom of the tower was done inside a waterproof box using compression glands and  some fancy terminals that I acquired off an old Proven.


Sure enough, couldn’t keep my eyes open last night, or closed this morning so I was up at 5:30 and ready to outside clearing up yesterdays mess. Not that that’s happened yet. It is pretty uninspiring outside and the forecast is once more for ‘April showers’ with XC actually predicting worse than yesterday, though that could be spectacularly wrong from recent experience.

 The big lift

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Once all the covers, blades and springs were on, checked and then double checked we started to lift the 15m long Hutchinson mast. This is a much, much sturdier and heavy affair than the tapered CU tower of the 2.5/3.2kW turbine and requires more serious kit. A 3.2T Tirfor for a start and the gin poles are almost as heavy as the 6.5m mast on my old 2.5. By rights the Tirfor wire should be doubled through a pulley like this,


15m mast

but that needs a 40m wire and mine is only 20m. This put me at a disadvantage right away as it would require double the effort. Still, we had a plan to use the digger and the Ifor Williams tipping trailer to start it off at least. By far the heaviest part of the lift is the first part up to around 45 degrees. This worked really, really well until around 30 degrees when the trailer ram stuck up so the last part of the lift was very hard work indeed.

I had initially planned to use the Warn XP9500lb winch to lift the mast and the Tirfor just as a safety but somehow that plan got thrown into the ‘long grass’ due to over confidence. By the time the trailer failed the gin pole was too high to get the winch attached to it. Ah well, I’ll know next time, it was valuable experience Smile


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The turbine was finally up around 8:30PM

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and I just left pretty everything but my tools ‘as is’ so I’d better go and clean up now, it’s 6:30 and looking decidedly promising outside now Smile



  1. What you need is a hydraulic winch on a frame mounted on the arm of the digger then chain it to your anchor point to take the load, pop in the aux. hydraulics, push the button.
    Much better than wearing out the motor on your Land rover winch or your arms on the Tirfor, there must be some ex marine ones kicking about.

    Comment by Kev — April 15, 2017 @ 8:19 am

    • Hi Kev,

      yes I’ve been on the look out for a 40lt/min winch for long enough but they’re generally around £500/£1000. I plan to just use ‘quick fit’ couplings and the machine is already piped for a breaker, thought of just bolting it straight to the blade. I have the largest Tirfor they make already, it’s a pulley and wire I need, but again, you would not believe the cost of a pulley that will take a 16mm wire, sure there are plenty of pulleys that say they’ll take the weight but not the diameter of rope. A wire rope needs to go around a pulley 20 x it’s diameter so 320mm, I guess I could get away with a little less but not much, even a 250mm pulley is over £200. So I’m constantly scouring eBay for hydraulic winches, pulleys and 40m of Tirfor wire. Trouble is most sellers ‘duck and cover’ when they see my postcode 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 15, 2017 @ 9:47 am

      • I would have thought you were ideally placed to find ex fishing/marine winches, why not make a frame and fit it on the arm then two short strops to secure it to your anchor point to take the load off the arm, it means you can pick it up and put it down wherever you want with the arm and easier to fabricate than a blade mount.
        One that is too big really and would want more than 40lt would still work but just a bit slower – but still quicker than a Tirfor and no pulleys needed.

        Comment by Kev — April 15, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

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