Monday, November 28, 2016

Worst thing in the world...

The worst time in the world when you are trying to fix something has to be being lost and not know it. And this has been the case with my most recent, repairing my Enertech 1800 wind generator.
In my defense. Picture yourself standing at the top of a 6 foot ladder tied to the top of this 50 foot tower. Sure you have a safety harness on but it still is distracting.

You open up the nacell and remove a cover over the capacitors and this is what you find. The black starting cap is totally disconnected (3 wires) and only one wire (of the 3) is still connected to the metal run cap. No problem as I had some tape on my gloves that I could tear off and label some of the wires. I also had a scrap of paper with me and made a little drawing of the wires. I would get replacements and be back in business shortly. I was very careful and methodical as I re-turminated each lead (as instructed by my capacitor guy) one lead at a time and attached. Did not want to mix anything up. After the rewiring I went down and flipped the power on. Nothing! Dang.

Next move was to read and do some more testing. Wait, it was still dead maybe I had the cap wiring wrong on the run cap.  (I KNEW I had the start cap wired right. Lost and didn't know it). So I did and this time got a high current (45 amp) to flow. (I reasoned that this meant there was a starting problem.) This was miss guided thinking.

So testing it would be. Now to perform these tests all wire had to be disconnected. My first test showed an open main A winding. B winding was good. Temperature switch was good. Starting winding was good. Bleed resistor was good. Capacitors were new. So I decided to unbolt the brake and generator and bring them down from the tower. There I could study and bench test everything.

Two days of on again off again reading and testing. Trying to follow the schematic and physical wiring of this many wired monster ( six to the capacitors and eight in the junction box) was a struggle. So I decided to draw a physical diagram of the connections.
So this made sense and as I traced each wire in and out of the motor housing I labeled it and my drawing. During this process I discovered that I had mixed up a second wire in the first attempt to install the new caps. This was sad because had I gotten it right the first time it would have worked. All looked good and the logic of how current should flow was there. Wired it up by the numbers and WALLA! Spun like a top. All I can say is I learned a lot more about my wind generator in the process so not a total loss.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lucky me ?

As the ol' saying goes, "If it was not for bad luck I would have no luck at all." This past week I came home and noticed the wind generator blades were running a bit choppy. There was plenty of wind and it looked as though the brake was on to a degree. I went in the shed and looked at the control box and the watt meter was at zero. Even after I shut it off the blades still were choppy. So fo sure I knew the brake was on. Now they say, "it is what you don't know that hurts you.

I got out the manual and started looking for clues. After spending a day trying this or that I went back to the manual. "If all else fails read the manual" right. I even tried to motor the generator by directly wiring power to it and by pass the control box. No luck. Then I went to the top of the tower and started investigating. Brake solenoid clicked so power was getting to it when but in test mode. Wiring in junction box was fine. Just as I was about to quit I saw the cover for the capacitors and thought maybe I should have a peek.

Yikes! Found "the" problem would later turn out to be "a" problem. Went to my local electrician and he had just the capacitors I needed. Now if you are following this blog you know that this past summer I spent several weeks going over this unit and making some major repairs. You would have thunk that I would have checked these while it was down and handy, but no.

Well after replacing the capacitors I thought all would be well again. Not to be. I could tell you all of the little tiny mistakes I made in the wiring but even after correcting no go. So back to the manual!

Now armed with a testing plan and trusty ohmmeter I mounted the tower. To make the tests required that ALL wire connections be dis-connected. So now with now fewer than 12 wires loose I began testing. Did not take long to determine one of the main windings was open.

I felt like jumping off the tower!

But instead I decided to unbolt the brake and generator and bring them down. So I tied up the blades and anchored them to the mast. Now I can trouble shoot this beast on the bench. What I won"t do for "free" electricity.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

No TV Tuesday Nov. 8

Well I voted for Gary Johnson in protest and have decided not to watch any of the election returns. So I'll blog a bit about some projects I am getting into as fall is in full swing.

First is another carving repair. This time for my Mother. A few years ago the tree trunk these Finches were carved on went to pieces so I took them home and grafted them into a new oak trunk that I cut out of my woods. For good measure I also fiber glassed the birds. Well after several more years I noticed the base of the new trunk was showing some rot and the carving was in real danger of falling over.

This time I made a new mounting plate out of 4 x 6 treated material. Then I wrapped the trunk in fiber glass. So now it is sealed up and should go the distance. New paint and they will be like new. Lets hope.

Then it was on to taking a few pictures of some of the "yard art" I have been building over the years for a class that I will be holding at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point next summer. Should be fun.

And lastly I have decided to crank up the bird feeder factory. These are the birds (3 for each feeder) a Finch, Cardinal and Bluebird that will be mounted on St Francis the monk holding a tray. These feeders are about 5 feet tall and require a lot of carving on the face, hands and feet. A few  years ago I ran into a junked out picnic table that was made out of 2" red cedar plank. Just what I needed for making the St. Francis feeders because it resists rotting. So now I am recycling it and putting it to use.

More pictures to come as I move along with the process.