Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Laptop Down and Out

9/26/09 - 4th Day - After Breakfast. Make sure to read the Off-Grid Living, part 2 which is posted right under this one. Everything is going well enough here. One of those spates of "everything breaks" going on with us. We got the generator back from the shop $150 later. It has a new carburetor and is running fine but it is still burning oil quite a bit. We sent in our other fall back generator which broke down last year with hopes that it can be revived as well. we are still waiting to get our tiller back from the shop, and we have another generator to send in as well (one that we salvaged from an older RV). Well, we have been having laptop troubles for some time. Danielle's laptop tanked on us so we were using mine. Then mine tanked and I as able to rig hers to work occasionally enough to get my work, sermons, etc. done until it tanked again. Then I cut up and rewired my plug in cable and got mine to work for a week or so again until it stopped working again. So yesterday I asked Elder David to take my laptop to the shop to see if there is anything they can do. It seems that the power card which is on the motherboard is shot and it will cost over $350 to get a new one put in. This is more than 1/2 the cost of the laptop. Right now I am writing on a borrowed laptop so I can update everyone on the situation. I can't write sermons or upload anything until I get the situation fixed somehow.

Here is what I think has happened. First, laptops are very sensitive electronic equipment. We were told by the guy who manufactured our solar trailers that the inverters he used are not ideal for running computers, etc - they are not "pure sine wave" inverters. I figured this has something to do with it, but I was curious way David Siffords laptops haven't fried as well. Then I thought about it some more and I figured there are some differences. I haven't asked him, but if David plugs his laptop into his RV then the power is running off of his onboard 12V system which might funnel the power through a more appropriate inverter. Also, we switch our power back and forth between the generator and the solar trailer, so quite often we cut power without going in and shutting everything down. More damaging than a "blackout" or immediate loss of power is a "brownout" where power is lost slowly. This happens quite often the way we do things, since sometimes our generator runs out of gas, and sometimes we cut power to switch power sources. Ideally we would have our computer power running through a back-up power system which allows a bit of power storage to shut off the computer properly when power is lost. These also protect against "brownout" or dips in power. They also provide a more pure electric signature which sensitive electronics need. You can buy these locally for a hundred to two hundred dollars.

Anyway, I figure it will cost us between $500 (if we repair my computer) and $1000 (if we buy a new one and dump all the data onto it) which includes the price of the backup power system. I hesitate letting folks know about this need right now with 9 days left until Ranchfest because we are still way behind in raising funds for Ranchfest, and isolating a specific need sometimes means folks will send money specifically for that and forget about Ranchfest, which is more pressing.

Anywho... if anyone wants to help out specifically with the computer situation - please let me know via email. Please make sure that it is not moneys you were already earmarking for Ranchfest, because Ranchfest needs to be taken care of first. Email me at: editor(at) or send help to:

M. Bunker
1251 CR 132
Santa Anna, Tx 76878

I will try my best to keep you all updated, depending on the availability of borrowed equipment.

Your servant in Christ Jesus,

Michael Bunker

P.S. Don't forget that Off-Grid Living, Part 2 is posted right before this post.

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