Life at the end of the road

October 28, 2020

Wrestling with Satan :-)

Filed under: daily doings, How I, Land Rover, life off grid — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:34 am

Not got much in the way of enthusiasm this morning peeps but then I’m only half way down the first strong cup of coffee. Once more it’s lashing down, this time, like me, without the same enthusiasm as on previous days. Still, it is wet and forecast to get even wetter, though yesterday it was actually a pretty nice morning, the deluge not arriving until later.

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First thing I did after the morning feeding round was go and investigate my closest hydro turbine as the voltmeter in the kitchen was lower than it normally is first thing in the morning. The house battery bank is nominally 48V but having lain overnight with both turbines putting out a combined 1.6kW it’s usually just shy of 60V. Yesterday morning it wasn’t even 50V which is what I would expect were I relying on solar alone. Meters in the ‘power station’ that is my generator and battery shed confirmed that the Stream Engine was only producing a couple of hundred Watts so Molly and I went to investigate.

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Sure enough there wasn’t enough water going into the header tank due to the intake being partially blocked with fallen leaves. An all to familiar occurrence on this turbine surrounded as it is by birch, hazel and hawthorn. Soon had it cleared right enough  but the cold water took my breath away, it was much chillier than the last time I unblocked it at the start of the month.

As ‘wee dug’ seemed to be enjoying herself I decided to wander over to Torran. Molly has got to an age where she prefers to lie in the car all day rather than go walkies but yesterday she seemed to have reacquired a little of her former youthful bounce.

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So, in the forlorn hope of collecting the odd late ‘shroom we cut through the enchanted birch woods towards the golden aspen of Torran. Calling at the Schoolhouse on the way to refuel with a strong black coffee with my Mate who had just returned from his morning swim in Loch Arnish. Sure the fresh water burn that powers my hydro was much colder than the sea but still it must have been boodly cold.


Specially considering the amount of fresh water that had gone into the sea these last few days. The Torran track was noticeably filled with trenches and washed gravel left by the torrents of rain.

Smokeless Smile

As the forecast showers showed no sign of arriving I decided to continue with trying to sort out my spaghetti  like wiring by trying to make some sense of the confusing array of colours.

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I had managed to run two new cables through the chassis and terminated them in junction boxes at either end. Now it was just a matter of deciding which ones to marry to the originals. Not too difficult in theory as I would just use the international standard for the 13 core cable used on tow bars for the lighting and the 7 core cable could do the other stuff like fuel gauge, rear wash wipe, heated window etc. I would have plenty of spare wiring so I could double some of these up for the higher current of the wiper and heated window.

It’s one of those jobs that requires much more ‘thinking’ time than actual ‘doing’ time and isn’t helped by my chaotic working practices and poor memory.


I seemed to spend most of my day looking for things I’d just put down and still have not found my phone yet Sad smile Still, I was pleased with my progress despite the best efforts of ‘Lucas Prince of Darkness’ to thwart me.

The function of the wiring harness is to conduct the smoke from one device to another. When the wiring springs a leak and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterward.

Starter motors were considered unsuitable for British motorcycles for some time largely because they consumed large quantities of smoke, requiring very unsightly large wires.

It has been reported that Lucas electrical components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than their Bosch, Japanese or American counterparts. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British, and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, British shock absorbers, hydraulic forks and disk brake systems leak fluid, British tires leak air and British Intelligence leaks national defence secrets.

Remarkably I got most of the legally required circuits for the lighting working despite the demon Lucas. Right enough I had to order a new rear fog light switch but at least I never let out any of the ‘Magic Smoke’ for now Smile

Come the afternoon I had to abandon the ‘Prince of Darkness’ due to the pishing rain so turned my attention to the 1200kg of forklift batteries nestling on my trailer.


The 24 cells had been sitting there for a couple of weeks now awaiting the arrival of my enthusiasm. The crate was just too heavy for Calum’s boom and dipper at the height and distance required to lift the whole crate off the trailer bed. Consequently I’d parked it near the shed they were going in, planning to lift them off in two or threes at a time.

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However, it was now so wet that I didn’t want to risk slinging the slippy plastic casings with wet strops so I lifted all 24 off by hand and put them in the generator shed to await yet another bout of enthusiasm which may arrive sometime around the next full moon Smile At least now I’ll be able to move Calum the Kubota and Ifor Williams out of the way. Perhaps then I can continue my work with Satan in the dry shed Smile

October 23, 2020

Back to the spaghetti :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, Land Rover, life off grid, shed/house — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:13 am

Reluctant, that just about sums my mood right now, admittedly not quite as reluctant as I was half an hour ago right enough. Then I was laid in my bed with the wee dug squashing my feet listening to the rain lashing all three triple glazed windows in my room. Hmmmm, must be bad methinks, fist off I can actually hear it and secondly it seems to be pelting all three windows with equal vigour, well, that’ll be the north wind by with I thought.

