Monday, January 28, 2013

Rough weekend

Remember all that electrical work so that we could run off a spare generator if push comes to shove? We had a good week of strong winds, so none of it got tested - until Saturday morning. Saturday morning the Kubota generator tried to run - and shut itself off. Murphy's law of generators is that this sort of thing only happens on a Saturday at 40 below. It's almost never 40 below this high up, but it happened this past weekend.

Rob tried a few more times, got a few readings. He reported that there's nothing wrong with the generator, but it was somehow giving us 20-30 Hz, dipping so low the controller shut it off. Then we dragged out the backup generators and got them hooked up. They were a bear to start, especially when in the "off" position, but start they did - and then they shut off. Each would run for 5-10 minutes, then just quit.

Rob shut off most electric loads, including the heater and we went to town. While there, we went by the generator store and were talked out of buying yet another generator. The guy also gave us the name of his favorite electrician, a guy who promised to come out on a Sunday(!)

Sunday morning we rushed to town before the electric appointment, in search of kerosene heaters and a shower. The shower we got at the Tai Chi center, but our first choice of where to get the heaters didn't pan out. Fred Meyer's sells the kerosene, but not the heaters - they have an aisle full of electric heaters. Running out of time, we went home, with a promise that I would go to town if we found some place selling heaters if none of the generators could be made to work.

Rob recalled that he has yet another generator, but this one has an incompatible plug for our system.

The electrician came, making some crack about us living way out there. He and Rob moved some wires further from the controller and got the Kubota running - and the furnace on before the garage froze. The guy also told us what was wrong with the Hondas. Not only is there a main on-off switch, but there's also a toggle for letting air into the gas tank when it's running. If that is set wrong, they create a vacuum and can't keep enough gas flowing into the engine. It's something he learned about the hard way himself.

Anyway, the house is warm again and the wind is back. Life is good.

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