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Author Topic: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?  (Read 2842 times)

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Hi all

The building we lamb in is 60 x 40 feet and 1 mile from the house, and has no power.  There is an electric pole about 12 feet away - but it would still be expensive to have it connected and a meter installed etc, when we only require power for 1 month a year.  Last year we managed with a generator but I struggle to fire it up as I have a dodgy shoulder and neck. Also I don't want to disturb the ewes or the neighbours at unsociable hours.

So we are thinking about what we could possibly do.  We want to run lights, a small fridge, be able to boil a kettle occasionally, and run the lamb milk feeder.

Could we charge up a caravan type leisure battery during the day (when my son can fire up the gennie), and the battery run everything?

Solar PV panels - what ball park costs are we talking for these?

Little wind turbine on the roof?

What have others done please?

Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.
Voss Electric Fence

farmershort

  • Joined Nov 2010
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2016, 12:09:14 pm »
Roughly speaking...

Leisure batteries - 12v
Inverter
Multi function Charge controller
Solar pv panels
Wind turbine
12v lighting circuits in the shed.

In the end, it may be cheaper just to have a connection put in.

Lots of stuff about 12v power systems on lili.org and ukhippy forum.

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2016, 12:25:40 pm »
You could get an old diesel car or 4x4 and just start it up and use an inverter? Just run it on red.?  Not ther most efficient but a car will run on idle all day for a quid.

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2016, 12:45:19 pm »
Depending on whether the pole can actually be used (this is not a given), it may end up being more cost effective and certainly simpler to have a mains connection. The batter power to run fridge and kettle is not minor and then the solar panels to charge that battery (and of course solar is not reliable at the time of year you need it).


henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2016, 12:47:38 pm »
@mab is the man to ask.

But suspect the current draw for a kettle and lamb milk feeder (if heated) is going to be the problem.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2016, 12:49:26 pm »
If you can boil the kettle on a camping stove instead of electrically I think the leisure batteries and big inverter will work fine. They can be charged from the mains when at home and topped up in your vehicle if necessary from the cigarette lighter. Long term that setup will be cheaper than running and repeatedly servicing a generator. The heavy batteries and the inverter can stay in your vehicle.


You just need to establish what the total load will be to get the inverter and size the battery sizes and connecting cables correctly, remembering that a fridge motor when starting will need 8 times the rated running power momentarily (if I remember correctly from school). Will the lamb milk feeder need the same allowance?

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2016, 01:34:40 pm »
A generator with electric start would seem to fit the bill.

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 02:43:04 pm »
thanks folks - keep the suggestions coming!

We could manage with a camping stove for the kettle I suppose.  Fridge would be nice but not essential, but lighting and heated lamb milk feeder are definitely essential. Milk feeder needs to be on 24/7.

I need  @Big Benny Shep to join in the thread as he will be fixing it all up, and he's much more technical than I! 
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2016, 02:48:22 pm »

We could manage with a camping stove for the kettle I suppose.  Fridge would be nice but not essential, but lighting and heated lamb milk feeder are definitely essential. Milk feeder needs to be on 24/7.


what is the wattage? that's a good start

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2016, 03:12:16 pm »
the heating element on the lamb feeder is 3kW
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2016, 03:19:12 pm »
Hmm that's going to be a problem for anything but a genny really. Serious battery bank needed to power that.
Genny with electric start is the way forward. The heat loss is relevant to a certain extent as the heater will onyl come on when it needs to presumably, thermostatically controlled. But it's going to lose some serious heat in winter in a shed.

I think ideally some sort of UPS or battery that when the heater kicks in it then tells the genny to start. Saves the genny running 24/7

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2016, 05:20:25 pm »
the heating element on the lamb feeder is 3kW

Are you sure?  That's more than a domestic kettle!

It might be worth getting hold of a plug in power monitor so you can see what it actually draws - hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2016, 05:25:12 pm »
greenbeast and the others seem to have answered already - I doubt I can add much.


Can you live without a heated milk feeder? even with an autostart genny you may have an issue with noise if it's going on and off all night. At the risk of suggesting heath-robinson contraptions, I'd be thinking of a metal unheated feeder with a small paraffin lamp/heater underneath at this point.


I did a quick google of warm milk lamb feeders and mole valley farmers do one that's rated 300w, 25L - that's still not trivial from a battery power point of view, but a lot more feasible. I can only assume your 3kw feeder is a lot bigger?


another thought if you're on good terms with your near neighbour, is to see if you can 'borrow' a supply from them? you could buy an electric meter off ebay/amazon or wherever for £20 or so, so0 you'd know how much to pay them.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2016, 06:08:41 pm »
Don't caravans have gas fridges?  Would that help?

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Ideas for cheap and easy way to get power to the lambing shed please?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2016, 07:01:29 pm »
the heating element on the lamb feeder is 3kW

Are you sure?  That's more than a domestic kettle!

It might be worth getting hold of a plug in power monitor so you can see what it actually draws - hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised!


I just went off the specification http://www.heatwavemilkwarmer.com/specification.php  but yes its thermostatically controlled, so clicks on and off.  We ran it off the mains last year in a stable joined to the house - but that's full of dogs now!!
 
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

 

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