Life at the end of the road

September 1, 2020

I never seen that before :-O

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:23 am

It’s a grey start to September, my brief spell of being able to stay in bed came to an end at 5:40 this morning after two or three days of managing an extra couple of hours in my ‘pit’.

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I guess having been out to dinner and plied with red wine had helped on some of the previous occasions allied with bucket loads of pain killers on others. Monday had been a nice leisurely day, my first task being to wring Cocky’s neck for next Sunday lunch.


I then delivered him, along with two frozen thornback rays and half a dozen eggs to the restaurant next door Smile My Mate’s house, half a mile down the Torran path.


Having wobbled home the previous night after an excellent meal I thought I’d better return his Mule and walk back with wee dug hoping to collect some ‘shrooms on the way back. After a strong black coffee the like of which I’ve only ever sampled in Italy, that is so strong that you have to put so much sugar in it the spoon stands up and it leaves you ‘rattling’ Smile Post coffee and feeling like I was full of ‘Columbian Marching Powder’ I strode back home never seeing single mushroom.

In my brief absence Sonas had been awash with visitors, two of which remained along with three large batteries and a BMW motorcycle rear hub!


The Rolls series 530 6V batteries having been kindly loaned me by a friend, the hub in need of oxy acetylene and a press. The next couple of hours being taken up with the careful disassembly of the hub, a task that I’m quite certain would have been nigh on impossible without the ‘hot spanner’ and 12ton hydraulic press.

Too clever by half Sad smile

I gotta say that I’ve been more than pleased with the way my ‘all electric’ and completely ‘off grid’ house turned out, after all I amassed years worth of data on energy production, poured hours of research and decades of experience into it The house runs autonomously with steadier and more reliable power than the National Grid and I don’t get any bills Smile I’m a little disappointed that my Rolls battery bank has only lasted six or seven years with 3 of the 16 batteries being decidedly ‘feckered’. However it is only the Teutonic logic of my SMA inverter that makes this an issue. An older type of inverter would work just fine with a few dodgy batteries, sure the generator would probably run more often but at least I wouldn’t have any blackouts at 4:00AM. Older inverters make all their decisions on how to charge batteries and start the generator on algorithms based on time and voltage. The SMA SI series of ‘off grid’ inverters and probably all modern inverter chargers use the SOC (state of charge) as their basis for such decisions, which on the face of it is far, far better. Unfortunately these algorithms only hold true if all the batteries are exactly in the same state, any mismatch between individual cells or modules makes the inverter make erroneous commands. Sure the inverter can take some of this into account and every now and then does what it calls an ‘automatic 20% reset’. The trouble is, this is usually at a time when not even I am awake and sometimes the generator will not start quickly enough and the house blacks out. This in itself is no big deal if I’m home, a simple case of pressing a button or two. My only concern being were it to happen when I was away and had a house/pig sitter in residence. Being a bit of an ‘anorak’ in the battery department I’ve always checked and logged my batteries regularly.

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So this has come as no surprise and I have managed to borrow a few batteries to see me by until I spend several £K on a new bank Sad smile I can’t say I’m not disappointed at only getting six or seven years out of this bank, I would expect ten years service at least, fifteen not being unreasonable. If the truth be known, I could find a ‘workaround’ by setting the inverter to do a daily or weekly ‘exercise start’ for an hour. Or even configure a ‘relay driver’ to trigger the genny but the problem is only going to get worse so methinks now is the time to ‘bite the bullet’ and get a new bank.

Meanwhile I’m charging up the three batteries Donnie loaned me to get them balanced with the rest of the bank. Then I just need a kind soul to lift the 53kg beasts in and out whilst I supervise Smile


Here’s a comparison between a good battery and one of the three duff ones. The system has 3kW of load on it with a good 6V battery still showing 6.2V whilst one of the duds is down to 3.8V. When ‘at rest’ (no charge or discharge) they are quite similar, it is only underload that the voltage ‘collapses’.

Well, it’s 8:15 now, the cloud is thick with a gentle breeze topping up the battery bank, unlike Sunday which was so breathless that XC weather showed no wind!

Flat calm

I’ve never seen that before, perhaps you do inland but not here 75m above sea level just a spit from the shore Surprised smile 

Guess it’s time for breakfast number one then a gentle stroll to look for ‘shrooms. I boiled Sunday’s chicken remains to make a stock for risotto tonight and it’ll be needing some chanterelles or ceps in it methinks.

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