Gut Rumbles

August 15, 2003

they don't teach this in school

Of course, they don't teach much at all in school anymore.

Let's talk about the blackout. How many of my readers have ever run turbine generators? What happens when they start to "motor" instead of generate?

I believe a backfeed occurred on the grid and a lot of generators shut down as a built-in, self-protection feature. Be glad that they did. Otherwise, the power wouldn't be back on as quickly as it is.

I wonder how many politicians ever put the "sync" on a generator and threw it on the grid? I wonder how many politicians know what an electrical backfeed is? I wonder how many politicans ever saw a generator about to "motor?" I wonder how many politicians have a fucking clue about the difference between AC and DC current? What will the ignorant shits babble about tomorrow?

They'll have a field day about talking about ENERGY, while wallowing in ignorance, preaching to an ignorant audience and puffing smoke out their asses. Modern day witch doctors in expensive clothes is what they are. They make me want to puke.

I know how to sync a generator and I know how to throw the knife-switches on a high-power line. I've done it many a time and I am NOT an electrician. I just ran a power plant for a while.

I've never been a politician. They know a lot more about power grids than I do.


Nope, they don't teach how to sinc a generator in schools today, but they do teach how to sync (as in "synchronizing") or more correctly how to parallel generators.

Posted by: phillip on August 15, 2003 08:38 PM

Just goes to show that it sure as hell doesn't take anything to be a politician, just to be able to talk and walk, and not necessarily at the same time.

Posted by: Laura on August 15, 2003 10:38 PM

They go Kaboom, real quick like.

Say, do you think we could get Hillary to play with the switches? Yeah, that's it... just grab that pole over there... It'll make a great publicity shot.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on August 15, 2003 10:39 PM

One of the most important things when you're a politicians seems to be knowing exactly who to blame, and then making sure that person also has someone to blame, etc. right on down the line until you get to someone who can be fired safely. The media's coverage of this whole thing was hilarious. "People are out in the streets! Oh no! They'll start looting any second now! We can't have huge masses of people just walking around and talking! It's a revolution!" Good grief.

Posted by: U on August 15, 2003 11:05 PM

I confess to Phillip that I misspelled the word. It's "sync," not "sinc." But you still do it by watching a Synchrometer and adjusting the voltage until you get the needle spinning very slowly clockwise, then throw the switch when the needle hits 12:00. That puts the generator on the grid because you matched it to the alternating current sine waves already running out there.

Okay, Phil. Does that sound about right?

Posted by: Acidman on August 16, 2003 05:53 AM

I was only funnin' with you! And, I must confess to you that all my experience was "marine" vice "stationary" and 90% of that time was with diesel generators. You tend to get to know your plant like it was part of you or something! Just because of the "slop" in our breakers I used to have to close the one I was bringing on the line just past 11 o'clock or... God, don't get me going on isochronous governors, speed droop and the like. It's been years...

Posted by: phillip on August 16, 2003 06:43 AM

Heard some asshole on the news claiming that we here in the U.S. have a third world power grid. Well I say that one big outage on the average of once every 25 years or so is pretty damned good for a system that is so interconnected between 3 countries(the US, Canada and Mexico) and the lower 48.
These asshat politicians wouldn't know a megawatt if it crawled up their ass and wiggled.

Posted by: G-MAN on August 16, 2003 10:53 AM

Anybody out there ever sync generators in an airplane?? Gives a whole new meaning to the expression, "Do it right the first time."


Posted by: Jim on August 16, 2003 04:56 PM

How about synching from the manual throttle? I had upper level startup watch on a nuc submarine. After the first T-G set was on line and loaded I brought up the second and got it running about 5 rpm faster than the first. When I turned over control to the Electrical Operator all he had to do is wait until 12 o`clock on the synchroscope and close the output breaker.

Dude never did figure out how I did it. Any musician knows: beat frequency....

Posted by: Rick Tengin on August 17, 2003 02:10 PM

Wow, did someone mention speed droop? Yep, I remember a bunch of that stuff thanks to my nuclear power diesel generator days.

Re synching - they always told us that the synchroscope needed to be going clockwise too. You wanted the one you were synching to be running a bit faster than the rest.

Back in the 80's some idiot got the idea to disable the reverse power relays on a big Transamerica Delaval diesel generator intentionally to start it by synching it. Bad call. They broke a crankshaft with 13" journals, and I'm sure the generator wasn't happy either.

Posted by: J Bowen on August 17, 2003 03:07 PM

I worked on C-5 and C-130 aircraft for Uncle Sam for 9 years. Thankfully, synching was all automatic. I can only imagine what nonsynchronous 400hz 115v 60amp current would do.

Thankfully, I never touched any of that shit, although I did get some 5amp stuff once that knocked the wind out of me for about a half hour.

Posted by: Eichra Oren on August 17, 2003 07:14 PM

I'm guessing that, if you try and hook up a turbine to a power grid without syncing it first, the power from the grid will try and drive the turbine, instead of the power from the turbine going into the grid.

Turbines are pretty big things and when you measure power in megawatts, you're talking a lot of power.

I would guess that, with megawatts of power trying to drive the turbine from one side, and the steam trying to drive it from the other, if they're not in sync, the turbine gets caught in the middle and there's a possibility that a certain amount of the turbine gets turned into scrap metal/iron filings.

Posted by: Jack on August 18, 2003 05:00 AM

That's called "motoring" and it will destroy both the generator and the turbine.

Posted by: Acidman on August 18, 2003 08:07 PM

How many politicians even know who Tesla was?

Posted by: donawana on August 19, 2003 07:23 AM

Morality by consensus is frequently morality by convenience.

Posted by: Johnsrud Karin on May 3, 2004 02:32 PM
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