The Fiber Optic Project: Grooming. Again.

The actual fiberoptic portion of this project was completed in mid-January. Later someone had regraded the ditch along the road to make it deeper and more sharply defined. I assumed it was the county.

But, as I was leaving for town on Presidents Day, I saw two trucks with equipment trailers at the “phone booth”. Like an old fire dog, I HAD to know what was going on!

The ditch the fiberoptic cable was in had been regraded. But I didn’t see it was any smoother driving across it!

I eased in among the trucks and trailers to see whose they were.

LCI and Lowery Contracting are the same outfit and the ones who did the project.

I was impressed with the quality of their equipment: The pickup is a Ford F550, a bear of a vehicle, and the semi tractor is a Kenworth TT02, generally used as a logging tractor. These people do buy good equipment! Now to find the stuff the trailers brought in.

Here is the one the pickup dragged up there: a Bobcat trackhoe. This guy is grooming driveways. And not happy; I assume this was supposed to have been a day off. I guess one of the seven property owners complained about the condition of their driveway. Or Fremont County is just harassing the contractor. Neither operator looked happy so I didn’t stop and ask!

These are grader “signs”. By grading back and forth over the same area, it both smooths and firms the road surface. This is taken just below the “curves”.

And here is the grader turning around. Notice how clean all the equipment is. I guess these two get to clean everything up when they get back to Salida!

I wonder if LCI made any money on this rush job. Maybe this extra work can be billed to CenturyLink. This so reminded me of a certain sewer inspector in Colorado Springs who would keep flunking jobs until he got a bottle of whiskey! Just saying . . .

“Our” Fiberoptic Cable

OK. We have to share it with a few hundred other people! Lol.

A few years ago, our telephone company, CenturyLink, brought fiber optic cable to the end of Road Gulch Road along CO69. Now they wanna connect us to that fiber optic cable. Presently we are connected by a copper, multiple conductor cable. We have no idea what this augers for us but we do hope it improves our phone service. And maybe encourages cell service providers to install towers.

I had talked to one of the team doing this for CenturyLink, a contractor from Salida. He was very aggravated they are demanding that this company get ‘er done by Christmas when they had months (or years) to do this. In much better weather.

First they tried to dig a hole with a backhoe and got about a foot down before it wouldn’t go any deeper into the frozen ground. Then the company sent them back with a horizontal borer to cross under the roads, CO28 and CO69. Mission accomplished at each end. But those pulled the familiar orange fiberoptic duct under them.

But the team is now putting the plastic fiberoptic cable directly into the ground! Usually we see these projects with the burial of orange duct with the fiber optic cable itself pulled through the duct later. This method also allows several cables be pulled through the same duct.

Anyway, this project is installing one cable by direct burial.

First they had to break through the frost line the backhoe failed to penetrate. This is the machine they are using. This method of breaking the furrow makes the burial machine work smoother, also.

This thing goes ahead and breaks up the ground ahead cutting a furrow. It left big chunks of frozen soil behind. Note how close it is to the rock wall; the road is even closer to the wall further down the road; there the operator actually plowed the road

Then the rest of the team followed doing their things.

The front thing with the roll of dark “wire” is the cable burier. Behind it is a backhoe doing something, I think using the back of the bucket to tamp the furrow. Then the grader was reshaping the ditch so it looked like they had never been there. Lol.

The fun thing to me was the cable burying machine. Here is a movie of it in action. I suggest you click the fullscreen button to see the action better.

This was cool! The guy walking along beside the plow is the guy I talked to and turns out to be the project supervisor! He is making sure the insertion is going well since there are many things that can damage the cable.

The orange ribbon is a warning tape that is buried a foot or so below the surface to warn backhoe operators they are about to eat a fiber optic cable! Details here (pdf).

They are moving right along and should make their deadline. But they started from the cattle guard on public (BLM) land; once they get to the highway, they will have to deal with the private property east of the part they are doing. That part of the project is along the paved part of the road with narrow rights of way.

I wish them luck.

Water House Wiring

This is really boring to most people so I suggest you skip over to Pogo or FaceBook. Or read a blog. Lol. (All links safe for work!)

I worked on the outlet wiring in the Water House Thursday afternoon. It went from this

to this.

And it only took two redesigns and one rewiring to complete! Lol. Yeah, it is in service but needs some covers to be “complete”.

The first problem was my discovery of the GFCI in the little dangly box below the large switch box. I had forgotten I installed it many years ago! I considered leaving it there but finally moved it to the existing box. But that meant five wires in the 1/2″ conduit between the junction box and that outlet box: 2 white, 2 black, and a green. One set of B/W “in” and a set “out” so all the outlets on the wall would be protected. I wanted to mount the GFCI on the junction box but I had bought a box that didn’t allow outlets to be mounted. Onward.

