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Sherlock Ohms

Billboard Causes Computer Crash

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Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Clever problem solving
Charles Murray   1/8/2013 8:52:44 PM
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I agree, Elizabeth. I wouldn't have suspected that a nearby billboard could cause a voltage drop.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Waste of energy
Rigby5   1/8/2013 10:02:01 PM
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If it can cause a temporary brown out, how much current must those electronic billboards draw?  Don't we have better ways to waste nonsustainable resources?

At least they turn it off during the day, but still they seem a total waste.  I have even seen them cause traffic accidents.

wskehr
User Rank
Iron
UPS noise and fire
wskehr   1/8/2013 11:13:03 PM
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I know of one occasion where there was a computer on a UPS in an apartment where the electrical plug was on the same circuit breaker as part of the kitchen.  An appliance in the kitchen caught fire which triggred the circuit breaker.  The UPS alarm was triggered well before the smoke detector went off. 

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Clever problem solving
Elizabeth M   1/9/2013 5:16:34 AM
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I know, right? I mean, I understand if it might cause a power surge to an electrical supply, but why would that crash a computer? Wouldn't the battery take over if the power went out? Just goes to show, I suppose, how fragile computers can be...

Thinking_J
User Rank
Platinum
UPS.. not always the solution
Thinking_J   1/9/2013 5:41:08 PM
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We thought we were being careful and clever.. integrated UPS into wiring of our offices.. no box , common maintenance location for mulitple small UPS boxes.

The only indication of UPS was involved.. orange colored outlets indicating the power was supplied by UPS. Standard outlets had regular while/beige color.

Problem: the cleaning lady coming through in the evening didn't know the significance of the orange outlets.. yup, she put a high current draw device (vaccum cleaner) on the limited current UPS outlet.. causing the current limiting on the UPS to kick in .. and shutting down the workstation running simulations overnight.

What did I learn?... - communications to everyone is important (and is hard to maintain), and UPS is just one aspect of clean power.

 

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Power
Cadman-LT   1/12/2013 12:14:39 PM
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Makes me feel good about my new aquirement of a new APC UPS unit that protects all of my equipment! No worries....for now.

ab3a
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Power
ab3a   1/24/2013 3:24:34 PM
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Be careful. I have a very bad attitude about the unfortunately named Uninterruptable Power Supply.  I've seen more failures in those things than in the "dirty" building power.

A proper UPS has a full time inverter running off of batteries with a completely independent charger.  Not all UPS gear is like that. Some have standby inverters, some have synchronous inverters, and some are just plain bizarre. 

If you expect the UPS to "clean up" your power, you'd better get a full time inverter and make certain that the circuit that you use doesn't go far and that ALL outlets are VERY clearly marked so that some cleaning crew doesn't plug in to them.


Dirty power is usually best fixed at the source: the building ground system.  Make sure the neutrals are properly bonded in the correct places.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, hire a master electrician and have them explain it to you.


This fix sounds to me like using a small bandage for a sucking chest wound of a problem. 

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Power
Cadman-LT   2/12/2013 9:50:26 AM
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ab3a,

 

 Great advice! I trust my UPS. I have had many many many and all have failed. This is a good unit...see how it goes.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Power
Cadman-LT   2/12/2013 9:52:16 AM
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BTW, the ones that failed were the cheap $50 ones. The one I have now...like $1000 unit. It better work!

BRedmond
User Rank
Silver
Re: Waste of energy
BRedmond   3/8/2013 10:17:42 AM
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The author didn't say that it was an electronic billboard.  An electronic billboard would be illuminated all day (maybe shut down late at night when nobody will see it?).  This was a good old fashioned billboard with lights so that it could be seen at night.

I am curious why the billboard lights coming on caused the computer to reboot.  The author seems to know or suspect but didn't say.

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