Life at the end of the road

May 8, 2018

Shuttering, mainly :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:15 pm

Golly gosh, it’s almost midnight and I’m waaay too wrecked to be let anywhere near a keyboard, but, for reasons beyond my comprehension I’m not actually falling asleep yet. Must be the ‘birthday wine’ Smile Anyway’s, the guests have departed leaving us a well stocked drinks cabinet and I’ve been up since ‘stupid O clock’  working down at the old fish farm slip mainly.

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Though I did have a spell of tinkering with one of my hydro turbines, the ‘Stream Engine’ http://microhydropower.com/our-products/stream-engine/ is usually redundant at this time of year. It works from a small burn, more of a drain really and is usually not producing power from Easter until September.However, it’s been so boodly miserable this last month that it’s been doing overtime. Capable of producing some 18/20kWh per day in the ‘rainy season’ the wee Canadian hydro turbine does around 6kWh per day for the rest of the year and very little in the summer. A concerned neighbour had informed me of a leak yesterday so I went to investigate and found a burst joint, probably a result of freezing in the winter. Whilst it hadn’t unduly affected performance during the winter, it certainly would do in the drier months so that was the first task prior to getting stuck back into my civil engineering project on the slip.

Back to the slip

The neap tides being perfect for working on the second slab.

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Once more the weather was pure 5h1te with me having to cover up tools with my old jackets and Radio2 telling me how fecking sunny and hot it was darn sowf. Still the job was going well and the damp was actually good for the expanding foam I was using to seal the joints in the shuttering.

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In fact, I was actually feeling quite pleased with myself at using all the wood I’d managed to salvage from the previous shuttering.

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I also managed to drill and pin some more sections using rebar and M12 galvanized bolts to help key the fresh concrete into the older stuff.

Apart from that, well, I walked the dugs,

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and fitted a new towing bracket to my Mate’s Yamaha YFM 350 Bruin quad. This amazing machine has proved a most reliable and ‘idiot proof’ quad but has always been a little problematical when sourcing parts. That is until recently, https://www.motorcyclespareparts.eu/en in Holland seem to be able to source anything and do not ‘rip you off’ for delivery.

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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 http://scoraigwind.co.uk/ and Michael Lawley, the inventor and owner of  http://www.powerspout.com/ . 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 http://www.ginlong.com/en/PV_Inverters/Solis_mini_1500.html

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

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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’.

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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

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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

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

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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!!!

 

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

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