Tag: electrical

Log: July 12 – 14, 2019

Friday

Pulled in with Hannah and a truck full of tools at 5:45. The pooch ran around while I unloaded the truck by the pole barn and grabbed the two empty gas cans to fill up later. I noticed last trip that the big heating oil tank by the power pole seemed to be dripping at a decent pace so I walked over to check it out. This was nearly empty anyway and probably had more water than oil in it over the last few decades. Today it was completely dry.

Another one bites the dust.

For grins, I tried pushing it over. It took a few tries, but I managed to rock three of the four stand legs out of the ground. The remaining leg just bent and the whole thing toppled over. Arrivederci, eyesore! I headed back to the pole barn, returned on the blue ATV, and used a tow strap to tug the tank free and haul it over to the scrap pile. I’ve only been here 20 minutes and already altered the landscape for the better.

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Log: June 22 – 25, 2018 (Electrical Upgrade Project)

Friday

Hannah and I pulled in at 2:30 with a rented trencher in tow. I picked this up at Kitz and Pfeil in Berlin on the way up. This weekend is dedicated to running new power lines to the keep and pole barn straight from the new service panel we installed last fall. After opening up the keep and getting my clothes and other supplies put away, I unloaded the trencher from its trailer. This is the same one I rented back in 2011 when I made the first buried electrical runs. While that project was a significant improvement from previous methods of getting power to the keep and pole barn—stringing extension cords through the trees—the limitations were starting to show.

This is my trencher. There are many others like it, but this one is mine (for the next 24 hours).

When I first did this seven years ago, I used 10-gauge, 2-conductor direct burial copper cable…mostly. Power was supplied from two 20-amp breakers in the big trailer and run to an outdoor service box using 12-gauge romex. The thicker 10-gauge wire was only run underground to each building where it was spliced to 12-gauge romex in conduits. I also didn’t have subpanels at either building. In the pole barn, I just spliced the incoming connection with wire nuts. In the keep, I gutted the contents of the old fuse box and spliced everything together from the feed, and this was after a spliced stop at the water pump outside. In retrospect, this was terribly kludgy. When you consider the system it was replacing, however, it was revolutionary. Still, the time had come to revisit this project and do it right this time.

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Log: November 12, 2017

Quick note: I stopped in back on October 25 to put away the pop-up camper, but that was such a flying trip that it didn’t seem to merit a log entry.

Drove up with Hannah a little after 10:00 am with all sorts of electrical goodies in the back of the truck. Dad was already here with Jake, who had slept over at their house last night. Also with them was Dad’s brother Cal, a professional electrician. He was here to supervise and give me a hand as I made some much-needed upgrades to power supply here.

Our main outdoor service panel is in rough shape. It’s an ancient 60A “Pushmatic” affair with very reluctant breakers and it’s mounted to a rotten plywood board on an equally rotten 4×4 post. I think the only reason it still (mostly) works is that it can’t decide whether to fall over or catch on fire. Especially since the strange electrical problems we experienced last year at deer camp, I’ve been getting after Dad to talk to an electrician about upgrading the panel. Well, he talked to two of them. His friend Nick helped us pick out proper replacement parts, and now Uncle Cal was going to help me make the swap.

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