(June 2, 2015) It all began back in 2007. That is the year four of our engineers came together to compile a list of needs for a power protection system that would guard against damaging lightning strikes, brownouts, and otherwise poor quality power grids. John Wineman, Herb Jacobson, Mike Axman, and Ted Miller were convinced that a reliable, affordable solution could be developed to protect expensive radio and healthcare equipment from the harsh realities of unstable power sources worldwide, saving our partners countless hours of lost ministry time and expensive repairs.
The project involves using a “Raspberry Pi,” a computer about the size of a credit card, to monitor the quality of the building’s incoming electrical power and disconnect the power before damage occurs. John Wineman describes the project as “a complex problem with limited resources.” Most of the work so far has been accomplished by student interns during spring break. The sporadic nature of this kind of project development requires detailed documentation, relatively long learning curves, and occasional redesigns due to obsolescence. However, this summer we have put together a team of six who will be collaborating on the project, with the goal of creating a minimal, but working, prototype.
John Wineman (a full-time volunteer) is the project lead and Tom Scatliff (full-time Reach Beyond missionary) is the chief engineer. John Rozema (part-time volunteer) is doing electronic design on the input circuitry. Dillion Henschen (a junior), Anne Shipman (a senior) and Michael Tapia (a 2015 graduate), all student interns from Cedarville University, are working on Raspberry Pi software programming, specifications and testing, and electronic circuit design respectively. “What has impressed me is how the Lord has brought together people with different skills and abilities to accomplish His purpose,” says Wineman.
Perry Beabout, TWR missionary with SonSet Solutions, says, “Probably 80 percent of the issues they have are related to dirty power,” referring to partner stations who call us about equipment failures in the field. The power protection system will “…enable us to beef up the input protection so that it will be much less likely to see these problems. It’s the biggest issue we have,” says Beabout.
Often our projects are limited by the available resources. Sometimes those are financial limitations. Other times, we need capable technical people to offer their expertise and experience. If you are interested in being part of the ministry of SonSet Solutions, contact us about some of the ways you can be a part of providing technology-based solutions to advance the Gospel worldwide.
By Doug Weber