Monday, April 9, 2012

Dealing with the generator

Here are a few pictures to show how we keep the generator going during the dry season when there is no public power (not enough water at the hydroelectric dams near Kenema).

Pouring diesel from 5 gallon container to a 1 gallon container
Because the access to pouring fuel into the generator tank is right under the generator control panel, the fuel cannot be poured directly from the 5 gallon. We fill the smaller can and then pour from it.

Pouring from 1 gallon can into the generator tank

"Fuel gauge" Each mark is about 1 gallon.

2 cylinder, 8.2 KW diesel generator

Last Friday morning we woke to having no ceiling lights.  I called for help before we sat down to breakfast and help arrived just as we finished breakfast.  One phase of the 3-phase circuit was out so we went to check the generator and found that it had shifted off of its wood blocks (it had never been bolted down and we later found the shift this time to be due to heavy vibration).  After getting help from our elders in the apartment behind us, we put it back in place (and put nails in the boards to brace the engine to help keep it from vibrating off the boards.)  The circuit breaker on the generator would not stay "on" and we had to pry open the generator control panel (because the latch was frozen shut). We discovered two things inside the control panel.  1. One phase was by-passing the circuit breaker, i.e, hard-wired from the generator to the house.  2. One of the other lines was not tripping properly.

We replaced the faulty circuit breaker with a new one. Then traced a second problem to a hidden and buried line from the house to the dead lights on the security wall. That line was found to have an intermittent short and was cut free from the house circuits.

The two working air conditioners were on the line that skipped the circuit breaker.  While the air conditioner was turned off during the testing, there was still power to the air conditioner circuit due to the hard wired "fix" inside the generator control panel that was found later.  The frequent powering up and down of the generator to find the circuit load problem prior to prying open the control panel and discovering the badly wired circuit breaker, has caused a problem with the new air conditioner in the master bed room.  We don't know if the problem is simply a fuse in the air conditioner or something more serious. We'll find out when the air conditioner technician comes to look at it.

But we did have power back to all our lights! And Friday evening we were treated to this beautiful cloud in the East.

Sunday we attended the New Barracks Branch and heard the Primary Class children singing.  Here they are:

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