Tuesday, October 18, 2011

There's a lot to be said ...

... for being up at 08:00 in the morning at the first tinkling of the alarm clock. It  means that by the time you have breakfasted and done your 3 hours on the laptop, there's still two hours before lunch.

And it's just as well because it took me a while to empty Caliburn ready for this furniture removal, and then there was still some time to do another little job that I'm thinking of.

You might recall that the 12-volt immersion heater has stopped working and had something of a meltdown. I had a good look at it and what has happened was that the heater element has folded downwards and shorted out against the metal sides. This has firstly produced a short-circuit that has melted all of the plastic causing the wires to short out (and why the fuse didn't blow is a mystery to me) and secondly the arc that was created has burnt a hole in the bottom of the drum.

Despite the catastrophe (and it could have been 10 times worse if the insulation had caught fire) I was still impressed with the heat that must have been generated from just 500 watts and my surplus energy. But now I know why the heater elements are fitted vertically and not horizontally. The issue with that though is that you need running water into the tank to make sure that when you drain the tank it refills so that the element is never exposed to the air. That won't work for me because of course I don't have running water. My solution would be to go for a non-conductive material like plastic, it I would find a plastic tank that would take water up to 70°C.

Anyway, the result of this is that I have no dump load for my surplus energy and so I had a cunning plan. When I was in Canada last year I found some black sockets formy 12-volt circuit and I bought a dozen with the idea that they would be so different in appearance to the usual white ones that it would evidently have some significance. I cut out the wire from the dump load controller and put the black socket into the line.

Of course as winter approaches and the solar energy begins to die down, I've unplugged the fridge as I don't have the charge to run it 24 hours now. What I've done is to move the fridge into where the water heater was and plugged it into the black socket. That way, from now on it will only switch on when there is surplus energy which isn't too bad in winter. It's only 75 watts instead of 500 that the water heater gave out but nevertheless it's something useful.

What I also intend to do in the long run for winter is when I wire in the big Studer inverter that I have, I'll use the 600-watt one wired into the dump load circuit and couple up a small 400-watt oil heater that I have. I'll put that in my room up here and it'll take the chill off the place in the winter whenever we have plenty of sun.

This furniture removal this afternoon - well, I won't say too much about it except that I was there at 14:00 as planned and Caliburn was all loaded before 14:30. For the 90km drive, we finally arrived at the house at ... errr ... 17:40 and it wasn't until 18:10 that we got back under way.

Never mind the plans that I had about doing the washing and so on - we were lucky to make the Anglo-French meeting tonight in time. Still, what can you do in circumstances like this?

And so tomorrow I'm hoping to be back on my wall again. It might be finished this week - you never know.

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