Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Flashing the Field

No, this isn’t an activity in which I bare my chest to the wheat field next door. It’s a highly scientific and odd process involving electricity.

This week our generator inexplicably stopped producing electricity. The motor ran fine but nothing was coming out of the outlets. After checking the usual suspects;  breakers, wiring harnesses – I even took it apart and stared blankly at the AVR (auto voltage regulator) – we were stumped. Not knowing what to do we turned to the grandmaster of information. The internet. My wife did some research on the situation and found a hail mary. Flash the field. I can’t explain the science behind it because I’m not that bright. Nonetheless, it has something to do with the copper in the genset needing a little hand in remembering what its job is. So, we would try it.

There were a few different methods to take a crack at. The only one that seemed easy enough and safe enough for us to try was ‘the drill method’. Here’s how it works. Take a corded drill and plug it into your generator. With the generator running, set the drill to forward, pull the trigger and spin the chuck backwards. I’ll pause for giggles and snide remarks.

In order to spin the chuck of the corded drill fast enough my Dad came up with this idea: cut the head of a nail off and chuck both the corded drill and a cordless drill up to it. Essentially you use the cordless drill to spin the corded drill in reverse, which then acts as a tiny little generator sending a bit of current (the reminder) back into the big generator. If this all sounds ridiculous to you, it did to me too, but I’ll be darned if it didn’t work. The generator is working fine again.

One thing I should mention. Be ready to let go of the trigger of the corded drill. Once the generator remembers what its job is, it will immediately spin the drill. I don’t want to be responsible for any broken fingers out there.

1 comment:

  1. Update:
    The next day the generator wasn't producing power again. I took apart the end of the genset and found one of the brushes was worn thin on one side leaving a protrusion on the other. The protrusion was enough to keep the rest of the brush from coming in contact. I filed it off and the generator produced power again.