Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel-Rah's dreadlocks are almost gone!.
There Outta Be A Law!I've narrowly averted disaster once again by coming to the rescue of my own stupidity. Always turn off the power before you attempt to disassemble a machine that bites. Should be a rule. But I found the flapping tape--inside the overhead housing of the roof-mounted a/c, a length of mylar double sided soft foam sound and heat insulation tape. The foam had deteriorated into a black gritty dust so the outer layer of tape was indeed flapping in the breeze. I have all the pieces of the housing glued together and I've added fender washers to reinforce the holes. Prob'ly not as efficient without that insulation but should be good for another few thousand hours.
Regarding the failed Red Leg:Tried searching for the break with a phoneline troubleshooting device: Fox and Hound thingy. But cannot hear the tone more than a few inches away from the wire and not hardly at all through the conduit. Working on another idea for next test. Mike and I have been fantasizing all sorts of scenarios as to how a length of #4 wire can break open. Razor-toothed Rattlesnakes? Saber-toothed Squirrels? I'm beginning to have a better understanding as to why the power companies like to string their wires on poles.
Friday 26th Derma-Doc for a Nitrogen ShowerHad a few more spots burned off and a sample sent for further analysis. Gives me pause to question my sensibilities. Is all this worth the cost of living in a state that doesn't play the Spring-Ahead-Fall-Back game?
Fridge Cooling Unit Failed After 19 Years of ServiceThe Absorption Cooling Unit has a long and arcane function. See the Wiki here if you want the rest of the storey. The Yellow Death—deposits of yellow-green powder on the exterior of the refrigerator's rear apron. This is sodium chromate and its presence indicates a leak which can engender catastrophic failure resulting in fire. In the photo the big red ^ indicates the yellow stain. The leak was likely towards the top of the burner unit then the fluid ran down along the refrigerant tube, through the burner assembly and out to the left were a deposit was left on the rear apron.
After considerable researching and soul searching I decided to replace the absorption unit with a compressor unit. Three major factors in this choice were: cooling recovery time (very fast with the compressor compared to rather slow with absorption), cooling function at all when ambient temperatures are above 100f (absorption process stops altogether around 110f), and power consumption (propane aside, the electric heater in the absorption unit draws 300 watts, the compressor in the new unit draws 96 watts). And then there are the safety and levelling issues. Granted, I lose the ability to operate through several cloudy days if the solar system receives insufficient charge but if necessary I'll have to run a generator. New cooling unit from JC Refrigeration in Shipshewana Indiana. The movie has already been made so I didn't do any photography. Converting my Norcold from the absorption cooling unit to a compressor cooling unit is shown in this video, only keep in mind that these actors are way over dressed. The rational here is that the 96w compressor load supported by solar should allow me to save a lot of propane when boondocking. But too many cloudy days are going to mean running the main engine or the APU. We'll see.
2020vii7 Fire and SmokePart of cleaning up after the fridge project was to return the BettyBox to the computer desk. When I plugged in the power supply there was an explosion of sparks and flames. Subsequent forensic investigation indicated that the hot prong of the AC plug shorted against the metal frame of the plugstrip causing a short circuit. A little 30a welder action burned away the prong, melted a hole in the plugstrip, and charred several nearby wires and the aloe bush. Thank the goddesses I still have the lung capacity to huff and to puff and blow out the fire. A fascinating cause and effect. A Knee-jerk reaction that I thought about afterward. How long would I have tried to blow out the flame had my effort not been successful the first time. The second time? Third? Where's my Abandon-Ship-Bag? Never mind that, where's my camera?
Four new 15a circuit breakers are now in place in the distribution panel replacing the 30a breakers that contributed to the fire and smoke. I have also replaced the ruined plug strip with a new length of official Wiremold: three outlets which includes an internal 15a breaker. So... do circuit breakers in series add like resistors or subtract like capacitors?
Then The Black Leg FailedOccurs to me I left the Red Leg dangling back there. A few months ago in my Winter Solstice Letter I mentioned trenching in the water and propane service. At that same time, in a different direction, we laid in the power line which went between the electric service panel under the water tower to the well pump and photo-voltaic array. These wires, three lengths of #4 aluminium, had been on poles for longer than I've been around here; we dropped them from the cross-arms and threaded them into PVC conduit. On the west side of the driveway crossing a junction/pull box was placed and then the conduit continued on to the service panel. Everything worked, the view was much improved, and the trench closed.
