Sunday, November 1, 2015

Investigating Corrosion Inhibitors To Reduce Carbon Tracking And Corrosion In Electrical Circuits... Part 1

   The title is a mouthful and when I started to look into this I did not expect to get so involved with the experiments and the different paths it would lead me down.
NOW, first and foremost some of the information I will present could be considered controversial and is presented as USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. That being said I have had success in some of the techniques that I will present both at my job and on the farm. I believe the material I will present in the next couple of posts will be beneficial to homesteaders, farmers and others in maintaining electrical systems.

  It was hard to find information regarding this but I will try to explain it and present the two or three links to some very good information about this subject.

   In a nutshell an electrical circuit has a supply path and a return path, all of the electrons that flow must and will go back to where they came from. If the path is through the load such as a heating element or a motor, all is good, but when water, humidity or condensation is involved... well not so much. Now that being said water with conductive ions (conductive electrolyte)  is generally not enough to cause a short circuit and generate enough current to trip a protective device such as a breaker or fuse but is enough to cause a shock to livestock or humans. I've seen water boiling and steaming out of 480VAC disconnects and conduit fittings while machines were running.

   My understanding of carbon tracking occurs when a micro current is enabled between conductors or to ground through a moisture path, either between terminals or perforations in insulation. The currents grow and build over time through the electrolyte leaving behind a path of salts as it evaporates. As the current increases it can build on itself increasing the  intensity of heat until it starts to burn the insulation leaving a carbon track. When the carbon track becomes conductive enough it can flash over causing a small arc flash blowing the fuse or tripping the breaker or even starting a fire.

Below are several links I found while researching this phenomenon.
Latent Short Circuit Defects
Physics Of DC Carbon Tracking Of Plastic
Effects Of Corrosion Inhibitive Lubricants On Electronics Reliabilty


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Flashlights: A Low Light Necessity

 Star light star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

   That's how the poem goes and as much as you wish,and no matter how bright the stars are you'll need some type of lighting. Working on something in low or no light conditions especially during an emergency with a candle just won't cut it, especially if fuel or flammable surroundings are involved.
   The skies the limit when it comes to the different styles of light's and types of batteries their powered by. For years I carried a Mini Mag light with an incandescent bulb, it was more than adequate for the type of work I did. Another good attribute the Maglight had was that it used common AA batteries and a spare bulb is located in the tail cap in case the bulb fails or breaks. Now days I carry an LED type light with multiple brightness levels and a strobe function. Another good attribute is a clip that is reversible so that it can attach to the brim of my hat as a hands free work light.

   One night I was headed home from work at about 12:30 AM  I came upon a truck on it's side off the road and in an old mill raceway. Out came my Mini mag light and I headed for it to check on the occupants. As I headed for the vehicle I was relieved that the driver was not injured, she was just to short to get the door open as it was on it's side.

Along with my Multitool and knife I always have my light with me ready to go. And remember to have spare batteries and or a spare light close at hand, you never know when the need will arise.

Stay safe


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Multitool and Ranger Band: Improvised Clamp

   I was repairing some wiring on our ancient ATV after it got chewed on by one of the cows. Every time I touched the wires with my soldering iron they would move. After several frustrating tries this idea came to me!
 I put a ranger band around the handles and they worked like a pair of improvised hemostats. I've used this more than a couple of times for various jobs when I needed a third hand.
 I usually carry a spare band attached to my MT sheath just for this reason.
Stay safe

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Multitools... Don't leave home without it!

 As long as I can remember or at least since I was eight years old I've always carried a knife of one kind or another. As a former Cub Scout and later a Boy Scout I have always believed in the motto "Be Prepared" and have lived that way most of my life to one degree or another. Also from an early age to this day I've been involved in farming, either employed by a farmer or milking our own cows  on a farm we rented or currently at my Brother in Laws farm .
   Back in the mid 80's I was employed at a medium sized dairy operation and somewhere around this time the first Multitool came out. I remember reading about Tim Leatherman's "pliers" in Blade Magazine and as a diehard knife enthusiast my first thought was what a useless gimmick.
I was wrong and after I broke down and spent some hard earned money and got a Leatherman PST (Personal Survival Tool) and found out how indispensable they can be.

My original Leatherman PST
   From that day forward I've either had a Multitool on my belt or in my pocket 24/7 in addition to my knife. The tool above has done every thing from working on a Ford 8N back in a field, prying open chain pinch links to prodding cows with the needle nose when pinned in a corner.

Nowadays I carry a Gerber 600 which I've used daily for at least eight years day in day out on the farm and at my job as a maintenance mechanic at a food processing plant. I carry it religiously on my belt in a Spec Ops Super Sheath which has been modified with a snap after the Velcro wore out.
Gerber 600 Pro Scout

    I'm not about to recommend one brand or style over another, and they don't take the place of regular tools. What they do is allow you to do is carry a compact set of usable tools on your person for light to medium duty tasks when the need arises.

The tool options vary between manufactures and models but the basics are screwdriver blades, file saw, scissors can opener not to mention the ever useful pliers. The sky is almost the limit depending on what specific items  you have a need for.
Gerber Diesel, Leatherman Wave and Sidekick
 When the moment arises which could be right now, you'll have the means and hopefully the ability to take care of what's at hand whatever that may be, using the tools that you carry with you.
"Be Prepared"

Stay safe

Things soon to come!!

   My other Blog Back Creek Bushcraft is how I got started, Bushcrafting and survival skills are my hobby but the truth is we all live in the real world...a mechanical world. Survival in my mind is much more than running off into the woods when or if something does happen. We all probably have our own small infrastructures or equipment to maintain or repair if it fails not to mention taking care of your family.
   My background is farming and I also work full time as a mechanic in a food processing plant. When a machine goes down it needs to be repaired, and when it's time to milk the cows the system needs to work. You can either pay someone to come and repair it, but you'll have to wait.
 Or you can learn to fix it yourself.

This is how I got into maintenance, my survival mindset took me there. What if the system failed... how will I fix it so the cows get milked. What if there was no one able to make it... how will it get repaired then!!  I'm going to try and cover minor and not so minor repairs and skill sets, useful skills to have in a rural/urban SHTF scenario.

Stay safe