Threat of a Brown Out

By , July 2, 2013

At various times in the past I’ve been pretty smug about producing our own power, which keeps our electricity going when communities near us have outages. However, we are now entering what can only be described as a “brown out,” to borrow a term from the ’70s.

Sunday, Michelle and I spent 6 hours lowering the wind generator tower, removing the generator, and replacing it with the older unit. I’d reworked the wiring in the old unit, and thought it might provide some power if we put it up while the other one travels south for warranty repair.

The H40 atop "Power Point." Tall, proud, and unmoving! (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The homestead’s original wind generator returns to the “Power Point.” Tall, proud, and unmoving! (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I felt a bit apprehensive about doing this right now, when we’ve had so little wind. Our battery bank has barely crept up into the 85% range on the sunnier days; the “charge full” warning, which activates after the 5th day at less than 100%, has been flashing for days. We’re slowly running out of power.

But, the Summer Solstice has passed. Every day, we lose a couple more minutes of daylight for the solar panels. We need to get this repair taken care of now! Besides, we had the time with both of us home, and perfect weather for doing the work.

Unfortunately, the old generator wouldn’t charge! Winds reached 30 knots on Monday, but something has stiffened the rotor during 4 years of storage. I’d noticed some rough spots when I was working on it, but I’d hoped that higher winds might overcome them. It failed to turn even slightly through a full day of strong wind.

But, when I got up around 2:45 a.m. today, we had a green charging light. Apparently the wind had finally overcome the inertia, and the old wind generator is charging the homestead battery bank!

What a relief! I thought I’d have to go to town and start hauling in gas for the motor generator, and keep that up until the damaged wind generator returned. I don’t know if we’ll need these higher winds to drive the prop, but it’s better than nothing, and the charge is climbing to 100% as I update this post.

When we took the generator off the tower, we found that the damage to it is more extensive than we realized. Who knows what they’ll need to do to it to get it running again? Or, if they will…. I tried to contact the company yesterday. Every single email, and their online warranty incident report form failed to work. I know they’ve recently had a big shake up in the company. I question whether they actually exist anymore?

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy