Monday, February 4, 2013

Tale of a Generator

It is a Friday when we leave the holding area for our new gate. The person that is leading us to the site says he has to make a quick stop to get a new generator trailer for us. NEW !! Cool Beans.... Brand spanking new generator, zero hours, new water tank no algae or dirt, no problems.

We arrive on site and get the RV setup while he sets the generator and gets it running, life is good...
It is now around noon, we are alone on the site. There is no traffic so we just kick back and start our shifts and await the day a rig moves in.

As darkness approaches I flip the switches for two of the four lights that adorn the top of our brand new light tower. There is a flicker, flicker and the lights spring to my command. Wait one just went out I turn the switch off and back on.......nothing. I turn the switch off and decide wait for it to cool some before turning it back on. Bingo that worked and both lights are flooding our gate is good.

Fast forward to Saturday night, the same sort of thing happens with the same two lights as I turn them on. Some flickering and some objection to wanting to work..Hmmmmm... As Sunday dawns and it is time to turn the lights off I note that one is not working..note to self.

Sunday evening arrives and sure enough the light that was out in the mourning would not work now. I flip the switch for the other light that I had been using and the switch (which is a ckt breaker also) will not stay on. Abandon those tow lights and turn on the bottom two......wait only one of those works..What pray tell is going on?

Monday first light I report to the powers that be the situation. New generator and lights not working.
Our maint guy said he would be there that day but he never showed and we never heard a work from any of the supervisors.

Fast forward again...It is now a Friday 15 days later and I get a call from a supervisor telling me that they think I have a new generator and please get the serial number and hours from the unit. It should be under warranty. Wait, what? I have been telling them for two weeks and now they THINK it MAY be a NEW generator, amazing..

It is now 2 pm that same Friday and we get a call from the generator company that they are on the way. Problem is he is 5 hours away,OK his problem not mine. I chuckle and say to myself “Now it is an emergency”.

The generator technician arrives checks the situation ( flips the switches as I did) and asks “only one works”? Hmmmmmm.. There is an enclosure inside the generator housing that contains the workings for the lights. The technician takes the cover off and looks inside. He then takes out his phone and takes pictures and calls someone....This ain't looking good !!! When he steps away from the generator to talk on the phone (the generator is running and is rather loud) I take a peak at the box.....I went into the house and told my wife he will have to replace the generator it is burned slap up.....They did in fact bring a replacement.

OK so they talk awhile and decide that they are going to take the box from the good gen and put it in the bad. I asked a simple question “Does the box have connectors”? I had done some looking previously and saw it is completely hardwired ( that will make changing it a real pain).

No he says it is in fact hard wired and I think I am over my head here, I'm a salesman not a technician. Whoa, whoa, what?? 

You need to change the unit rather than attempt to rewire the entire lighting will take forever for you to do that and you are already hesitant about how to do the wiring. I have been in electronics and electricity all of my life. Let me just say any doubt back out. I can be blunt when I need to be..but what they wanted to do made no sense...

After much more phone talk with the people in the sky they decide to go ahead and change the is now around 9pm.. So he pulls the old unit out and positions the new in its place.

This trip to the field I purchased a surge protector which plugs between the generator and my RV.
Just to note that it worked just fine on the "old" generator. He says go ahead and hook up ur RV to the "new" generator I want to make sure all is good before I leave....I plug in the surge protector and it looks good for about 15 seconds and stops working ( the surge protector "thinks" for 2 min before passing power on to the RV). "Everything OK"? he asks "No my surge protector stopped, It dosen't like something". I reset the power breaker and try again. and the same thing happens... there is some discussion about my surge protector. Like why don't we take it off and see what happens. Why dont you check the output I say unless you want to pay for rewiring my RV.

The unit was way low voltage which could have damaged my RV....He set the voltage for 240volst and the surge protector thought and passed power on to the RV....Now we have four lights and good power......until they return the bad unit after repair.....Stay tuned....


  1. Oh, geeze ! Man, oh, man, I hate it when things string out like that when there is a obvious conclusion !

  2. Wow what a crazy situation to find yourself in. Hate it when stuff like that goes wrong. Got to love generator issues like that!