Odd jobs – 3

We put the last of the concrete floors in to the outbuilding earlier in the month.  We will use this middle shed as a workshop and have decided to dry line and plaster this shed.  This will make it a little more free from dirt.  Hopefully, we will get this plastered in the next couple of weeks.  When we think about the amount of money been spent on these outbuildings, we might have been better off knocking them down and starting again.  The upside is that the outbuildings which have probably been here 200-300 years have a new lease of life.

We have put down a concrete base in the middle shed in the outbuilding, now all three sheds have proper concrete floors.  This means that the outbuilding is now a lot dryer than it has been in the past.  We have decided to get this shed drylined and plastered.  This should make this shed a bit more dirt free (this area had been used previously as a coal hole!).

We have put down a concrete base in the middle shed in the outbuilding, now all three sheds have proper concrete floors. This means that the outbuilding is now a lot dryer than it has been in the past. We have decided to get this shed drylined and plastered. This should make this shed a bit more dirt free (this area had been used previously as a coal hole!).

In advance of the middle shed being plastered, we have put in a new door frame so that the dry lining can be fitted up to the frame.  For now, we have put the old door back on (with new hinges and trimmed to make it a little more square).

In advance of the middle shed being plastered, we have put in a new door frame so that the dry lining can be fitted up to the frame. For now, we have put the old door back on (with new hinges and trimmed to make it a little more square).

Snow

We have had some snow already this winter, but this morning we had around 3 inches.  This was enough to stop the traffic for a while and it was eerily quiet for a while.

January 2015 and we have around 3 inches of snow on the ground.  It was enough to stop any traffic on the road which meant that it was eerily quiet for a while.  It was a good day for sitting in front of the fire with a book.

January 2015 and we have around 3 inches of snow on the ground. It was enough to stop any traffic on the road which meant that it was eerily quiet for a while. It was a good day for sitting in front of the fire with a book.

The view from up the hill SAM_1265 SAM_1271

New weather station

After the demise of our last weather station last week, we have installed a new one.  It is remarkable similar to our previous weather station, however, this does have a solar meter which measures daylight.  Our previous weatherstation was a Weathereye-WEA22.  The new one is a Aercus WS3083.

This one simply plugged into the same PC (via USB) as the old station and it worked.  I had to tell it that it now had a Solar meter, but that was about the only change.  The data is uploaded to the website every 15 minutes and you can access the page from here: http://www.haggleysfarm.co.uk/weather.

It looks very similar to the old one, except this one is well screwed onto the shed.  Although it is a different make, the outdoor attachments are identical (except this unit has a solar meter).  It simply plugged into the PC and started uploading data.  It took no more than 60 minutes to assemble and set up.

It looks very similar to the old one, except this one is well screwed onto the shed. Although it is a different make, the outdoor attachments are identical (except this unit has a solar meter). It simply plugged into the PC and started uploading data. It took no more than 60 minutes to assemble and set up.

Porch

Ever since we moved in, there has been a pallet for a step underneath the canopy by the front door.  Fingers crossed, we will get this flagged next week – particularly if the weather is bad as this spot is somewhat sheltered from the elements.  It was getting to a point where we had got used to the pallet!  Time for a change.  The old tarmac has now been taken up ready for the flagstones to be laid.

Now we have the flagstones laid in the lower part of the sunken garden, we have started to realise how nice it looks!  We thought it was about time that we sorted out the porch at the front of the property.  The flagstones will be laid some time next week, but the area has already been prepped. Since this area is out of the worst of the weather, Paddy and Jonny may keep this piece of work in case the weather turns really bad next week!

Now we have the flagstones laid in the lower part of the sunken garden, we have started to realise how nice it looks! We thought it was about time that we sorted out the porch at the front of the property. The flagstones will be laid some time next week, but the area has already been prepped. Since this area is out of the worst of the weather, Paddy and Jonny may keep this piece of work in case the weather turns really bad next week!

Loxone kit: Part 1

A couple of people have asked what the Loxone installation actually looks like and I realised that I hadn’t posted any photos since the installation had been completed.

The Loxone kit operates as two “stars” that are linked together.  One of the stars is in the older part of the building and one of the stars is in the new extension.  The main electricity feed comes into the new part of the building, but this then feeds a distribution board in the older part of the building.  While it sounds complex, it is actually straightforward.

To make things a little easier to understand, I will go through the set up of each of the node separately.  Let’s start with the node in the older part of the property. You will find Part 2 of this subject here that covers the newer part of the house.

The Loxone kit is house in two Hagar cabinets.  While they are a little expensive, they fitted in the space that I had and will comply with building and electrical regulations.  The top unit houses a TDK 24v supply, the Loxone miniserver and an extension.  The bottom unit houses another extension, a dimmer unit and an RS-232 module (to connect to the burglar alarm).

The TDK power supply is feed by a switched fuse spur and the power to the Loxone kit is fed by two further switched fuse spurs.  This means that all the Loxone kit can be power up, but the 240v power supplied to the mini-server, extension units and dimmer can be switched off separately.