One fine day a few weeks ago I discovered there was no water. Shower, ice maker, irrigation, no water. Didn't take long to find that the well pump was not pumping. The pressure switch was on but there was no power. Troubleshooting indicated that 240vAC was present at the circuit breaker but not at that first pull-box on the far side of the drive. The Black Leg was hot but the Red Leg was not. Quick fix was to scrounge around, find three lengths of #4Al and a few split bolts to make up the 111 feet necessary to get from the service panel breaker to the pull-box, lay the wire out on the ground, and bypass the failed Red Leg. Dandy! The pump is on. We have water. A few days later, just a few minutes before sunset, the whole scenario replayed—the Black Leg had failed.
This time there were no scraps of #4Al so we pressed a few old extension cords into emergency service to get the well pump running and had water for the night. Next day after a hasty excursion to Lowe's for more #4 wire, and a reopening of the trench across the driveway, the Black Leg was replaced. So now there are two heavy black wires on the ground waiting for Winter to be properly buried. But we still have to learn why/how the two wires, in the PVC conduit, in the trench, failed in the first place.
That Brings Me To Today—12 JulyYesterday the mid afternoon temperature here peaked at 119f, today was forecast to be the same, so I was out early to open the conduit. At first sight there was a wet spot at the joint between the conduit and the sweep at the junction box. I removed the sweep from the box and then from the conduit. Straightened the wires and pulled off the length and a half of pipe back to the last joint on the west side of the road. When that joint opened water poured out. Easily a couple of cups full. I could tell as the conduit slid off over the wires where the breaks were, the wires sagged like there was no stiffness in them. Lifted the wires out of the ditch—and took photo including a 10" Crescent for comparison. Breaks in the ground wire are at either end of the wrench. The breaks in the hot wires are where you see lumps. The Red Wire has one break, near the end of the wrench. The Black Wire has two.
Ohm's Law and Galvanic Action are the culprits. The insulation of the #4 wire must have cracks. Minerals in the well water conduct, coulombs law induces galvanic corrosion and after a few days the aluminium of the wire has disappeared. Where the water came from in this AridZona desert is still under investigation. Where is the Odd Squad when we need them?
Ides of JulioThe past few days have topped out at 119f. Getting risky as my weather instrument thermometer goes only to 120f. I'm thinking I'll move that one inside to store in the fridge for the duration and move my oven thermometer out for weather duty in the Instrument Shelter location. Comet Neowise headed west. Barefoot Mike and Little Jon got pictures, I watched.
OutPatience SurgeryDavid the DermaDoc allowed as how he appreciates Naturists and Nudists, they keep him in business, he said. I know how you like for me to take pictures with my phone... I will know in a few days when the lab reports come in if the dermadoc was successful yesterday in his quest to remove all of the pre-cancer skin lesion.
2020vii21 WickenburgRelocated The Cat Drag'd Inn to Aztec Village RV Park so I'm just across the Hassayampa River from the Wickenburg Community Center where I'll be working as a clerk for the next fortnight during Early Voting and Election Day for the AridZona Primary. Plenty of time to make Zipper Fobs and Haiku Towels. The bus does not like the heat any more than Hurricane Hazel-Rah but we all made the climb of a thousand feet, the long way round, without getting overly hot.
I went to Wickenburg to be a poll worker--printer clerk mostly--for the AridZona Primary Election. With Early Voting in effect this Voting Center is open 10 hours a day for most of a fortnight--weekends off--so I have ample time to make Zipper Fobs and Haiku Towels whilst telling voters where to stuff their ballots. Proselytizing is proscribed so I have to take care: No red or blue polo shirts; my "Hello! Under these clothes I'm naked" badge cannot be displayed on a shirt of any colour; I've been admonished that my shorts must be of "professional length" however that is too ambiguous for words, and as Ellen Goodman writes: "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." Well, I don't have work worth the cost of "professional" attire, my TinyTruck is paid for and likewise my "house". Mostly I am trying to have fun doing my civic duty and not fret about the stipend. If voters are impressed by a poll worker's costume then they are prob'ly voting for the wrong candidates anyhow.
25th July to Tonopah for the mail. To and fro on the Vulture Mine Road.
29 July, Wenzday of No Food Bank
2nd August 404 About the Hassayampa RiverThe Hassayampa River Preserve consists of approximately 770 acres along the Hassayampa River, just south of Wickenburg, AZ. The Hassayampa River is one of the few undammed rivers in Arizona which flows above ground creating an oasis in the Sonoran Desert. The river starts at Groom Creek in the Bradshaw Mountains near Prescott. Groom Creek is a typical mountain stream, plunging over rocks and bordered by tall trees typical of higher elevations. When the water reaches the valley floor, it disappears under up to a thousand feet of sand and gravel that has been eroded, over millennia, off the mountains. To its convergence with the Gila River, the Hassayampa is almost entirely underground. But for five miles at the preserve, where the granite bedrock domes up, forcing the water to the surface, so water flows year round. This geological fact led to its naming, Hassayampa, which can be loosely translated from the Yavapai as the upside-down river.
