Reed in Asia
The power arrives but needs some help
At the dome the next day, initially I helped the other guys with the screen surface again waiting for the power to arrive, then a truck with cabling and about three electricians arrived about one hour later. The power on the base, like all of Thailand as I now know, was distributed on poles about 5 metres high and I watched the electricians measure the cable out from the main breaker on the dome to the nearest of these poles about 50 metres away, so I left them to it and went inside the dome to the others. After a while one of the electricians came to find me and said in broken English that it was ready to connect, so I went outside, opened the breaker box and started to look at the cables to connect the three phases were marked and the neutral was just left unmarked, but that was it, only four cables. So I then asked them for the earth cable, but they didn't understand me, so I slowly counted the cables for them using my fingers and then I held up my hand and said that I needed five cables, but they still did not understand. I got my notepad then and drew on the pad a three phase supply and neutral diagram showed them this and pointed to the cables and they seemed to understand and nodded their heads, then I added a fifth cable to my drawing and drew an earth symbol on it and this they did not understand at all.
GQ has had this problem before in some countries and they supply a set of copper rods to use as an earth spike, so I just decided that I would have to supply the earth myself later and started to connect the other cables to the breaker box. After I had fitted the last cable to the breaker, I indicated to the electricians that they could connect the power and I then went to the container to find the earth spike rods, I had just found them and I was unpacking them when one of the electricians came to the container and indicated that I should go with him, he led me to the breaker box and they were all smiling and looking pleased with themselves as they showed me a fifth cable. I didn't understand how they could find an earth now, when they didn't understand what I meant before, so I traced this new cable back to the power post and looked where they had brought it from. What they had done, was that they had just connected a second cable to the neutral line and thought that that was what I wanted, but then I just indicated and told them to disconnect it again because it was not what I wanted. They seemed a little upset then, but they did as I said and retrieved the cable and put it back into their truck.
I then got the earth spike from the container and started screwing the hardened steel cone onto one of the copper rods protruding screw thread and screwed a percussion cap into the other end of the rod, I then went into the dome and asked Eddie to come and help me for a while. I got a sledge hammer from one of the containers, Eddie held the first rod for me and I started hammering it into the ground about five meters from the dome, when the percussion cap was almost at ground level, I removed the cap, screwed the next rod into the top of the first rod, fitted the cap to the top of the second rod and hammered it again to almost ground level and did the same with two more rods, I connected a cable to the cap on the last rod and connected the other end of the cable to the Breaker box earth point. I had been informed at GQ in the briefing prior to going to Thailand, that the earth potential depth at the dome site was 3.5 metres down and I had just put the spike four metres into the ground, which should suffice quite well. My arms were really aching after hammering the spike into the ground and I was really hot and sweating, so I got myself a drink from the mixture in the coolbox that we kept there and it was very good, I really needed it. Sometimes it can be very hard work being an electronics engineer.
I then switched the main breaker on, went into the dome and all of the phase lights were lit on the MDU, but then I realised that there was something quite important that I had forgotten to do, I had forgotten to fit the dome auxilliary light above the access door, I had to do that before we could close the door and switch the air conditioning on. I got the light from the container then fitted and connected it via a switch that I fitted near the door, to the MDU, now we had light! The access door was quite large and it took three of us to close it, it ran along rails on the ground and guides above and finally pushed into place and locked. The dome erection team had to work with the door open for light in the dome and to try and cool it in there a little, because the construction was heavily insulated and it would be like being in a sauna with the door closed. I then started the air conditioner and it quickly became a very comfortable temperature in the dome. By that time it was time for lunch, Dumrong wasn't there that day, so we just locked the dome, left the A/C running and then all walked to Cafe On. The first thing that I ordered when I got there was a beer, I considered that I had earned it that morning and the others followed suit. We all sat there eating and drinking, chatting about the work left to do, which for the other guys, they were very nearly finished now, but for me, I had only just started. That afternoon back at the dome, everyone was quite happy, it was much easier for them working with the A/C running, I just ran the system cables to various points in the dome, put some extra lights around the periphery and really just prepared everything for the next day when my work really started.
The landrover arrived at the usual time that evening, we all went back to the hotel and went through our usual routine of beers in the lounge listening to the band, a meal in the coffee shop / dining room and later finished the night off in the discotheque.
'My real work starts tomorrow'
I shall be adding to this site over time, so if anyone is interested then please have a little patience and call back here from time to time. One of my very few pleasures in life these days is beer so I shall be occasionally referring to beer, I just wish that beer was the only reason that I am legless all the time
Thanks for viewing my site, cheers for now, Legless
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