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Expert Found
29 September 2008

Before Diagram

In last week's post I discussed the electrical control box for my new coffee pulper.  I had talked to several electricians in town but none of them could help, they couldn't even tell me what the gizmos inside the box are called.  Luckily, there seems to be a person or two that actually visit my little website and read these stories.  A couple of those people even had some answers for me.

A friend's father was the biggest help.  He has a lot of experience with large industrial mining equipment and wiring up my tiny little motors (tiny in comparison to giant mining equipment he's used to) was easy for him  Not only did he find the 800 page manual for the electronic gizmos, he also explained it all to me.  He answered all my questions and left me with an excellent wiring diagram that makes the whole thing seem simple.

I received help from a couple other readers too.  The next time I have a problem I can't figure out, I won't hesitate to write about it here and ask for help.  Thanks to everyone's help, I'm now confident that I fully understand the problem.  I even sent the wiring diagram back to the people that made the pulper in Colombia.  I hope they appreciate the gesture and pass the information along to future customers.  If they had sent me a wiring diagram with the pulper in the first place, this whole mess could have been avoided.

My brother thinks that stories about wiring my pulper are horribly boring but I don't care, it's fascinating to me.  I've posted the wiring diagrams so everyone can join in the excitement.  My hand drawn diagram on the left is how the box came wired from Colombia.  It would have worked that way but it's not quite right.  First, I needed it wired for two separate electric feeds instead of a single feed like in the diagram.  Second, the two motors were sharing a single overload relay instead of each one using its own.

Coffee The far simpler diagram on the right was drawn by my friend after listening to his father's explanation of how it all worked.  This is the diagram that should have come with the box in the first place.  I'm certainly not a professional electrician but using the diagram I can now see for myself how everything works.  I much prefer to understand something for myself rather than paying an "expert" to do all the work for me.

It's a big relief to have the coffee pulper's electrical control box figured out but I'm still a ways from having it all working.  I've been busy finishing the roof so I can paint the floor so I can move the pulper in place so I can wire it all together.  The plumbing is done so once I get the wiring done all that's left is connecting the auger, motors, side panels and several other miscellaneous parts.  I need to have it all done soon because the coffee trees are loaded with ripe coffee cherry.

I'm confident I can get it all ready in a week except... my stupid mower just broke... again.  The tractor has been broken for a month or so but I haven't bothered to fix it because I always have other things to do that seem more important.  Fixing the mower is critical though because we use it constantly.

Usually the mower is fairly reliable but this is the second time it has broken this month.  I just got the mower running again after fixing its alternator.  It took me a couple weeks because the local dealer had a new alternator for $300 or I could wait a couple weeks and order the bearings from California for $6.  I chose to wait a couple weeks.

This was yet another example of why I don't like to trust the "experts."  If I had taken the mower to the mechanic they would have charged me $300 for the new alternator plus $75 an hour for labor.  Instead, I fixed it myself for $6.

Fixing the mower this time required pulling the engine completely out.  Compared to pulling the engine out of the tractor, the mower is easy.  I think I've found the problem and now all I have to do is find the replacement parts.  If I get lucky, they'll have them in stock instead of having to be shipped from California.

As long as nothing else breaks then next week's post will have pictures of the running mower and a working pulper.  It's going to be a busy week but I'm confident that I can get it all done.  If I'm really lucky, the week after that will have pictures of me at the beach.  We'll have to wait and see.

Mower



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