Life at the end of the road

July 8, 2018

A day of ‘many hats’ :-)

Almost 21:00 and that’s me just finished the third plate of herring pasta https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/17943/mediterraneanstyle-herring-linguine which was basically that recipe but with spaghetti.

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Can’t say that I’ve ever made it but I certainly enjoy eating it, this is one of ‘darling wife’s’ specialities and was the perfect end to a perfect day. A busy day right enough and one with a good variety of tasks, the first of which was to finish off servicing the neighbours wind turbine.

Once upon a time I’d have done this job in half a day but I’ve slowed down a lot these last couple of years and these days I spend half my time looking for things I’ve just put down! Then there are all the times I have to go back to my workshop to collect stuff I’ve forgot. Still, I got there in the end. Even though I’d done all the ‘donkey work’ on Thursday and only had to clean up the slip rings, fit a new brake rope, replace two sheared bolts and raise the turbine, it still took me all morning. And that was with one of my neighbours helping!!

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The turbine has been running without a brake now for well over a year and has safely seen off several storms with 100mph plus winds. The brake is only really used when lowering the turbine or if it shed a blade or spring or something that made it become unbalanced. The brake could then be applied to prevent further damage. Having said that the Proven/Kingspan turbines are one of the very few that actually have a mechanical brake that can actually stop a turbine in a storm and keep it stopped. Most others have an electrical brake that sorts out the alternator phases, less than ideal and not guaranteed to work. You cannot stop a fast spinning turbine with an electrical brake and if the turbine is stopped and the wind strong enough it will overcome the brake, overheat and melt the core or windings. I speak from experience Sad smile

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This will be what was left of my Cheap and cheerful Chinese jobby when it was braked in a storm Sad smile

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7:00am now, got distracted last night by a bottle of Dalwhinnie ‘Winters Gold’

Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold Bottling Note

Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold is a 2015 addition to the Highland distillery’s range inspired by the chilly climate up in the remote part of Scotland where their single malt Scotch whisky is distilled – as the label remarks, it was "Crafted by the Cold". It’s made only with spirit that has been distilled between October and March, and interestingly enough, they suggest that you try serving this expression frozen!

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Oak spice, pear skins, golden syrup and gristy malt. A touch of peach polish and chewy, sticky toffee. From the freezer it’s fruitier, more green apple, apple sauce, toffee apple, sultana, even redcurrant.

Palate: Very honeyed with warming peppery spices, Big Red cinnamon. From the freezer the honey is kept in check much more, as are the spices. Plenty of apple flesh and orange peel.

Finish: Allspice, nutmeg and smoky malt. From the freezer the finish is more about the spicy cinnamon and peppercorn heat that’s found on the palate at room temperature.

Overall: An assertive, spicy, honeyed Dalwhinnie with enough sweetness and character to be served straight from the freezer (as intended).

I dunno about all that but it was smooth and nice with just a couple of drops of Arnish water in it. I just don’t get all this guff they talk about whisky, wine and football. There seems to be a whole industry that specialize in carp. I’m sure the Dalwhinnie does all of the above but there’s never any mention by the Scotch aficionados about the chlorine taste of tap water Smile I guess you just get used to it, me I think it ruins a good cup of tea or malt.

The Proven Brake

Anyway, back to the wind turbine brake, first thing we had to do was feed the new rope down the tower and for the replacement I chose a heavy braided twine, like the stuff used in a trawl net. One of the problems with the brake rope is that it has a regular ‘lay’(twist) of three strands wound ‘with the sun’ clockwise or righthanded. Braided or multiplat rope has the strands wound and laid in both directions so is much less prone to kinks and twists. Feeding the new rope down the 7m long pole proved a bit of a challenge as it has to go through a 12mm hole in the top of the ‘slip ring’ mounting. This we managed to do using a length of wire rope, pushing it downwards through the slip rings then taping the green twine to it and pulling from the bottom. The twine is then attached to the brake lever at the top of the mast but it must be run through a length of bungee cord or even spring to keep it clear of the shaft when not in use. To operate the brake you wind the cord around the actuation lever at the bottom of the tower then pull the lever downwards. When the brake is released the cord must be removed from the lever and left to hang loose so as not to get twisted. Even so, it generally does Sad smile

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After refitting and sealing the cowlings and checking all the blade bolts (one had snapped and was replaced) the turbine was raised, bolted back down with new M20 bolts and the gin pole removed, job done Smile

They don’t make them like this anymore

The dry spell may just have ended last night with what must have been overnight rain judging by the puddles and wet grass but I doubt it will have done much to replenish the depleted water tanks next door. We were always a little conscious of being economical with water at times like this when we lived at ‘Number 3’ but now there are far more people staying there as Maya and Nikky have the house on Airbnb   https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/8188794 so need far more water than we ever did. Consequently they’ve been pumping ‘Scottish Water’s’ finest from IBC’s into their storage tanks.

