…or more accurately, the lack thereof. We had yet another DTE Energy (the company formerly known as Detroit Edison before it became cool to a) buy up a natural-gas utility and b) rename the company with nonsensical initials) brownout today. Don’t know when it started, but it was in full swing when K got home from school about 4:30pm.

The problem here is that we have a new-fangled refrigerator with electronic controls, and brownouts can zorch the circuit board (this has happened). Doesn’t appear to be a problem — K shut off the breaker as soon as she saw what was going on, and I later had it at full-juice on the generator. We probably shouldn’t keep the two new half-gallons of milk or the new dozen organic eggs (sigh), or the Miracle Whip, but the rest should be fine.

We had enough juice to run the clocks, the small TVs, the digital TV receivers, and dimly light incandescent bulbs, but not enough to trigger fluorescent bulbs (most of our house has CF bulbs replacing incandescents) or power up the satellite receivers. The DSL router stayed up, so we were able to use the laptop. The well pump waited for me to get the generator hooked up. It’s sized to handle the start-up current from the well pump’s old motor, the old furnace’s circulation pump, and the refrigerator at the same time — but with the newer furnace needing almost zero electrical current (very small circ pump), the newish well pump motor having much lower startup requirements, it’s even better, and my lovely Honda EU3000is quietly does the deed, no muss, little fuss.

One day, I might get a transfer switch installed so I can just run one cord from the generator to the transfer switch and be done with it. Of course, what I’d *really* like to do is get a whole-house, natural-gas-fueled, autostarting/autoswitching generator. Then I can put the Honda in my race trailer and leave it there. 🙂

The lines came back on to full power about 8:45, and I put it all back. Realistically, I can get us back up and running in a limited fashion in about 10-15 minutes in a power outage. It takes about that long to put it back, too.



    1. Why brownouts? Don’t know. Probably because DTE’s spent their money on clever ads, craptacular phone systems, sponsoring the DTE Energy Music Theatre (known as the DTE Pine Energy Music Knob in my vernacular, since it was Pine Knob before DTE bought the naming rights). What usually happens is one phase of the 3-phase power goes down, and thus there’s not enough juice going to keep everything at full power. We did get some rain, but nothing terribly spectacular. I could blame it on the squirrels. And I might even be right.


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