Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Shed Upgrade

And there are times when you just need a little 'restorative' at the end of a busy shed session.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Eco's Home Brew


And for those who have been waiting anxiously for 'pork'nography...

Four little piggies enjoying their tea.

You should see what them thar piggies have done to Eco's front lawn!!

Cute little pig. Go to stroke her though, and it's like running your hand over a pot-scourer! Training begins soon for land-clearance and root rootling.

But the best part of the day...a trough full of pig-nuts and rolled barley.

Back in Wales at Eco Tipis

Ah.....it almost feels like I'm back home. Variable weather here but we are managing to get some work done about the place. My plan was to get some solar panels and the inverter and control relays installed in the 'Toy Shed' and despite a bit of rain and some stiff breeze Eco and I managed to get the panels up on the roof today. Not the perfect angle of tilt, but enough energy available to provide maintenance charging for the machinery batteries and to provide a bit of illumination when the natural light isn't good enough.

We chopped up some lengths of 1x1 and 2x2 timber and fabricated a rough frame to hold my old 12Wp TF ally-framed panels. The trailer makes a cracking outdoor work-bench!

The assembled panel array was then pushed up the ladder by Eco while I pulled it up onto the roof. A bit of drilling and screwing and we had the array fitted and the cabling installed.

Angle of tilt probably only 12 or so degrees rather than the optimal 32 degrees, but that is more than compensated for by the amount of energy they will provide on hazy and overcast days.

While I was up on the roof, I could look down on the plantation which we cleared on my last visit. The black sheeting is down, the willow rods are in and they are sprouting nicely. In a few years time, this will be a managed coppice for fuelling the wood gassifying boiler.

Three pendant light fittings, some 1mm T&E cable and a box of clips and we had the lights up and running. One of my old Exrider DC24 88AH batteries is providing a primary supply for the inverter and the dual charge controller can charge that lighting battery and has a set of auxilliary jump-leads to charge the batteries on the Pasquali tractor, Ecorider or any other battery that needs charging. Ultimately, the system will also provide a battery charging facility for the electric pig fencing and for topping up battery systems for other functions around the site. We have been discussing low voltage water pumping systems and lighting for the communal facilities as well as other electrical subsystems around the place. Needless to say, the possibilities will keep expanding.

Looking down the 'telegraph pole' shed support, the little black box is the 300W inverter. Below that in the grey box is the dual split charger module and inverter control relay. To the left of the pole is a 6 way strip...the top plug is the 'sense' signal for the inverter control relay and the second plug is the lights feed. The two-gang switch above the strip allows the two left hand lights in the main storage/work area and the single light at the other end to be switched separately. The Exrider battery can be seen at the bottom and the curled up grey cable at the bottom of the pole is the charging leads for the auxilliary batteries.

As with any project like this, the proof of the pudding is in the eating...and I had a feeling the eating would be pretty good as all the design and prototyping for this set-up had already been tried and tested on The Toolshed back home. In fact, the dual regulator and the panels came from the original prototype.

When it got a bit darker last night (I started on the lights and battery last night...the solar panels were today's job), I 'christened' the system.

Dark and misty....about 9.30pm. So ready to test...Let there be light!!

We saw....and it was good!

Late at night, yesterday....foreground illuminated by the camera flash...the white spots are raindrops, caught in mid-air. Down the bottom of the track, you can see the lights shining in the shed :o)

Full test tonight with all 36W (2x 11W and 1x 14W). Can't wait to get the full effect!

Hopefully, the Pasquali will have enough charge tomorrow to start without hand-pulling.