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I had a dedicated pump just for doing this that has all the hall marks of something World War II. I can’t even remember where it came from or who gave me but the little 170W Stuart Turner pump just keeps on going. Having said that it required a little attention yesterday but I soon sorted that with some grease and WD40 Smile 

Panasonic NA-127VB5 washing machine

That sorted I donned my ‘domestic appliance’ engineers hat to try and sort out the washing machine. I gotta say this Panasonic machine has been trouble since day one and I’d never have another. It failed within a few days of getting it home and fair play to Panasonic they offered me a new one. Me being a fool said “ I don’t want a new one, I just want this one fixing”. It is such a PITA getting a washing machine up to Arnish that I couldn’t be bothered taking it back. Anyway an engineer came out and initially blamed it on our DIY electricity, this I told him in no uncertain terms was mince as our electricity is far more stable and reliable than the National Grid and that’s a fact. He then blamed it on my DIY plumbing. At this time the washing machine was in the shed as we were living in the caravan and to be fair to him, the drain was a bit high (or was it low). Anyway, he did some adjustments on the door catch and for the next few months it was fine. Once in the house it failed again and another engineer came out. Can’t remember what the problem was this time but it was OK for a year or two bar the odd error code relating to water pressure (despite us having almost 3bar). Recently it has started stopping mid cycle cos the machine thinks the door is open and the only cure is to restart the cycle and or sit there with your hand pressed on the door till it finishes Sad smile 

This was obviously a switch or adjustment fault so I pulled out the machine and had a look at the switch and catch.

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They both seemed fine so I carefully elongated the holes that retain the switch so it would allow the door catch to press the switch deeper so to speak. Well that seemed to work a treat as we have now done three full wash cycles without any problems.

If I didnae have a Landy it would be one of these

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Next it was the mechanics hat again to have a look at the trusty Nissan Patrol of next door’s  that had a broken catalytic converter. I gotta say, if I didn’t have a Land Rover then I’d probably have one of these, the Nissan Patrol is truly ‘built like a tank’. The catalytic converter had broken off at the bottom weld.

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It was a clean break and resting on the front anti roll bar so I reckoned that if I could remove the front track rod then I’d at least be able to get half of it welded.

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Typically on a 12 year old truck, the track rod end split pins were rusted in and had to be drilled out but that was soon done and the the track rod swung out of they way.

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This enabled me to get a good few dollops of ‘pigeon sh1t’ welding on at least half of it. I could ‘blame my tools’ and tell you the rods were damp (which they were) but the truth is my welding is dubious at the best of times Sad smile

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Once welded I made up a bracket to hold the pipe more rigidly then if it does snap then at least the pipe will stay in the cat and be perfectly serviceable until a new cat can be fitted (but not by me Smile)

Painters hat next

That done it was the time and weather to get on with painting an creosoting the hen shed. I had made a start on this on Friday night when I came back from Inverness. That was after I called in at the Raasay stores for some milk and caught up with my pal Peter

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who was also on small single seat transport Smile

It was a perfect evening for painting with just enough breeze to keep the midge away and reduce the temperature to comfortable levels as I had to swap the shorts and T shirt for dark blue overalls.

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The hens retiring to a ‘dangerous area’ whilst I got on with the job.

Well, I got most of it done

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and should now go and finish off.

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July 6, 2018

On the move :-)

Apologies in advance for any errors in grammar or  spelling cos I’m ‘on the move’ being chauffeured to ‘snecky (Inverness) for an eye appointment. So between the bumps in the road an me cloudy left eye this may go a little pear shaped.

I did set myself the goal of actually posting something yesterday but the day ended up being much longer than expected and it was a case of in, shower, bed Smile 

The plan for the day was to service my old wind turbine next door for the neighbours in me old house. It’s been on the ‘to do’ list since May but I just keep getting distracted, nothing fresh there then. The Proven/Kingspan and now SD Energy   turbine has been working away for some 13 years now with little more than routine maintenance. Sure it’s broken a few springs and worn out a couple of sets of yaw rollers but I’ve always managed to scrounge, repair or botch it without actually spending a great deal of money on it.

From a recent email :- SD Green Energy of Tokyo, Japan are pleased to announce the acquisition of the wind turbine product range from Kingspan. SD Green Energy have established a new division called SD Wind Energy Ltd and will expand its team immediately with the addition of the staff and manufacturing capabilities of the site in Stewarton, Scotland.  This will also be supported by an existing international sales team based in Asia.