Well, I’m up now and whilst it is still pitch black outside, the rain has stopped and a quick scan of XC Weather is telling me (along with the BBC) that it’s not actually gonna be as bad as yesterday’s prophecy of ‘doom and gloom’. This is really good cos I would like to return to my multi coloured spaghetti project later today Sad smile


A change over

When I don’t want to do a job, I put it off as long as possible and I am extremely good at finding reasons or excuses not to do it. This being a skill that seems to come naturally and one I’ve honed over the thirty years I’ve been VAT registered. It’s either too nice to be stuck inside doing paperwork or I can’t find my ‘lucky pencil’ or the office needs to be tidied first or some other lame excuse. The same goes for replacing my battery bank, it has been ‘on the cards’ now for a couple of months and I just can’t seem to get my self revved up to do it. Sure, it’s a big and heavy job but that seldom puts me off, I seem to thrive on such tasks.

After putting it off cos I couldn’t lift the batteries off the trailer in their box with Callum, I moved them out of the way where I couldn’t see them, or at least wasn’t tripping over the trailer and digger. The task then moved several rungs down the ‘to do’ list ladder when both hydro turbines came ‘on line’ making the storing of dwindling PV energy less of a priority. A constant 1600W being generated by the hydro turbines giving almost 40kWh per day, much, much more than a single man and wee dog can use in a day, no matter how much washing I do, though I really must buy an electric kettle Smile I had also managed to convince myself that I should fit a ‘changeover’ switch in the bunker to keep the house ‘live’ whilst I was doing it. This is the kind of switch usually fitted if you have a backup generator and it allows you to switch more or less seamlessly between grid and genny in the event of power cuts, far, far safe than a ‘widow maker’ lead used by many people.

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Like that one but with two UK plugs Sad smile                  Much safer option and rated at 125A not 13A Smile

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Fitting one of these in the ‘bunker’ (my plant room behind the house) would allow me to easily switch from the SMA SI6.0H inverter and it’s battery bank to the Outback GVFX 3048 one and it’s bank in the bunker. That way I could take as long as I wanted, days or weeks even, without interrupting the house supply. I felt this quite important cos, A, I fitted this Outback system years ago for just such events and have never actually fully integrated it and B, the new batteries are a completely different shape and the generator shed they live in will need reconfiguring and carpentry.

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First thing after finding a home for the switch was isolating and checking to make sure everything was dead. Options being limited by the tight run of the 10mm square armoured cable but after moving a junction box and making a couple of ‘stand offs’ for the new enclosure I found a suitable location. Of course this took me most of the morning, stopping only for ‘second breakfast’ around 10:00AM.

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I was well chuffed with the result, even more so with the fact that upon testing it I found that nothing needed resetting, not even the cooker clock Smile

After lunch wee dog and I went over to Torran, meeting Dennis on the way,


he was very friendly Smile


Molly wasn’t too impressed right enough but when she saw how large he actually was she stopped growing Smile


Loch Arnish was much more ‘at peace’ than it was yesterday though was still some ‘cotton wool’ around the north side of Holm Island off Skye.

A bit like trying to clear the lumb Sad smile

The afternoon saw me turning my attention to another task I’d been putting off, but more to the pishing rain than a reluctance to tackle it. The ‘Old Girl’s’ wiring was in serious need of sorting, with lots of it missing and the bits that were there were often from other vehicles Sad smile There was a huge section of some 18 cables missing that runs through the chassis. It having being cut and binned by Tayside Land Rover . I’m sure it would be their standard practice when replacing a chassis to cut the loom at each end and fit a new section with the new chassis. Who knows what state a Land Rover loom is like as by the time you want a new chassis you have usually had the old one welded several times to scrape through another MOT and C530VSX was no exception.

I do have suitable 13 core and 7 core cable on the way but I thought I’d ‘prep the ground’ first by making note of the colours and functions of each cable. I also made an attempt to push something through the chassis to drag the cables through. Sure you can get special fibre glass rods like thin chimney/drain clearing rods, specifically for this purpose.

They’re not expensive but I don’t actually have any and managed to convince myself I could do it with nylon pipe.

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I should have known better hey, after all my shenanigans with the chimney Smile The pipe I had in mind had been coiled up for so long that it was too ‘curly wurly’  to go through the full length of the chassis.

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Right enough I did mange to get it through most of the way but it kept insisting on coming out of every hole but the correct one Sad smile With light failing and my stomach rumbling I pulled the pipe out and nailed it to my bench, hoping it would straighten out overnight. Methinks I should have just ordered the £16 pull throughs hey.

Well, it’s 8:00am now and almost daylight, pig feeding and Land Rover time methinks.

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