Life at the end of the road

December 1, 2021

The Aurora curve :-)

Well, it was a complete surprise to get up this morning and find out it was December Surprised smile So “rabbits, rabbits, rabbits”, apparently your supposed to say that at the beginning of every new month though I’ve no idea why and I feel too vague to ask Mr Google. Must be ‘loosing the plot’ cos I’ve been saying that rhyme “30 days has September, April, June and the other one” for days now. Hmmm, is this what dementia starts of as Surprised smile It wasn’t until I took my BP this morning and updated my Excel spreadsheet that I realised I’d been ambushed by the Christmas month. Feck me, does this mean I’m gonna be subjected to a barrage of festive tunes on Radio 2 from now on. Living where I do I haven’t actually come across much of the usual supermarket’s early festive mince. That’ll be mince as in nonsense not mince as in mince pies in Christmas boxes that have a ‘sell by’ date of early December Smile 

Well at least “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are out the way, two more American imports that belong in the bin along with the Chinese Halloween crap that arrive by the container load every year. Only to clog up the shopping isles and be deposited in a landfill a week later Smile Probably what half of the containers aboard the MV Ever Given https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ever_Given were full of when it clogged up up the Suez Canal in March. I wonder how long it’ll be before we’re all eating our Thanksgiving turkeys Smile

Now my morning rant is out of the way and my BP has returned to normal I’ll move on

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leaving the other occupants of the house to arise at a sane time Smile

Tuesday

After feeding the herd Bonzo and I let Molly into the Land Rover and went for a short walk to release some of his boundless energy

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As you can see it was pretty grey and uninspiring

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A small stag being the only thing of note we saw as we just followed the road round to Number 2 and returned back to Sonas the same way. My plan for the day being to try and alter the settings on my smaller wind turbine that was now charging my ‘back up’ system in the bunker. This ‘back up’ system is a bit of a luxury and only came about cos I happened to acquire most of it’s components FOC or very cheaply. The battery bank coming from my old house, the Inverter off eBlag , the solar panels and wind turbine being surplus from other projects of mine. Sure it’s a PITA at times as the batteries need constant topping up but the other day it proved it’s worth when I had a power cut on my main system at 4:30 in the morning. Like many others in the UK it was storm Arwen related, a switch having burned out due to the very high and sustained winds. The switch wasn’t rated for the constant current, burnt out and caused a short that tripped the power. Sure I sorted it out after a few hours tinkering but meanwhile I was using the back up system for the first time in the six or seven years since I fitted it.

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Buoyed up by it’s success I’d decided to make more use of it by utilizing it to run a dehumidifier in the bunker which houses an air source heat pump that runs my Under Floor Heating. As I use the bunker as a drying room, keep a large freezer in there and lots of other junk/stuff I figured that some extra heat generated by having a dehumidifier running would be no bad thing. It being noticeably cooler when the air source heat pump is running as it extracts heat out of the atmosphere.

So when I sorted out the short circuited switch the other day I’d connected my 3.2kW Proven wind turbine up via the AC side of the Outback inverter to keep the batteries charged. They are normally just kept topped up by 500W of solar on the roof. However this provides very little in the way of spare power during the winter. AC coupling the Proven turbine would remedy this, the only problem being that the turbine was too powerful being rated at 3.2kW and producing over 4kW in a gale. Sure the system worked  but as soon as the turbine started producing over 3kW the inverter disconnected it. This in itself was no surprise but after a few seconds it tried reconnecting repeatedly and I figured that this would be undesirable.

Aurora Installer software

My plan was to modify the wind turbine’s inverter to limit it’s output to around 2500W something I have not done in over five years and even then was never that confident in operating the software. Added to that the software and drivers were not installed on my laptop and I would need to relearn it all over again Sad smile

Hence all the links and mince in the text for future reference Smile sorry  https://www.voltsys.com/software/ provide me with both and I eventually managed to install both.

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Retiring to the ‘Power Station’ with the laptop all I had to do then was find the USB/RS485 adaptor that I’d put somewhere ‘safe’ five years ago Sad smile

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Eventually I found it complete with a dollop of bird 5h1t that had corroded the plug somewhat, luckily it did still work.

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All I had to do now was figure out why the feck I’d cut the three wires five years ago without marking which three terminals the went to on the adaptor board Surprised smile Luckily they are marked positive, negative and ground so I reckoned that they’d be red, black and green respectively. Well that worked Smile and I soon had the software communicating and a table up on my laptop.

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The parameters are altered by selecting edit then double clicking on the value you want to alter and highlighting it. Once your happy with it you just save it and upload the new table.

Forgot to mention the ‘Installer Password’ for the Aurora Installer software. You need this to make any adjustments and it’s

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05591. To make adjustments to the grid settings you need a password that is unique to your own inverter. That you will have to get from an ABB Power One dealer, so good luck with that as I think they’ve been taken over by someone else and no longer make dedicated wind inverters. Luckily I got mine from Solacity https://www.solacity.com/ some time ago.

The afternoon was taken up by a long walk with Bonzo to the lochs at Brochel

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disturbing a couple of Hinds on the way there

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and a couple of stags on the way back.

