Life at the end of the road

March 2, 2019

Spring hey :-)

Can’t say as it feels much like spring today right enough but yesterday, the first day of it, was a cracker despite the forecast. XC said it was gonna be OK in the morning but gradually deteriorating in the afternoon with rain arriving and staying by 20:00. As it turned out, it was a great day and the rain arrived at 19:50 Smile Not only was it a good day but it was manic even by the yardstick of when I was in my thirties and not sixties. By my standards of the last ten years it was probably record breaking Smile 

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First off I managed to finish the gable end of ‘Callum’s shed’ and get the flashing on the roof. Then I wasted the best part of half an hour trying to get the Subaru onto the vehicle lift. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t cos me workshop was full of quads, a lighting tower and of course the Range Rover. However, having purchased a 2T single post vehicle lift last year for the sole purpose of stopping me crawling under jacked up cars I was gonna have a darn good try.

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I even went as far as jacking up the Subaru to try and move it onto the lift before giving up. I could have done it right enough by moving the lift sideways with tyre levers or something but ‘time was marching on’, it was 10:00am and I had to be down at the ferry terminal for around 11:00. Common sense got the better of me and I did what I should have done in the first place and just jacked her up at the front and placed axle stands under her. All I wanted to do was look at the CV joint and possibly order one up before the weekend.

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The CV joint boot had come off so I planned to clean it up, repack the joint with graphite grease and replace it with a new clip. However, as I rotated the wheel on ‘full lock’ so as to clean the joint I saw the ball cage was broken Sad smile Ah well ‘that’ll be that then’ and straight on the phone to buy another. Just as well really cos I had to get me finger out, gather me diving gear and go ‘see a man about a dog’ Smile

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OK, go and look for some lost moorings and check one for a Mate. Not that I’d been asked to do either of these tasks, just that I offered the next time I was in the area looking for dinner Smile Said lost mooring were close by where the MV Speedwell’s mooring was so we tied up to that and I went ‘a hunting’

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and landed right on top of a good sized scallop. It’s not until I see this picture that I realize how hard they are to spot to the ‘untrained eye’. It’s no wonder that when I do dive with other people that don’t fish scallops for a living, they swim over loads and miss them.

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Whilst I was using the mooring as a reference spot I did the decent thing and checked it, all the anchors were ‘dug in’ and shackles well wired so Speedwell would be quite safe.

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After a short swim I found the two missing risers, both of which had come undone at the surface, with one of them still having the pin in it!

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Then it was back to the surface a full 4m above me to collect two marker buoys to attach to the riser chains, that could be done by my companion in the RIB at his leisure on the surface. Me, I had a shed and car to fix Smile

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The MV Loch Bhrusda arrived on Thursday afternoon and had picked up the service from Hallaig on Friday morning. Hallaig having departed for Lochaline at first light or there about.

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Speedwell finally fishing and loaded with crab gear.

Feeling pretty chuffed with the morning’s effort I headed home for a rather unusual lunch. ‘The’ scallop fried with bacon, harissa and kidney beans, awesome, I kid you not Smile

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Not ‘in the plan’ Smile

After lunch it was back to the shed and the guttering,

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using my diving reel as a marker for the gutter brackets which need mounted with a slight fall in them so the water does not collect. Once I’d got the line really taught between two screws, (one at each end) I put in screws at each spot I’d be fitting a bracket.

Just as I was getting nicely ‘stuck in’ to this job my neighbour turned up with a wind turbine problem Sad smile Their Proven 2.5kW turbine had broken a spring!!! She was just after advice how to brake it but I reckoned we needed to sort it ASAP. The weather was going to break that night and the dry spell would come to a spectacular end. Better to get it lowered and fixed right away and back up in the air working during the gales rather than lying on the ground and using the Lister generator.

Proven/Kingspan spring repair

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I installed this WT2500 Proven in 2005 so it’s done 14 years service with just routine maintenance and a few springs, luckily I have plenty of spares Smile After taking the Tirfor and tools up there on the quad

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we set up the ‘gin pole’ and lowered to a working height using an oil drum and wooden block as a support.

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I then replaced the broken spring with one from my ‘stock’ using an old bolt to slide through the many bushes and washers as I drew the retaining bolt out. This greatly speeds up the task and ensures you do not loose anything. To be honest I should have removed all three spring sets, inspected all the bushes and washers and replaced as required but it was early evening and the weather was set to get wet and windy. I figured the sane thing to do was to get it back together and back up ASAP.

Sure enough, by 18:30 she was back up and generating, I called it a day, had a good hot shower and ‘binge watched’ three hours of Shetland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shetland_(TV_series) . I love the islands having spent time diving there in the eighties and wifey went to the same school as Douglas Henshall Smile Not that those are particularly good reasons to watch anything but I enjoy it anyway Smile

Saturday

I gotta say I was severely surprised when I let the dugs out this morning and it was dry outside!!! sure it was windy but at least I could get on with the guttering on ‘Callum’s shed’, which is exactly what I did.

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I got all my ‘stand offs’ on, nicely lined up and screwed in just before the rain started, getting only slightly wet as I fitted the drain pipe. And that was despite a visit by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom I invited in for tea on the condition they didn’t try and convert me Smile Seriously, Arnish would not be the same without the occasional Watchtower through the letterbox Smile I don’t have much time for the Abrahamic religions   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions who basically all think that their way of worshipping the same God is the right one and to Hell with everyone else. However I do admire these folk, who ‘come rain or shine’ visit this bastion of Presbyterianism with a smile on their face and not the slightest hint of ‘fire and brimstone’ knowing full well they’ll have little or no sympathy Smile As my own ‘Prophet’ of choice, Khalil Gibran https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahlil_Gibran said “Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking” Smile

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Before long it was pure pishing down with a howling gale as accompaniment, perfect weather for testing out the shed and I was well impressed. The gaps in the boards break up the wind but allow it to pass through keeping the shed well aired but not too draughty even in the gale. It is perfectly dry apart from the floor but even that could be sorted if I wanted as the slab is on a slope. So, if I did something at the eastern end like a gutter at the base of the boards or a ridge in the floor to shed the water to the edge, then I could keep the floor dry. To be  honest though I don’t see this as a problem, it’s prime function is to keep the Searider in and hang diving gear and washing to dry. Such was the rain that the frogspawn I’d spotted yesterday,

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had been washed 25m from behind the barn to under the large wind turbine.

Even in the ‘teeth of a gale’ with all the rain it was still possible to get the neighbours tank half in and crawl underneath to work on the transmission brake and anti-roll bar.

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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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