I only had one conduit curve so reused the piece of Romex which is functional but tacky. Some day it may get replaced with conduit and individual wires. Or not.

I had begun connecting the wires in the junction box when I realized I had to connect the right blacks and whites for the downstream outlets to be protected. Then it dawned on me all the terminals on the GFCI were not the same! I had just landed them randomly and had no idea which wire was which! So a major undo as I disconnected all the wires from the GFCI!

So I had to do both ends of each wire as I connected it to the GFCI so I would know which was in and which was out (“line” and “load” as they were called on the back of the GFCI)(If I had had two more colors of wire, I wouldn’t have been so constrained.). The biggest problem was the stiff 12 gauge wire but they were already bent making the redo easier. By the time I got all the wires landed, I was pretty much done! In several senses; I was worn out but had had to finish so there would be power in the WH and water for the night.

So I asked Donna to turn the power back on and I would watch for any excitement. Nothing, which was good. Then I plugged in a flood light to test. Still nothing, which was bad! I asked her to turn it back off assuming a wirenut connection was not right.

That was when she discovered she had turned on the wrong breaker! We have another 220 breaker that used to go to the A/C and attic fan neither of which we have now. When she turned the breaker to the Water House on, the light came on! I was so relieved! The GFCI manually test tripped and reset and all the outlets worked. Success.

I began plugging stuff back in. The yellow cord goes to the small freezer; the white cord goes to the patio lights; the tan cord is for the water line heat tape.

And some of the stuff got moved to the new outlets: the heat lamp timer and my work flood. I will be putting the electric heater in service shortly since the NWS is forecasting a HIGH of 35 Tuesday! Plus each of the treatment column controllers have transformers for their power.

So I went from 5 outlets to 12. And 8 of them are claimed already! Now “all” I need to do is plumbing.

Back to the Water Project

I worked on the wiring yesterday. Right now everything in the Water House comes from just a few outlets.

There was obviously no planning as the electrical demand increased (lights, patio lighting, heater, temporary freezer connection, water line heat tape, etc.). And more outlets are needed now (treatment column controllers, etc.). The new outlets are now in place.

They are ready to go except they are only connected to each other!

I had some excitement when my work flood exploded! I was working on the east outlets when, with no warning, the flood exploded! I was standing almost under it while working on the west (left) outlet!

I was concentrating on pushing the three wires into the conduit when it went off!

None of the glass hit me but bounced off the pressure tank and you can see it on the salt tank which I was using as a table. The phone was my intercom to Donna. This caused a brief delay while I picked up the shards of glass and found a new light. I am still not sure what set it off.

After some struggle, I got all three wires around the bend and into the lower box. The next step is adding conduit at the bottom and connecting it all together.

More Prison, uh, School Construction

I got some more pictures of the Salida Prison School construction. I mentioned to the waitress at Wallbangers which is diagonally across the corner from this project how it looks like a prison! She laughed and agreed!

But there ARE some windows.

On the east side. This is taken from the Wallbangers parking lot, SE of the school. You can see they are setting the steel roof trusses.

This is from the opposite side on the NW. No windows here, either! I hope this is a gym they are building. I absolutely can’t tell from the plans on the school website.

I can’t tell north from south. And there is another “concept” drawing entirely different. And the architect “explained” that, yeah, the plans had changed since the earlier one is a ”
bubble drawing”! But for sure they are gonna spend $23,700,000 to replace the high school. With something.

OK. Digging through the picture pages, I learned these two buildings are the Gym and auditorium.

More Water Project

While I was laying awake last night, I decided to put the greensand column back on the block. It was just too unstable on dirt. So, with some backtracking, I did.

The block is now against those for the salt tank. There are some rocks here which is why I had put it nearer the wall. Instead of lowering the block, I built up the foundation and leveled it.

Then I had to roll the column back up onto the block! This ended up being a two stage process using pieces of 2×4 to set it on then rolling it onto the concrete block. Without moving the block!

So now I am back where I was yesterday! Lol.

The Water Project

Today I got back on this project. And, as usual, it got redesigned! When I started to install the valve manifold on the greensand filter, there wasn’t room behind it! Oops. The cylinder needed to come out several inches. But it was sitting on a concrete base.

I finally decided to remove the base and set it on the ground. This was not the best solution but this thing weighs about 200# with no water in it! So I did.

The manifold now fits on the back of the controller!

I labeled the two pipes because they are opposite what I have been thinking all this time! The flow of water will be backward to what the manufacturer planned! sigh. My tubing will cross behind the columns!

I also got the plumbing for the pump and pressure tank inlet done. The “Christmas Tree” for the pump outlet is busy! So the pump is ready to go and most of the inlet fittings are glued. The brass thing is the inlet check valve.

The tee with the valve on it will connect to the inlet of the pressure tank. The valve may only be used once for filling the two columns slowly.

Next is some electrical stuff (outlets and a light) and connecting the tubing.