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

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

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