Life at the end of the road

February 21, 2019

Back to the shed :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:45 pm

OK, it’s not actually a shed more of a ground mount PV array that I can park the Searider under to keep the sun and weather off it. Sort of a car port on steroids I guess, whatever you call it, it’s certainly gonna be man enough to stand up to the West Coast weather that’s for sure. Callum Findlay, sole proprietor of the Raasay Sawmill and shed designer/builder extraordinaire has seen to that. Me, I’m just the apprentice in this project Smile I guess it’s been three weeks since we got the sturdy frame up and in the intervening period I’ve gotten 12 x Trina 300W solar panels and all the mounting hardware to go on the roof whilst Callum was busy cutting rafters, purlins and boards for the roof and sides.

  Pigs and Listers

Anyway, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, the shed was today, it was pigs and a Lister yesterday, oh and rain, lots and lots of rain. A friend had needed help removing his pigs from a croft they were busy rotovating and myself and A, N, Other had offered to help.

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First thing I had to do though was remove the 12 solar panels from the trailer, easier said than done in a gale of south wind on your own Smile

That done, the trailer sides and roof fitted we set off south to try and get the two beauties into the trailer.

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The girls were not impressed and to cut a long story short my neighbour went for a mud bath, we all got very wet and the two pigs, as far as I know are still charging about the field Smile

After all that excitement I found myself a nice leisurely job on Harry, my trusty Lister HR2 15kVA generator. Truth is, Harry is much larger than we need, a 7 or 8kVA would suffice, but he was dirt cheap and had only done 50 hours running when I bought him despite being 20 years old then. He is over 40 years old now and has still only done 3300 hours so still a ‘spring chicken’ in Lister terms.

Lister fuel solenoid

If I’m honest the fuel solenoid stopped working properly over a year ago which effectively meant that Harry wouldn’t start unless you helped him. Sure he would stop fine but the fuel solenoid needed help to energise. This was never really too much of a problem as the generator doesn’t run much and we have a meter in the kitchen that tells us if the batteries are low.


Anyway, I thought it was about time I fixed it, especially with me going away next shift for a couple of weeks. The Hallaig will be covering for Lochinvar again at Lochaline so we may have house/dog sitters in. The solenoid is just an electro magnet that once energized lifts up a lever on the fuel pump allowing the fuel to flow to the injectors. It was working but needed a little help to operate.

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The return spring seemed to be too strong for a start so I replaced that for a weaker one as it looked like it had snapped at some point and been shortened. I do have a vague memory of doing this but the main issue seemed to be that the plunger wasn’t in line with the operating lever so it was binding as it travelled upwards. Not sure how this could have happened but a little adjustment with a 5/16” and 7/16” spanner plus some WD40 soon sorted it.


Plunger off.


Solenoid energised and fuel on Smile

The shed

Today was a vast improvement on yesterday weather wise, OK, it wasn’t absolutely dry but near enough to not need oilskins and no where near as windy as forecast.

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Callum and Jay arrived around 9:30, just in time for ‘second breakfast’ of eggs fried in nduja and a fresh pot of coffee. Sure the muesli and banana I’d had for breakfast number one had been healthier but home grown eggs, pork fat and chili beats the carp out of it for ‘hitting the spot’ Smile

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Callum had pre cut the rafters and purlins and just like the rest of the construction they fitted perfectly.

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I concentrated on fitting the rafters whilst Callum got on with the purlins.

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After 17:00 I ‘broke out’ the Magners Smile

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By 18:30 it was getting to dark to see the ‘bubble’


so I ‘called it a day’ Smile

January 2, 2018

If all goes to plan :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:12 pm

Well that’s it, 2018 is here and I’ve written down the date for the first time, not only that but I did it right, normally I’m well into the spring before it becomes 2nd nature. For the tenth ‘End of The Road’ Hogmanay it was quite civilized and chilled here at the ‘North End’, I’m sure it was pure kicking at the ‘boat shed bash’ but we chose the half mile quad trip over the ten mile drive that my son opted for.

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So he took the Subaru and we took the Honda Smile

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The Torran house was toasty and whilst it wasn’t the ‘full on sesh’ we last had here ten years ago


and there was no sword dancing with mops. It was great however great ‘craic’ up until 23:40 when we departed for home on the quad with a side of smoked salmon from the Wiz.


That’ll be the Wiz, second from the left, he’d grown quite a lot since that was taken at Port Arnish over 50 years ago Smile

Don’t think I ever got the Honda out of second gear and the normal 10 minute drive took almost double that. Still we made home for ‘The Bells’ despite not having a piece of coal Smile


Luckily ‘darling wife’ dissuaded me from driving down to the ‘boatshed bash’ and we all went to bed at a more sensible time than most folk. Methinks a good couple of hours and more before the normal time, even so when I awoke to this.

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I really wish I’d have not drunk quite so much cos,


Brothers point and the hills of Harris some 33 nautical miles away looked boodly amazing.

Harris hills

It would have been a perfect day for going out with my son to ‘bash some clams’ but he was on Skye and I was hungover Sad smile


Still I did do some prep work on the Avon Searider ready to launch her tomorrow if all goes well. The tubes got inflated, the brakes freed off, the fuel tanks filled with fresh fuel, engine run up and battery put on charge. It would have been nice to get out today but the weather was pure carp so I busied myself with some maintenance in the generator shed.

Battery care

Being as it’s probably the most expensive part of any ‘off grid’ system and the one that is most likely to let you down if not cared for properly I like to  look after my batteries.

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These are Rolls S540 cells are configured to give around 800Ah at 48V and I’m a little obsessed by them. Ideally I like to top them up every couple of weeks and check the specific gravity every month. Slap wrist here cos I’ve not done these since October, naughty me!!! Anyway’s, they were all in good health, well charged and balanced so I logged all the SG’s and topped them up with 12lts of deionized water. These Rolls batteries are seriously thirsty and do in fact require distilled water rather than deionized. However it proves impossible to get it delivered here, when I did phone up my supplier requesting distilled rather than deionized he told me that the water they supplied was both!! Personally methinks that that is a load of ‘dingo’s kidneys’ but ‘hey ho’ Smile

Lister HR2 stop solenoid

The other thing that was causing concern in the ‘Power Station’ (generator shed)


was Harry’s stop solenoid.

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This electromagnetic solenoid operates the fuel rack on the Lister HR2 and it had been needing a little help recently. When starting the generator to fill some diving cylinders recently I’d had to just use my finger to push the solenoid up. The fault turned out to be a loose connection which was easily sorted.

So that’s it really, my son has returned from Skye and with a bit of luck we’ll be ‘bashing’ the Royal Navy’s largest mine layer tomorrow Smile

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