Storm of June 1 2004, Dallas Texas

This web page was entirely created, loaded, and served from KD5OEI's Bunker of DOOM while on emergency power. Read the story below, under the pictures..

here's what the rain boiling off the muffler of the standby generator looks like during a severe thunderstorm. You can see the wind was strong enough to drive the rain at a substantial angle. This should be a Katolight advertisement, as the unit is at least 10 years old and performs so far with no issues. The transfer switch is a Zenith from GE Industrial.
The dots in the picture are raindrops caught in the camera flash.
As of 7 AM, the DFD was blocking off the street where the downed power lines are.
Here's part of the problem..
You can see that the 220V cables are just drooping over the anchor bolt here. Normally, there are three insulators that carry these. They are missing, and a burnt area can be seen near the uppermost of three holes where their brackets used to be attached. I didn't see this hardware anywhere on the ground. Perhaps one of the crackheads that serve as our nighttime neighborhood patrol picked them up, so that no one would steal them.
Note the nicely burned ends of these 9/16" diameter cables. These were the 220V wiring to a house. House did not burn, thankfully.
Hard to see, but can you find the 220V cabling tangled up in the tree branches?
This is the burned and severed end of the high tension wire which runs along the top of the poles. This wire looks like a #10 size. It's not on the pole any more. This is the direct cause of my power outage. The fireman said it's a 14,400 volt line.
Air conditioning and conveniences are never free. It is never cheap to make your own electricity. This is a 36 hour supply. 30 gallons at $1.60 per gallon. I am going to economize on the air conditioning and see if I can consume less fuel, but with the generator being a 40KW unit, it is going to be thirsty anyway.
genset specs
Download the spec sheet on the generator
myself with genset
The day after delivery. It took a couple months to install in spare time. The net control truck is to the right, always ready in case I need to hit the field.

On the evening of June 1, 2004, about 500,000 people in Dallas lost electrical power during a heavy storm with high straight-line winds.

Mine went out at 9:30 PM. This was the first real test of my standby power system. As expected the well maintained generator started 5 seconds after power failure, and the transfer to generator power occurred 30 seconds after that. A proof of the value of preventive maintenance.. I literally looked at my watch, and waited for the clockwork events. Even so, I was compelled to proceed through the dark to the flashlight.

The air conditioning, internet, webserver, and tv are now running, pretty much everything as usual. Otherwise the neighborhood is powered down, sitting in the dark or sweating in the heat of a muggy day. Nothing else to do but make the best of it. I ran an extension cord to one neighbor to run their fridge. This morning I found the cause of the problem as the images show. Unknown at ths time (02 JUN 2004) how long the power will be out, but it will be at least two days. I will be feeding 'baby' at a rate of about 1 gallon of diesel per hour for the duration. The news reported that generators are all sold out at stores. Good thing it isn't a -real- disaster, only an inconvenience.

The neighbor who is close enough to run an extension cord to for the refrigerator has donated $15 for fuel. The limit of extension cords for refrigerators is about 300' if the cords are of the -highest- quality like a new cord with 12-guage wire size. Otherwise, maybe 100' for a 16 guage.

update: Time is now June 03, 3:39 PM. Some inquisitive people from the neighborhood are starting to come near, as if drawn by the hum from the generator, which is the only sound to be heard except for the occasional vehicle. People are sitting outside in the shade to keep cool. Still no sign of TXU the electric company after 42 hours. Perhaps they are fixing lines in the more opulent neighborhoods first. People have been bar-b-qing, to preserve their previously refrigerated food for a couple more days. The cheapnik running the convenience store has upcharged the price of his $1 'D' cell batteries to $1.99 I mock him internally.

update: Time is now June 04, 6:18 AM. The utility power is restored and the transfer switch did its job, putting me back on the utility grid, and giving the generator a cool-down period before shutting it down.

The Katolight generator was in constant operation, except for two 10-minute intervals when I shut it down to check the oil. There was no noticeable oil consumption.

I changed the oil since I did not like the look of it on the dipstick, it seemed very thin. It was the oil that was in it when I bought it used, and even though I was assured that it had been recently serviced and the guage showed 75PSI, it is better to spend $15 on good oil than risk engine damage. I replaced it with Delo diesel-rated 20W40.

As a note, it took only about 10 minutes to change the oil. there's a drain valve with a hose on the side of the oil pan, and most of the 10 minutes was waiting for it to drain, and then filling it back up. It's a very convenient feature since I didn't want to leave the genset shutdown for a long time.

I have consumed about 60 gallons of diesel fuel during this operation. Now that things are back to "normal", the generator tank was topped off, fuel preservative added, and likewise with the seven 5-gallon fuel cans. Seeing what a pain in the butt it is to have to leave my property (potentially unsecured) and go for fuel every day, I am considering an option which may use a choice of fuels, as I have natural gas available.

Probably the final note here: As of June 04, 9:00PM, the news reported that TXU claims to have replaced 550 poles and 4000 downed wires. About 30,000 people are still without power. (It won't be long now for the rest.)