Lister Engine Forum

How to / DIY => Everything else => Topic started by: dieselspanner on May 05, 2018, 10:28:19 AM

Title: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: dieselspanner on May 05, 2018, 10:28:19 AM
Hi All,

After only 4 years of looking I've found an ancient stone barn, off grid, in my (meager!) price range with a head of water, a decent view, 5 hecares (14 acres) of extremely sloping  land, backing on to a HUGE wood and far enough away from the neighbours so they won't moan about the Lister!

See Google map link for details,0.2214051,88m/data=!3m1!1e3

I haven't signed anything yet, but we 'spat and shook', up here that's pretty binding, It should be mine in 2/3 months, anything over a hectare has to be offered to the local farming community for two months, at the agreed price first, generally not a problem.

It's bigger than I wanted, so I think I'll end up with a decent integral workshop.

So, the first of many questions, there's a stream above the property I'd like to use as a supply for a small hydro scheme.

It would involve a 200m long 25mm id mdpe pipe and have a vertical drop of 35 meters - 120 feet. I've had a scout around on the WWW and can't come up with a definitive answer, so, could anyone here point towards a useful site or tell me how much power I'd get allowing for the friction loss in the pipe?

Cheers Stef
Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: glort on May 05, 2018, 10:48:48 AM

Wow! Congrats!
Looks beautiful.  Was it you or someone else here who had a shed/ house that was like 100 years old and made from stone?

A microhydro setup would be my dream. The ultimate in clean, quiet, stable and dependable power.

I haven't looked at any MH sites for a while, I get depressed i'll never be able to have one, but you should just be able to look up MH sites  And find head and flow charts or calculators for different elevations, pipe sizes etc.

Try terms like water head pressure calculator, Microhydro Flow rate sizing, MH turbine flow rate etc.
I'd see what I could find for you but my eyes are not good atm, I suspect my blood sugar isn't the best either as I forgat to take my meds last night so things are difficult to see atm.  Surprised I haven't fallen asleep already.  Im sure some other people will be able to get you going with it.

Have a look on YT as well. Lots of MH eye candy there.

One thing I'd suggest straight off the bat, 25mm pipe will be useless. Over a 200m run, I think the frictional losses in teh pipe will make it good for supplying tap water and that's about it.  You really want more like 4" to get a decent output on a turbine. Will depend on what you want and I might be deluded as i'm only going on gut feeling from what I remember before but I do recally anyting under about 2" doesn[t have much power in it because Flowrate is a critical thing in MH just as much or more than head.

One day maybe I'll build a turbine / generator setup and run it off a pump just to see what I can learn and satisfy my niggling ambition.

Good luck with the new place!  A truly exciting and motivating thing for sure!
Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: BruceM on May 05, 2018, 04:34:34 PM
Congratulations Stef, that's a gorgeous property nestled into the edge of the forest!

This link has a calculator that shows your power and flow:

A 1 inch pipe will only give you 50 watts of power and 6 gpm flow. A 2 inch pipe would give you about 260 watts  and 30 gpm.

A good article on design ;

Here's a power and pipe size calculator:

Even a modest microhydro source would be a fabulous power asset.

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: dieselspanner on May 05, 2018, 10:48:58 PM
Thanks for that, Glort, yes it is me with the stone barn, it's less than 4 k away from the one in the Google map link. It's a bit small, only 8m x 3.5m, and right alongside the road. When I refurbished it I did it in such a way that it could be turned into a small dwelling with minimal alterations, once again  we have SWMBO factor, I'd like a summer residence akin to a backwoods log cabin, Carolyn has space for the klds and grand kids in mind.........

I also wanted an 'off grid' project, last year I sold my little Dutch Barge, it was too far away, mountains and canals aren't usually synonymous,  the result won't go more than 25% of the way to the Big Barn project, I'll scrounge the rest up as we go along!


Three great links, with calculators that I can understand (albeit that I have convert from 'footric' to metric!), thanks a bunch.

As you can imagine the whole project is on a very light gauge shoe string, luckily, after 7 years up here, I have a huge amount of goodwill backed up and am prepared to call it all in shamelessly......

Anyone who's passing and has a desire to indulge in concrete mixing or roofing and slating in an area of outstanding natural beauty for 3 squares hot and a cot, PM me soonest!

As for the techie stuff I'll be abusing the forum in my usual fashion, safe in the knowledge that if it interests me then at least 75% of the blokes on here on my wavelength whether it's diesel powered or not!



Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: LowGear on May 06, 2018, 07:26:01 AM

You're in France.

What's a fellow do with 14 acres besides grow a Lister program and hydro-power?  Looks like it might get chilly.
Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: mikenash on May 06, 2018, 08:43:47 AM
Congrats Stef

That's a lot what I bought recently in lots of ways:

Off grid . . .

An acre of flat with an old barn on it and 11 acres of hill with a spring up the top

 . . . just on the other side of the world lol

Well done
Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: ajaffa1 on May 06, 2018, 10:36:35 AM
Well done Stef, a beautiful property in a magnificent part of the world. I have spent a lot of my holidays in the Pyrenees and French alps and I just love it. I would happily volunteer to come and roof your barn but I suspect my health problems would make me more of a liability than an asset.

