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As Paul Harvey Would Say....the Rest Of The Story


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#61 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 02:36 PM

If members here want to see our discussion, speak up and let me know, otherwise I'll be taking this backchannel on the pm system.

#62 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 08:10 PM

If members here want to see our discussion, speak up and let me know, otherwise I'll be taking this backchannel on the pm system.


I would find it very interesting myself Howard.

#63 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 09:36 PM

Ok, Daniel you asked for it LOL.
Seriously, if this happens I would be thrilled. Dad and I put a lot of time and effort into this system. From what I've heard, it seems it only ran for a few years after he left the country. I know he left a solid legacy, but it is sad to think of things on my childhood home falling into disrepair.

So here is my reply to Roboter:
Ok, first question, have you seen my post here:
http://gardentractor...neat-impliment/
You will need to scroll down, but I posted on the first page. That gives some overall history.

Do you have fast internet connection? And are you willing to give me an address, I can pull up images on Google Earth and make some notations about where things are, and send you the images.

Now, failure points. First, the machine was built in England, so all the bolts are PROBABLY metric, so you will need metric tools.
The first point would be water or a water obstruction. The hydro drew on two rivers for water, and I'd think the local people could handle anything simple. We built a large dam on one river, less for water reserve than just to get the water up out of the river channel. Shortly after that was built, heavy rains washed out the emergency spillway and it had to be filled back in, so there may be an issue there.
The two water sources came together in a holding pond, then flowed out a concrete lined ramp. It is possible that the ramp is damaged in some way and won't hold water.
At the 'end' of the ramp, the end of the level section of the ramp, is a final settling tank and the opening to the final pipe leading down to the hydro. I know Dad built a grate as final protection to keep debris out of the pipe, so that should be looked at.
It is possible that debris has clogged some or all of the jets. Once a stick was caught in one of the nozzles and it caused the hydro to run in a disturbed fashion. The nozzles are removable and may be cleanable that way.
The hydro has a main runner with greasable bearings, the generator was driven by a flat belt, about 4 inches wide. The generator was a 240 volt unit. There is a mechanical/electrical brake that would stop the wheel under certain conditions. As I recall, the brake was spring loaded closed and an electro magnet would hold the brake open once the system was running. There was probably some sort of latch that would hold the brake open during initial start-up.
The brains of the system were an electronic control boad that probably monitered voltage and frequency. It was set to provide 240 volts at 50 Hz. The board sensed power demands from the main circuit, and dumped excess power into water heater elements set in the base of the hydro, so the generator was always loaded to full power and kept the speed of the turbine steady. I don't know how rebuildable the main control board is, I think someone with a good electronic background might be able to trouble shoot it, but getting parts might be a problem. Also, the board would not work well if the water heater elements were all burned out and unable to provide ballast to keep the turbine from overspeeding.
Output from the system control went to simple breakers mounted on a piece of plywood on the wall. I think, due to the variable nature of the turbine output, we mounted multiple breakers on the wall and would change breakers to best match the output from the turbine. This was to keep from overloading the generator, as a full capacity load would trip a breaker and keep us from having a brown-out.

More to come, I'm breaking for lunch.
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#64 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 09:37 PM

Ok, back now.
I suppose I'll start back by telling you about the electrical set-up. I mentioned that it is 240V, 50 HZ, but did not say that it's 240Volts to ground. So, electrically, there is the hot wire, at 240 V, which I believe Dad followed convention and used black wire for that, then a Neutral, at 0V to ground, and a Ground wire for a total of 3 wires.
From the breakers, the wiring went to a step up transformer. It went from 240 up to around 30K volts, though it could have been 25K. The high voltage wire went from the hydro house up to the old generator house, where the step down transformer was located. I know we had a lot of trouble in the early years with lightening strikes taking out the transformers, then we found out that the aluminum wire we used to ground the top wire was oxidizing and not grounding well. We then installed copper wire into the ground at each pole and I think that stopped the problem.
From the step-down transformer, we ran the circuit through a pair of reversed breakers, that allowed us to flip power from the hydro back to the diesel generators when needed. Power was distributed from the generator house down to the main house, the shop next to the generator house, the barn (where we had trouble with mice eating the insulation), the two guest houses, and I think power was also run over to the training center near the church. Actually, I know power was run over there, because I did the initial wiring. I don't think there was a separate main breaker for each distribution, relying instead on the main breaker near the transformer to protect the line, and a separate breaker box at each building to protect lines in the building.
I do know that the main house had some elaborate breakers in the main box. At some point after we got the hydro, Dad put in an electric water heater and an electric stove. In order not to overload things, we installed load sensing devices that would allow the water heater to run only when the electrical load was low in the rest of the house. We also had one or two electric pumps that supplied water for the plumbing. I THINK the final configuration was, one pump at the shop/grain mill area to pull water from the irrigation ditch for exterior faucets at the house and to use for the tractor to spray pesticide. The other tank was filled by a pump located in a well house, and that fed the main supply for the house.

