Life at the end of the road

February 6, 2016

Fancy a taste of the ‘Good Life’ :-)

Afraid this post is gonna be ‘dull as dishwater’ to most peeps, for I’ve spent most of the day under the Subaru or stood on the back of a quad!

Henry wrecked it Sad smile

It was ‘pure pish’ here at the ‘North End’ early on so I spent most of the morning inside the shed  working on wifey’s egg chariot. Mainly finishing fitting the wheel bearings and removing rusted bolts from the rear bumper mountings. The ‘Old Girl’ is going to have to have a new bulkhead this year and that’s a major job. I had seriously considered putting her away and paying to have the job done, it’s a lot of work and I’m hardly blessed with much in the way of spare time. I’d even considered getting a sensible vehicle like Lachie’s Ranger or any one of the other Japanese ‘crew cabs’. Truth is that, sure enough I’d get a decent heater, good fuel economy, dry cab, air conditioning and a radio I could here over 40MPH but I’d have to spend at least £5K, in three years time it would be worth ‘feck all’ and I’d be needing to change the ‘DMF’ and ‘DPF’, that’ll be the dual mass flywheel and diesel particulate filter. So, better ‘the devil you know’ and I couldn’t see any of those Jap jobbies pulling 9 tons of telehandler out of a bog.

I was removing all the bolts and fittings around the stern of the Subaru and lashing Coppaslip on them so they’d be easy to do when I fitted the tow bar. My logic being that if I’m gonna change the bulkhead myself then I’d better still have something capable of towing a trailer or caravan whilst the ‘Old Girl’ is in hospital so to speak. I’ve not actually  mentioned this to the ‘Post Lady’ just yet but I’m sure she’ll understand.

The main task of the day had to wait until the rain stopped, and that was removing the fried stator from my Proven/Kingspan wind turbine. The staggering output it had been achieving throughout all the storms of late had burnt out the stator, or ‘core’ as Kingspan prefer to call it.

Removing a Kingspan/Proven stator/core

The stator/core is the bit of an ‘axial flux’ generator that sits between the two rotating sets of magnets. On a Proven/Kingspan downwind machine it sits behind the black cover at the opposite side from the blades.

Normally when you lower the turbine that bit points ‘up the way’

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making access difficult but I’d already removed all the blades so it would rest ‘doon the way’.  This is all ‘damn fine splendid’ until you remove the first rotor when the reduced weight wants to make the machine ‘point up the way’ again Sad smile So, here’s what I did, first off I got a puller rigged up, to remove the rotor from the shaft. The Proven/Kingspan has some holes near the spindle that are large enough to get 12mm ‘plate washers’ inside.

 

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I used 2 for each 12mm threaded bar cos I figured it would be ‘effin tight’.

 

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I then secured a hydraulic puller between the studs and started to remove the outer rotor, as predicted it was very stubborn but eventually came off.

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As I was working upside-down so to speak I tied some 6mm rope around the rotor to prevent it falling off. Just as well really as the loss of ‘ballast’ would have caused the head to swivel round. To prevent this I drilled the rock bellow the head and then secured it with a couple of ratchet straps.

 

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Not only did this secure the head and prevent it from swinging around but the two straps also also gripped the sides of the stator/core and acted as a brake. The core weighs about 30kg at a guess and is mechanically secured to the galvanized frame with six M8 studs. However it is magnetically held to the second rotor and extreme care must be exercised in it’s removal or you could end up loosing some fingers. It is possible using sever screw drivers to ease off a little at a time but I used a ‘cunning plan’, sadly I never took a picture, I used my 900mm Snap On ‘strong arm’ bar with a socket on the end. The socket I placed on one of the two metal bars of the frame to act as a fulcrum whilst the bar rested on top of one of the studs. I then carefully eased it downwards and put a wooden wedge underneath between the the frame and core. With a good air gap at that end the rest were simple enough to pry down. I used screwdrivers but great care must be observed so as not to damage the core/stator or your fingers.

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As you can see it’s toasted,

 

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the magnets however are just fine, a few scuff marks and one small chip.

I’ve organised another stator/core from Kingspan Wind who have been extremely helpful with this and other matters in the past. A far cry from the way Proven Energy dealt with their customers latterly. From what I can gather most of the staff are the same, Kingspan obviously have a better ‘customer care ethic’ than the previous management.

