Life at the end of the road

February 28, 2022

The ‘weekend has landed’ :-)

Dunno about ‘landed’ it’s almost over with now, 21:00 the dugs have already beaten me to bed


and it won’t be long before I join them. It’s been a grand weekend with a good constant blast of south wind for the entire couple of days. Which unusually for wind from that quarter has been on the whole pretty dry. Today totally and yesterday mainly, just as well really cos my mate came up to slate his roof Smile Having arrived on Friday around 14:00 and probably spent all afternoon moving his slates for the fourth time out of a hire van, this time into the Mule and along the track to Torran.

After the usual morning’s dug walking, this time to Calum’s croft

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where and I admired and wondered, not for the first time as to the purpose of that wall built out from the gable of the barn. It’s beautifully made but what for, was it an unfinished project that never quite made it to the top of the ‘to do’ list. In between building the road, doing the post and running lighthouse relief boat he was a busy chap

After the morning’s perambulation I had my muesli and went over to Torran to see how my Mate was getting on

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which was just fine without me. So after a cup of coffee I left him to it and returned to my own project, that of fitting my new bigger inverter.

Out for dinner


Saturday night being a blurry memory of dinner and wine at the Schoolhouse then somehow wobbling back home on the quad.

A BIG switch

Most people connect their inverters directly to the battery bank, perhaps through a BIG fuse and in the past I’ve been no different. I guess the reason for not using some kind of isolator is that for the currents involved the cost of something suitable is astronomical. However in recent years I’ve been able to acquire several huge three pole motorised switches that are used on our hybrid ferry to switch the huge lithium ion battery banks. The ferry has four of them costing the best part of £1K each and they are replaced every two years because the switching mechanism fails.


The beauty is that the actual switch bit is just fine and it’s a modular design and with a little work they make an absolutely first class HEAVY DUTY isolator. You just need to pull it apart, remove the contacts and fashion a handle to operate them.

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A bit of work on the brackets to make it suitable for mounting.


Remove one of the contact blocks and there you have it Winking smile


The cable tie is just to make sure I don’t move the switch to ON whilst fitting the inverter.


Finishing that off will be Monday’s project before going back to work on Tuesday.

Fell asleep at the wheel

Well, that’s it Monday morning 6:59 and I had to give up on blogging last night. I was pretty wrecked after a most enjoyable day’s pottering mainly with my inverter but not exclusively so.


I’ve not seen this chap for a while, probably been too windy for him but he was back in the garden looking for worms yesterday morning before I went over to Torran to see how my Pal was getting on.

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Just fine without me was the answer to that so after coffee I returned home to my own projects.

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These included  doing a little work on my 5.4M Searider in preparation for the up and coming month’s holiday Smile

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Dunno where this workboat was heading but it was probably to a fish farm to lay moorings or something.

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After spending the best part of two days changing the tyres on my quad I thought it was about time I had a proper ‘bead breaker’ but I’ve never seen one that’s suitable. They’re either made in China and not ‘man enough’ or made in China and too expensive. That was until I saw this vintage Stenor tool on eBlag, a pure cast steel relic from the 1960’s just like the one I used ‘back in the day’ when I was an apprentice mechanic Surprised smile Well I received it yesterday and just can’t wait to use it Winking smile

At almost 8:00AM now and the makings of a good day ahead I’d better walk the dugs and feed the pigs before turning my attention once more to my Victron Quattro 48/10000.

November 2, 2021

Lagged at last :-)

When I stuck my head out this morning the sky was full of stars with Orion just to the right of my 6kW Proven, Kingspan, now SD wind turbine. By the time I’d set my camera up on the wheelie bin with a 60 second exposure they’d all gone Sad smile


Well, almost, you can still just make out his belt, Rigel, Bellatrix and a few more.

As my first job would be to finish off lagging the exhaust on Harry the Lister HR2 generator I skipped my morning shower, figuring that I’d be itching and needing another after.


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OK, I know it doesn’t look very neat but these lagging pads are tailor made for a six cylinder Volvo not a twin cylinder Lister and I reckon it’s not bad considering. Certainly it’s much quieter and cooler in there now. Though whilst I was wedged up there with pliers and stainless wire I noticed my hydro turbine inverter making a noise Sad smile 

AC Coupled Powerspout

The hydro turbine feeds into my own ‘mini grid’ via a regular GTI (grid tied inverter) like they use for solar panels that are connected to the grid. The difference with my system being that whatever doesn’t get used at the time gets fed back into my batteries and if they are fully charged it heats up my thermal store. I’ve had this turbine for years but when I first installed it I agreed to run some tests for Michael Lawley of Powerspout in New Zealand I ran three different inverters for a month each to compare  their performance. An SMA SB 1200 transformer inverter, SMA SB 3800 transformer inverter and a Solis 1500 transformerless one. The first two were my own and the Solis (made by Ginlong) was supplied by Powerspout and they let me keep it after the test.

After running them each for one month and taking three readings a day from each I concluded that they were all broadly similar with the SB3800 producing a few Watt hours a month more than the Ginlong/Solis and both of them a few more than the SB1200. However there was really very little in it, what was noticeable though was that the Ginlong/Solis never ‘dropped out’ if the generator was started. Both SMA inverters tended to lose the connection for a few minutes as the frequency of the AC grid became momentarily unstable as the genny started. The other big thing in the Ginlong/Solis favour was its price, it was about a quarter the price of an SMA one.


Well, the poor Solis has died on me so I quickly connected the hydro turbine up to the SB3800 which was still mounted in the shed.


Sure enough the SB3800 works just fine so that proves the inverter is dicky  Sad smile 

Reluctantly put to bed

Having brought my trailer up to Arnish with half a load of 20mm stone chips in it I figured I’d better dump them and park the trailer up. After much deliberation I decided to spread them at the side of my shed. I’d cleared the area of junk and put a drain in some time ago with a view to making a ‘lean to shelter’ on the side.


Trouble is I’d parked my Avon Searider there and would need to move it, which in reality means ‘putting it away for the winter’ Sad smile I’d been living in hope of getting out on the water one last time this year but short days and north wind had put paid to that so I begrudgingly went about putting her into hibernation.

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This involved moving my fleet of vehicles, flashing up the dumper dismounting the mast/aerial/fishing rod

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and winching it up to the top of the shed. Perhaps I’ll get out before the year is out.

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That’ll be the Faroese boat Hav Alda heading north past Loch Arnish.

With my boat out of the way I reversed my trailer in its place so that I could start on putting down the membrane and some gravel.

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But before that I had to collect some rocks for putting around the perforated drain. Of course with Calum the Kubota at Torran I had to do that with a barrow, selecting stones by hand and carrying them by hand Smile I didn’t have enough stones or membrane to do it all but I’d enough membrane to do half the area and enough stone chips to cover most of the membrane I had sufficiently to prevent the wind lifting it for now. Guess where I’m going tomorrow?

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After that Molly and I went to deliver some Calor gas in the Mule, she might not be very good at walking but she loves going anywhere in the quad, car or Mule Smile

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From there we went for a wee walk down to the shore at Arnish, it’s from here that all the stores would be landed and carried up the hill to North Arnish Surprised smile

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