Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Wind Power

Wind power is good.  I bought the turbine from Navitron in 2007 and, even though it was a bit large for the barge, mounted it on the aft edge of the wheelhouse.  The noise emanating from the constant profile aerofoil blades was deafening.  Fauna was devoid in a 500 meter radius, humans wept bitterly, holding their ears.

A new, silent, blade and hub set was ordered.  These proved more suitable for the location and folk started to talk again, but not to me.  This time the noise was inside the boat, the coils going through the magnetic fields made a knocking noise not too dissimilar to a machine gun.  Mrs B refused to wear the Peltor ear defenders that I kindly supplied.

Things went on hold for a while, while the turbine rested in the workshop.  I hired a post hole borer and a couple of one meter extensions with the intention of planting a redundant telegraph pole in the marsh, onto which I would nail the turbine.

Initial results from the turbine suggested that although it is rated at 300 Watts, it would actually produce nearly 1000 Watts in a gale, just before the automatic furling system started.  This is to slow the turbine in very high winds in an effort to stop self destruction.  It seems to work well but the Back Shed in Oz has some wise words to make this type of turbine even better.  It also tells you how to make the original howling blades quiet.

The post hole borer arrived but only with one extension.  The telegraph pole was planted with the help of the mainmast and a handy billy.  With a bit of hammering with a 56lbs weight on the top of the pole we managed to get it into the marsh about 2.6 meters.  The mast base was modified to act as a gooseneck and the turbine mast was fitted to this.

Several years later we have this.

The controller that comes with the turbine is not considered reliable.

Although it's been fine for me, so I now connect the wild three phase from the turbine to a home made bridge rectifier and then straight to the batteries.  It's quite important to make sure the turbine is not left to spin in an unloaded state.  This can cause catastrophic overspeeding.

When the batteries are full a  Tristar load controller diverts the excess power to a 24V immersion heater,  this is quite rare as we generally use all the power we can make.  We have an average windspeed of around 10mph.  At that speed the turbine will give us around 2 amps/hr.  That is enough to power the fridge and all the lights and pumps.  When the PV is less during the winter the wind will hopefully make up any deficit.  If not then the 24V diesel generator can be pulled in to help the batteries.  Naturally when the wind chuffs up a bit then we are cooking, bread making and maybe a bit of water heating too.  The days that can cause a bit of a problem are the calm, sunless days, particularly the short days of winter.

This type of Chinese turbine does require looking after, a bit like a steam engine.  Bearings need to be lubricated, it needs lowering if a gale threatens.  Leaving it up in strong winds is ok but does nothing to extend its life.  So we have decided that wind is good but we need a more robust and up to date tubine.  An LE 600 is being built for us as we speak.  You will see that it is a tailless downwind device which will hopefully better cope with our turbulent winds from the South West. 

 An adaptor piece has been constructed to fit the flange of the old turbine tower to the new turbine mount.

The three core 10mm has been threaded though the tower and a suitable 30amp three phase plug and socket has been added to the barge.

Its the one in red.  I could have used a 32amp single phase in blue or yellow but I really fancied red, it's not many boats with a three phase connection so there shouldn't be too many mix ups.  I got the wire and other hardware from electric  They were pretty reasonable and very quick getting it all to me.

I can't wait for the new turnip to arrive, I'll update when it's up.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Solar Solar Solar.

The amorphous panels went on a well know web sales site and a couple of Yingli 220 Watt panels from Navitron were bolted on instead.  So that is 440 Watts total now which has made a big difference.

I bought another two second-hand Yingli panels from Bimble Solar and put them flat on the wheelhouse roof.  They were fine in summer but lost the sun rather quickly as soon as we saw the autumn equinox.  So I reinforced the trackable mount and bolted the two extra panels on the sides of the original two.  I will post a photo as soon as the sun comes out again and the wind drops.  That now gives up 880 Watts which is a really useful amount of power.  On a fine sunny day that will give use 33 odd amps and regularly hits 20 amps on sunny days in November.

I found a good deal from Bimble Solar on there meters and the MPPT charge controllers by EPSolar, their Tracker range..

A deal was had for a 600 Victron battery monitor which replaced the simple Volt meter for the domestic battery bank.  It provides a fantastic range of information and has set up for alarms and external switches.

An hydraulic lowering system is being thought about at the moment.  I feel it would be prudent to lower the PV array when the barge goes out.

For the same area of panels it is now possible to get 1300+ Watts and I am sure they will improve all the time so it would be a simple job to uprate the system.

Eighteen month Toilet Update.

Yes it really is that long, I had to check.  

So how are we getting on with that bucket of poo in the corner.  Suffice to say that not many people actually want to use it themselves.  I can't really blame them, I don't know whether I would want to sit on a bucket of other peoples poo!  I guess that's where the Separett posh ones come into their own and cover up the contents until weight comes onto the seat. 

It has taken a lot longer for the contents of the buckets to compost over the winter period and I have used a larger warmer compost container but the end result was lovely crumbly compost, and rather sweet smelling even if I say so myself.

I now wash the buckets after each use instead of keeping the same one.  We have had an attack of the flies, small black ones.  The only thing to do is to change the container and fly-spray the area.  No problem but I think it happened in the summer when the grandchildren leave the lid open and the barge is all opened up too.  Something to think about, more irritating than anything else.

Are we still happy, yes, ecstatic.  One 20 litre bucket last three months for two with no problem.

Things to think about:

  • Flies, use bug netting on vent pipes and cowls where possible.
  • Clean the buckets, the theory of keeping it going I don't think is necessary.
  • I use hydrochloric acid to mitigate the immense scale build up in the pipework.I only use wipes and paper towels for cleaning.  Water and a stiff brush for the buckets.
  • The fan is easily kept going by the solar panels even in the winter. 
  • Clean the dust out of the fan pipework, there can be a large build up.