Life at the end of the road

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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July 4, 2018

Another ‘off grid’ paradise :-)

Another fine day here in paradise, another fine day everywhere else by the look of it, and already people, myself included are looking back towards the ‘summer of 76’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_United_Kingdom_heat_wave I remember it well, tarmac melting, reservoirs empty and cruising the Yorkshire Dales in my 1962 MG Midget Smile It’s almost 8:30 though and I’m stuck in the house with a panty liner on my head!!!! I kid you not!!!!

Panty liner

Me scleritis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scleritis flared up again yesterday and I’m awaiting a lift to the Wednesday surgery on Raasay. It started around seven years ago when I got thwacked in the eye with a hawthorn bush and flared up every 12 months or so for the next couple of years. It’s been fine for the last two or three years so I’m puzzled by this sudden recurrence. Perhaps the intense hay fever I’ve had has brought it on, who knows, but I cannae see out of it now and it’s boodly sore. It is also not the first time I’ve used sanitary products as a temporary repair. Once used a Tampon to fix a cylinder head water leak on said MG Midget in the ‘Summer of 76’ Smile

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Mk1 Midget, notice no side windows or door handles!!! it was pretty basic!!! Was even more basic when the heater didn’t work cos it had a Tampax in the inlet valve right enough. Not that was ever a problem in the ‘Summer of 76’. Anyway, (as usual) I digress, it’s even hard work typing with one eye, I keep hitting the key to the left Sad smile

Tonight

Sorry, got distracted there, it’s now 21:00 and I ended up in Portree after seeing the Doc, she was quite worried and got me an appointment in Inverness on Friday. Meanwhile I have to stick steroid drops in me left eyeball every hour. Seems to be working OK cos I’ve no longer got a sanitary towel on my head and can almost see through the fog in my left eye Smile

Yesterday

I did fully intend some serious blogging yesterday but the day was long and it ended up a late one. First off it was out with wife and the dugs for a wee romp through the woods, half hoping to collect some chanterelles on the way. It’s been far too dry really and my eyesight isn’t just keen enough with this malady, which the doc informs me now post traumatic uveitis. Well that was a relief the other thing sounded pretty serious and I’ve not taken the time to ‘Google’ this one yet, probably never will truth be known, I’m a great believer in ‘ignorance is bliss’. Sure, if it was the Land Rover, car, boiler, inverter, wind turbine or a gazillion other mechanical objects I’d want a full report or post mortem. As for my body, I just want it to work and then get fixed when it goes into the surgery Smile 

As expected, it was pretty grim on the ‘shroom front but they went into the prawn stir fry anyway.

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Having lost my digger driver yesterday I took on the mantle of chief road builder myself.

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Burying a power cable before I built a track over it, something I should have done several years ago. This track is going through one (the main) hen run as it’s quite soft here during the winter and would be way too risky bringing a digger or dumper for much of the year. I did start it early on in the year right enough and yes it is possible to just keep ‘tipping and spreading’ to make the track as you. The problem with that is that you really need two diggers, one to load and one to spread.

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Doing it when the ground is hard means you can start at the far away end then dump your load going ‘back the way’, then just bring the digger up to spread all the ‘cow pats’ you’ve dumped.

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It would have benefitted from a few more loads had I been planning heavy traffic but it’s only really for walking and the quad.

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Having said that, I did widen the gate to just over 5’ so I can track the digger through if I want.

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At least now I can get the quad and trailer up to easily change the pigs bedding, move the ark and a whole heap of other stuff.

Today

Most of the day was spent in the Raasay surgery or in Portree on ‘eye business’. Portree was not as mobbed as expected and I managed to get home for 14:30.

MV Stardust II another ‘Wildcat 40’ https://www.skyeboat-trips.co.uk/boat-trips/our-boats just returning to Portree from Holoman Island on Raasay.

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I don’t recognize this one moored at Brochel but her passengers were very much enjoying the walk along Calum’s Road.

Once home and with my eyes almost working I got on with creosoting my extended gate.

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Fed the animals and then spent some quality time with the pigs.

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That hen is REALLY pushing her luck Smile

It was whilst I was painting the gate that the pigs came round for a play, I wish I’d have got pictures but it was a bit boisterous for that. Pigs really are great fun, we had a great game of me scratching them and they rolling over onto my legs. Seriously, if folk knew more about pigs they’d no be so keen on cheap bacon, pigs are far too sentient to be farmed industrially, they deserve respect Smile 

If I had to move, it would be here!

I had a surprise email from my good friend Jamie Robinson of Alternative Engineering http://www.alternativeengineering.co.uk/   the other day saying he was ‘selling up’ having been offered the ‘job to die for’ in Gloucester heading a team that repair old wooden boats. Not just yer regular 13’ clinker but the likes of HMS Victory and the RS Discovery. Jamie lives in what can only be described as one of the few locations that I’m envious of, the Knoydart Peninsula  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoydart

For the price of a broom cupboard in Knightsbridge or a semi Slough you could have all this!!!!!! https://www.galbraithgroup.com/property/inv180068-doune-knoydart-mallaig-ph41-4pl

Amongst Jamie’s many hats he’s an expert in renewables and I know from corresponding with himself and Hugh Piggott that this place is ‘fully sorted’. I could just see my own Avon Searider on that mooring were I not a slave to CalMac Smile

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