Fancy the life ‘off grid’

Well, that’ll be me neighbours in ‘Number 3’ now for over a year.

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They’ve done loads of work on the croft whilst   Donnie Macleod of DDK design and Billy Shanks of Shanks Plumbing and Renewables have done loads of work on the house to make it suitable for letting. So the ‘wee hoose’ that was my home for over a quarter of a century is now available for let https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/8188794?s=3LQkEta2 I could fancy a holiday there myself Smile Nicky, Maya and Mary can be contacted on 01478 660 375 or emailed at niknak66@gmail.com

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February 3, 2016

We got off lightly

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, the disaster thread, weather, wind turbine — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:12 pm

After all the carp weather of late, today has been a pure peach by comparison and I was fair miffed at having to spend a good deal of it in Portree. It was up early to get my son off to school for the first time in days and then onto ‘civilization’ for feed for the chooks and pigs. Dragging our two ton tipping trailer behind us we headed for the 7:55 and fed the pigs on the way. It was a pleasant change indeed not to require oilskins or get battered by the wind.

It was only when we got on Hallaig and I started speaking to the crew that I realized how lightly we’d got off at Sonas. The storms had taken out at least three transformers on the island and much of it was being supplied by four generators brought over by the ‘Hydro’. That’ll be Scottish and Southern Energy as they’re called nowadays. Along with other cartel members of the ‘big six’ they may well fleece you with their energy charges but their engineers and linesmen are second to none. The hours that these boys put in, in all weathers is well ‘above and beyond the call of duty’. During the previous three or four days of horrendous weather they’d made two trips in the Portree lifeboat to try and restore power to the vulnerable on Raasay. A combination of ferocious winds and lightning taking out the transformers, blowing telephones off walls and toasting several computers and routers.

The ferry may well have missed lots of sailings but the ones she did make were full of engineers from the ‘Hydro’, BT and Openreach. Makes our loose guttering and poorly wind turbine seem like pretty ‘small beer’. The island is pure awash with pickup trucks from the aforementioned plus the Forestry Commission, the timber extraction people and contractors associated with the new distillery. 

The misery didn’t end there, on our way to and from Portree there were at least two cars off the road due to black ice on the untreated roads. Several people we met asking us if we’d had any power cuts, one guy telling us his mate had been without Internet for a month and another telling us to check Facecloth for this.

A87 lorry

I really am glad we’re not in that caravan!!!!

It was a bit of a ‘mad dash’ around the town

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for feed and shopping, then off to the Sconser quarry for 2ton of 20mm ‘chuckies’ for around the house.

 

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All expertly loaded by Donald in his Volvo ‘loader’, now I could do some serious damage with that Smile

 

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We managed to catch the 10:25 back to Raasay, the ferry being full of workmen and equipment trying to restore some of Raasay’s infrastructure back to normality.

However, despite getting such an early ferry back to Raasay we never got home until heading up for 13:00. Whereupon I got on with lowering the Proven and wifey stated spreading stones! The sun was out and it was great to see the solar hot water system working well. I’ve never actually visualized it working, I know it does cos you can look back through its memory but it’s always been when I’ve been at work. Well today the panels were at 57 degrees and the water circulating nicely. All ‘well and good’ since the wind turbine was out of action.

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That green LED is indicating that the circulating pump is working, the figures on the right relate to the sensor temperatures. S1 is at the panels (well tubes actually) S2 is the bottom of the store and S3 around two thirds the way up it. It’s all a bit ‘work in progress’ at the moment but when S1 is 5 degrees higher than S2 the pump on the left starts and this transfers solar heat via a coil into the store. If S2 reaches 80 degrees then the second pump starts up and circulates the internal store water around the tank to ‘de stratify’ it and cool it down.

The Proven turbine stator

As soon as I could, I set about lowering the wind turbine to asses Henry’s damage.

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Starting with removing the rear flange bolts to enable the fitting of the ‘gin pole’. That done I took down a section of the fence to allow the Tirfor winch wire to clear it. The fence has been designed with this in mind so it’s an easy task involving a few screws and a section of security fence.

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Once down I removed the covers and blades, removing the blades allows the weight of the alternator to swing it through 180 degrees so it sits nearer the ground and is thus much easier to work on. Early days yet as ‘light stopped play’ but it’s looking like the stator is toast Sad smile

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