Generator Break-In and Power/Load Test

Power Test

Today, I decided to get the new generator going. I added a half quart of oil and filled the 3½ gallon fuel tank. I turned on the fuel valve, put on the choke, switched the ignition to ‘on’ and pulled the start cable. A after hearing a gratifying putt-putt-putt, I pushed in the choke and the engine purred. It was so quiet that The Better Half, who was inside the house at the time, did not hear the generator.

After the initial run, I took the generator across the road to the trailer and hooked the 30 amp electric cable up. I re-started the generator which was still warm and it purred right along.

I went inside the trailer to check the vital signs. Everything looked good on the various system panels. The radio played, lights came on and the refrigerator started up when I switched it on. I opened the pop-out on the side of the trailer which runs on the 12 volt buss.

Now for the load test. I activated the air conditioning unit, got out of the trailer and went back by the generator. When the A/C compressor kicked in, the red overload light came on for an instant and the engine RPM dipped momentarily, but after the surge, the generator continued at normal RPM and took the load just fine.

After the load test, I turned all the systems off except for the battery charger unit and let the generator run for another two hours while we kept an eye on things from the house. The generator runs so quietly that we would have to walk across the road and toward the trailer before we could tell an engine was running.

Following DrJim’s advice, I marked the calendar to run the generator every thirty days or so, while charging the trailer batteries (assuming it has been idle) and marked another anniversary event to change the oil.

We are pleased with our generator purchase. Clickable image above.

Wheels for the Generator


The generator arrived last week, but we still have not fired it up. I wanted to add the optional swivel wheel kit before adding fluids to the generator.

I installed the wheel kit yesterday and asked a neighbor to help me lift the generator into the truck bed. The next step is to fill the sump with oil, put some gas in the tank and fire the generator up.

After initially running the generator, I will shut it down, drive the truck across the road and hook it up to the trailer to start charging the batteries. I may also test the generator under the maximum load with the trailer’s air conditioner activated.

I took this photo of the generator in the truck bed this evening. On the far side of the front panel is the adapter that converts the generators 30kVA outlet to the 30 amp connector configuration common to most RVs. Clickable image.

Panoramic View of New Front Wall

Panoramic View of Front Wall

Now that the basic construction of all the walls is complete except for paint, I went out front today and snapped three images which I combined into this panoramic image of the front of the property. The total frontage of the lot is about 160 feet and, as you can see, the wall only extends to the point where we believe we won’t need to worry about runoff erosion. Clickable image - scroll across the image to see the entire frontage in the viewer.

On the left side of the image, to the west, there is a short wall which defines the entrance to the RV drive along with the curved segment of the long wall.
For a closer view of the RV drive entrance, click on the link.

At the rear of the house, the electrical and plumbing hookups should be complete this week. The trench may then be filled and prepped for the concrete crew which is scheduled for the first week in April.

Construction Update V

RV Drive

The Better Half was up on the hill overlooking the RV drive yesterday and took this photo of the work in progress from there. The retention wall along the back of the drive is seen in the foreground and the runoff diversion wall is at the far end of that. The trench for the RV utilities has been dug across the drive from the wall to the house.

All of the masonry work is done at this point and the next steps will be to get the RV hookups installed, refill the trench, and start the grading in preparation for the concrete driveway. The (clickable) image above could have served as a ‘before’ shot of the work to be done except that it is more of a ‘during’ shot.

TBH and I will be working on some landscape details now that the walls in front of the house are complete. I will post more on our progress in that effort later.

What’s For Dinner?


The Better Half and I liked our bacon-wrapped asparagus so much the last time we had it, we upped the ante and had it again along with grilled bacon-wrapped top sirloin steaks served with a nice baked sweet potato. I guess we couldn’t figure out how to bacon wrap the spud, so, this is what we had today.

We actually did not eat the entire meal, but saved about half of it for later in the week at lunchtime, as is our custom these days. TBH fixes weekend food with leftovers in mind for later. She does the kitchen magic and I try to keep up with her on the grill or in the smoker. Clickable image.

Construction Update IV

When we contracted for walls and to pave the RV drive, we also asked that the electric and sewer utility hookups be extended to the far side of the drive. That would place them on the same side as the RV hookups when entering the drive from left to right.

Right: one minute video of back hoe digging trench

Our masonry guys dug the trench from where the current electrical and sewer hookups are situated. The trench goes eight feet toward the drive and then to the right toward the center of the new back wall another twenty feet or so.

Once the rough electrical and sewage are in place, the trench will be refilled to prepare for grading prior to paving the drive. When the hookups are finished, they should be unobtrusive, the sewer hookup on a raised concrete pad and the electric hookup in a flip top box on the back wall painted to match.

Hole-in-the-Wall Gang

Storm Drain

While having the masonry guys available, we asked them to do a couple of things to the existing courtyard which they built four years ago. When it rains a lot, we would get standing water in the courtyard until it subsides into the soil, so we asked them to install drain holes to allow the water to run out onto the rocks and down the slope in front of the wall.

In the (clickable) image above, you can see the newly-installed PVC drain tube on the inside of the wall. You also can see a residual high water line from the recent early February rainfall that stood in the courtyard for a while.

The guys installed four of the drains at about eight foot intervals along the wall and patched them with stucco sealant. We think that should be adequate to fix the standing water problem. The paint touch-ups will occur when the new walls get painted.

UPDATE: Morning of 19 March, 2015 - We had a considerable rainfall last night and early this morning. When walking the dogs this morning, we could see puddles of water in the usual places, but NONE in the courtyard. Yay!

Happy St Patrick’s Day


Since both The Better Half and I have Irish roots, we’re celebrating the day with leftovers from Sunday dinner which is not necessarily an Irish tradition. Here’s some corned beef factoids from The Barbecue Bible dot com:

You can’t get more Irish than corned beef, right? Guess again.

Corned beef brisket was virtually unknown in Ireland, where the St. Patrick’s Day Feast traditionally featured pork, specifically a cut known as “back bacon” that included a piece of lean loin as well as fattier belly meat. Once in America, Irish immigrants took to cooking beef brisket, an inexpensive cut prized by their Jewish neighbors on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Come Tuesday, millions of Americans will buy vacuum-sealed pouches of corned (salt-cured) beef. Curiously, the word “corned” comes not from the grain we eat on the cob (or use to brew whiskey), but for the medieval term for a large kernel or “corn” of salt. You could think of corning as brining—with the addition of bay leaf, allspice, mustard seed, and other pickling spices.

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