July 2nd, 2014


Backup Back Up Online

So back on Wednesday 18 June 2014, the power went out at 4:19am. (DW) Now the good news is that seconds later our Kohler 12kW automatic backup generator came on. This was the last day Mrs. Dr. Phil was at the ASEE conference in Indianapolis and while I could mostly manage by myself, getting that garage open manually would have been a big problem.

Alas, the generator stayed on after the power came back (DW). Instead of double-reds or a mix of red and green LEDs, the control panel was dark. Ruh-roh.

Robert from Belasco Electric came out on that Thursday morning and got us switched back to line power after 29 hours on the generator. He also showed me the burned up dead controller board from the garage mounted automatic transfer switch. The solenoids that throw the actual switch were also dead.

Here's the controller board for the transfer switch -- you can see the burned up capacitors in the front. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Getting replacement parts was delayed a few days. And then Robert called to report that parts and labor was only $60 off from replacing the whole transfer switch. No brainer there. $1700 estimate. As I recall, the first switch was $1000 plus installation out of the $7000 some odd cost for the whole thing -- the generator was like $4300.

Fortunately, this time there's a 100 amp cutoff switch leading into the transfer switch. They had to pull the electric meter head for the first install, seven years ago. Rather scary to see guys using power tools hooked up to jumper cables on the mains. (grin) Today's job -- Tuesday 1 July 2014 -- only needed one man.

We were a little concerned Monday night that we didn't have the generator available. Fortunately the big storms mainly went around us and our grid connection stayed stable.

The new transfer switch next to my space in the garage. Green-green -- ready and waiting. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Mrs. Dr. Phil wasn't happy with the cost, after "only" seven years. I pointed out we had seven years of backups. And it turns out the transfer switch has a five-year warranty. So I can take seven years.

Besides, those two big lightning blasts right on top of the house? Yeah, the transfer switch got hit and we still got backup power.

Lightning won't strike twice... will it?

Dr. Phil

HBO 22 -- Minority Report

Twenth-second session: Minority Report
Tom Cruise again. And another very stylish big budget movie. Great idea from a Philip K. Dick story -- prevent crime before it happens, all on the word of semisentient less-than-human brain damaged children of drug users. What could possibly go wrong? Although not realistic for the most part, there are plenty of seeds of a future if we keep going on the way we're heading. And yet... for actual designs, there are some real problems.

The pre-cog visions are shown in Blair Witch-O-Vision with jerky cuts and a lot of rolling forward and back -- resembles the recorded dreams of Until The End Of The World a lot. The human mind singing to itself. That would be okay, but the future is lit funny, too.

The raucous arcade cacophony, dark and flashy lights of the VR emporium at the mall seemed realistic, as were the shallow fantasies of the middle aged men who seemed to be the exclusive clientele.

And just how high are those building height highways -- because it takes a long time to descend partway. And Physics? If you want your jet pack to hover or go up, you need the thrust down not down and back. The jury's out regarding those seashell shaped hovercraft. It makes a nice visual for the seat carousel, but it's slow for getting the boots on the ground.

Tom Cruise and the pre-cog Agatha are with the man he is supposed to have killed / will kill / but doesn't kill. Things will go further south tomorrow. Next up will be Mission To Mars.


Tuesday I had to get gas in Allendale, so ran the construction zone of M-45 in Standale. Of course they've got some nice paving westbound -- I was heading east.

Leaving, there was bright blue skies with lots of puffy white clouds. I worked the contrast and brightness to get the sky in this photo, also waiting for the wind to unfurl the US flag.

View of Michigan Street amidst the Spectrum Health complex, from the front entrance to Butterworth Hospital, waiting for my Blazer. (Click on photo for larger)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

You Can't Get There From Here

Thwarted at every turn:

-- Michigan Street down the hill from Butterworth wasn't moving in the construction zone, so I turned right and headed east to College.

-- Merging onto I-196 west, traffic was clogged up. No problem, I was getting off at US-131 north.

-- US-131 and the ramp from I-196 were barely moving. Not sure what the problem was on a Tuesday at 3:30.

-- People staying out of the far left lane -- oh, a cop has someone over on the left shoulder. Couldn't tell if traffic infraction or damage.

-- Once on I-96, some jockeying in lanes... and I-96 west is coming to a halt.

-- I am able to bail onto Walker Avenue and head south to 3 Mile.

-- Right turn on 3 Mile... and traffic is coming to a halt.

-- Four lanes, both westbound lanes blocked by a big hole in the ground next to Meijers headquarter. Doesn't look like a construction project. Water main break?

-- End of Construction sign. Immediately followed by Road Work Ahead sign. Traffic slows.

-- I think I traveled this way once. 3 Mile crosses Remembrance Road. Maybe it links to 8th Avenue, but that's across the border into Ottawa County, so with the name change, is it Johnson? Don't know, so I turn right on Remembrance. 8th to Leonard.

-- Decide to try 24th Avenue south. I think I tried it once ten years ago. Think it connects with M-45 Lake Michigan Drive. It does.

-- Why don't we come this way from Marne, instead of taking the jog on Leonard to Linden. Oh, that's why -- the turn at 24th onto M-45 is uphill. Tough in traffic.

You'd think my drive home was cursed. (grin)

I could see the backup on I-96 west curving off into the distance, so was bailing at Walker Avenue. (Click on photo for larger)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Dr. Phil