Project for Radio Lumiere, Carrefour, Haiti – Completed Jan 13, 2012

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 Project Summary January 3 – 15, 2012

A team of ten men from I-TEC went to Carrefour, Haiti, on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, to work on the Electrical System at the Radio Lumiere Christian Radio Station.  Four men from the Pittsburgh area, four from Central Pennsylvania, one from North Carolina, and one from Florida made up this team.  Many of us had never met in person and did so for the first time  in the Miami Airport on the way to Port au Prince.

Over the many years of existence, Radio Lumiere has been instrumental in reaching 85% of the nation of
Haiti with the Gospel message 24/7.  The main station building in Carrefour, a suburb of Port au Prince, was virtually unaffected by the earthquake of January 12, 2010, but there is much destruction in the surrounding city.  The trip from the airport to the radio station runs through much of the damaged area, and the multitudes of people living in the tent cities en route gives one great pause.

The team increased the size of the Electrical Power System from 200-amps to 400-amps.  We rewired much of the interior of the building, which had great evidence of overloaded circuits and inferior wiring.  We installed new Automatic Transfer Switches from the Standby Generator, so that the power will be much more reliable.  The core operations of the station are connected to an Inverter System that is
backed up by battery power, giving approximately two hours of run time at present when the Utility Grid Power is off.  Power is on and off numerous times during the days and there is never any warning when it will go off, so the Inverter System is critical to the operation for the station.   Although we did not upgrade the Inverter System at this time, we did prepare for the time when enough funding has been raised that new Inverters and Batteries can be purchased to provide years of reliable service.  With the resources available, we connected the existing Inverters to the generator so that when city power is off and the
batteries are drained to a specified point, the generator automatically will start to recharge the batteries. We also wired the entire system to a time-clock so that from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM each weekday, the generator will automatically start when there is a loss of city power.   This eliminates the need for the maintenance crew to have to manually start the generator as has been done for the past sixteen years.

Our goal was to do this work without taking the station off the air, but as it turned out, we had the
station off-line several times during the second week.  The off-air times were minimal.  In the process we replaced most of the existing “Priority” circuits throughout the building.  These are the circuits powered
by the Inverter System.  We eliminated all of the open splices that had been prevalent throughout the building; installed several new electrical panels and divided up the load so that none of the power feeders should suffer from the old problems of overheating as in the past.  And, to top off the work week, we were
able to rewire the lighted Radio Lumiere sign and reinstall it over the street.  This sign had been out of
operation and in storage for quite some time.

We visited the mountaintop Radio Transmission Tower facility above Port au Prince.  In the future it is likely that some of us will be called back to Haiti to fix up some of the faulty wiring at that facility as well as install new batteries and inverters at the Carrefour facility.  The blog we wrote while on the trip gives much more detail as to the nature of the trip.  Many of you have followed along with us.  Perhaps when the opportunity to return to Radio Lumiere presents itself, YOU will join with us in person.