They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me


The Good News

Woke up at 4:19am Wednesday morning, probably due to the heavy thunderstorm going on. Just as I was considering heading for a pee break -- Lasix is very busy -- there was a tremendous bright flash and a near simultaneous rrrip-Ka-POWWWWWW! of the sound of electrons jumping from ground to sky, ripping apart the instantly ionized atmospheric gasses in a concussive shock wave.

As the light just started to dim, I could hear the fans spinning down and then it was dark, lit only by the surrounding nearly continuous lightning all around. I started counting... at four the night lights and the fans were back on. Our Kohler automatic backup generator was online. Check the garage, double red LEDs, as expected. I went back to bed.

This is good. I'm not sure I could've operated the manual release on the garage door given my current limitations -- I am not climbing a ladder right now.

The Bad News

It's 2:03am Thursday morning and the generator is still running. Oh I'm not complaining about Consumer's Energy. As near as I can tell, the power was back on by 10:15am at the 5:56 Mark. I heard the concussive compression of the neighbor's generator shut down. But when I checked the garage, I could still hear our generator running and the transfer switch displays were dark. What the hell does that mean.

We thought we had a bad controller board in the transfer switch. Sometimes we'd find a rapidly blinking light indicating that the generator had failed to start. But Tuesday morning I heard it complete its weekly self test exercise cycle and we had double green.

So did it fail to transfer when the power came back and we're still running on the generator? Or did it transfer back to the line and merely fail to shutdown. Near as I can tell, it's the former, based on the brief dimming when the air conditioning compressor came on. (And I had to reset the DSL to get this posted after the impedance voltage drop of the compressor start just now...)

I'd let it run while I was at HBO, so I could get back into the garage. And I called into the electrical contractor at 4:40pm. The tech will be out in the morning. I knew that there were more thunderstorms coming in the early evening. And I wasn't going to stand on my bad foot and try to work the transfer switch panel. And given I need to keep the dressing dry, I surely was not going out to the generator and shut it down there.

So I'm basically off the grid for an extra 24 hours. We've run the generator for days -- it's hooked up to our 250 gallon LP tank, so we have plenty of fuel. And we have power and comfort.

I didn't want to leave us in a state with the solenoid switch in the wrong position and the generator switched off. If it is the circuit board, it'll be something like $800 parts and labor.


Dr. Phil

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