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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/19/2016

Huzzah!


It's been a long time since all this mess started -- 3 months and 5 days --but I finally got my new 15kw Ecogen online today!

For the record that's 8,380,800 seconds. 139,680 minutes. 2328 hours. 97 days. 13 weeks, 6 days. 26.58% of a year.

Yeah can't say I'm happy with the responsiveness.

But leaving that to one side for the moment....

As seems par for the course there were a couple of complications.

First, they sent me an email three weeks ago (as it happened on the day I was getting the radiant heat looked at) but it was rather late to have him come up that Friday. I did beg them to consider letting their installer come up on Saturday since we had a mondo storm moving in, but they never responded and the last nice day for a bit came and went without them coming up.

So then came the storm that dumped ~14" of snow in the canyon and that pretty much shut down any possibility of them coming up. I waived them off for two weeks as I was barely getting in and out myself with my 4WD truck, and then last Friday waived them off again until this Friday -- while the weather has been nicely warm and the snow had melted furiously it wasn't down enough for them to get up here last week either. Which of course was annoying.

And that's when the third complication cropped up. Mid week this week I contacted them to let them know I thought the melt would finally let them get up here with a 500 pound generator in the back of their truck, and the owner casually mentioned that they'd be bringing it up in a trailer.

A trailer!?!?! You guys never said anything about a trailer -- a truck can make it, I don't know about a trailer!

But a trailer is what they insisted on, and so on Friday morning I eagerly awaiting their arrival. And waited. And waited.

And eventually got a phone call that -- guess what!?!?! -- They were stuck about 2/3 of the way up the canyon. There's a bad patch in there where ice builds up and the sunlight can't reach the road, and that's where the trailer had lost its grip and they were sliding.

So I fired up my truck and headed down to rescue them. As it happened they'd gotten their truck free by the time I got there, and we spent the next half hour or so shoveling dirt onto the exposed ice and giving the tires something to "grip". Once that was done, they got up to Tanglewood with relatively little problem (that hill is basically the last bad patch on the way) and we proceeded to work the installation issue.

Getting the generator down the hill was simpler than I'd thought it would be. They had the generator on a small palette and chose to basically haul it down the hill with a lift strap while keeping a rope on it at the top just to keep it from getting out of control. This worked quite well and soon it was down by the shed.

I'd already hauled the prior Ecogen up the hill (apparently Generac wants it back at their factory so they can figure out what happened), so while Generator Evan worked on the wiring (I wanted a plug installed so I could easily swap out the to other backup generator if I had to) Generator Chris hauled the parts from the old Ecogen up to the truck and helped me get my little backup job into my Gator. Then I puttered doing some brief cleanup of the shed while they finished up.

We had a bit of excitement getting the propane line hooked up (turned out that Generac for some reason changed the size of the fitting) but we eventually got it. We did a quick test run, checked the voltage on both the generator and at the inverter's charger (which is where the generator feeds into the system) and pronounced it goodly!

All in all this took a ridiculous amount of time, and I lay the blame equally at the feet of both Generac and the local installer. Generac had no reason to take so long to ship the original part and then when Generator Evan called it a total loss they then took an amazing amount of time to authorize the replacement. Which then took an astonishing amount of time to actually get here -- my estimate was that it moved a rocking 20 miles per day. Which is of course ridiculous.

And of course the installers have their fair share of blame too. They couldn't come up for a week after my initial phone call (they claimed they were "slammed" with work), and then the day they did come up was so bitterly cold we had to have Generator Evan come up a second time before we could complete the original diagnosis (the bad stator). Then of course there was that STUPID EMAIL WHY THE SMEG DIDN'T YOU CALL?!?!?!?!?! on the last good weather day that was a complete waste of time, and then their subsequent stupid decision not to authorize Generator Evan to work a bit of overtime that Saturday and/or swap that day out for some other day the following week. And just for good measure there was the bright idea to send up a trailer -- I think they have no clue what the weather is like in mountain canyons at all.

But it's here, and it's installed, and it works, and I can finally redirect my energies to other issues now. I've got the new battery stack coming later this spring, and then The Door is installed and The Chandelier finally--FINALLY--gets inside the house! 

Gonna be a busy year! Let's hope my only generator-related thought is swapping out the propane for a while!

Steven in Colorado

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