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


April 13, 2017

Awash :-(

Well first off can I just thank everyone for the wonderful comments and support of late, it’s much appreciated. Me old Pop is in a better place just, probably the top of the Five Sisters with Meg or Mara, his last two dogs that also departed and loved walking Smile He left me with many things, a mistrust of government, organized religion, contentment with my ‘lot in life’ and a love of doing the dishes Smile OK, not exactly a love but just like him, I do them well and don’t mind one bit. I do miss him.

Anyway, at long last we’re home after our brief ‘holiday’ and I can get back on with some serious holidaying, putting up my latest wind turbine for one. At least I could once the place dried out for we arrived home to rivers of water everywhere. It looked like it had been raining since we left on Saturday, the place was awash.

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Still, it was great to see all my hard work over the previous week with Hookies 6T dumper had paid off. This is the area behind the 30 ton wind turbine base that I piped and filled in. It was a small valley a few weeks ago, now it’s a nice flat area for parking and will ensure a much easier task when it comes to servicing the 6kW Proven/Kingspan wind turbine.

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Other drains I wasn’t so pleased with as a couple were blocked and I spent an hour or so in my waterproofs clearing them. Not only was it still pishing down but it was blowing a gale too and had been for quite a while as the 1500lt thermal store was at at a rather hot 80 degrees!! and not just at the top.

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It was even over 70 degrees right at the bottom, which goes to show how well the whole system works. Priority is taken by the batteries and once they are full the wind, solar, hydro energy is diverted into the large water store where the water is heated. As it gets hot a pump starts to circulate the water within the store where gradually it becomes a uniform temperature. All the thermostats for the five immersions are set to 80 and when they open energy is then diverted to 10kW ‘air dumps’ in the shed and workshop.

The 15M Hutchinson mast installation

My eagerness to get on with installing the 6kW Kingspan/Proven wind turbine on Wednesday morning was a little tempered by the weather. It was of those April mornings alternating between brilliant sunshine and fierce cold showers. All carried, at regular intervals on the back of a good westerly gale, which at Sonas leaves little scope for shelter. One minute it was almost shirt sleeve weather the next it was a stinging face and full waterproofs. Luckily our elevation and aspect here gave us ample warning of their warning so if not doing anything crucial we just went inside for a cuppa. They may have been aggressive but they were short lived and diminished as the day progressed.

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The first job was to set the 20 M30 high tensile foundation rod nuts at the correct height, 60mm for the 8 hinge supports and 100mm for the 12 mast supports.


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That done it was down to the car park ‘at the end of the road’ to collect the first section that was 6M long, which is when we hit the first snag. The plan had been to load it onto a trailer and tow it in position but the combined weight of the gin poles and mast was too much for Calum, or at least for him to lift it 1m plus onto a flat bed. We did have a few choices, A) remove the heavy gin poles and try again, B) lift it one end at a time onto the trailer or C) just keep on going. AS you can see we went for the latter option, narrowly missing the blue Discovery, garden gate and our caravan on the way.

Putting the mast into place on the base with the digger was so easy and went so quickly that I never even got a picture, we were too busy ‘patting ourselves on the back. Not only that but we could see a nasty shower on the way so hurried in for breakfast.

The second section, though a couple of M longer is actually lighter and easier to handle, again, with my son at the controls of Calum the digger we soon had that firmly bolted to section 1.

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Before fitting the 600kg turbine head we decided to do a trial raising of the mast, not a task to be undertaken lightly but I needed to make sure all the base studs were in the correct place.

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We lifted it as high as possible with Calum first, then set about lifting it the rest of the way with a 3.2T Tirfor.



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It is a long, slow and tiring job, especially as I’d mounted the Tirfor on the end of 5T strop in the mistaken belief it would put the winch in a better position. The opposite was in fact the case but eventually, in between showers it dropped neatly onto the studs, almost perfectly.


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The stud at ‘5 past’ was ever so slightly misaligned but dropped neatly into position just as I was about to mark it with a pen for surgery Smile

So, then it was lowering the mast, this time to start fitting the actual turbine head, whereupon I had a brainwave that made life much easier. We removed the sides and placed my hydraulic tipping trailer underneath the mast. I raised the bed as high as it would go and we lowered the mast onto it the lowered the last and heaviest part with ease using a combination of the hydraulics and Tirfor.

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That was it really, the frame was fitted onto the mast with the digger and we started assembling the bearings and slip rings. Getting called it at 19:00 to eat the last of the pork in the freezer Smile

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