TEN YEARS AFTER Part 2

Hi, well here we are again with another little reminisce about how we started our journey towards  self sufficiency and eco living. The first part was all about getting the outer shell of the building up and weather proofing.

Once this was done, it was time to try and make it into a house before it could become a home. Basically first we needed running water instead of using buckets, and once there was a proper roof, it made things a lot easier to collect rain water that ran off and into a 1000 litre tank that was placed on blocks underneath the guttering. This gave us enough pressure to fill the toilet cistern and caravan sinks.

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GUESS WHO’S BACK…… BACK AGAIN !

Yes, after a break we’re back !!!!

One of the reasons we were away was simply that we had caught up with real time. As we’ve said before, we started this project coming up to 6 years ago so what you were reading was an accumulation of the past 5 years to show you that it’s possible to build an eco friendly living environment and still live a relatively normal life. Once this information was out we couldn’t see the point of just talking for the sake of it. We like to be informative not boring.

Anyway,the time has come and we have some new projects on the go and on the way.

First things first, we had a disaster the other week with our wind power (all sorted out now though !). It started over Christmas when the winds were so high that it broke the wind turbine. Well, the turbine has a safety mechanism that locks the blades open so that the wind blows straight through  to stop the dynamo burning out. And like this it stayed until a few weeks ago because I was too scared to bring it down ( it’s a big bloody thing and very heavy). So, I plucked up the courage, got the solar panels out of the way, the jeep into position, bull wire between the guy wires and jeep and lowered it down, no problem.

I put the blades back into position, gave the turbine a service and started to pull it back up by reversing the jeep. Half way up and SNAP !!!

The bull wire snapped and down the turbine came smashing into the ground. One of the blades had broken onto 3 pieces. My heart sank and E said my face was the same as an upset Stewie Griffin from Family Guy. This then turned into a full blown toddler temper tantrum. I had some very heavy words to say to the blinking thing and they were more colourful than a Jackson Pollock painting and just as big !

Then the despair set in, that’s half of our power down. But, after sitting for a few minutes stroking our dogs, I thought ‘Well. it’s not worked since Christmas anyway and we always had enough power with just the solar panels’.

One of the strange things though is that I never really thought the turbine gave out enough power, so I thought ‘Well, let’s see what I can do?’ So, I set about looking in my new shed ( you’ll see this in another blog ) and found some bits. I put lots of super glue on all of the different broken parts and hoped for the best, what else could I do ? To my surprise the glue worked and just to make sure I screwed some small brackets between all of the broken parts to add strength whilst hoping it wasn’t going to throw the balance out. Only one way to find out !

I then decided that the jeep wasn’t big enough to pull the weight and length back up ( we used to have a Hi-Lux before), so I decided to reduce the length of the pole from 40 feet to 20 feet. I also thought that the electrical wiring I’d put in was too thick so I replaced this with thinner wire.

This time it pulled up easily and locked into position and it was back up !!!!

It immediately started spinning again and the power output is now alot better. We had high winds the other day and night and the repaired blade is working fine. I think that the thickness and the distance was creating too much resistance. DC power does not travel well which is why AC took over as it doesn’t lose power over a great distance.

Unfortunately there are no photos of the broken blade as I was too traumatised to contemplate that. I thought that I would probably break the camara as well ( through petulance!)

Even though this happened, it  just goes to show that some days things just break !!! It all depends on how you handle it because when you live like this you are, and have to be, the master of your own destiny.

When you have  sights and views like these on your own land, doesn’t it make it all worthwhile ?

Enjoy.

ITS ELECTRIFYING !!

Hi its me again. The wife wanted her last post to be a bit longer than what it was but the computer played up ( computers!!). She will come back at a later date with a fuller version but I’ve been (politely) told to get on with this, so I will. When we decided to start this project, we didn’t have any preconceptions, so looked into connecting to the main grid (ESB Ireland) but found it to be too expensive, and not cost much more for a SMALL alternative system.

We found a local company who were willing to help us and luckily for us happened to be selling their own sytem as they were upgrading themselves. This system consisted of turbine, 40ft pole,wire guy cables and 2 photovoltic panels. We had to buy new batteries, I’ll explain why later. 5 holes were dug by hand- 1 for the turbine pole and 4 for the guy cables. Each hole was 3 cubic feet ( equaling 1 cubic tonne each)   so that the weight of the concrete wouldn’t allow movement in high winds.We recycled 4 broken leafsprings from our Hi-lux to use as anchor points and sunk them into concrete in 4 of the holes. In the fifth hole we sunk the A frame/towbar removed from our caravan,well, it was just a left over bit so we thought we may as well use it! This was to be a pivot point.

All the electrical wires were connected to the turbine and pulled through the hollow pole, and we connected 2 of the side guy cables so as we pulled it upright it couldn’t fall sideways (  Something I didn’t think of the first time,oops,sorry!) Now came the SCARY BIT. The guy cables were attached to the back of our Hi-lux (that now had new leaf-springs!) And I drove forward very slowly, sweat dripping off me in fear of the amount of money’s worth that could crash to the ground!  ‘E’ shouted STOP! and the pole had clicked into place,,phew,IT WAS UP! After connecting the other guy cables, it was now time to get it to produce power.

This is a photo of the main battery supply, that all the cables now come into ( from turbine and panels) All this had to be wired up with care and thought so I’m leaving it for now so I can do a full page about it because it will get technical ( in my eyes anyway!)

Enjoy.