Please keep us posted on how it`s going.

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: dieselspanner on May 29, 2019, 09:30:23 PM
Hi All

Just over a year after 'spitting and shaking' the Marie - local council office - have accepted my application to convert the barn this afternoon.

It's taken so long 'cos I wouldn't cough up 4000 / 6000 Euros for an architect to do the plans, so you get to run around half a dozen different offices whilst getting drip fed information, still, once the Mayor has looked over the dossiers, read the soil report ref the septic tank and stamped all four copies of everything - takes around 2 months - I'll put my money down. That'll only take another three, so I should get the green light around half past October!


Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: BruceM on May 29, 2019, 09:33:26 PM
That's great news, Stef! Glad you wore the red tape folks down.  Gold stars for perseverance!

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: sirpedrosa on May 30, 2019, 12:32:54 AM
Hi Stef

"Pied dans le fumier". Congretulations.

Congratulations, seriously.

I know the surroundings, like Lourdes, Tarbes and Toulouse (and further till switzerland). Beautiful site.

Follow, now, your imagination. Don't forget to open "une bonne bouteille".

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: glort on May 30, 2019, 03:30:17 AM

Red tape is clearly a commodity no place on earth is without excess of.

Good to hear it's all moving forward for you. have you come up with any ideas/ thoughts on the MH setup? How much power would you like to aim for and any prefrences of how to realise it?
Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: ajaffa1 on May 30, 2019, 09:07:32 AM
Well done Stef, I`m looking forward to photos of your stone barn becoming something spectacularly beautiful over the next year or two. I`m guessing October in the Pyrenees will be starting to get cold so any work involving concrete or cement mortar will have to wait till spring unless you use antifreeze additives. Are you going to be doing the work yourself or employing local builders?

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: dieselspanner on May 30, 2019, 05:16:12 PM
I'm still thinking along the lines of a Pelton wheel or similar driving a 23v truck alternator into a couple of 150 AH deep cycle batteries, with a 6000w inverter to bring it up to 220v, that's a very similar system to the one on my old Dutch barge.

Charge control is all handled by the alternator. The batteries should carry the overload of the microwave, starting of the 'fridge compressor, hair dryer ect. and if they don't I'll add another pair.

Probably cost less than 500 euros, plus the 200m of pipe, and a separate shed to house it all.

You're right about the weather here, any time after the end of September it can go from +25c to -5c overnight, I decided I wouldn't buy the place until all the permissions have been granted, the last step should be just a formality, the big one was the French equivalent of 'English Heritage' who won't let you do anything to change the look of the landscape, even tho' it's a bloody great barn that drastically altered the scene nearly 300 years back - go figure!

As for the local artisans, they are mostly overpriced idle twats who see the English as a cash cow with no idea of value and a desire to hang around for months 'til they deign to turn up. For the larger earth works there's a good local guy,the best roofer around here is from Texas, and the handiest jobbing chippie is a British female design technology (what kids in the UK get instead of metalwork and woodwork, these days) who lives 200m below the barn - she's on her fourth staircase now, not fast, but very reasonable rates and fantastic quality - she's forty something and pretty, too!

I mentioned on another thread that I'm off to Scotland for the final build and trials of a hoverbarge for the north Caspian oilfield, well that's the day after tomorrow, by the time I get back it'll ready to kick it all into gear, then it's out to Kazakhstan for winter trials, so rather than do it all myself over a couple of years, I'll get the people I trust to knock it out for me whilst I earn the bucks offshore, which will give me more quality time with the interesting bits.

Thanks to everyone else for the encouraging words, I'll post more once something starts happening......


Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: dieselspanner on August 21, 2019, 12:29:53 PM

The planning permission came today, nearly 16 months after I 'Spat and shook'. The original shake was conditional on obtaining planning, so there's another couple or three months before the property changes hands, but we're getting there........

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: glort on August 21, 2019, 01:17:35 PM

Good to gear it's all coming along.
Should make a great official holiday retreat for Lister forum members. :0)
Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: sirpedrosa on August 21, 2019, 02:37:41 PM
Hi Stef

I'm looking forward for that day. I'll carry a case of green wine, or white, or red, or even rosť, and let the others bring the meat. There will be nearby plenty of wood to make the BBQ.

keep going!

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: dieselspanner on December 27, 2019, 08:31:57 AM
Hi All
Finally, a couple of weeks back, the sale went through. I've been away from home most of the autumn (on the hoverbarge project I mentioned before) so the only work that's been done so far is to  clean out the ancient sheep white and rip out all the timber, apart from the roof and the joists.

The weather has broken now, a week too early to get the road  in, so there will be no further progress until the spring.

That being said, I've mustered nearly all the parts for the little hydro plant, so there's a few hours in the shed....

Title: Re: I've only gone and done it!
Post by: AdeV on December 27, 2019, 09:12:15 AM
That's a pretty mellow pace of life! I bet it's a bit of a relief to actually finally be the official owner.... and what a gorgeous place! I've driven sort-of past there a couple of times, heading from the UK to southern Spain & back, many years ago. I don't recall much of what it looked like, it was dark both times!

Looking forward to several build logs now :D