Monday, 25 April 2011

Ready for the hatch

Today's task was to tackle the final wall which has the long seat and the cupboard on it.  As usual, all work required me to be upside down and in the dark.  The long bench seat had many screws into the back wall.  Most were relatively solid and clean and cam out fairly easily.  What I did discover was that the wood on the ground part of the bench was quite rotten (dry or wet rot, don't know but clearly knackered).  The cupboard was a little trickier as they had kindly fitted the cupboard first and then the oven.  So the drawer of the cupboard could not be removed.  And yes, you guessed it, 2 screws holding the cupboard to the wall were behind the drawer.  After removing the skin (what remains) from the back of my hand the cupboard was free.

I also took the table off its mounts to make sure it did not get damaged.  It weighs a ton.  But it is now in the galley.  I could not carry it any further.

The rest of the day was spent (6 hours) removing the last 4 wall panels and the porthole surrounds.  But at last it is all done.

The next step is to get the hatch cut in the wall.  I measured the kitchen surfaces at home and they are about 90cm from the floor.  So that should give me some guide to measure the new hatch.

The one last thing to sort in the mess is the floor.  I removed some of the flooring and cannot work out what is under yet.  But I have identified the underfloor heating system.  Just need to work out the route to the battery room where I would like all the services to reside.  Power and networking should be straight forward as a simple ring main for the sockets should suffice.  Still need to work on the lighting.  I would like it to be atmospheric and also low power.  There are some interesting automated lighting controls but they do not look to be low power.

Talking of power, I have been looking into the various options (during sleepless nights) and systems.  The mastervolt systems look good.  What I would like to do is have a system that can take energy from renewable sources and shore power and generator power, push it all into one system and draw from batteries (and charge) when there is not enough power.

Some systems will allow multiple feeds for wind and shore and battery etc but none do it all.  I was looking into how you could get a wind generator and solar to charge the batteries at the same time but it turns out that this is very very tricky.  The problem with wind power it that its voltage varies as the spin speed changes with the wind.  This is fine when charging batteries.  But when the batteries are charged it has to keep generating and MUST have a load on it or it will literally self-destruct.  So to sort this the wind turbine dumps its spare power to a dump which is effectively a resister that heats up.

It got me thinking, what would be better would be if the wind turbine fed a water heater in a tank so that all the power all of the time was consumed directly.  It turns out that there are solutions but this is hard.  The immersion heater elements cannot handle the large voltage range.  I realised though that there are such things as grid tie in systems so that the turbine feeds into the mains.  It struck me that if I utilised such an inverter and fed the power into the mains I could do two things.

The first is that I could use the mains level power to feed a standard heater immersion system.  This would be quite good.  The more wind power the less the conventional heating system will need to input to the heating.  There will always be a heat sink to take power from the turbine and no energy will be wasted.  Even in summer there is a need for hot water.  And given the power the average turbine produces it is unlikely to ever heat the tank to levels that cause issues.

The second is that with mains I could easily feed into the standard mastervolt systems.  The only challenge is that they can only take 2 or 3 power sources as inputs.  To deal with this I will need to combine the solar (one day) and wind turbine power sources (both with grid ties) so that the jointly feed the main system.  The mastervolt system will allow the combination of the inputs but it is still complex.

There are various autosensing power switches.  They take 2 or 3 inputs and autoswitch them rapidly in a particular order.  For example you could set the highest priority as turbine input then solar and finally shore power.  But even this wont do.  I need the system to combine rather than choose.  I would want to try and boost the whole system to above the available 16 amp shore power

More investigation needed.

Photos of the day.

The oven area will be tricky.  Even with the old ply walls in there area behind the oven was bare metal probably for good reason.  The walling behind the oven and around the chimney will need to be heat resistant if I am to avoid some embarrassing events involving the fire brigade.

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