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The smaller of the two Loch Beag  with the island of Fladda in the distance.

Kawasaki Mule SX oil change

Once back home I gave the Mule a good pressure washing, repaired a mud flap and gave it an oil change.

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Which for those who are interested too just over two quarts which to the rest of the world is almost 2lts of a 10W-40 synthetic oil. Gone are the days when I could buy q 200lt barrel of BP Vanellus C3 from the local oil depot and it would be suitable for every machine I owned from lawn mower to Land Rover, Lister, compressor, car and quad. Now I need a different grade, type and allegedly brand of the stuff for every machine I posses or service. I despair Smile

November 25, 2021

Free at last :-)

Gee, it feels wintery today but that’s relative to the weather so far. Sure enough, the first dusting has finally arrived on the Storr

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but it is late November https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/IKYLE21 and the temperature has stayed above 4 degrees all day. That being the case I didn’t actually venture outdoors until 8:00AM being put off by the seemingly never ending grey dawn that refused to let the weak wintery sun through it’s funeral veil. Eventually I did manage to summon up the enthusiasm for the ‘great outdoors’. No doubt encouraged by two desperate wee dugs, Molly for the back of the Land Rover and Bonzo to steal the pigs breakfast. For today I’d decided it was time to put them out on the hill.

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Marmalade, Jiffy and Spotty wasted no time in exercising their ‘right to roam’ on the hill and Bonzo was soon competing for the crumbs Smile

Routine Maintenance

After our customary walk disturbing a few deer along the way I figured it was time to do some of the routine jobs that keep the lights burning at Sonas. Whilst it is greatly satisfying to be energy independent, not having utility bills or power cuts it does come at a price. Whilst my power supply comes from many sources, wind, hydro, solar and Mr Lister the generator they all need some kind of regular maintenance. The solar rarely, the hydro occasionally, the wind annually, the genny every 500 hours (around 3 or 4 years) and the batteries monthly at least. In fact my biggest single regular expense is deionized water, using around 25litres every two months. Sure I could cut that by making my own when I have excess power but to be honest is it really worth the effort. At one time I used to use rain water collected in a large oil tank I’d cut in half but I stopped that some years ago after accidentally knocking over a clear 25lt drum of deionized water one very cold morning some years ago. The drum which had been sitting outside during a particularly cold spell was completely liquid and the moment I kicked it over it froze solid in an instant before my eyes. The entire drum of once water becoming solid ice in a fraction of a second Surprised smile Of course I was flabbergasted so rushed indoors to ask Mr Google and Mrs YouTube, apparently it’s cos the water has no impurities in it and it needs a knock to get the ice going. Whatever, after that I figured deionized water was the real deal Smile

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Firstly doing the main bank for the house

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followed by the spare one in the Bunker. This being a completely spare system independent from the main house supply with its own inverter and solar panels. Sure in the years I’ve lived here I’ve never actually needed it but it’s my ‘lifeboat’ in the unlikely event of something major failing in my regular power supply. It can be brought instantly online by throwing a switch that changes supplies.

Image 2 - CO125PI 125A CHANGEOVER SWITCH GENERATOR TRANSFER INDICATOR SINGLE PHASE

Like the generator transfer switch above it allows switching instantly between the grid and generator (system 1 and system 2) without having to reset all the clocks and timers in the house.

With all my batteries topped up and yet another 25lt container emptied I turned my attention to the HR2 Lister generator that was needing the air filter cleaned.

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It’s an oil bath type filter and I’d noticed when lagging my exhaust that there were lots of glass strands floating about afterwards so I reckoned a good clean and oil change would do it good. Then I turned my attention to the exhaust pipe outside, putting an extension on it so it wouldn’t dirty the window of the shed. How sad am I Sad smile

Low boost pressure

Next job was to fit a new intercooler to the ‘Old Girl’ as my boost pressure wasn’t anywhere as good as it used to be, barely reaching 6psi when it should be around double that. Having done all the normal things like hoses, clips, checked the exhaust and inlet manifold gasket I figured it was something to do with my intercooler, possibly gummed up with years of lying at Tayside Land Rover  https://taysidelandrovers.com/. I had to go down to the village so figured I’d fit the intercooler before altering the fuel pump just to see what it was like before doing any mods. The intercooler was an uprated Alisport one that fits in the same place as the old one https://www.allisport.com/shop/performance-products/intercoolers/allisport-200tdi-uprated-intercooler/ .

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It being a very straight forward job to replace without any need to remove or drain the coolant.

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It was just a matter of removing the four top bolts off the radiator/cooler mount and undoing the hoses. The entire cooler then just lifts out and the new one fits in the same place, simples and yes my boost has returned Smile Now I just have to decide whether or not to tweak the pump, probably will do just to see what happens Smile

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Jiffy and Spotty out on the hill, Bonzo checking them out from the other side of the fence.

Anyway, it’s after 21:00 now and past my bedtime so I’ll fill you in with the rest of the day’s doings tomorrow at ‘stupid o clock’ Smile There’s a big blow on the way, the wind already freshening and veering north westerly.

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