 

With all this dry weather I’d have been stupid to put it off any longer for the access to it is now good and hard. Normally it’s bit boggy which means I have to use the quad and a dubious anchor point for lowering it. When conditions are ideal like this then I can use the Land Rover and winch or Calum the digger. As the ‘Old Girl’ is still away having a new galvanized chassis, bulkhead and B posts it was down to Calum the Kubota.

Servicing a Proven wind turbine

First task was to fuel up, grease up, load up then track up to the site.

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After carefully positioning the digger in line with the axis of the turbine I fitted the ‘gin pole’ to the mast in preparation for lowering.

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The Tirfor winch was then attached to the digger and the wire slack just taken up prior to removing the base bolts, one of which had snapped!!! That must have been a helluva wind to snap an M20 high tensile bolt!

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Once the base bolts are removed on a 2.5/3.2kW Proven on 6m mast it’s possible to just tip it a few degrees manually before lowering with the Tirfor. On larger versions you need to jack them up a few inches with a hydraulic jack first. Normally you would do this with the brake on but replacing the brake rope was one of the jobs that needed doing. This was in part one of the reasons for it taking me so long to getting around to doing the job, it needed a very calm day.

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The mast is lowered onto a rest, an oil drum in this case but care is needed to ensure it doesn’t slide on the tapered mast. I usually put a tyre or some soft wood between them and just keep the winch wire fairly tight. A proper steel trestle like I use for my own would be far safer but it’s not very portable Sad smile

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The ‘wee dug’ supervised as I removed the springs Smile

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It’s the furling springs and their mounting hardware that generally require the most attention on these normally very durable turbines. Over the years these have undergone many modifications and improvements. Initially only two springs were fitted, then three, then the mounting yolks were changed from pressed steel tp cast steel and the mounting bolts upgraded from M8 to M10.

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Whilst very simple in principle there are actually a lot of components so it’s important to take note of where they go. This is a version with the pressed steel yolks and at this age I’d be tempted just to upgrade to a complete new spring set with the later yolks and bigger bolts. However, for now I just overhauled it as I had a few spare yolks.

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Check for wear in the bolts, washers and bushes, new nylon washers can be got from RS online or eBay from memory the washers are 1” x 1/2” x 1/82 or 25mm x 13mm x 3mm but do check, I’m driving past Cluanie Dam now with no Internet Sad smile  More info here http://scoraigwind.co.uk/2012/03/servicing-the-6kw-proven-on-scoraig/ The bolts are M10 x 110 and the bushes are made from 12mm air line with a 1mm wall thickness which can be had off eBay or any commercial vehicle factors (it’s the same as lorry air brake pipe and you just cut it with a Stanley knife.

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It was a great opportunity to try out the impact wrench that the new smiley postie delivered.

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That ‘little job’ took me all afternoon, more because I kept getting distracted than anything else, and with wifey working a late shift at the Raasay Distillery I was glad of my son making dinner.

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Welsh Rarebit pork chop https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2215/rarebit-pork-chops I was most impressed Smile Even had a fine view out of the window as the cruise ship MV Prinsendam glided by

After dinner I went round to the turbine and did an hours work replacing the springs, greasing the bearings and inspecting the slip rings.

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Needing some 7.5mm x 370mm tie wraps and some silicone sealer I left the turbine head itself and went to remove the broken bolt from the base.

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The M20 x 60 bolt came out quite easily really, just drilled a 4mm hole through it and used an ‘Eaziout’.

https://www.stationaryengineparts.com/eazi-out-set-814-0.html

These hardened steel bits are excellent at removing broken studs, they are kinda like a left hand threaded tapered tap. You drill a hole in the middle of the broken stud/bolt then insert the tool screwing it anticlockwise, as the tool bites it extracts the broken stud. However much care is needed when using them cos if they break they’re virtually impossible to drill out Sad smile A couple of things to watch, do not use one that is too big or it will expand the stud making it more difficult to remove. Do not use one too small or you may break it and these are no use for removing bolts that have snapped due to being seized insitu. Chances are if the stud was so tight that it sheared the head off a bolt, then it WILL break your Eaziout.

130 years ago

Came across this on Facecloth yesterday.

1885

https://www.facebook.com/groups/141561509698818/permalink/405217239999909/

It’s a picture taken up at Arnish in 1885 by an unknown photographer so well out of copyright but copies can be had from Raasay Heritage trust http://www.angelfire.com/il2/raasayheritagetrust/ .

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So, here it is today, can’t get the exact spot due to the trees,

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Looking at the same spot from up on the hill.

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