We are using Cat5 cabling for all of the light switches.  All of the cables from the light switches terminate in a Cat5 patch panel.  It is then a simple case of making up a “fly lead” to go from the patch panel and connect it to the relevant Loxone unit.  The cable at the light switch is terminated using a standard RJ-45 plug.  This means that it is a straight connection from the plug at the light switch through to the patch panel.  This makes it very easy to test and also means that we can easily change the switches at a later date by just making up a new fly lead to connect to the Loxone kit.

All of the network connections are terminated in one of two patch panels.  There is one on top and one below the Netgear switch.  The TP link router connects to the switch and then patch leads are used to connect the relevant network ports to the Netgear switch.  We are using Schneider switches through the property and the stainless steel covers are a push fit.  If you lift the plate off, there is a label on the inside that indicates which port in the patch panel it connects to.

There is a telephone panel underneath.  This takes the incoming telephone line and splits it into 4 outgoing RJ-45 connections.  It is a simple task to connect a network port in one of the rooms to a spare telephone port. You need an adapter at the telephone end to convert the Rj-45 socket into something you can plug a UK telephone into.  This makes it very easy to more the telephone points around.

This shows the 3 distribution boards that house the Loxone kit and the RCDs for the older part of the house.  The datacomm cabinet at the bottom houses the patch panels, network switch and telephone distribution panel.

This shows the 3 distribution boards that house the Loxone kit and the RCDs for the older part of the house. The datacomm cabinet at the bottom houses the patch panels, network switch and telephone distribution panel.

With the covers removed, you can see how the Loxone it is wired up.  All of the low voltage connections have crimped ferrules attached; this makes it much easier to get good, reliable connections.  This is the lower of the two distribution boards that holds Loxone kit for this part of the house.

With the covers removed, you can see how the Loxone it is wired up. All of the low voltage connections have crimped ferrules attached; this makes it much easier to get good, reliable connections. This is the lower of the two distribution boards that holds Loxone kit for this part of the house.

RIP: Weather station

We had some particularly strong wind over the weekend and our weather station got blown down.  Unfortunately, it smashed on the ground and I suspect that the plastic is too brittle to glue back together.  We will replace it in the next week or so.  Ho hum!

Unfortunately, a big gust of wind blown this off the shed at the weekend.  Although we have all the bits, I suspect the best option is to buy a new one.  The weatherstation will be out of action for the next few days.

Unfortunately, a big gust of wind blown this off the shed at the weekend. Although we have all the bits, I suspect the best option is to buy a new one. The weatherstation will be out of action for the next few days.

Belzona 5122: Does it work?

Back in February this year we applied a couple of coats of Belzona 5122 (otherwise known as “Clear Cladding”) to the south west gable and above one of the rear patio doors.  These areas were particularly prone to the south westerly weather and we felt we needed to treat the stonework to prevent any water ingress.  We put a couple of coats of Belzona on these areas, but I was never quite sure how effective it was going to be.

Well, today, with some very wet weather, we have the clearest indication ever that the Belzona is doing what it is meant to do.  Just take a look at the photos below.

The area above these patio doors was treated with Belzona 5122 in February this year.  Here you can see on a particularly wet October day, the effect that it has had.  Just compare it to the stonework above the patio doors on the right.  You can even see where the Belzona has dripped onto the jambs and the step below.

The area above these patio doors was treated with Belzona 5122 in February this year. Here you can see on a particularly wet October day, the effect that it has had. Just compare it to the stonework above the patio doors on the right. You can even see where the Belzona has dripped onto the jambs and the step below.

Here you can see the impact that the Belzona has had on the way the stonework is absorbing the rain water.  I hadn't really noticed this before as there is no impact on the colour of the stonework when it is dry.

Here you can see the impact that the Belzona has had on the way the stonework is absorbing the rain water. I hadn’t really noticed this before as there is no impact on the colour of the stonework when it is dry.

The left hand side of this south west gable was treated with Belzona 5122.  On this particularly wet day, you can see the difference it is making to the way the stonework is absorbing the water.

The left hand side of this south west gable was treated with Belzona 5122. On this particularly wet day, you can see the difference it is making to the way the stonework is absorbing the water.

Doors finished

The doors to the outbuilding are finally finished (although they still probably need one more coat of paint).  The lock arrived this morning and was fitted straight away.  It is a van lock intended for use on the rear doors of vans (you have probably seen while waiting behind a van at traffic lights).  The hasp is circular, as is the padlock itself, and this produces a neat looking solution.  I wasn’t expecting the lock to be quite as big, but then that is one of the dangers of buying things online. At least it was quick to fit!

The doors have now had a couple of coats of Sandolin and match the window frames in the house.  They still need another coat, but I am going to let them fully dry first.

The doors have now had a couple of coats of Sandolin and match the window frames in the house. They still need another coat, but I am going to let them fully dry first.

These locks are intended for the rear doors on vans, however, they are a neat solution for a shed door.  This one looks a little over sized for this door, but it does the trick.

These locks are intended for the rear doors on vans, however, they are a neat solution for a shed door. This one looks a little over sized for this door, but it does the trick.

This is actually a van lock, but I thought it would look like a neater solution than a traditional clasp and hasp.  I hadn't quite realised that it was going to look so "serious"!

This is actually a van lock, but I thought it would look like a neater solution than a traditional clasp and hasp. I hadn’t quite realised that it was going to look so “serious”!