Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Thing About Humidity

This humidity phenomenon is amazing. Two weeks ago, it wrecked our inverter-- the machine that turns DC power from our solar batteries to AC power for most of our wiring. The way humidity kills electronics is as follows: The Liberian air is saturated with water from the Atlantic. Dust in the air is salty from the same source. At night, the air cools just a few degrees, but if it hits the dew point, tiny drops of moisture condenses on the interior of electronic components. Combined with minute amounts of salty dust, the goo creates new electrical conduits and the entire system gets shorted out. And one expensive peace of equipment is toast. We now store most of our electronic intruments in huge Ziploc bags (donated by friend Mary Vermeer) filled with desiccant.

However, it is too late for the inverter. So, we are limping a bit, with only DC power in the day, running a couple DC lights and a DC adapter for out laptops and battery charger, and AC power throughout the house for just three hours in the evening, supplied by our trusty generator-- the VV 9500. (Named for the Van Valkenburg family, who donated it.) We still have it good compared to 90% of our neighbors, most who live without power on candle light every night.