Power is still out, over 72 hours later. The latest restoration estimates range from Thursday night to Sunday night. FaucetCompany decided to stay closed yesterday, so I spent the morning locating and acquiring what seemed to be the last portable generator in the nearest eight counties.
Round trip travel time was right at three hours. Cost was seven hundred fifty federal reserve notes for a 6250W unit. My last model was 8500W, but I figured I could get by with less by powering only certain circuits at a time. The second half of the day didn’t go at all as planned.
There were no cords to be had, or even cord ends, so I had to tie the wires from the panel directly into the generator panel. Only there was no easy way to get to the guts. So I tied in at the alternator output. Everything went well after that until I actually tried to start running things.
Something is amiss with the wiring in my house. The breaker for the hot water heater also turns off the electric range and most of the lights. All of which can also be turned off by turning off their respective breakers. As long as the water heater breaker is on. The kitchen circuit that includes the refrigerator also controls the circuit in my office at the back of the house.
So, the only way to run anything besides the refrigerator and my office was to also power the hot water heater, which alone nearly maxed out the generator. So, I left everything else off except a couple lights and waited for the water to get hot.
After about an hour, the lights started looking weird. I put a meter on the generator and found one leg at 165VAC and the other at 150VAC. You guessed it. The voltage regulator had fried. I throttled back the engine until I got 112/130VAC, hoping to get it to run the refrigerator and the lights in the office.
At first, it did okay. Until I tried to turn the TV on. Voltage dropped into the nineties, and the lights went out along with the TV. Amazingly, it ran the refrigerator, though. Which is why I let it run all last night.
I have a pair of voltage regulators on the way, but expedited shipping was unavailable for any price. In other words, power will almost certainly be restored before they arrive.
I did get a warm-ish shower yesterday, and I hope that Duke Energy gets me back up and running before I get home tonight. Cold showers suck.
Learn from me. Have backups in place before you need them. Test them regularly. Have backups to your backups, because Murphy lives. Think about more than just power. I’m working on a medium scale water backup. Nonperishable food that can be prepared with minimal heat or eaten cold is essential, in case all your backups fail.