Life at the end of the road

September 1, 2020

I never seen that before :-O

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:23 am

It’s a grey start to September, my brief spell of being able to stay in bed came to an end at 5:40 this morning after two or three days of managing an extra couple of hours in my ‘pit’.

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I guess having been out to dinner and plied with red wine had helped on some of the previous occasions allied with bucket loads of pain killers on others. Monday had been a nice leisurely day, my first task being to wring Cocky’s neck for next Sunday lunch.


I then delivered him, along with two frozen thornback rays and half a dozen eggs to the restaurant next door Smile My Mate’s house, half a mile down the Torran path.


Having wobbled home the previous night after an excellent meal I thought I’d better return his Mule and walk back with wee dug hoping to collect some ‘shrooms on the way back. After a strong black coffee the like of which I’ve only ever sampled in Italy, that is so strong that you have to put so much sugar in it the spoon stands up and it leaves you ‘rattling’ Smile Post coffee and feeling like I was full of ‘Columbian Marching Powder’ I strode back home never seeing single mushroom.

In my brief absence Sonas had been awash with visitors, two of which remained along with three large batteries and a BMW motorcycle rear hub!


The Rolls series 530 6V batteries having been kindly loaned me by a friend, the hub in need of oxy acetylene and a press. The next couple of hours being taken up with the careful disassembly of the hub, a task that I’m quite certain would have been nigh on impossible without the ‘hot spanner’ and 12ton hydraulic press.

Too clever by half Sad smile

I gotta say that I’ve been more than pleased with the way my ‘all electric’ and completely ‘off grid’ house turned out, after all I amassed years worth of data on energy production, poured hours of research and decades of experience into it The house runs autonomously with steadier and more reliable power than the National Grid and I don’t get any bills Smile I’m a little disappointed that my Rolls battery bank has only lasted six or seven years with 3 of the 16 batteries being decidedly ‘feckered’. However it is only the Teutonic logic of my SMA inverter that makes this an issue. An older type of inverter would work just fine with a few dodgy batteries, sure the generator would probably run more often but at least I wouldn’t have any blackouts at 4:00AM. Older inverters make all their decisions on how to charge batteries and start the generator on algorithms based on time and voltage. The SMA SI series of ‘off grid’ inverters and probably all modern inverter chargers use the SOC (state of charge) as their basis for such decisions, which on the face of it is far, far better. Unfortunately these algorithms only hold true if all the batteries are exactly in the same state, any mismatch between individual cells or modules makes the inverter make erroneous commands. Sure the inverter can take some of this into account and every now and then does what it calls an ‘automatic 20% reset’. The trouble is, this is usually at a time when not even I am awake and sometimes the generator will not start quickly enough and the house blacks out. This in itself is no big deal if I’m home, a simple case of pressing a button or two. My only concern being were it to happen when I was away and had a house/pig sitter in residence. Being a bit of an ‘anorak’ in the battery department I’ve always checked and logged my batteries regularly.

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So this has come as no surprise and I have managed to borrow a few batteries to see me by until I spend several £K on a new bank Sad smile I can’t say I’m not disappointed at only getting six or seven years out of this bank, I would expect ten years service at least, fifteen not being unreasonable. If the truth be known, I could find a ‘workaround’ by setting the inverter to do a daily or weekly ‘exercise start’ for an hour. Or even configure a ‘relay driver’ to trigger the genny but the problem is only going to get worse so methinks now is the time to ‘bite the bullet’ and get a new bank.

Meanwhile I’m charging up the three batteries Donnie loaned me to get them balanced with the rest of the bank. Then I just need a kind soul to lift the 53kg beasts in and out whilst I supervise Smile


Here’s a comparison between a good battery and one of the three duff ones. The system has 3kW of load on it with a good 6V battery still showing 6.2V whilst one of the duds is down to 3.8V. When ‘at rest’ (no charge or discharge) they are quite similar, it is only underload that the voltage ‘collapses’.

Well, it’s 8:15 now, the cloud is thick with a gentle breeze topping up the battery bank, unlike Sunday which was so breathless that XC weather showed no wind!

Flat calm

I’ve never seen that before, perhaps you do inland but not here 75m above sea level just a spit from the shore Surprised smile 

Guess it’s time for breakfast number one then a gentle stroll to look for ‘shrooms. I boiled Sunday’s chicken remains to make a stock for risotto tonight and it’ll be needing some chanterelles or ceps in it methinks.

October 25, 2019

That’s more like it :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:19 am

A busy old day at the rock moving yesterday had me in bed at 8:30 pure wacked after the previous night’s restless sleep. Apart from a phone call that drew me out of the depths of slumber around 21:00 and Molly wanting out at 3:00am, that was it, I slept like a log Smile Right through until 6:00am, so here I am on me first pot of coffee listening once more to the wind and rain. Which, judging by the sound must be coming from the west, my fourth weather station died some weeks ago so I cannae be more specific than that. I really must stop buying these Chinese ones and get a decent one this Christmas Smile


Despite that inauspicious start it turned into not a bad day here up at the North End. Sure, there were a few showers but with the extra water, wind that accompanied them and sun that interspersed them it was a record day for electricity production here.


72kWh for the day and that doesn’t include the big wind turbine which has not generation meter, being twice the size of the smaller Proven/Kingspan I guess it would have done around 40kWh. Excluding the 6kW Proven 100kWh is my best kinda day but they few and far between and usually on really stormy wet days. What was so good about yesterday was the good spread of energy production for the time of year. The solar hot water of 8kWh is really good as the tubes are in a far from ideal location, pretty soon they’ll be loosing the sun altogether and won’t do much until next spring.

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So, Molly and I spent most of the day hauling rock and dumping it on the track I’d made so I could haul more rock up the hill to bury my water pipe and redirect some water.

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Some fish farm ‘feed blower’ pipe being chopped up to allow me to cover a pipe in a drain.

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Larger diameter pipe would have been better but you just gotta make do with what you have hey.

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After some 20 or 30 tons it was time to go get Calum the Kubota and track him back along the road, a slow task that I did with leap frogging my last load in the dumper and walking the dug. The small Cannon Ixus 220 HS failing spectacularly to capture the lavender blue sky and amber rustling aspen.


That’s more like it Smile

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I gave up when it started getting dark by which time Calum was perched precariously close to edge of the burn and I wasn’t feeling too ‘lucky’ Smile I always find it better dealing with potential problems at the beginning of the day rather than the end Smile Common sense had me reverse outta there for tackling today. Though my first task today will be to head south and collect the 1000lts of red diesel that was finally delivered yesterday Smile

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