Bitten by lightening

23 02 2016

The power went off on Sunday afternoon as it often does when there’s a storm nearby. We didn’t mind – it was a small price to pay for a respite from the incessant heat and the smell of damp earth was just wonderful. There was even a bit of hail which is very unusual for this time of year. I have also recently finished installing the solar panels and inverter so I was actually feeling a bit smug, secure in the knowledge that the fridge, freezer and of course the WiFi were going to function as normal.

The power was still off yesterday morning when I got to work and the foreman suggested I go and look at the transformer which in his opinion had been “bitten by the lightening”.

Unconventional wiring I think

Unconventional wiring I think

I could see his point – it was unlike any wiring I have ever seen on a transformer. Now we have had a lot of problems in the past with the wiring and the fuses (in those black, cylindrical things) often get loose and burn the contacts and as the original fuses are no longer availableĀ  the power utility technicians insert washers, bits of copper wire and generally anything that will do the job.

wiring closeup

The fuses have been completely bypassed

I could see the fuse holders had been bypassed entirely with some not so thick copper wiring that was completely open to the elements and the unwary and all of 2m off the ground. It is “only” 220 volts on this side of the transformer but that is enough to be lethal.

The other problem we’ve had in the past is theft of the transformer cooling oil (for what purpose I’m not sure) which resulted in the transformer core burning out. A cage was made around the new transformer to keep would-be thieves away but I reckon this new wiring setup is just as effective and quite Darwinian too boot.

I told the foreman that as far as I could see the problem of lack of power was not at our transformer and sure enough later in the day it did come back on. But I did recommend he have a look – just for educational purposes.

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