Power play

This pilot fish works for a manufacturing company and is setting up a workstation at a remote site. "This site was notorious for having power problems, so I installed a small UPS for the computer, to ensure that it stayed running and would not be affected by any power spikes," says fish.

"I configured the UPS to be large enough to run the PC, a monitor, and a small set of desktop scales that were used there."

But a few weeks later, fish begins to get complaints that the PC keeps rebooting. It seems to happen each time the operator finishes his process, so the problem must be something fish has done.

Fish frantically calls around to other facilities using the same setup. They're not having the problem.

Then he calls a co-worker, who agrees to stand near the assembly line and watch the process while speaking to fish on a cordless phone.

"As he watched the process, the PC did indeed reboot at the end," fish says. "But the moment it rebooted, I heard the distinctive sound of a heavy piece of equipment -- an automated thermal taping machine -- powering up.

"I asked my co-worker to go to the piece of equipment and trace the unit's power cord.

"Sure enough, to ensure that his machines ran constantly, the supervisor had plugged an extension cord into the PC's UPS and had plugged his taping machine, an automated conveyor belt and an auxiliary light into the UPS.

"Each time the taping machine kicked in while the conveyor belt was running, the UPS was triggered.

"The supervisor's response: We should have anticipated his needs."

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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