Monday, October 26, 2009


Finally we moved.

We hitched up the Suzuki Vitara to a luggage trailer full of gear (slightly overloaded) and headed south.

We visited Sue's sister, Gay, in Boort, Victoria for a while. She generously urged us to borrow her pop-top caravan for temporary accommodation, and we agreed. So there were two crossings of Bass Strait in two weeks: one with the trailer and one with the 'van.

I came down alone on both trips to get things established, little appreciating how long it takes to get things done. A week or so after I got set up, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed arrived for a couple of weeks. She was simply underwhelmed by the sleet, gas lantern for light when the generator wouldn't start, strong winds, bla-bla.

Piece of advice: don't buy a Scorpion Generator. Mine presented problems from day one: an absolute piece of crap.

After Sue left, I bought a solar panel, controller and inverter from a firm in Hobart.

Next piece of advice: don't buy solar energy components from a salesman without finding out if he knows what he is talking about. After promising delivery in 4 days, there was nothing on the ground after 10. I cracked up, and received a controller very smartly. Not the one I ordered, but a bigger beast. Worth more money, but way overpowered for my set-up. A controller came with it too.

The inverter allowed me to run the genny into a battery bank, through the inverter, and into the 'van, using the computer, etc.

Then the solar panel arrived: 300 watts. I ordered a mounting frame for it, but it wasn't made on time (surprise, surprise) and was presented with a heap of aluminium angle to make one myself, which I did.

Looked at the label on the back of the panel and thought: "This is a 48 volt panel for my 24 volt system - not good." I rang the shop and was assured that it was perfect for the system. Rang the manufacturer of the controller and was told a different story: "No. It will destroy the controller." Demanded, and got, a refund on the controller and ordered an MPPT controller from another (reliable) supplier - Tasman Energy of Deloraine are brilliant and their advice is spot-on. There was another mix-up resulting in me getting a better controller than I paid for. Result: this controller and the inverter will be more than enough for any system I am ever likely to se up. I just have to expand the battery bank and generating power. I also picked up a 500 watt wind turbine.
Sue came back down here permanently at the end of the month.
In the meantime, I had built a chookpen and picked up 6 Isa Brown chooks that Sue had ordered during her first visit. They immediately started cranking out 5 or 6 eggs per day - cholesterol city. I had also taken delivery of the two cutest dogs on earth from my daughter in Brisbane: Jack-Jack, a Jack Russell cross, and Suzy, a red-heeler/dachsund cross. At least they ate the excess eggs and protected the chooks.

Quite an eventful month.

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