22 September 2011

Happy Spring!  Oh, yes, our spring is here.  It is such lovely weather….around 80 during the day and 65 at night.  Very pleasant.   I can’t say I’m looking forward to the heat of summer, and to be truthful, I think it is the worst time of year here.  The months of January, February and March can be pretty extreme, but the other months are great.

Today we had four electricians at the house.  I don’t know that I necessarily recommend this, but they finally did get things worked out.  We have had some trouble with the pumps for the pool.  At times they would heat up so much they would shut off.  Sometimes they would make high pitched whining noises which we all know isn’t good.

So, first we called the plumber, Jorge, who put the whole system in.  He went through it all and said the problem was with the generator.  He wasn’t equipped to deal with electrical systems, so he would send his brother, an electrician to check things out.

Jaime arrived, Jorge’s brother.  He checked out the pumps for the pool and the electrical current in the mechanical room.  He checked out the generator and measured the frequency of the current there.  He tells us the problem is with the generator.  He says the generator has three cables; only two of which are sending out 220.  The other cable is faulty and only sending out a smaller amount.  This is why the pumps are heating up; they aren’t receiving enough energy to do the job.

So we call Martin who services our generator…..and has just done so last week.  Martin comes with his brother AND his father….all electrical engineers.  Martin says, there is nothing wrong with the generator.  The problem lies in the wiring to the pumps for the pool.

So as things progress and all four electricians argue and debate, the lights in the house start to flicker and the lights in the refrigerator dim.  Something is wrong…..this is a new development.  All four spent an hour or so contemplating the solar system, which we kept trying to tell them was totally separate from the generator.  We were either on generator power OR solar power.   Doug and I are both wondering about the wisdom of even questioning Peruvian workmanship….

The first revelation was that Jaime’s machine was malfunctioning and the generator was indeed sending out the right amount of voltage and the proper number of frequencies.   The second was that Jaime had accidentally rewired the generator incorrectly, so it wasn’t sending out the proper frequencies.

And, after a thorough examination of the pumps for the pool, all decided (and actually agreed) that it was a poor design.  There are three pumps for the pool, all pulling off of one tube.  The pump closest to the entry was working well….and Doug said he never remembered this one shutting down.  The second pump is a bit further away…. thus when both of them were operating, the first pump had no problem.  The second one though only received the “left-over” and so was trying to function without a full measure of water.  After a while, this one would heat up because it wasn’t functioning with a full complement of water and would shut down.  The third pump is even further from the inlet, so when it was started, it took the “dregs” of the system.  The final consensus was that it was a poor design for the pool.  Each pump needed an equal chance to receive water to function at its best.

In the end, we paid Martin and his family for their services and their travel expenses.  Martin had previously asked Jaime who would pay for his visit if he came out and found that there was nothing wrong with the generator.  He was confident that the generator was working fine.  Jaime, for his part, said we owed him nothing.  He said he had come out but hadn’t resolved anything.  His equipment was faulty.  We told him we would pay him his travel expenses and a bit more for actually arriving when he said he would.  All of you in the states know how you can call for a serviceman and they might show up a couple of hours later than they had told you….or they might not show up at all (although I truly think this is not the norm in the states).  Here…a service person can tell you they will be there tomorrow and not show up at all.  When you call to ask when they will arrive, they’ll give you a multitude of excuses and tell you they will definitely, without a doubt, be there tomorrow.  Tomorrow comes and goes and you call again….more excuses…..and the cycle continues.  It is truly frustrating and you have to recognize “Peruvian time.”  So, we wanted to reward Jaime for showing up.

The end result of all of this is that the pool system design is a bad design.  We will need to make some changes for it all to work well.  We need to put in a holding tank from which each pump draws so one doesn’t “steal” from the other.

Quite an interesting day.  All of this was in Spanish….which Doug understands about 65%.  I was called upon to translate and to communicate.  I know I wasn’t totally fluent, but I was able to hold my own in conversations/arguments and understood 90% of what was said.  Slowly, but surely, I am making progress toward being fluent.


1 Comment

  1. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! (One wow for each of the electricians, and one for you two for hanging in there!) It sounds like a frustrating but productive day. I hope you are able to resolve this easily. I know how important that pool is to your lives there. It sounds like Doug’s Spanish is really improving if he was able to pick up 65% of a technical conversation. Good for him – and of course you.

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