Ian’s place has been driving me crazy. First an external spigot that goes through a block wall springs a totally uncalled-for leak – and the only way to fix the leak is to knock a hole in said (filled, of course) block wall, which I have no capacity to do at all. Water gushes forth, floods the powershed: The only way to slow the loss is to unplug the (brand new, cripplingly expensive) water pump. That reduces the loss to a manageable trickle, though I have still lost my beautiful townie shower until I can bash through that wall and fix the leak.
THEN! THEN! Evening before last Tobie and I stopped in at Ian’s for a cold beer to find the fridge isn’t working. Nothing’s working. Nothing.
I waded into the powershed to find the inverter blinking happily away.
All indicators show totally charged batteries, all systems go except for this one red LED that shows an error but doesn’t tell me what the error is – and I never figured out the nested menus that
would might reveal the deep dark secret because, seriously, this thing has hummed away contentedly in this dim concrete building for twelve solid years, without the slightest need for reading error codes.
I have a pretty solid theory – after all, twelve years of flawless performance, then after four days of hard rain the whole system goes SNAFU? Sure, I’m guessing total coincidence.
But I don’t know how to test my theory, let alone how to get things working again. This morning my good neighbor S, who installs off-grid electrical systems for a living, came over to help me with diagnosis. He navigated the menus until they disgorged an answer, which validated my theory: AC output shorted.
Now, this raises the obvious but apparently irrelevant question: Why wouldn’t a short circuit blow one of the Dome’s perfectly good circuit breakers? Don’t know.
But we could now start narrowing the field. I opened all the circuit breakers and S rebooted the inverter: No error message, and the AC outlet on the side of the box worked perfectly. I then started closing breakers – having to walk back and forth to communicate, because Ian’s Dome is a veritable Faraday cage and cell phones don’t work inside at all – until I found the one that triggered an error and shut down the AC output at the inverter. Then I opened that breaker and closed all the others – and hey presto everything that had ever worked before now worked again. Happily the shorted circuit is the big mystery at the rear of the Dome that nobody ever used because nobody ever figured it out way back when we gave up on it.
Now I can bring my frozen meat back from Landlady’s freezer and put a big fan in Ian’s powershed before everything mildews.
In other news, I may start being able to use the road again soon…
A (very expensive, no doubt) county road crew found its way to that crossing that’s had me isolated for the past week or more. Maybe soon it’ll be passible and I can stop using the Bumpy Road while the Jeep’s undercarriage still works.