So, digest this, make some notes and let me know what else you need to know.
I'm curious how you found me.
How would I go about volunteering for this project?
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#65 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 09:43 PM

Here is Roboter's response to me. I edited it a bit to help keep his privacy. If anyone sees where I may have left in too much information, please let me know.


Thanks for all your information, it helps me to envision the system. I'll let you know what else I need. Info layout, brake and cleanout were great.
Now I'm looking for schematics of this generator. Stamford ( Maker) changed their name in 1995? timeframe to Newage then, 2006? were bought by Cummins. I read your other post about how you made the Dam. I have found it on the internet. From the pic I saw (Google) it looked like the Dam was still there.

I found via a Internet Search of Kalwa Farm.

It's crazy what a person can find on the internet One of my hobbies is genealogy so I became well versed with search engines. A little about me.
My name ************************* I am an electrician by trade. I retired form General Motors, then went to work doing robot stuff. I fellow I worked with has been involved with Bapist Global Responce for some time, he was after me for some time to go an a trip with him. Last year about this time he came to me and said "*****, I need you on this on you have to go" me " OK " it was a Solar Power Instalation on a hospital in Zimbabwe. I help install the system,and intergrate it with the grid.
******** ( from BGR) found another project for us, Kalwa Farm. Now, it's my understanding that the generator hasn't been working for ten years. I'm not a generator guy, so I'll spend time learning about generators and what I need to take with me. It's a troubleshooting trip, but I'd like to fix the machine while we are there understanding that I can only have a few parts with me and may not be able to.

Volunteering. I think BGR"S concept is to have ******( mechanail guy) and I go and see what it would take to get this generator running. From what I understand of the trip, and this is all pre-planning.... concept....... are you interested stuff. ******* and I fly into Luskasa, then get a plane to Kalwa Farm. Trouble shoot the problem and report back to BGR on what it would take to fix the machine, ME? I want to fix the machine on the spot if I can, if not I want to give BGR a list of what will fix the machine.
It may be wiser to drive to Kalwa Farm ( with you there). I think you'd be a great resource. It would all be self funded. I see no reason why three couldn't go.

Send me an email at (Privacy) I'll send you all the pics I have. The only other info I have is that the Controller doesn't work. Until I get some schematics. I'm thinking Votlage Regulator is bad, I'm thinking the machine turns, so it should be in my ballpark. Dang, I really need to learn more about generators.

Thanks,

###

Edited by HowardsMF155, December 08, 2012 - 09:45 PM.


#66 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 09:48 PM

And my further response back to him:

Thanks for the information about yourself. From this distance, it is impossible to say what might be wrong, and it may be that multiple items are wrong by now, you know how that goes when machinery sits idle.
Tentatively, I'd say the generator itself is still good, it was self-exciting and the voltage was governed by the speed. My choice of items to try to take would be replacement heating elements and a replacement control board if you can get one without spending a fortune.
As for travel plans in the country, I haven't been back since 1996. Unless you know otherwise, I'd plan on landing in Lusaka and driving to Serenje and the farm. That sort of poses it's own problems since the trip is somewhere between 5 and 6 hours and you'll probably be pretty jet-lagged. Plus trying to navigate on unfamiliar roads. Will you be getting any help or advice from any of the missionaries still in Zambia?

Edited by HowardsMF155, December 08, 2012 - 09:48 PM.

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#67 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 10:35 PM

Small world, thanks for letting us share.

I found this website while doing some research on another project of mine. It was very helpful and informative. The guy shows how he setup his own hydro plant for his house in South America. If you follow it back it will take you to his home page where you can acess more projects. He shows how to wind your own xfmers from single tape signal to multitap power. Oi dont know if any of this helpful or not but soem general info is beter thatn flying blind.

http://ludens.cl/par...ne/turbine.html

If anybody can figure out the model of the generator, then more of us can help search for what you schematics.

ETA: Possible homemade ELC that you prebuild and take with you as substitue if the Generators board is fried.

http://ludens.cl/Ele...elc/picelc.html

Edited by coldone, December 08, 2012 - 10:41 PM.

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#68 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 10:52 PM

It's really funny how things work. When school started this semester, the first assignment in one of my classes was to find your childhood home on Google earth. To my surprise, when I looked, my home was visible on Google. Then, OldBuzzard posted that pint sized dam scoop which had me thinking about building the dam with Dad, and questions about that led to this thread. Then, a later assignment was to give an informative talk on something you enjoyed, and I chose to do the Hydro as something I was familiar with that I thought would be interesting to the rest of the class (My alternate plan was to talk about my Gravelys LOL) as well. And in doing THAT research, I ran across that same site you've just referenced.

