Thursday, July 19, 2007

Still buried

Sorry guys. Should be doing something substantive here pretty soon. A number of things have ganged up on me to keep me buried in alligators; way past "up to may ahem in" or "up to my eyes" as I usually say.

Today part of the alligator mob IS connected with being off the grid. My AC power for the house has been going fritzy; and we need 110 volts AC for the phone answering system (which, of course, runs off 6 VDC - but which blows if you try putting 6VDC into it from your batteries. Done that- for years; killed at least 8 systems - has to do with different grounds between house and phone line.........) and we need the 110AC to - charge the laptop computer. Which, of course, uses 24VDC- hard to get from 12V, anyway.

So I've spent the day without phones, ran the laptop battery down to 5%- finally gave up and devoted all my time to troubleshooting the power system. So far- decision 1) it's the switch; inverter seems to be shutting down because not enough DC current is getting through. Replaced the switch; twice- uh, nope. 2) it's the inverter getting old and cranky- replaced inverter with backup (I have TWO) - uh, nope, still starts, dies, regardless of inverter.

Now, I DID already go through the "sequential unplugging" process that is normally the first step; looking for some attached device or branch line that is causing the problem - didn't find any.

But- that's what it is. Somehow, I must have missed a step in the unplugging process; because now the problem is isolated to some part of the downstairs line. Phone is back; computer is charging- ultimate cause not yet ferreted out. But I'll be able to sleep, anyway.

There's the thing about being off grid, again. You do have to rely considerably ON YOURSELF to fix problems. Can't call up ConEd and complain- it's not their problem.

Fine for some. Pain in the neck regardless. But there IS a substantial personal satisfaction when you personally find the blankety blank blank problem- and FIX it. Feels good.

Halfway there; got a ways to go.

6 comments:

RC said...

Welcome Back Greenpa and good luck finding the short.
In that tiny house how hard could that be?

Elizabeth said...

You go on with your bad self, Greenpa!

Greenpa said...

RC - HAH! :-) I'm not that bad a diagnostician, but this has been a bear. First thought it was the switch- nope; then the inverter. Put in my backup inverter- and after 24 hours (did I mention it's an intermittent problem?) - both inverters will fritz out - but it's specifically different systems being plugged in that cause them to fritz. Their failure light just tells you it's shut off; not whether it was a short, or low voltage, or high voltage. I know it's not high voltage, but I actually don't know whether I'm looking for a short or some kind of elusive corrosion. And I've got two, different, consistent, failure patterns. It'll make a good story someday.

Greenpa said...

Elizabeth- :-)

RC said...

Oh Man, the elusive corrosion! Here on the island the salt air is doing that 24/7, corrosion keeps me very busy. It's more endemic than elusive in my case. I have to join everything important with liquid graphite or solder. I have lots of seaside locations I have to deal with. Corrosion pays my bills.

H said...

and we need the 110AC to - charge the laptop computer. Which, of course, uses 24VDC- hard to get from 12V, anyway

You can use a car charger (look for example at http://www.meritline.com/car-power-adapter-laptop-notebook-computer.html) or make a DC doubler (http://silenceisdefeat.org/~lgtngstk/Sites/Circuits/12_to_24v_DC_Step_Up_Inverter/12_to_24v_DC_Step_Up_Inverter.html)