Primary Voting DayTinyTruck elects to screech and howl so the polls have to open without me. How embarrassing! Not sure if a loose belt is slipping or some accessory has seized. All the belts seem tight enough but the alternator pulley is hot so I release the tension there and drive off to my work as Printer Clerk. No tension on the alternator also disables the Smog and Water Pumps. No screeching, no charge, no radiator fan. Only a mile to the polls so no problem. Returning to camp after work was no problem. Towing to Tonopah no problem of course but then I spent three days troubleshooting not all of which was on TinyTruck. Paul said I could use his Yellow (spare) Truck to go to my DermaDoc to have the stitches removed. But Yellow Truck had a flat tyre and had to first get that fixed. Getting to the tyre shop meant inflating the flat tyre but the compressor was down. This all reminds me of the time on Black Island when we had to go for water and the loader had Frozen Brakes. See the Washington's Birthday storey at Winter In The Ross Island Dependency. To make a long storey short let me write that I could work only a couple hours each morning before the tools got to hot to handle so finding that the real problem was the Smog Pump took only a week. And now another week waiting on delivery of a new Smog pump. And whilst I'm at it a set of four new belts.
One Thing Dogs Are Good ForBesides barking anyhow. Licking. Dogs are great at cleaning up after. In the stash from the food bank this week of The Ides of August there was a six pound pork loin needing to be roasted. Only two-thirds of the roast would fit in my roasting pan. That was more than enough. Paul came to dinner and his dogs did the dishes.
Of Clothes Washers and Insulation EatersWhat is so tasty about the insulation on Very Important Wires that make certain critters go out of their way for a meal? There must be other delectables they could devour that would not wreak such havoc on automobiles and appliances. And how come with all the capability American Industry has to put Humans on the Moon they/we seem unable to write meaningful computer error messages and build appliances that can tell you: Help-Help a critter is gnawing at my innards! When Paul's washer failed the tub was full of foul yucky grey water. The wet-vac was employed to suck out the nastiness, then with the machine laid over one could see the wires to the water pump all bared and twisted.
Nonsoon, An Ill Wind Blows DustPeak reading on the Gust-O-Meter was 42. Lots of cloud to cloud lightning, little thunder, no rain.
19August2020, Record High TemperaturesFood Bank Comestibles. Today, T-Bone, 1", thawed, laying on bonnet of TinyTruck, about nine minutes on a side to medium rare.
NONsoon Over!Clear this morning. Peak wind last night 64mph. TRW+ left 1.27" in my gauge. Tree limbs down, potted plants tipped over, drifting and blowing lawn furniture, power outages, roads closed. Several tree limbs down or broken. Recall the power leakage in the conduit? The 30a outlet box at the end of my long cord at the front right corner of the bus was steaming this morning. Prob'ly could have thrown some coffee grounds in there and had an electric cowboy coffee box. I usually am careful to keep that box open side down but messed up this time. The box was half full of hot water. That'll learn me. Paul's A-Frame camper is renamed Napoleon Blownapart. My TinyTruck is still waiting on parts but seems to drive away just fine without them. Mike helped me rescue a Roll Out The Barrel cactus that got a bit too tipsy for its own roots.
9-11... Remembering the TowersHere is a 15 minute Port Authority film made in 1983 that Steven considers the quintessential tribute to the World Trade Center. The music is grand. There have been many polished documentaries over the years that delve deeper into the engineering, at times thick with prescient foreboding, but this 1983 film has something the others lack, a simple "can-do" attitude of human spirit that existed as they were built. If you are young, revel in that sense of triumph for everything you will some day build.
Remembering the MayhemThe original Naudet film is becoming hard to find, now of the original only a French language version is available. Here is a CBS Special that encapsulates most of the Naudet film. And in case the above is taken down here is a copy you can download.
What The Walrus SaidNow we are into the Month of The Autumnal Equinox so the time has come, as The Walrus said, to get this letter in the mail before I have to start another paragraph. New Smog Pump has arrived for TinyTruck so I have that R&R to do. Appointment with chiropractor. Cloudy day. Water heating for dish washing. Breky cooking. We have lost an hour of daylight since June and all of a sudden the weather has turned to Autumn. I ain't been nowhere yet.
I do not know what I may appear to the world;
but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on
the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a
smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the
great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
—Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2019, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.