D’oh!

By , April 2, 2015

I appreciate a good mystery. I appreciate it far less, though, when the mystery’s solution turns out to be that I’m an idiot.

Over the weekend we had some sunny, fairly calm weather, so I decided to disassemble our old Winco wind generator and remove it from the Power Point.

This venerable old machine has served as a picturesque piece of homestead-style yard art ever since Michelle and I stripped it down, repaired, cleaned and painted it. When we got it put back together and tested it, it wouldn’t charge. Eventually, it began to deteriorate, reaching a tipping point in the last few months (see Wind Damage). At that point, I realized that I’d better pull it down before it fell down.

Thankfully, the tower retained enough structural integrity that I could climb to the top and disconnect wires, remove the tail section, and dassamble as much as possible. The first thing I noticed when I got up there was a set of severed wires. These clearly led from the generator body to the collector ring beneath it—or would have done, had they not been cut at some point.

“That’s odd,” I thought.

I continued with the disassembly, and with Michelle’s help, the tower no longer graces our “homestead’s” skyline.

That evening, I pulled out the generator’s manual and flipped through it. In seconds, I found what I sought: confirmation that those wires should have been whole if we ever expected to generate any electricity with the machine.

D’oh!

Please understand, I’m positive these wires did not break by accident at some point. I’m quite certain that we somehow missed the obvious, vital step of reconnecting those wires as part of the rebuild! As I say, the solution points to me admitting that I’m an idiot.

I can’t think back to that process and remember each step taken, but I’m amazed that we didn’t somehow see those loose wires flapping in our faces as we set the generator on the tower top, and decide to check whether they might hold some sort of significance! And yet, we didn’t. I’m pretty sure we did a certain amount of troubleshooting to try to generate electricity, but throughout the process we apparently remained blind to that obvious flaw in the system.

I suppose in the long run no real harm has been done. As I’ve explained before, we had already reinforced that generator’s electrical output with a small solar array. Nursing that old generator along in the years it did work was not easy.

And yet . . . . Our nearest neighbors use a Winco as part of their power profile. I’ve already offered them our generator, its remaining peripherals, and the boxes of spare parts we’ve accumulated, and they’ve gratefully accepted. I do wish that we’d noticed that our repair job wasn’t finished. Had we done that, the whole machine might not have languished and rusted away as yard art, but lived out its days far more usefully. I feel that I wasted a lot of potential through this one simple but rather obvious mistake.

As we so often say around here: “Live and learn.”

2 Responses to “D’oh!”

  1. Steve says:

    Mark,
    I think your most important finding was the one about the tower’s structural integrity! Glad you’re through the job safely.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Steve. I should point out, though, that the tower’ about 10 feet high at most. Had anything, or one fallen off, there would have been very little damage. Still, good to have it down.

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