Tuesday, 28 May 2013

DIY landscaping of the extended garden....

The latest major project has been to clean up the garden, particularly the extension to the land we bought last November.   We decided to have a big push over the last few weeks to get this landscaping work finished quite quickly, so afterwards we can just relax and enjoy the garden for the rest of the summer (or start further projects, which is more likely...).

at the start of the works - digger levelling and clearing....
work in progress at the south end

Although I titled this post 'DIY', there was a lot of digging works to be done and I'm not getting any younger, so there was just a little too much spadework initially.   Therefore, we hired a guy with a mini-digger to first clear the south end - he also removed the five tree stumps that we'd cut down to ground level last year.  When he'd finished at this end, we lifted the old metal shed off its flagstone base and relocated the flags next to the other shed at the south, and then re-erected the shed in its new position.  This opened up the whole garden back to the house wall.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Planting Grapevines in the Greenhouse...

A month or so ago we bought two young grapevines from our local nursery.  They were quite expensive at £15 each, but hopefully we'll be able to harvest fruit from them for many years to come.

One vine is a Chardonnay, which needs no introduction, and the other a Perlan which apparently is another name for the Chasselas variety, very commonly grown throughout Europe.

We decided to use the 'rod' method of training, allowing just a single branch to grow the full length of the greenhouse.

The plants already had some fresh growth when we bought them, and we selected a good shoot on each and then snipped off all the other greenery (note that it's not advisable to cut any old wood at all during the growing season, since the plants have a tendency to 'bleed').  At this stage, we just left the plants in their pots standing inside the greenhouse.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Solar Panel Performance - one year on

We now have one full year's worth of operational data from our five-panel experimental array, rated at 540 Watt-peak (Wp) in total.

So, without further ado, here's the cumulative AC energy graph for the array from 04-May-12 to 03-May-13.  Click on the figures to make them larger and easier to read ...

and here's the output on a month-by month basis.

and on a 'unitised' basis, i.e. per installed Watt-peak of capacity.

Our forecast in my post from 04-Nov-12, on the economics of the array, predicted an annual output of 254 kWhr of usable AC electrical energy, but we actually only achieved 241 kWhr in the period. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Homemade Axial Flux Generator - Part 2 - The Coils

Following on from our earlier post, quite a while back now, I managed to get around to constructing a stator coil a month or so ago.   This particular project has had a very low priority due to work commitments and the many other projects I'm also on with, especially in the garden.

Firstly, I made a mould to cast the coils from an old piece of timber, using the CNC machine to generate the internal disc profile.  Using the CNC wasn't strictly necessary, a simpler but equally effective mould could have made up from plastic strips or similar.

on the CNC machine....