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    • That all sounds right.     Does the new planning application just cover the garage or does it ammend the existing approval? Once a house is completed you can't reclaim VAT on an extension or outbuilding/garage so if the new PP is just for the garage then I suspect not reclaimable. However if you were to get your PP for the house amended to include a garage then it should be possible to reclaim VAT on the garage as well.   If you are using a builder who is zero rating the house to you then its possible he could be (incorrectly) persuaded to zero rate the garage as well. Its unlikely there would be any come back but it is possible. For example if HMRC investigated the projects the builder had worked on and correct his VAT return (or words to that effect) then he might come to you for the VAT.
    • I came across a tip that a rhubarb stalk removes the black stain. Acid on a handy fibrous stalk.  It did work perhaps 50% but did not get out the deeper stains.
    • It doesnt really help to know how ADSL works but...   ADSL assumes a phone line has a bandwidth of about 1Mz. It divides that up into a bunch of 4khz wide channels. I think 196 channels are used for download and 64 for upload. I think a few are unused/guards between voice and data. It's a bit like having a whole bunch of individual modems in parallel. The data rate for each channel depends on the signal to noise ratio for that channel. Or in short.. a noisy line is slower.    Most ADSL modems have the ability to tell you what the noise margin on the line is like. Typically you have to log in to the Admin page in the modem and drill down to a status page. I've long since forgotten what acceptable noise values are so I had to Google this..   https://help.keenetic.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002830880-ADSL-line-parameters     Sometimes the noise margin varies with time of day.   One tip I was told... Apparently OR are better at dealing with complaints about noise/crackling on calls than they are about complaints of slow ADSL. However fixing noise/crackling on the phone line can sometimes fix ADSL issues as well. So one thing you can try is doing the Quiet Line test which suppresses the dial tone so you can listen to what should be a quiet line. If its crackling away then complain about that first. Once that's sorted then see if ADSL improves.    
    • Always feels a bit pretentious starting a thread in Boffin's corner but I guess it's best to keep electronics & coding out of the other sub forums.   Anyhow, I'm messing around with a bit of an 'old chestnut' - a device that spots power being exported to the National Grid and intervenes to dump it into something more useful such as a DHW cylinder immersion heater. Being tight, and having a comprehensive store of electronics parts to hand, I feel compelled to roll my own - as has been done by numerous others before me - such as Robin Emley and, I believe, our own @ProDave   So far all I have is a small mains transformer, a couple of CT's and a scope looking at what happens when a grid-tied inverter pushes more into the grid than is coming out and I'm already seeing issues. First photo shows relation between voltage and current during base-load 662W import:     The voltage waveform (blue) is typical of a small 240VAC transformer saturating (not the ideal way to represent the mains waveform but hey, it's safe). The current waveform (yellow) is 'peaky' in the middle of the cycle showing just how much of my ~700W baseload is capacitive - i.e. lots of switch-mode PSU's rectifying the AC and recharging their reservoir capacitors after partial discharge between cycles. So far so good I guess although I don't like the idea of sampling the distorted voltage waveform.   Next photo is when the Sun comes out:     Oops, 0 Watts imported, who knows how many exported then? That's my task here now.   So the current due to the resistive component of the baseload is starting out from the zero crossing and immediately being cancelled out by the inverter which manages to push the current drawn into negative territory, until it gets overwhelmed by the capacitive loading later in the cycle. The inverter loses the fight near the middle of the cycle and current begins to flow back in from the grid. But on balance, over the whole cycle, more current was going out than coming in hence the utilities smart meter shows zero (it doesn't show export amount but the meter logs it in one of its registers - 1.1kWh so far!).   The scheme seems to be to measure the real power, retaining its sign, on every cycle and keeping a running total such that when it reaches a certain (-ve) threshold (before 3600 Joules is reached) it triggers the Immersion heater to 'claw back' the same amount of Joules to keep from tipping the meter into registering an export. Thus filling and emptying a so called 'energy bucket'. Makes sense. But a few questions arise - how quick does the triggering of the Immersion load have to be? Can it be made less critical by setting a lower threshold?   I ask because I can't easily wire directly from the meter area to the immersion so I guess a wireless solution is required and these all have a degree of latency. What are the other significant challenges I wonder?
    • That sounds exactly what it’s like to me!   This will be our ‘forever’ home so i want to do it properly so I will be removing it. Thanks for the reply   Would internal walls be built off this too or are they likely to have their own proper footings? I will be keeping 2 of the walls and building up from them as block walls to support roof structure   Thanks again 
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