Third world farming – the saga continues

29 03 2011

Last Friday night the cooling oil from the transformer at work was stolen. It seems to be a fairly risk free occupation – I have never heard of anyone being caught or electrocuted and it can be sold as a heating oil for stoves etc. There was a proctective cage around it on the pole (this is the 3rd time it’s happened) but of course where there is a will there’s a way and they got around it. Fortunately they felt a bit insecure about the wiring and turned the transformer off – which requires a special fibreglass pole so the transformer did not over-heat and self destruct. I wonder where they got that? Being a weekend nothing much happened from the power authority side (ZESA) but yesterday a phone call got the response that ZESA did not have any oil to put into it. This usually means that the oil is available and ZESA does not have the money to buy it.

There are several premises who share the transformer, one being a golf course and the manager has contacts in high places in ZESA so she told me she would handle it. In the meantime I had to think about how to get water out of our boreholes and into the storage tank from where we can use a diesel pump to get it onto the seedlings. Some years back I had bought a small Chinese made generator though not for this sort of eventuality as we have pretty reliable power. It is also only a single phase generator (3-phase generators are expensive) and is only designed for domestic and small premises. I had serious doubts if it could get the power to the borholes some 300m+ away without a big voltage drop that would stop the motors from running. Anyway it was worth a try. First I had to ensure that the two pumps that are single phase (one is a 3-phase) were on the same phase. That done I opened up the switch box and wired the generator onto the relevant phase and switch. I turned the generator on and hoped. At first I could hear the voltage protection on the pumps kicking in and out as they protected the motors from low voltage but eventually it settled down and we got water!

By 4p.m. the generator was leaking diesel. The cover had to come off and the leaking injector feed was remedied. Getting it all back together was another issue. The cover bolts would not line up with the holes! By 5.30 my patience had run out so it went back together sans a few bolts. Now I have to keep it running long enough to stay in business!



One response

1 04 2011
La Canadienne

A Lutta Continua! kiddo

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