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Tony Hallett

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since Dec 22, 2016
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Recent posts by Tony Hallett

The tank I will be connecting to is Not on our property,  it is situated at the top of the hill, giving approx 80m of head to where I would place the hydro setup.

I also have the option of placing a holding tank at the highest point of our property, 50m below the spring fed tank, giving me approx 30m of head to the hydro setup IF I chose to run at a lower psi.

The spring fed tank puts out a ridiculous amount of water, it has a 1.5" overflow pipe that isn't capable of getting rid of all the water. Even after a dry summer the water is still spilling over the edge of the tank.
So, if i I were to run a 1" pipe, it's pretty safe to assume that pipe will be supplying it's full capacity 24/7 except in exceptionally dry years.

Clear as mud
10 months ago
Firstly, i must apologise! I have learnt my lesson and shall no longer attempt to read topographical maps after a couple of glasses of vino...

So, my potential head from the tank is around 80m, not 400m. Turns out those little lines represent 20m intervals and not 100m. Feeling slightly stupid now, but also a little glad I don't have to deal with skin stripping water pressure!

Anyways, to answer your questions.
The damn height I'm guessing would be the elevation of the tank? Approx 600m, hydro setup would be situated at around 500-530m depending on where I decide to put it.

Flow of the "stream" would be dictated by the size of pipe, I'll be plumbing into a spring fed concrete tank, the only place it flows to is over the edge because they haven't sizes the overflow correctly (2" inlet, 1.5" overflow. Genius)

So according to some chart I've found, 80m head will give approx 115psi at the bottom. For a gravity feed in a 1" pipe this works out at around 1l/s

So, flow x height x 5 = 1x80x5 = 400
Assuming 50% efficiency for arguments sake, 200w over 24h = 4.8kwh of potential energy

Assuming another 50% efficiency of the hydro setup would bring the power down to approx 2.4kwh which would still be ample.

And no, at no point would any pipework be running up hill, there is a dirt track up to the tank with a pretty consistent gradient, i plan on digging a trench and dropping the pipe along the track. The 30m mentioned is the potential head on our property if i we're to build a holding tank at the highest point of our property and feed down to a battery shed in a sensible location
10 months ago
Hi there permies!
We've come to realise that our feeble 50w solar setup is no longer keeping up with our needs.
We are situated directly down hill from a spring fed water tank, I've been told (but yet to confirm) that we can connect a pipe to the overflow on the tank.

Here's where it gets a little bit crazy....
I've paced it out to approx. 600m of pipe from the tank to the highest point of our property, say another 100m to get from there to a sensible place for a battery shed.

Google maps puts the head height at around, wait for it..... 400m, or 1300ft

If I put a holding tank at the top of our property we'd have about 30m of head, over 100m of pipe which is probably ample but a bit boring.
I have a background in engineering, and a pretty sound understanding of how stuff works, so I kinda want to go full "mad scientist" on this and see if i can harness the power of 400m of head.
But! I need some help getting my head around the maths of it all.
If I were to run a 700m length of 1" pipe, with a head of 400m, what sort of pressure and flow rate would I be looking at? I'm struggling to find any reasonably accurate figures. Most of the reference tables I've found stop at 200psi!

I'd also like to build this setup using an infinitely available resource, the humble car alternator! I know they get a bad rep for low efficiency and short lifespan but I have 4 sat in my workshop already, and they're a damn site cheaper to replace than a "proper" unit. They also have the bonus of a built in voltage regulator and a 12v dc output to keep the wiring simple. I think with the head I have available it should be quite easy to get it spinning fast enough to produce more power than it consumes without having to build up an overly complicated gearing system.

I know it's mad, crazy, unnecessary, insert derogatory term here, but that's just how I work. If anyone equally nuts wants to help me out regardless of how likely this is to blow up then I would very much appreciate your input!
10 months ago
I suppose I should probably update his thread!
We were back on our land in May, for those of you that didn't know, we had some pretty devastating fires in Portugal last year, fortunately our land was burnt. I say fortunately because it only burnt up the unwanted shrubs and trees! Our terraces were untouched, and the shed/tiny house got lucky too.
However, we did lose most of the fruit trees we put in the previous spring.
The survivors were an Apple, pear and a peach, the 3 closest to the spring at the back of the terrace. Turns out the soaker hose was a waste of time, I'm guessing not enough pressure.
It has taught me a thing or 2 about the top terrace though. We know now that the ground water is a lot higher at the back of the terrace, and along one edge. Kind of obvious in hindsight really!
We didn't get a chance to plant anything else in May as we we're too busy rebuilding the bathroom  (old one got burnt) and sorting out the mess that someone made when they decided to build a road through our land (Not happy about that!)