#69 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted December 08, 2012 - 11:14 PM

I'm glad that you decided to put the whole story here for us to read Howard. Roboter, I am also an electrician by trade as well as a attending a missionary based Church. I applaud your willingness to go and help the folks out over there. That should be an interesting and exciting trip and I wish you the best of luck.
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#70 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 10, 2012 - 02:51 PM

Ok, got some more information from Mr. Roboter, including some pictures.
turbine 2.jpg turbine 3.jpg
turbine 4.jpg turbine1.jpg


And my response to him:
Wow, *******, that picture just makes me sad. It doesn’t look like it’s been taken apart to repair, it’s be stripped in some ways. Someone has taken the cover off the generator itself. Where that upright is opposite the generator is where the control panel was located. There should have been a series of wires leading from there to the water heater elements, I think they may have been 3 sets, but don’t know. Then there should have been wires leading from the control panel over to the right of that shot, where they hooked to a breaker? and then to the transformer, which seems to be shown in one of those shots. Of course there should have been a set of wires leading from the generator to the control panel. I think at one time Dad ended up with a spare transformer, if it wasn’t in the hydro house, it would have been in the barns up near the generator house. I wonder if any of the infrastructure wiring is left intact.
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#71 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 10, 2012 - 03:01 PM

Speaking of pint size dam scoops, I found a far off picture of ours.
GE 008.JPG

That scoop built that ramp structure. It also built this dam. The 'jetty' is also so we can get at the 'valve' that regulates how much water passed through the bottom of the dam and into the ditch leading to the hydro.
GE 005.JPG
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#72 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 10, 2012 - 03:17 PM

On a more pleasant topic, it wasn't just me that got to drive a tractor. I gave my wife a few lessons, and she hopped on and gave plowing a whirl.

GE 010.JPG

We also went hunting some wild flowers. There is a lovely flower that grew wild in our area, and it was our 'Christmas Flower'. Here is one from the internet. It is a lovely flower, isn't it.
gloriosa_flame_lily__32452.jpg
GE 006.JPG
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#73 Team_Green OFFLINE  

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Posted December 13, 2012 - 01:11 AM

This is a fantastic read..... :thumbs:
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#74 marlboro180 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 13, 2012 - 01:28 AM

Howard, I have delved off into some of your other posts, and find your stories fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing. That last one one the update about the generator made my heart sink..... I hope better days for it are yet ahead.
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#75 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 07, 2013 - 09:23 PM

I went and hijacked someone else thread this evening, thought I'd put this here where it more properly belongs:

 

 

I hate being old enough to say this, but about 25 years ago I helped my Dad bring two trucks loaded with goods from Johannesburg South Africa to Lusaka Zambia.  On this particular trip, the trucks were loaded by hand, and everything roped tightly into place.  Not only was the load piled up  as high as the roof of the cab, but somehow we managed to get it loaded too heavy on the passenger side.  It wasn't too bad the first two days, but on the last day of the trip the asphalt dwindled down to single lane and the traffic was two way.  When opposing traffic did show up, you had no choice but to move over and put the passenger tires on the shoulder, which was usually a deep rut.  After doing that all day, I had buns of steel from being clenched so tight.  More than once I thought it was going to roll over, but it never did thank goodness.

 

That was also the trip where we picked up the erratic running diesel truck, which Dad drove.  The first day, it was running great (when it ran properly, it was a very peppy truck compared to the standard truck I was driving.)  On the winding, hilly roads we were driving, it was impossible to keep up with him.  But on the second day, we started out across a portion of the Kalahari.  Now, I'm sure there are roads in Texas that are almost as straight, and flat, and sandy; but I haven't seen them.  Anyway, instead of scooting down the road at 105 kph, Dad was doing about 70, maybe 75.  No cruise control, so I'm having to actually hold my foot up off the accelerator a little bit.  Sometime after breakfast, but before lunch, I've had enough of hanging back, so I pull out, pull up beside him and managed to ask him "Why don't we go faster?"  He looked rather surprised, and indicated that his foot was to the floor, so I eased up and back in behind him.  

     We learned that if that truck wasn't running right to pull over, shut it down, and start it again and that would often do the trick.  Can't remember if it was that truck or not, but theft was such a problem that we started putting a fuel shut off solenoid in the fuel line.  That way, if someone stole it and didn't know where the switch was located, they'd only get half a mile or so down the road before it died on them.  As you can imagine, it bit us more than once as well.  We discovered that if we pulled over to the side of the road and stopped when the truck began to stumble, then we could look forward to a good half hour bleeding the injectors.  The alternative was to leave the clutch in, quickly throw the switch into the 'on' position, and the engine would be running fast enough to re-prime itself and keep running.






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