Friday, April 29, 2016

A Little Generator Drama

Yesterday I posted a short summary of City Reach Phoenix area. I am always overjoyed when a post is received well and that one was definitely received well. Thank you for the positive response. HERE it is if you have not had a chance to read it.

A Little Generator Drama

Last week I wrote about repairing the radiator for the generator in the BoggsMobile. Today we switch generators and continue the saga.

After about two weeks of City Reach Phoenix area, I started having some trouble out of my gasoline generator that we need for tent revival. During the special service at Paradise Valley Park on Saturday, the voltage was dropping to unacceptably low levels with the generator under a relatively light load. It was making our sound equipment do very strange things. I lightened the load even more and continued the service without some of the equipment.

We gave the generator a thorough workout during sound check under the tent Sunday night and it performed fine although the voltage levels were lower than they had been. Service that night was a totally different story from sound check. The voltage levels kept dropping until I lightened the amp load considerably.

Bro. Jimmie and I put the generator through some load tests during the day the best we could using a heat gun, a blow dryer, an iron and a heavy duty air compressor. We were trying to see how it behaved under various loads. The results were disappointing to say the least. The voltage output on both legs was great under no load but with a light load on one leg it would drop on both legs to about 112-114 volts. With a light load on both legs the voltage would drop to 108 with momentary drops to 105.

That is way to low for sensitive electronics. I started looking for some one to work on my brand of generator but could find no one in the Phoenix area that was even willing to look at it. All the generator guys I talked to thought it was probably the voltage regulator and that it would need to be replaced. They could not get parts for my brand so there was no need for them to look at it.

I put in calls and emails to the manufacture more than once but still have not received a response over ten days later. The generator is lightly used even though it is 11 years old. I was hoping they could direct me to some service or some parts. There is a shop in Dallas and another in Cincinnati that will work on my big generator so I will try to get it repaired later and save it as a back up.

In the mean time, we pulled out the small generator I used for years and tried it. I knew that it was showing signs of weakness last fall and it proved to be on its last legs as well.

What to do now? As I began to research which generator would best fit the needs of City Reach this year I discovered a distressing fact. Regular contractor type generators, like I have been using and like I was trying to purchase, are not ideal for all the electronics we are using in tent revival. We have three expensive power amps, an expensive mixer, ear monitors, cordless mics, a piano, two powered speakers, three processors, four very expensive main speakers, two very expensive sub cabinets and a few other things I have probably forgotten.

Most of these components need very clean power to perform at their optimal level. It is obvious that the low voltage I was getting out of the old generator was not good for the equipment but evidently even at its best, the power produced by my conventional generators was not ideal for all of the electronics.

To get clean power for sensitive components you need an inverter generator. An inverter generator produces power and then puts it through an inverter that maintains a pure sine wave at the required voltage. That is just fancy talk for "get ready to spend some dough to get what you need, Davy!"

When I started adding the price of replacing the sound equipment onto the price of an inexpensive generator, the price of the cheap generator started going up and up and up.

Small inverter generators are not that expensive if you buy an off brand but we also need lots of amperage so we really only had one choice. That choice was spend the money and buy what we need. Thankfully they were on sale this month and a couple of companies in the area that are participating in the sale had them in stock.

I bought it, picked it up and brought it to the tent in time for sound check. It is an absolutely amazing piece of equipment. It produces ample, clean power at low RPMs and at incredibly low noise levels. We could literally set this generator at the edge of tent and have no problem with generator noise.

We put it under a load two nights and it performed flawlessly. The voltage was rock steady and all of our sound equipment functioned so much better that it was very noticeable. The difference was incredible.

I hope that operating on my conventional generator for so long did not shorten the life of any of the electronics. But there is no way to know what you do not know! I was doing the best I knew and now I know more, so I am doing better.

That sounds a lot like life in general and the Christian life in particular!

We have been careful and diligent to save for City Reach the last few years and individuals and churches have been kind, generous and attentive to give toward City Reach, so we had the money on hand to make this purchase. The money was budgeted for future months of City Reach and will have to be replaced, but praise God we had it. God is faithful and He continues to prove that to me every day.

I remember what Bro. Randy Webb said to Bro. Dennis Heath when a tree fell on Bro. Heath's new fifth wheel and totaled it. Bro. Dennis was "treemendously" disturbed and Bro. Webb said, "Don't worry about it. If money can fix it, it ain't broke."

That may be true but it is probably much easier to swallow IF you the have the money!

That should bring you up to date on our latest generator drama.

Thanks for reading.


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