Back out there again next month, we'll have another go at planting then.
1 year ago
Hi guys and girls, I'm in the "planning and preparation" stage for the next build project. I'm trying to get a price for a roll of raschel knit tube but I can only find prices for bags. Does anyone know of a supplier in the uk, or in the eu who'll post to uk?
Also recommendations on bag/tube size for a ~1.5m tall retaining wall/wheelbarrow ramp. I'm hoping to use the same size to build a small shed, I'm guessing if it's good enough for a retaining wall then it'll hold up a tin roof without much fuss!

Thanks in advance!
1 year ago
Thanks Liz, I think I've got the jist of it! I'll have to brush up on my Portuguese and ask our local goat herder to take a different route through our land next time we see him.
1 year ago
Liz, this sounds like it could be the answer I've been looking for! I have a steep slope near our house that I'd like to start terracing on our next visit but I've been worrying about the gradient. Could you please post up some pictures of your goats handy work?
1 year ago
We haven't been out there in the winter yet but from what I've heard it can get very cold and nasty, I wouldn't be surprised if we get some snow, frost definitely (land is in central Portugal, we're living in the UK at the moment) so that might not be the best option, I'll have to keep a lookout for hardier alternatives.
As for the ditch, that's going to need some easier alternatives! The drive is far too long, and the rock rocky for me and my Pickaxe! We're on the low budget, miles from civilisation, make do with what we've got kinda scenario and a ditch is out of the question at the moment, as is building up the level of the drive. however, I'm sure with a few extra hands we could place rocks just in from the uphill edge of the drive, if they were laid in such a way as to direct the water down without allowing it to slip through (I'm thinking roof tiles, laid on their side rather than flat) most of the drive seems OK erosion wise, can't see much evidence of water running down except at the dip so there's probably less than 100m in total where it needs diverting / slowing
2 years ago
The locals seem to use drystone walls as hedges, not hawthorns or beech like I see at home! I don't recall seeing any hedges around to be honest, maybe I'm not looking hard enough!
Next time we're out there I'll pay more attention if I can peel my eyes away from the views!
Somebody posted some info about making seed balls on my other thread, they would probably be my best bet for spreading some seeds around.
There's plenty of pine logs laying around that I could use to lay on contour for some little mini terraces / retaining walls so I can put a bit of soil down to help get some trees started.

I'll throw some rocks in the hole when we get back out there, there's a pile at the end of the drive that will do nicely. Although it's been cut from the bedrock, there's actually only 2 sports on the drive where you can see the bedrock, most of the surface is just loose rocks and gravel. I don't have much faith in the bedrock myself, it's all schist in our area and it just crumbles away once it's been weathered for a while, I can walk up the drive and pull chunks out of the wall by hand! hopefully having the loose rocks on top will help protect the bedrock underneath so I just need to worry about the slope and occasionally clearing up whatever has fallen from the uphill side.
2 years ago
We've been back in England for almost a week now, so too late for the spring visit but just in time for planning the autumn excursion! Thankyou

Bit of an update for all those interested.
We went a bit mad with fruit trees, the voucher I got from the website that was advertising the land gave us enough for 4 varieties of apple, a plum, a pear and 2 cherry trees (please don't ask what variety, it's in our gardening folder 1500 miles away!) my girlfriends mum came along with us and bought us a persimmon, another plum, an orange and a pink grapefruit (again, please don't ask, the labels were in Portuguese and are also 1500 miles away!) not to mention the blueberries, raspberries and gooseberries we took over with us!
Planted everything up on the top terrace, cleared the grass from the planting areas and built up guilds where we could with what we had. We were given some walking stick cabbages by (the girlfriend) kris' grandad, and we have plenty of mint and lavender growing on the land already so we spread these out amongst the trees. After everything was planted we sowed a spring ground cover mix (need to check the website to remind myself what was in it!) some red clover and a mixed bag of legumes, and covered with a good 30cm of grass cuttings, leaf mold and dried leaves to try and keep some of the moisture in. In total there is now 6 lengths of hose fitted into the pond wall just below the outlet for the overflow pipe I put in. The hoses run in pairs to water 3/4 trees each so they basically run from the pond, round the trees and then back to the pond. I figured this way it would minimise the pressure drop created by each section of Soaker hose.
Although water does seep out, I don't have much hope for the trees at the front of the terrace! However, even after putting in the overflow pipe the back edge of the terrace still has plenty of water in the ground so it wasn't all just spilling over the top like I'd hoped! This does help the trees at the back though and I think they'll have a much better chance of survival. We dug a hole to get some clay to seal up around the overflow pipe and the next morning there was 30cm of water sitting in the bottom, hopefully this'll keep them alive but time will tell!
2 years ago